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Be Holy (ch. 1:13 - 2:3)

 

Peter begins this section with the word "therefore."  When you see the word "therefore" we need to know why it's there for.  So, in the context of what Peter has been saying, this section should be understood in that light. 

 

Peter just spoke about the gospel message that the prophets in Old Testament days predicted and in New Testament days preached by men inspired by the Holy Spirit.  He said that angels are eager to look into this gospel.  So, because of this great salvation that has now come to his readers, Peter encourages them to have "their minds prepared for action."  Note that Peter uses the word "minds."  Our minds are very important as Christians, despite the post modern notion of some today that our minds are secondary to our hearts.  Education these days seems to have been replaced by experience.  The simple fact is that there is no growth in the Lord without the proper exercise and use of our minds.  If you leave your minds out of the maturing process you will not mature as a Christian.

 

My translation from the Greek text for the word "mind" would be "thinking processes."  Peter is telling his readers, and us too, to prepare the way they think for the needed action that lies ahead of them.  As I've said, thinking is important to the Christian, especially in this postmodern era when serious analytical thinking has been replaced with, "just give me the quick version."        

 

The idea that we need to get ready for action needs preparation of the mind.  I think many Christians donít think in terms of getting our minds ready for action.  We think in terms of getting our hearts ready.  We think in terms of being inspired instead of being educated.  Peter is speaking of minds here because if our minds aren't educated towards right thinking, we will not be prepared for right action, and the persecuted situation these people found themselves in require action based on sound reasoning, led and inspired by the Holy Spirit.    

 

Peter also speaks of being self-controlled."  Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians often speak of being "spirit controlled," and that is very important.  I grant you that, but, there is a real truth here when Peter says that we need to be in control of ourselves.  Being self-controlled means to get your life under control.  You taking charge, with the Holy Spirit's help of course.  We donít allow other things, or circumstances to be in charge of our lives. That's our responsibility. 

 

Some translations use the word "sober" instead of self-control and that is actually a very good word to use here.  The Greek word "nepho" is translated as "self-controlled" or "sober" here.  It simply means "to be free from any kind of external intoxication."   Obviously, this is why Christians are not to get drunk because they lose control of themselves and once you lose control you don't know what will happen.    

 

The next piece of advice is once again futuristic in nature.  As I have said before, the Bible is full of such future references, and those who ignore them do so at their own peril.   Peter says "to set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus is revealed."  Peter was speaking of the return of Christ when he uses the words "being revealed."  He used these words earlier.  He is telling his readers to set their hope on this future event which is meant to help them in their present distress due to the persecution they are experiencing by their anti-Christ government.  When things get as bad as they were back in those days for Christians, setting your hope in your glorious future with Jesus is important.  There's not much more you can do if you are on death row.    

 

Peter says that more grace will be revealed to us when Jesus returns.  I believe this is in reference to all that we will receive when we meet Jesus face to face.  We will be rewarded for our works based on faith, based on our trust in Jesus.  A quick reading of 1 Corinthians 3 will tell you that any work you do in the service of the Lord, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and done out of pure motives, will be rewarded for.

 

Peter's use of the word "grace" that is in the future tense once again tells us that we have not yet experienced all of God's grace.  There is more grace to be given us and that is seen in the era of the new heaven and earth as seen at the end of the book of Revelation, or, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, when once and for all Jesus conquers the last enemy of humanity, that is death.           

 

In verse 14 Peter tells his readers not to give into the evil desires they had when they lived in ignorance.  Before they gave their lives to Jesus they were indeed ignorant of the things of God.  They gave into sinful desires before they met Jesus.  That is only the natural thing to do.  That should no longer be the case.  Once again, Peter says that you are not to give into these desires.  Read this carefully.  These desires are not from satan.  They are your desires.  At the core of who we are, we are evil.  That is not religiously correct these days but it is Biblically correct.  As Christians we canít say that this is all the responsibility of the Holy Spirit.  It is our job, with help from the Holy Spirit, to turn from evil desires.

 

The fact that Peter tells his readers, who are Christians, not to give into evil desires clearly tells us that Christians are quite capable of giving into evil desires.  I believe this is the message Paul is teaching in Romans 7.  Until the moment we receive our glorified bodies, like Jesus' glorified body, we will struggle with what Paul calls our flesh, or sinful nature.       

