Spiritual Childhood
1 Peter 2:1-3
Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,…

In this "therefore" (Revised Version) our apostle gathers up the argument, perhaps, of all the preceding part of the letter, certainly of the passage immediately preceding this; viz. if we as Christians have begun to live this higher life, how will its early stage manifest himself? So we naturally note -

I. SOME OF THE SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD. One of the signs that Christian men and women are, what Peter had heard the Lord say they ought to be, like little children - growing children - is in what they lack. This whole group of evils are most unchildlike evils. "Putting away" implies that they had been wrapped in them, swaddled as it were in them. "Wickedness," or malice. Perhaps the wider meaning of wickedness is intended here. Leighton says, "All is one garment, or parts of one, for sometimes some are mentioned, and sometimes others." "Guile," "hypocrisies" the first being the spirit of deceit, the second the acting a part as on a stage. "Envies;" "evil-speakings." Here again the first describes the malign spirit, the second the speech that spirit inspires.

II. THE CHIEF NOURISHMENT OF SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD. "Spiritual milk." Milk is a good standard of all food; it contains all the constituents of food. So does the Word of God contain all elements of spiritual nutrition. "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." Similarly, there is a natural aliment, and there is a spiritual aliment. "Without guile;" that food is to be simple, unadulterated. Milk when impure is a terrible source of disease; so the Word of God, when mixed with error, works deadly mischief. "Long for;" have a keen appetite for the Word of God, not for the sugar-plums of sentiment or the stimulants of sensationalism, but the milk of the Word. A true appetite is at once a sign of health and a means to health.

III. THE TRUE DEVELOPMENT OF SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD. "Grow." The bud that does not become a flower is a failure. So the Christian that does not grow is a failure. Piety is the art of right growing. "Unto salvation." That is the ideal - not mere rescue from guilt, but attainment of holiness; not mere emancipation, but citizenship. "If ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." This implies that the Christian character is developed, even in its early stages, from a solid experience. Only tasted, but surely tasted. Luther puts it well for us: "To them who with the heart believe the word, 'Christ has been sent for me and is become mine own; my miseries are his; his life is mine,' - that word is sweet." - U.R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

WEB: Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking,

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