The goodness of God
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:1-3 CSB
Peter starts this next section with the word “therefore,” meaning to refer back to the previous section. Peter wants to remind the reader of the Word of God. Through obedience and pursuit of holiness through the Word of God, we are now challenged by Peter to “rid [ourselves],” or to “cast off,” these actions we used to participate when we were dead in our sin. Peter encourages us to grow, as “newborn infants” grow, maturing into our “salvation.” So, what are the specific actions we should “rid” ourselves of? First is malice, associated with hatred, harboring grudges for others, wanting to inflict pain, harm or injury upon them. Second is deceit, dishonesty, speaking false words for ulterior motives. Speaking anything less than the truth falls into this category and is rooted in selfishness. Third is hypocrisy, speaking one thing and doing another. One of the phrases that I do not like is “do as I say, not as I do,” for it is a prime example of hypocrisy. Fourth is envy, desiring what already belongs to another. It is also rooted in resentful discontentment, not satisfied with what you already have. Final one is slander, speech that is designed to ruin a person’s status or reputation. All of these have the underlying characteristic rooted in selfishness, wanting to elevate oneself over others. This is in direct contrast to how Christ acted out of selflessness, sharing that agape love, that sacrificial love for others, the kind of love that Peter mentioned in verse 22, “brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly.” So, instead of these sinful practices, we should pursue being fed and nurtured by the Word of God, like milk to growing children. In this way, we would rid our minds with selfish desires. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.” Then, Peter caps off with this statement, “if you have tasted that the Lord is good.” As believers, we have experienced the goodness of God’s grace, being saved from damnation, and being filled with the Holy Spirit so that we will be guided to pursue a life of holiness. So, because we have experienced or “tasted that the Lord is good,” why wouldn’t we stop these past practices and be obedient to the Word of God?
Isaac De Guzman