 

Peter uses the word "conform" when speaking of these evil desires.  Conform suggests conforming to a life style.  At times we may give into evil desires, but Peter says donít conform to them; donít pattern your life after them.  Donít make a lifestyle out of them.  One real reason why Peter may have said this is because of the temptation these people would have faced.  The carnal nature of his readers would be tempted to give into the world's system in order to escape all the suffering from their persecutors. 

 

Since the Greek verb tense to "be not conformed" is a present middle participle, this means that we are not to be those who allow our evil nature to have control over us.  The Greek word translated as conform here means "to copy, shape, or pattern something after another thing."  We are to pattern our lives around Jesus, not anything else.   

 

In verse 15 Peter simply says, "Just as He who has called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."  The Greek word "hagios" is translated as "holy" here and elsewhere in the New Testament.  Hagios means "to be separated apart from something in order to be separated to something else."  In Christian terms it speaks of being dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, a dedication that should be evident in the way you live.  We often think of being holy as being perfectly righteous or perfectly good, but I don't think that is what is being said here.  I don't believe any Christian can be perfectly good and righteous in this life, even though because of the blood of Jesus God sees us just as righteous as He Himself is righteous, even though we are far from righteous.  The point Peter is making here is that as Jesus was fully dedicated to God, so we must be fully dedicated to Him.  As Jesus was dedicated to do God's will so we are to be dedicated to do the will of Jesus.  Perfection is a different thing altogether.     

 

As I've just said, the word "holy" means to be taken out of something in order to be placed into something."  In Christian terms Jesus has taken us out of the world and has planted us in His world.  In John 15:19 Jesus told His disciples that He had taken them out of the world.  He said that they no longer belong to the world but to Him.  Therefore, since the world hated Him, the world would also hate them.  It's just a matter of fact.  As our western world becomes more anti-Christ in nature, the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 15 will apply to us Christians.       

 

Notice that Peter says "be holy in all you do," not simply "be holy."  We are holy, or dedicated, because of the blood of Jesus that has purchased us.  Being taken out of the world and transplanted into Jesus' world does separate us unto Jesus. This separation should have natural consequences.  Our actions should tell the world that we are in deed the separated ones.   

 

I was raised in an Evangelical group that called itself part of the Holiness Movement.  The Holiness Movement was a group of churches that aspired to living a holy life.  The problem though was that they did not necessarily view holiness in terms of dedication.  They viewed holiness in terms of obeying certain church rules, humanistic type rules, that if you obeyed these rules you would be holy.  That is not holiness.  It is humanism.  Holiness is dedicated to Jesus and living as He would have us to live as seen in good hermeneutical Biblical fashion.     

 

Why does Peter tell us to be holy in the things we do?  He answers' this in verse 16.  We are to be holy because it is written in the Old Testament to be holy because I am holy.  See Leviticus 11:44 and 45, 19:2, and 20:7.  Leviticus 11:45 in the NIV says that the Lord God told Israel to "consecrate" themselves to the Lord.  This falls in line with the definition of the Greek word "hagios," meaning, to dedicate yourself" to the Lord.  Consecrate and dedicate mean the same thing.  Peter is using the Old Testament Law of Moses in his defense of living a holy life.  This Leviticus passage shows us the intent behind the Law of Moses.  Even though, as I believe, the Law of Moses has been laid aside for this age in which we live, the intent behind the law remains.  We are to be holy, and wholly dedicated to Jesus, in who we are and what we do.   

 

In verse 17 we see a number of things.  Peter says that "we call on a Father who judges each man's works."  The word "call" is translated from the Greek word "epikaleo."  This word suggests an appeal that we make to God.  We make our appeal to God who judges all men.  That includes you and I.  Since God is our judge, this makes it easy for us to understand our English word "call" in this verse.  We appeal to God for many things because we know that He will judge us. 

 

Peter says here that "God will judge each man's work impartially."  Despite the fact that we might believe that God has favourites, Peter says He doesn't.  Note that this verse is not saying that God judges each man.  It says that He judges "each man's work."  I believe Peter is speaking of the works each Christian does in this life.  I could be wrong, but I don't think Peter is talking about God judging the work of non-Christians.  I think Peter is saying what Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 3:10 to 16.  There, Paul says that we, the Christian, will have our works judged and tested, as gold is tested by fire.  Any work that was not done out of heart felt love for Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will burn up in judgment.  Only the work we do based on true faith inspired by the Holy Spirit will survive this judgment.  Those works will be rewarded.   

