“So 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.”
1 Peter 2:1-3
Our sinful ways will always hound us and be ready and waiting at the door if we wander away from the study of God’s Word. His Word is meant to teach us what is true; about God and about ourselves, it is meant to warn and restrain us, to encourage and ultimately change us. Being able to put away our sinful impulses towards hostility, deceitfulness, hypocrisy, envy and gossip depends on a steady diet of pure spiritual milk, which is God’s Word. These two verses go together by no mistake, the teaching in God’s Word will guide us in putting our sin away so that we can “grow up” in our salvation.
For example, Colossians 3:1-10 teaches us that if we have been raised with Christ then we should seek things that are of God…”set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” Verse 5 says to “put to death what is earthly in you” because “it is on account of these things that the wrath of God is coming”, and that although we once walked in these ways.. we “must put them all away”. And verse 10 really brings home the point that we “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” This brings hope because “being renewed” is written in present tense, meaning that it is an ongoing process. We need to put away sin and put on the new self, and as we daily seek to do this with the help of the Holy Spirit and by digging into God’s Word our minds will be renewed and we will become more and more like Jesus and less and less like our old sinful selves.
The revelation here is the close connection between putting off the old self and longing for and continually consuming God’s Word. I have experienced the burden and difficulty of trying to put off sinful ways without a newborn style consumption of the Word and it doesn’t work. It is very tiring, and these two verses prove why… the transformation of a Christian is an ongoing process, but that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to sin, it just means that the way we view sin and respond to it in our own lives is different than before we knew Christ. We sin, we repent, we study God’s Word daily, we grow up in our salvation…. and sinning becomes less as we become renewed in the spirit of our minds and as our faith grows. Growth, though, depends on being fed exactly in the same way as a newborn infant is fed his mother’s milk to survive.
Newborns don’t care what is going on around them, if they get hungry they cry for milk… and they continue crying until they get it and are satisfied. But they aren’t satisfied for long, pretty soon they are crying for milk again, day or night it doesn’t matter. They know, by instinct, they can feel it, that they must have milk… they long for it. And there is nothing so comforting to them to be cradled in their mother’s arms and to have that deep seated desire filled. And it is amazing how fast they grow in such a short period of time. So it is equally incredible that God would compare for us the desire we should have to read and study His words to us to the desire a newborn has for milk, and that how vigorous our appetite is for it will determine how fast we grow in our salvation and faith.
The Christian’s battle against sin is impossible without being full of the Word, not only is it our milk that we grow by, it is our weapon against the enemy… our weapon against sin. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:16-17 ESV) If you read the whole passage in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God you will notice that the only weapon that is mentioned (the sword) is the word of God. Whatever struggle we are confronted with, it is God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in us that will see us through it.
IF we have truly been saved, tasted that the Lord is good, and we can truly say that we have been permanently changed by His goodness then a longing to put away sin and a longing for His word will come naturally…. even in the tough times.
“I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.”
(Psalm 145:1-3 ESV)
Grace and Peace,