WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like new-born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2: 1-3).
When you see a ‘therefore’, you must ask what it is there for! ‘Therefore’ connects what had gone before with what follows.
In chapter one, Peter put his readers into the middle of the picture. It was all about what God had done for them. They were participants in God’s great salvation. They had experienced new birth through the power of God’s word and the working of the Holy Spirit. They had the hope of resurrection and the assurance of an indestructible inheritance. Even the suffering they had to endure was not meaningless because God was purifying their faith through it.
They were privileged beyond the prophets and angels who saw but could not be a part of this salvation through Jesus. The prophets who lived under the Old Covenant had to depend on their faith in animal blood for forgiveness, not knowing that it was only a picture of the blood of God’s own Lamb. They saw in prophetic vision the glory of the Messiah but they could not share in His life. How privileged Peter’s readers were to be partakers in God’s New Covenant!
The whole point of what God did through Jesus was to free them from the guilt and penalty of their sin so that they could return to the Father. In His great mercy, He provided a perfect lamb to redeem them from their plight as firstborn in Adam. He redeemed them from the slave market of sin to restore His own image in them. Sin brought death. He provided the potential to escape death. He gave them His own nature, free from sin and death because He is perfect.
The old selfish, greedy, ungodly nature had been overridden by a new nature, giving them the potential to be holy. God is holy; He hates sin and cannot sin. He requires that His children resemble Him and no longer their old master, the devil. The Holy Spirit was given to them to overcome sin so that they could live holy lives.
‘Therefore,’ said Peter, ‘get rid of the hidden sins that still lurk inside.’ Notice that he did not harp on the obvious sins that were evident to everyone around; things like murder, adultery, theft, etc. This kind of behaviour should have fallen away long ago. It was the hidden things, the sins of the heart; thoughts, attitudes, intentions and motives that were more difficult to overcome. These are the evidences of an active old nature, according to Jesus.
For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person (Mark 7: 21-23).
James also understood that sin is conceived in the heart.
‘. . . Every person is tempted when he is dragged away by his own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1: 14-15).
How could Peter’s readers, including us, overcome the problem of the old nature? His answer was simple. Starve the old nature by fuelling your appetite for the new. Crave Gods’ word like a new-born infant craves milk. How does one do that? We develop our appetite by what we eat. A child who is fed junk food has no appetite for meat and vegetables. The only way to change his eating habits would be to starve him of the unhealthy stuff and force him to eat good food until he loses his appetite for the junk.
Whatever nature we feed will rule our lives. God has given us the potential to live holy lives but it is up to us to activate that potential by nurturing our desires with the right ‘food’.
The problem is that we will eventually become what our desires lead us to become. God has freed us from our sin to become His sons and daughters. It is up to us to become who we are by feeding on His word, the food that nourished our new nature and produces the fruit of righteousness..
What is on your menu today?
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.