 

It is important to know that as Christians it is our trust in Jesus that saves us.  When we stand before Jesus at this judgment, we ourselves are not judged because we are saved.  Our names have been written in the Lamb's book of life.  What is judged is our works.  We enter heaven because of our trust in Jesus.  We are rewarded according to our works done through faith and the Spirit of God.  

 

Peter then goes on to say that since our works will be judged impartially by God our Father, you should "live your lives as strangers in reverent fear."  Peter viewed himself as a stranger in this world.  He was a stranger because his whole way of living was so different, so strange, than the rest of the world around him.  All first generation Christians viewed themselves as strangers or aliens in this world, and we should do the same.  We are to view our existence as Christians as strangers in a sinful world.  We may live among the kingdom of men, but our true citizenship is in the Kingdom of God .   These two kingdoms have always been in conflict with each other and always will be.   We need to realize this and live accordingly. First and foremost, our allegiance is to the Kingdom of God , not the kingdoms of men. I'm far from convinced that this is the mentality of most western world Christians today.      

 

Peter also says to live our lives in "reverent fear."  There should be a sense of fear when it comes to God.  In one real sense of the word we should be afraid of God.  I believe that in most cases these days, we have downplayed fear to mere reverence.  Fear means fear.  It's a simple as that.  Fear of God, or, being afraid of Him, should make us feel like running from Him, but once we begin to run, we realize there is no place to run.  So, in thankfulness, we run back to Him.  We fear the one we love and we love the one we fear.  Remember, Hebrews 12:28 says that our God is a consuming fire.  If God appeared to you and I right now in His essence, we would be afraid.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.    

 

I'm not sure that the average western world Christian reverences God, let alone fears Him.  We take Him for granted way too much.  We sin, thinking everything is fine because He will forgive us in the end.  As far as I am concerned, taking God's grace for granted is one real bad sin.      

 

The Greek word "phobos" is translated as "fear" in this verse.  This word in first century Greek culture meant "to flee" because of dread or terror from the one fleeing from.  It should be noted that there is no corresponding word for our English word "reverend" that we read in the NIV.  The word "reverend fear" is the NIV translators attempt to try to portray what they think Peter is saying.  Personally, I think the NIV softens the meaning that I believe the Greek text might well imply.     

 

In verse 18 Peter reminds his readers that they know that they were not redeemed by such things as silver and gold, or money.  Peter obviously did not have a lot of trust in money.  The reference to money is not the focus of the sentence.  He tells his readers that their redemption was not paid for with gold and silver that perishes.  It was in fact purchased with the very blood of Jesus, Godís Son. 

 

The word "redemption" or the word "redeem" has a Biblical meaning.  In secular life one redeems a coupon at a store for certain products.  In the Bible the Greek word "lytroo" is translated as "redeemed" or one of its derivatives.  In Biblical terms redemption is the process by which Jesus paid the price to free us from the penalty of our sin.  You might say He was the coupon in the place of money.  Simply put, Jesus paid the necessary price to release us from our bondage of sin and into the arms of God.  The price that He paid was His life.  One point to be made here is that he did not pay this price to the devil as some think.  He paid the price to God His Father. The devil has neither part nor parcel in our redemption.  

 

In Roman culture the Greek word "lytroo" was often used when a person would purchase a slaves freedom.  Gentile believers, therefore, would have a good understanding how redemption worked because of the society in which they lived. 

 

Note that Peter speaks of the reader's "empty way of life handed down to them by their forefathers."  For Gentile believers the empty way of life handed down to them was polytheistic paganism.  For the Jewish believers the empty way of life handed down to them was their outdated and humanistic laced Judaism.  For us today, our empty way of life could be Christian tradition or the secular world around us, depending on our upbringing.        

 

The Greek word "kenos" is translated as "empty" in this verse.  It means uselessness, especially in terms of quality.  Peter views, and so should we, the life of the world, whether religious or secular, as being useless, without any quality.       

 

In verse 19 Peter says that Jesus "was a lamb without defect."  This is in reference to the Old Testament sacrificial system.  In Old Testament times God commanded Israelis to offer the best animal for sacrifices.  This was prophetic of the supreme sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Throughout the New Testament Jesus is seen as the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world.  Jesus, the perfectly sinless one, like all of those perfect Old Testament lambs, was the sacrifice that has saved us from the wrath of God.

