1 Peter 2:1-3
Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,…
"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." "If, if" — then this is not a thing to be taken for granted. "If" — then there is a possibility that some may not have tasted that the Lord is gracious. "If, if" — then this is not a general but a special mercy, and it becomes our business to inquire whether we are comprehended in that company who know the grace of God by inward experience.
I. First, then, TASTE is prominent in the text.
1. The taste here meant is doubtless faith. Faith, in the Scripture, is all the senses. It is sight (Isaiah 45:22); hearing (Isaiah 55:3); smelling (Psalm 45:8); touch (Mark 5:30, 31). Faith is equally the spirit's taste. "How sweet are Thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to nay lips." We shall have an inward and spiritual apprehension of the sweetness and preciousness of Christ as the result of living faith.
2. The taste here meant is faith in one of its highest operations. To hear Christ's voice as the very voice of God in the soul will save us, but that which gives the true enjoyment is the aspect of faith wherein Christ, by holy taste, becomes assimilated to us; we feed on Him; He becometh part of us; His living Word sustaineth us, and His precious blood cheereth us as generous wine. Do you ask, "In what respect does faith taste that the Lord is gracious?" It is faith operating by experience.
3. Faith, as exhibited to us under the aspect of tasting, is a sure and certain mark of grace in the heart. It is a sure sign of vitality. Man, by nature, is dead in trespasses and sins. Or, to put it in another light, if men have a taste of Christ, it is certain evidence of a Divine change, for men by nature find no delight in Jesus.
4. This taste, where it has been bestowed by grace, is a discerning faculty. If thou canst live upon a gospel which leads thee to depend upon thyself, thou hast no spiritual taste, or else thou wouldst loathe, as much as ever Egyptian loathed to drink of the waters of Nile when turned into blood, to drink of any river which flows from created springs; thou wouldst only drink of the cool stream of the river of life which rises at the foot of the throne of God and flows around the base of Calvary, where Jesus shed His blood. Say, soul, dost thou love Jesus only? Is He all thy salvation and all thy desire, and dost thou repose wholly and solely in Him? For if not, then thou hast no spiritual taste, and thou hast no reason to believe that thou belongest unto Jesus Christ at all.
5. Faith as a taste is not Simply a discerning but a delighting faculty. Men derive much satisfaction from the organs of taste. I pray you delight yourselves in Christ! Let your faith so taste Jesus as to make you glad. Let your joy be as the joy of harvest, and sing ye with Zechariah, "How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."
6. This taste of ours is in this life imperfect. As old master Durham says, "'Tis but a taste!" We have not yet rested beneath the vines of Canaan; we have only enjoyed the first fruits of the Spirit, and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fulness of the heavenly heritage. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption.
7. Though ours is an imperfect, we thank God it is a growing taste. We know that sometimes in the decline of life the taste, like the other powers of manhood, decays; but, glory be to God, a taste for Christ will never decay.
II. MEN WHO HAVE THUS TASTED OF CHRIST HAVE SPECIAL SINS TO AVOID AND OBJECTS TO DESIRE.
1. We first dwell upon evils to be avoided.
2. The apostle, having told us what to avoid, tells us what to eat and drink. "As newborn babes desire," etc. The Christian man should desire pure doctrine; he should desire to hear the gospel plainly and truthfully preached — not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but in the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth. It is a sign of declining health in a Christian when he does not love the means of grace.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,