November 7 2021
LAYING ASIDE ALL THAT OFFENDS
1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby: if so be you have tasted that the LORD is gracious.”
These first three verses of 1 Peter 2 presents what our attitudes and actions should be upon being born again of the incorruptible word of God, as outlined in chapter one.
Attitude towards such gracious salvation.
- We are to lay aside all malice.
- Malice means “ill-will” and “a desire to injure.” It is derived from the root word in Greek meaning “of a bad nature.”
- Peter has instructed us that we need to be reminded that we have been born not of a corruptible seed but of an incorruptible seed.
- We have been encouraged to be holy as God is holy.
- The things of the flesh should have no part in us any longer.
- In the previous few verses from chapter one Peter reminds us that all flesh is as grass; that the grass withers.
- Not only does the grass wither – die – but the flower of the grass – the fruit of the grass – too withers or dies away.
- All flesh dies as too does all fruit of the flesh – just as the grass and its flower.
- We are new creations, born of the Spirit and not of the flesh, not of the will of man.
- Therefore, the flesh has no part in us – we are new creations born to worship GOD is spirit and in truth.
- And there is a “new seed” that has taken up residence within us – the seed of the Holy Spirit.
- It must be from this new seed that our fruit arises.
- And this new seed must be holy for it is of the Holy Spirit.
- “A tree is known by its fruit.” Hear Matthew 12:23:
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
- Paul says elsewhere that we are to reckon ourselves crucified with Christ.
- Crucified means dead to the old man, the old nature.
- And since we have been crucified with Christ we were also buried with Him.
- That’s all that’s to be done with dead things – they are to be buried!
- I mentioned earlier that malice means ill will or a desire to injure.
- Desire is an act of our will so the desire to injure others springs forth from the will of the old man, the old nature.
- When we lash out at someone we are doing so from our old sinful nature.
- For every thought there is a choice; for every word spoken there is a choice; for every action, also, there is a choice.
- We can think, speak and act according to the corruptible seed or according to the incorruptible seed.
- We can choose to be holy or to be common; we can choose to act from the bad seed or the good.
- We are to lay aside all guile.
- Guile means deceit or a decoy as in to catch by a bait.
- How often do we hear of people baiting each other.
- Baiting someone into saying something offensive or baiting someone into inappropriate action.
- Lawyers are famous for this type of deceit – catching up the innocent into saying something that can be used as an accusation against them.
- 2 Timothy 3:13 reminds us,
“But evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
- This world is filled with those who are deceived unknowingly spreading their deception to others.
- The Bible calls such, evil men and seducers. You see they are working out of their evil flesh and producing dead fruit and dead works that seduce.
- Do you know how the Scripture here uses the word “seducer?”
- The word seducer comes from the Greek word meaning, “to wail or howl” as in the incantations used in enchanting others.
- These practices and utterances all spring from a spirit of rebellion found in our fallen flesh.
- We need to be vigilant of our “fruits to roots.” If our fruits are such that they are unpleasant we can be certain that these fruits are coming out of our fallen nature – our dead flesh!
- And be sure, without doubt, that there are consequences, some very severe, that result from our acting from our old sin nature.
- We have been rescued from our sin nature it is true, however if we persist in throwing tantrums as babies stemming from this old nature, the consequences will be played out in our lives.
- Psalm 35:8 says it this way,
“Let destruction come upon him unawares; and let his net that he has hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.”
- Here is one who is acting as an evil man, according to 2 Timothy, and is laying a trap, a bait, to catch the un-expecting individual by deception.
- He is trying to deceive the innocent but he himself is deceived, and if his bait-setting plays out it will be he who falls into his own net!
- Especially when evil men attack members of the body of Christ.
- God will allow His law of sowing and reaping to catch-up the perpetrators.
- This should give us hope and confidence that it is the LORD who fights for us. It is the LORD who will execute perfect justice on our behalf.
- We are to lay aside all hypocrisies
- The closest meaning in today’s world of this Greek word is “the acting of a stage player.
- Its root means, “to impersonate someone, to feign to pretend.”
- This is similar to how today’s world accuses Christians – you’re just a bunch of hypocrites.
- A person who is pious on Sundays and something else the rest of the week then he needs check his roots.
- Is he grounded in the world, in the flesh, or is he grounded in the incorruptible seed?
- Most of us wear facades of some kind or other, at some time or other.
- We often act as we are expected to act. We act in a manner that we think others expect us to act.
- But Peter suggests that we can lay aside all hypocrisies and just be ourselves in Christ.
- We can allow ourselves to be vulnerable – to risk rejection – to risk loving each other.
- We are to lay aside all envies.
- This is an interesting word and its original meaning was somewhat different from that of today’s usage.
- Today we think of envy as similar to coveting. Desiring something that someone else possess.
- The original word for envy has its root in “to corrupt or to destroy.”
- In the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or “destroyed” when anyone defiled, or in the slightest degree, damaged anything in it, or if their guardians neglected their duties. If the guardians of the temple neglected their duties.
- Where is your temple? Who is its guardian? Are you neglecting your duties. Are you failing because of envy?
- For Christians today it means “to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide.”
- So here, we see the tie between envy and holiness.
- And a tie between envy and seeing to ones duty within the church.
- Peter is suggesting that we need to lay aside all envies as pertaining to another’s position or calling within the church.
- This type of envy corrupts and eventually destroys a fellowship.
- Finally, we are to lay aside all evil speaking
- Comes from defamation. The action of damaging the good reputation of someone, slander or libel.
- Defamation is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation.
- Usually this must be said to another person rather than to the defamed individual. This constitutes gossip in a church environment!