 

In verse 20 Peter says that Jesus was "chosen before the creation of the world."  I'm not convinced that the NIV's choice of the word "chosen" is a good choice.  The Greek word translated here as "chosen" is "proginosko," which simply means "to know beforehand."  It's made up of two words; one meaning "to know" and one meaning "before."  I'm not saying that Jesus was not chosen before the creation of the world.  I'm just saying that this verse does not exactly say that.  With this understanding, does this verse suggest the pre-existence of Jesus prior to creation?  I would say not exactly.  That beings said, there are other Scriptures that plainly say that Jesus is eternal, without beginning and without end.  Revelation 1:8 and following is a prime example of this.     

 

What this verse says about God is that He foreknows all things.  He foreknows all things because He lives outside of our space and time situation.  Beyond that, this foreknowledge is one of the major attributes of God. 

 

This verse also says something about Jesus and the salvation He has provided us.  Salvation was not a thought that entered the mind of God after Adam and Eve sinned.  God knew Adam would disobey.  It was no surprise to Him.  It might well have been just part of God's plan.          

 

Even though Godís plan of salvation was thought of well before creation, it was instituted as Peter says "in these last days."  Here we see one of two meanings of the term "last days" that is found in the New Testament.  Peter understood the last days to have begun at Pentecost in Acts 2 where he also speaks of the last days.  That being said, the words "He was revealed" might well refer to Jesus' birth, or, His revealing at the beginning of His three year ministry.  The other use of the term last days applies to the time that is right at the end of this age, right before the time when Jesus returns.  This time is also known as the Tribulation or the Great Tribulation.   

 

In verse 21 Peter says that it is "through Him (Jesus) that you believe in God."  This is especially important in our day when everyone believes in a generic god and also believes that there are different paths leading to this all purpose generic god.  This is not the thinking of the Bible.  Peter specifically says that we believe in God through Jesus.  God is the Father of Jesus, and it is this God that Christians believe in, give their lives to, and worship.

 

Peter goes on to say that "God raised Jesus from the dead and glorified Him."  What does it mean when Peter says that Jesus was glorified?  I believe the answer can be found in a careful reading of John 17.  This chapter is a prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father just before He was executed.  It is the longest recorded prayer we have from Jesusí lips.  In it Jesus asks to be glorified with the glory He had with His Father before the world began.  What Jesus was asking for here was to be re-united with His Father in the oneness that they had before the incarnation, before He came to earth, and before the world was created.  We thus ask when did Jesus get glorified.  I believe Jesus was glorified at His ascension, when He received His new, what we call His glorified body.  He was ultimately re-united with His Father at His ascension.

 

As a side note, it is my thinking that Jesus was not re-united in the exact same way that He was before He came to earth.  I believe that God the Father and Jesus the Son were completely one in essence, in nature, in being; however you might want to describe their being.  But, when Jesus went back to His Father in Heaven He appears in Scripture as being distinct and separate from His Father.  To me this shows the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  His eternal being, who He is, has been eternally re-arranged in order to bring salvation to us.  In a number of places the apostle Paul uses the term "first born among all creation" in connection with Jesus.  What I've jus said explains what Paul is thinking.  The eternal Word as seen in John 1:1 became flesh through child birth.  He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven with a new kind of heavenly human body, thus being the first born in this new creation.  

 

Peter ends this paragraph by saying that our faith, or trust in God, is based on this very thing, that is the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus.  The resurrection and ascension are basic Christian Biblical truths.  They are necessary to believe if a person wants to be a real Christian.

 

Christians often speak of the resurrection, but the ascension is just as important.  If Jesus had not returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, He would not be the Lord over all things.  We would not have received the Holy Spirit into our lives.

 

In verse 22 Peter says that "now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truthÖ"  In Greek, our English verb "have purified" is a perfect verb.  This means that this purification took place at one specific time in the past but has continuous implications.  The one time in the past Peter's readers would have purified themselves was when they handed their lives over to Jesus and were saved.   

 

The word "purify" is obviously an allusion to the Old Testament.  That being said, purification in New Testament terms has nothing to do with obeying the Law of Moses.  It has everything to do with "obeying the truth," which means obeying Jesus.  Jesus was once asked what men should do in order to do the works of God.  Jesus simply told them to believe, that is, to trust their lives with Him.  See John 6:28-29.  Simply put, obeying the truth in New Testament terms is all about faith, all about trusting Jesus.    

