Introduction: If we’re saved we are to be growing in our maturity in Christ – it’s just that simple.
The first word of verse 1 points to what has been given already – the previous passage was dealing with the believers keeping their testimony during the trials they would face and ended with the truths regarding the Word of God.
Based upon those two points – that our testimony is to be maintained at all times and that the Word of God is the basis from which we receive the ability to know how, Peter (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) now points to the spiritual growth of the believer. He lays some basic ground work here that will help us understand the importance of our spiritual growth.
I. What not to do–vs.1 “Laying aside”
A. The words “laying aside” mean to put off as of clothing
This is something we are to do – it’s and activity we must decide to do
The words are a verb tense that point to an action that began at a particular point but continue to the present – the particular point was the point of our new birth (chapter 1 pointed to this) and the principles applied here are to continue through our life Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Eph 4:22-25 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Col 3:5-8 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
B. Peter had just pointed out to them that they were to love one another – the points in this verse are in direct contrast to love – in order to love one another these CANNOT be present
The word “all” is referring to every or all manner of – no room for error on this word – means what it says
“Malice” – ill-will, wishing bad on someone else – Webster says this is a disposition to injure others without cause
“All guile” – literally, to catch with bait – by application, to deceive, or be deceiving or conniving
“Hypocrisies” – self-explanatory
“Envies” – self-explanatory – this one is the cause of the others in many ways
“All evil speakings” (literally, speaking against, defamer) – backbiting – saying things against another in order to cause them harm or to make ourselves look better 2Co 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
C. There are many other things we should “lay aside” as a believer, but these are relating to the loving others part of the believer’s life – without having these right, our spiritual life will never grow
II. What to do–vs.2 “Desire the sincere milk of the word”
A. “As newborn babes” – this may indicate the ones to whom this book was written were fairly new converts – or at least they had not grown in their Christian life
B. “Desire” – long for – very strong word – as a baby “longs for” milk, needs mild, literally cannot live without it – so are believers to “desire” the Word of God
C. “The sincere milk”
There are steps to spiritual growth once a person has been converted – this is the first step
The word “sincere” is indicating that the teaching involved in the growth process be straightforward with no ulterior motive
Babies need milk – they cannot sustain anything other than milk – so it is with new converts – they need to feed on the “milk” of the Word of God – the simple things 1Co 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. Heb 5:12-13 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
In subsequent steps of spiritual growth greater knowledge is involved, with the goal of being able to be the teacher – just as a baby grows into adolescence and then into adulthood and becomes a parent themselves to begin the process over so are believers to grow and reproduce 2Ti 2:1-2 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
D. “Of the word” – it is the Word of God that is the key to it all – it’s not man’s opinion of what God said – it is what God said that matters
E. The purpose is that “ye may grow thereby” – by the Word of God
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
2Th 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
III. Why we do or don’t do–vs.3
A. “If so be ye have tasted” – The only way we will be able to NOT do or TO do those things we are supposed to do is if we are saved, truly born again – without that no matter how hard a person tries, it is only a matter of time before they fail. Of course, the same is true for a believer who tries to live his life in his own power.
B. The word “tasted” is pointing to the “sincere milk” and is still using the analogy of newborns – the more we “taste” of the Lord’s goodness the more we should want of His Word
C. “That the Lord is gracious” – both in saving our soul and in giving us the grace to help in times of need in this life
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
2Co 12:8-10 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Conclusion: Where are you in your spiritual growth? If you’ve been saved any amount of time you should be far more advanced in your spiritual life and testimony and in your understanding of the Bible. You should be where you can be the teacher, the provider – are you?