- This evil speaking can also be described as back-biting.
So, we are to lay aside all malice, guilt, hypocrisies, envies and all evil speaking.
We could consider these actions as our “proof” or “witness” to our being of corruptible seed or incorruptible seed.
Then, Peter continues, we are to be as new born babies in that we desire or long for sincere milk of the word.
- For, as milk is to a baby’s growth so too is His word to our growth.
- We are all familiar with how a baby acts when its feeding time.
- There is a wailing, a kicking about, a desperation to feed upon the milk!
- When its feeding time there’s no rest until we get our daily dose of the word. That’s the picture Peter gives us here.
- Are you that desperate, that hungry, for the word?
And verse three tells us that if you have tasted of the LORD’s word you know that He is gracious just as a mother is gracious in her giving her baby his milk.
This gracious salvation spoken of in the first chapter of first Peter is something that can be tasted in the study of His word.
1 Peter 2:4-8:
“Coming to him as a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in scripture,
‘Behold I lay in Zion, a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.’”
We have spoken before at length concerning Christ as the precious living stone rejected by most yet predestined to become the head stone.
- That He would become a stone of offense to the Greek and a stone of stumbling to the Jew. 1
- What Peter is stressing here is that as Christ is become a precious stone so too we are viewed as lively stones.
- We are seen as lively stones carefully placed within a spiritual house with Christ as our capstone.
- This spiritual house built up of believers are to be acting as a holy priesthood.
- A holy priesthood offering up our spiritual sacrifices much in a similar manner as did the High Priest of Old Testament times.
- And that our spiritual sacrifices are made acceptable by Jesus Christ – The Word. And our worship is approved by the sustaining word of Christ.
- In the Old Testament the sacrifices and worship of the High Priest was also made acceptable and approved by the word of the LORD.
- There exists a strong connect here regarding believers as lively stones to the stones of the breastplate of the Old Testament High Priest.
- The priest’s breastplate was arrayed with 12 stones of different colours and sources.2
- These represented the 12 tribes of Israel – each unique as was each tribe.
- Each tribe was named and given a purpose under GOD.
- So too, today’s believers are each given a special name and called into unique ministries under GOD.
- The intimacy of each believer as a lively stone uniquely chosen of GOD and firmly established within this spiritual house is presented in Revelation as well in terms of the “white stone” each of us receives from the hand of Jesus.3
- Another aspect of this spiritual house built up using lively stones is the uniqueness of each stone (also suggested in our Revelation reference.)
- We, as lively stones, are not “cookie-cuttings.” Each is different.
- Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 not to be conformed to this world.
- The world wants us to be mass-produced; each person to fall in line with the current mantra of the day – each embracing the same deception.
- We, these lively stones, are being fashioned to the image of His Son but our “sameness” to Him is far different from the “sameness” of the world.
- The Holy Spirit is fashioning us to His image – His holiness – His righteousness – His grace, His mercy. Yet we retain a uniqueness of character.
- We have been “fitted together” within His spiritual house. This reminds me of the instructions given to those who wished to erect an altar or a monument to the LORD in the Old Testament.
- Each worshipper was to build his altar or monument from un-hewn stones.
- No worldly tool was to be used to “carve” these stones.
- Similarly we are not to be fashioned of the world – we are to take our molding only from the hands of the LORD.
- This speaks of the spiritual aspect of our being fashioned as lively stones into a house – “monument” unto the LORD.
- In building the world’s monument, each stone is carved very much the same and lifted into place to form their structures.
- The process with un-hewn stone is quite different – it requires intimate hands-on adjustments and placement by the Builder.
- We are not just thrown together in some array of “sameness” but rather carefully placed to serve our unique functions.
- And the Builder is part of the structure!
- He becomes the chief cornerstone!
- Scripture reminds us that even He learned obedience, even the death of the cross.
- We are called to be obedient to our calling in Him – to be satisfied with the fact that we are part of this spiritual structure;
- To be content that we are in His hands. Content that He is molding us, by His Spirit, and placing us where He pleases.
We are a chosen generation Peter goes on to remind us.
1 Peter 2:9-10
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
- A chosen generation – the “generation” of believers – all those called into His body of believers.
- A royal priesthood – here this collection of lively stones, assume roles of both king and priest under Jesus who is our King and Priest.
- Our priesthood is expanded into royalty, something that was forbidden during Old Testament times.
- We are also called a holy nation. This was the original calling of the nation of Israel but it failed to show forth this peculiar calling, so now the “church, the body of believers” assumes this role being composed of both Jew and Gentile.
- We, this collection of lively stones is now this peculiar people.
- We have all, both Jew and Gentile, been called out of darkness – spiritual blindness – into His marvellous light.
- And when once we were not His people, now we are, and when once we had not received His mercy, now we have. Praise GOD!
So, we are to act accordingly. We are to lay aside all malice, all guile, all hypocrisies, all envies and all evil speaking.
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’”4
In Him, we live; in Him we move; and in Him we have our very being!
May GOD richly bless you this day with these words penned by Peter given by the Holy Spirit. Let us not grow weary of doing good.5 Amen.
1 Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:8
2 Exodus 2817-21
3 Revelation 2:17
4 Acts 17:28
5 Galations 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Hear the words of Jesus recorded in John 13:33-35 NLT
“Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. As I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
On the night in which He was betrayed He took bread and gave thanks and blessed it and said,
“Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24
Let us eat and remember Him.
After the same manner also He took the cup, and gave thanks and blessed it and said,
“This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink if, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25
Let us drink together and remember Him.
We thank You Father for Your unmerited gift of Your Son. May we continue to be transformed to His image, in Jesus Name Amen.