 

Note that Peter speaks of purifying ourselves in this verse.  You might say that it was Jesus who has purified us, not us.  It was Jesus who died on the cross, not us.  That is certainly correct, but what Peter seems to be saying is that when we trust our lives to Jesus that leads to our salvation, that act of trust, which by the way is helped along by the Holy Spirit, leads to purification or cleansing from sin.  Although, it is the Holy Spirit that draws us to Jesus and helps us trust Him, it is our responsibility to respond to the call of God.  I'm not a Calvinist who believes in what has been called "irresistible grace," meaning that if God calls us to Himself we don't have free will to say no.  I believe that we have free will.  I believe we can say no to God. I think this is very clear by the way people live.     

 

Note the word "yourselves" in verse 22.  It is translated from the Greek word "psyche."  "Psyche" is normally translated as "soul" in the New Testament.

 

With this purification in mind Peter says that we as Christians must continue to love our Christian brothers.  Peter must have believed that if one has genuine faith in Jesus, a ďsincere loveĒ for the brothers should be evident.  Yet even though they have this love Peter encourages them to love the brothers even more.  I believe he does so because of the suffering these people are going through.  In times of persecution, in times of stress, people can get on each others nerves.  The worst part of people comes out of them.  Peter is encouraging his readers to allow the trust they have in Jesus to be evident in the way they live with their brothers in the Lord in severe times of trials. 

 

Verse 23 says that "for you have been born again."  We love our brothers because we have been born again.  This means, as Jesus said in John 3:5 and 6, born again of the Holy Spirit.  We, if we have the Spirit of God as we claim, have the ability to love our brothers. 

 

Our new lives as Christians are based on an "imperishable seed."   The context of the word "seed" here applies to birth.  The seed that gives us new birth comes from the Holy Spirit.  He lives for ever and so will we.  It is our connection with this imperishable seed that gives us the ability to love our brothers as we should.

 

Note the words "born again."  Again, the Apostle John uses these same words in John chapter 3 and also in his letters.  The conversion of those Christians in the early church was so dramatic, so transforming, that they equated it to being born again.  Being born again as the Apostle John states is when the Holy Spirit comes into your life and lives within you.  Paul, in Romans 8:9 says that if you do not have the Holy Spirit, you do not belong to God.  Too many times in our modern fast food style Christianity, we invite people to the altar and ask them to make a decision for Jesus.  This is not being born again, especially if the Holy Spirit didn't come into the lives of those at the altar.  You just don't say a sinner's prayer, walk away from the altar and go on with life as you always have.  Becoming a Christian transforms your life in such a way that it's like being born all over again.    

 

Peter calls Jesus the "enduring word (logos in Greek) of God," as does John in John 1:1.  The Word that we see in Genesis 1 at creation was Jesus Himself.  John says it this way.  "The Word became flesh and lived among us" (John 1:14).  At this point the essence of Jesus was changed forever.  It's my thinking that when Jesus returned back to His Father, He did not return as the Word He was at creation.  He returned as human but divine, with a glorified body.  This is why I say that Jesus' very existence was changed for all of eternity.  It was so changed just for us.

 

In verse 24 Peter backs up what he is saying by quoting Isaiah 40:6 to 8.  He uses these verses as a comparison between man and Jesus.  He has just said that Jesus was imperishable, and now he tells us that man is like the grass of the field with its flower.  The grass withers and dies, while the flower fades away. 

 

As humans, we think of ourselves way too highly than we aught.  It sad to say, but in my opinion, I believe Christians view themselves way too highly than they should.  The foundation to how we view humanity should be found in this Isaiah passage that Peter quotes.  Mankind is temporal.  We're not much different than a blade of grass.  Once we have this established in our thinking, we can then add to it that because of the Holy Spirit's life within us, we are more than a blade of grass that perishes.  Even though we perish from earth, we live forever with Jesus and those who have given their lives to him. 

 

In one sense of the word, humans are eternal beings.  We will live in eternity either with Jesus or in the Lake of Fire.  When it comes to humanity's comparison to grass, it is in an earthly since.  We are only here on earth for a short time.  Beyond that, all men exist in one form or another, just not on earth.         

 

In verse 25 Peter then says that "this is the Word that was preached to you."  Who preached this Word?   We know that Paul was in these parts preaching the Word, but this word could have also been preached by Peter Himself.  It is most probable that Peter spent time in the area in which he is addressing this letter. 

 

Because of this truth Peter has once again proclaimed to his readers, the truth of Godís eternal Word versus manís mortality, Peter gives some specific commands.  In chapter 2, verses 1 he says, "rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind."  If these Christians had to be warned of such things, then it is quite clear that they were being tempted to do these things.  Again, when thinking of the stress these men and women were under, the temptation to do these things would have been strong. 

