In his first epistle, Peter addressed those of God’s people who were in the Diaspora (the “dispersion”) – people that were scattered abroad and not living in the land of Israel. In the second chapter, Peter said something we need to take note of today. He wrote:
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3)
In Peter’s thinking, there were some unfruitful things being manifest in the body, at that time, that he thought needed to be addressed. He admonished those guilty of the things he listed to lay these things aside. Unfortunately, most all of what Peter addressed so long ago continues to be manifest in the Body, today. There is malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all types of evil speaking among God’s people and exacted against God’s people. Peter exhorted us, as believers, to be as newborn babes—innocent, loving, dependent and desirous of the pure milk of the Word.
Now consider that if Peter wanted us to have the pure milk of the Word, does that suggest there might be tainted milk of the Word? Perhaps this tainted milk contains the malice, envy, deceit, strive and evil speaking he was addressing? Let’s put it another way: have you ever heard someone present the Word laced with condemnation of another person, some awkward statement or an unflattering theme? Of course we all have and should realize that when this occurs, it’s not becoming of God’s people.
At one time or another, we have all been guilty of harboring malice or have been envious of someone and spoken evil against others. Considering the times in which we live, it is past time to lay these unfruitful things aside. We need the pure milk of the Word so that we can continue growing and maturing in the faith. Peter emphasized this point by reminding us that we have found the Lord to be gracious. So, if He has been gracious to us, shouldn’t we then be gracious to each other? Yes, even when people do wrong toward us, we are still to be gracious to them.
The Messiah went to the tree, was crucified and buried, even when we disagreed with Him, in a manner of speaking. But He was crucified, buried, and resurrected so that we could come into agreement with Him. He has been merciful to us so shouldn’t we be merciful to others? It is very important that we comprehend this, because as Peter reminds us in chapter 4:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
The last statement of this passage sums up today’s thoughts – the Creator is faithful to us even when we have not been faithful to Him. But we should be faithful to Him by doing good, including not mistreating, speaking evil of, or being envious of one another. We are commanded to love one another, even has He has loved us. While this seems so simple, apparently, it can be quite difficult. Nevertheless, let us commit to do our part, laying aside the things that are unfruitful and that tear us apart. Only by doing this can we truly become one in Him.