Milk or Steak?
1 Peter 2:1-3
1So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Beginning this passage with “So…” alerts us to the previous verses, which describe the grace of God in sharing the Good News with us. We have been justified by Jesus blood, shed on the cross. We have brought to faith in that sacrifice through the power of the Holy Spirit. So…. now we learn of sanctification which is the Spirit’s actual process of transforming our lives, which is ongoing, imperfect, and incomplete. Justification involves no human action—it is one hundred percent God’s gift. Sanctification challenges and involves our reborn Christian mind, will, and heart.
As we consider our new life in Christ, we must discard that which is born of the flesh. Peter includes a fairly comprehensive list to start.
• malice—that poisonous attitude that takes delight in another person’s suffering. Replace it with compassion, a willingness to help other people carry their burdens.
• deceit—wanting things badly enough to lie or use tricks, or evading responsibility. Replace it with honesty and openness, telling people the truth in love.
• hypocrisy—concealing your true feelings, only pretending to care about other people, faking friendship. Replace it with sincere love and genuine concern.
• envy—jealousy of other people’s lives and possessions, disappointment with your own lot in life, and resentment toward God for “cheating” you, as though you deserve better. Replace it with alertness to God’s blessings, contentment with your life, and joyful thanksgiving to a loving Father.
• slander—enjoying running down, putting down, cutting down other people. Replace it with praise and encouragement for other people, finding joy in their successes.
Jeske, M. A. (2002). James, Peter, John, Jude (p. 84). Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House.
All of this instruction is wrapped in a clever illustration – that of tasting delicious food. Peter borrows from King David in Psalm 34 for this image.
8Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
10The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
It was (and possibly still is) the practice of the ancient Hebrews to place a drop of honey on the lips of the children as they heard God’s Word being read, or when they recited it themselves. Their parents wanted them to know that God’s Word was sweet to the sinner’s ear and healthy for them to consume. It brings nourishment and a smile to the lips. I love that image. At the same time, this passage challenges us to move on with our spiritual development. No one wants to take care of an adult who has not matured at all. We know of people who are mentally damaged and have adult bodies with the mind of an infant. It is tragic and painful. It can also be difficult to deal with someone who has refused to mature spiritually and that is not God’s choice for us. He wants us to avail ourselves of His grace and mercy to the point where we become workers in His vineyard. We produce the fruits of faith. Have you ever met a Christian who refuses to study the more difficult parts of the Bible? They don’t engage in Bible studies that would challenge them or move them past reading the stories of Jesus’ miracles or parables. The Old Testament is “too hard” and they “don’t get anything out of it”. I contend that they may be spiritually lazy. I suppose there will be those who don’t like that typification. Maybe it’s time to think about that a little.