The Calling of the Church (1 Peter 2:1-12)
We have been called and cleansed to reflect Christ. The apostle Peter calls the church in 1 Peter 2 to “…put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
From the outset of this paragraph Peter lists all of the evils from which the Christians have been cleansed – malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander. In doing so, Peter is indirectly warning them against falling back into the sins from which they have been delivered.
The language “put away” has the visual picture of removing filthy garments. It is similar to Paul’s usage of the term “putting on Christ”. Put away sin, put on Christ.
The language of “put off” indicates that this must be done on a daily basis. These sins tear the social fabric of the church, ripping away at the mutual love that we have been called to. In fact, the evils listen in verse 1 are contrary to the love we are called to.
How can you claim to love someone and deceive them at the same time? Consider envy, which turns others into enemies, because they have what you want. Slander destroys others with our words, what love is in that? Now, as broken people, we are all going to struggle with these things. At the same time, we have been called and cleansed to reflect Christ.
The medicine for the sick heart that practices these things is found in the Word. This is why Peter argues that we should long for the Word, like newborn babies crave milk. For babies, milk sustains bodily growth. For believers, the word sustains spiritual growth.
As Ed Clowney has said, in the word of the Lord you spend time with the Lord of the Word. The Word gives us a taste, shows us that, the Lord is good. If you have tasted that the Lord is good, you will want more of the Word, and less of the bitter taste of the sin that arises from your own heart.
That is why Peter wrote the conditional clause “if you indeed have tasted”. Among other things, we read the Bible to stir our affections. You only grow as the Word is poured into you. Through the Word and by the Spirit, God who gives the growth. But you have to be active in this process.
Therefore, we need to keep going back to the Word. Keep believing the Word. Keep nurturing our hearts with the Word. Keep tasting the goodness of God in the Word. Keep prayerfully reading and reflecting until you cry out: The Lord is good!