 

It does not matter what generation of Christians you find yourself associated with, the tendency to fall back into sin is always present.  The particular kind of sin Peter addresses are relational.  It was important for his readers to not sin in these ways, just to keep everything on an even keel in the time of tremendous suffering and persecution from their anti-Christ culture.  These Christians could not afford discourse among themselves.

 

The Greek word translated as "malice" here is "kakia."  This is a badness in terms of quality.  It's often translated as "wickedness" in the New Testament.  In English the word "malice" means "the intent to do evil." The Greek word "dolos" is translated as "deceit" here.  This word means "fraud or craftiness."  I think the words "hypocrisy," "envy," and "slander" are pretty much self explanatory.            

 

Instead of involving yourself with such sin Peter tells his readers in verse 2 to "crave pure spiritual milk."  What is spiritual milk?  It is pretty well accepted that when the New Testament writers speak of spiritual milk, they are speaking of the Word of God.  In Peterís case that would be the Old Testament, and even parts of our New Testament that he would have access to, including the writings of Paul which Peter makes reference to later on.

 

The Greek word "logikos" that is found in the Greek text here is translated here as "word" in the King James Bible.  You will note that the NIV does not translate "logikos" in its translations.  That is too bad because it is an important word in this passage.  It tells you what spiritual milk is.  The NIV leaves it up to the reader to define spiritual milk.  That should not be because Peter, as seen in the Greek text does that for you.  You will notice that the Greek word "logikos" looks a lot like the Greek word "logos" that is translated as "word" in many places in the New Testament.  This Greek word has a bit of a twist to logos in that carries the idea of "a rational approach to one's thinking process."  This emphasizes the rational aspects of the Word of the Lord.   

 

Peter uses the adjectives ďpure spiritualĒ when speaking of the Word of God.  Godís Word is both pure and spiritual; yet, some corrupt or misuse the Word which makes it impure.  When we apply the word "spiritual" to the Word of God, that is the Bible, we're not talking about some kind of magic here.  The words in the Bible are just words, but, when the Holy Spirit takes these words and burns them into our lives, they become more than words on a page.  They become the power to live by.  This is why Bible study, with the help of the Holy Spirit and wise teachers, is so important.  Peter's readers could not have survived their trials of persecution without the reality of God's Word enabled by the Holy Spirit, and neither can we.  Our problem today is that Christians are so Biblically illiterate that the Holy Spirit cannot bring any of the Word to our attention when needed.  There is no Word in us that the Holy Spirit can empower us with. That's why I say that many will not survive the trials that lie ahead of us in this present anti-Christ culture in which we live. 

 

In verse 2 Peter says that it is through this milk that you grow up in this salvation.   This tells me that a person can be saved but not grow up in the salvation he has.  Growing up means to become mature, which indicates living right with all understanding and wisdom.  For many Christians today who have not put much emphases on the Bible, it is impossible for them to grow up into being mature Christians, and we wonder why we donít see more of the power of the Spirit.

 

The word "crave" in verse 2 is a good translation from the Greek text.  Peter is really talking about a craving.  Anyone who has ever had a craving for some particular food, which is all of us, knows what the word craving means.  It's this kind of craving that Peter says the Christian should have for the Word       of God.  Again, I just don't see that in many Christians these days. Without this craving for God's Word, you will remain a baby Christian and many baby Christians die.    

 

Peter ends this section in verse 3 by saying, "now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."  To me the word "tasted" here suggests the beginning of things.  You first taste new food to see if you like it.  Once you like it, you do more than taste it.  You eat it and you continue to eat it.  Peter says that these people have tasted that the Lord Jesus is very good.  Now that the taste test is over, delve into the things of the Lord and start to grow from the sincere milk of the word.  Tasting is only the first step.  One normally eats what he tastes, and if he really likes what he tastes, he'll keep eating.     

 

Concerning the pure milk of the word being fed to baby Christians, I'd like to compare it to human babies.  Babies need milk to survive and grow into healthy children.  They cannot live on hugs and kisses alone.  I compare this to the modern church whose leaders simply want to inspire their people with inspirational sermons.  This is like hugging and kissing the congregation and hoping they will grow into mature Christians.  It doesn't work that way.  The way the congregation will grow into mature Christians isn't by inspirational hugs and kisses style sermons.  Growth comes by instructional teaching of the Word of God.  In far too many cases, we have replaced good instruction with poor inspiration, and no wonder we have so many emaciated Christians in the church.     

 

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