Putting Away Sin, And Longing for the Word
Verses 1 & 2; “Putting away therefore, all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk, which is without guile, that you may grow thereby unto salvation..”
Those verses remind me of James 1, verse 21. Listen to the similarity. James says; “Wherefore, putting away all filthiness, and abundance of wickedness, receive with meekness, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
And now Peter once again; “Putting away therefore, all wickedness, and all guile, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the pure, spiritual milk, that you may grow thereby, unto salvation.”
Long for “the spiritual milk”, that you may grow unto salvation; And receive “the implanted word”, which is able to save your souls. You might remember how that the word “implanted”, that James used, means.. to be innate, and intrinsically good. And the word “spiritual” that Peter uses, means.. divinely reasonable. Isn’t that interesting? Both men speaking about the word of God.. “Intrinsically good”, and “divinely reasonable”. That’s what the word of God is! And it’s “able to save our souls, as we grow thereby (in other words, as we grow in understanding, and in obedience to the word) unto salvation.”
That word translated “spiritual” here, is used only once more in the scriptures. It’s used in Romans 12, verse 1, which says; “I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your spiritual service.” And that means.. “your divinely reasonable service to God.”
God is Reasonable
The word of God is reasonable. And the commands of God are reasonable. And therefore, when we serve God according to His word, we are simply doing what is reasonable, and what is proper, and what is divinely authorized. It’s no wonder why, when we live and worship according to the commandments of men, that our efforts are vain. It’s not even reasonable to try to guide ourselves by our own thoughts and ideas. Jesus said; “But in vain do you worship Me, teaching for doctrine, the commandments of men.” (Mathew 15:9)
When you think about it, it just doesn’t make any sense at all, for us to try to come up with our own rules and standards, and to come up with our own ways of worshipping God. That just doesn’t make any sense, when we already have, God’s word, for everything that we do. The divine, and reasonable, word of God.
That reminds me of 1 John 5, verse 3; “For this is the love of God; that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.” Some versions say, they’re not “burdensome”. But the point is, God’s commands aren’t too difficult to comply with, they’re not oppressive in any way, they’re not severe, they’re not “grievous”. What they are, is reasonable, and intrinsically good, and divine.
It’s like one of my favorite verses says, Micah 6, verse 8; “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good. And what does Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Is there anything more reasonable than that?
Grow unto Salvation
Let’s talk about the idea of “growing unto salvation”. Peter says that as Christians, we should “long for the pure, divine milk..” (the pure word of God) “..that you may grow thereby, unto salvation.” I thought a Christian was already saved? But Peter says we’ve got to grow, UNTO salvation. How should we understand that?
I think that when we consider all that the bible teaches us about salvation, we should understand that Peter must be referring to growing unto “eternal salvation”. Even though your soul may be in a saved condition right now, a faithful Christian, is in a saved condition right now, (that is if you’re living a faithful Christian life) you still do not possess eternal salvation, while you live in this physical life.
That’s why the bible refers to eternal salvation, as “the promise”. 1 John 2, verse 25 says; “And this is the promise that He promised us, even eternal life.” When we are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, is when we first receive the promise. Acts 2:38 tells us to “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And the next verse says; “For the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all those who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”
And as long as we remain faithful, we will always possess that promise. Even after we die, we still possess the promise, but we don’t actually possess eternal life, until after the resurrection. Hebrews chapter 11, is often referred to as the chapter on faith. And many faithful people are mentioned by name. People like Abel, and Enoch. Remember Enoch, he was the one who “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5, verse 24)
But even Enoch doesn’t possess eternal life yet, even though God “took him”, because he hasn’t been resurrected yet. Hebrews 11 also speaks of Noah, and of Abraham, and of Sarah, and of Isaac and Jacob, and of Rahab the harlot, and of Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah, and David, and Samuel, and all the prophets. And it makes reference to ALL the faithful people of old. And the bible says, in Hebrews 11, verse 39; “And these all, having had witness borne to them, through their faith, received NOT the promise.”
And the reason for them not yet receiving the promise, is given in the next verse. Here’s what it says; “God, having provided something better concerning us, that apart from us, they should not be made perfect.” And the word “perfect”, means.. “complete”. We will not be “complete”, and salvation will not be “complete”, until the resurrection occurs, at which point death is overcome, and eternal life will begin.
Jesus Was Made Complete
Even Jesus had to be made “complete”. That’s what we’re told in Hebrews 5:8-9; “Although He were Son, yet learned He obedience, through the things that He suffered, and having been made complete, He became the author of salvation to all those who obey Him.”
Christ had to be “made complete”, as a Savior, through His suffering, and through His obedience. Hebrews 4, verse 15 says; “For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched, with the feeling of our infirmities, but one that hath been, in all points, tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
According to God’s plan, Christ couldn’t have saved us, without experiencing that temptation and suffering. He wouldn’t have been “complete” as a Savior. He wouldn’t have been the “perfect” Lamb of God, “without spot or blemish”, 1 Peter 1:19.
And so we will all enter into eternal life, together; “Apart from us, they should not be made perfect.” And going back to the idea of reasonableness, isn’t it only reasonable, that everyone who is in the kingdom, should receive the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life, and enter heaven all at the same time? I think it is, and evidently God thinks that it is. That’s God’s plan of salvation, that we all should be one; And that we all should be united. United in faith, united in obedience, united in the kingdom, united in eternity, and united in inheriting eternity.
Then and only then, will our salvation be complete.
“Tasting” the Blessings of God
So far, we’ve only considered verses 1 & 2, but verse 3 is actually a part of one sentence, going through those first three verses. And verse 3 ends the sentence with these words; “..if you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (or that the Lord is kind, or gracious, or pleasant)
“If you have tasted, that the Lord is good.” Several times in the scriptures, that word “tasted” is used literally, to refer to tasting or eating. But three separate times, it’s used in it’s figurative sense, which means.. to experience something. For example, the word is used in Hebrews 2, verse 9, where the bible says; “..that by the grace of God, He (Jesus) should taste of death, for every man.” It was God’s gift to us, that Jesus would experience physical death. God’s grace, required Christ’s death. Kind of ironic isn’t it?
Jesus “tasted” death. He experienced it, first hand. And so Peter tells us, to put away all the sin from our lives, and to long for the pure divine milk of the word, so that we can grow unto eternal salvation, if indeed we have experienced that God is good. If we have experienced the pleasantness of God. And we surely have experienced God’s goodness, and His graciousness. We’ve experienced the forgiveness of our sins. We’ve experienced the privilege of being able to go to God in prayer. We experience multiple spiritual blessings each and every day of our lives.
And so then, since we have experienced all of that, keep longing, keep hungering and thirsting for more of the word. Because it’s only through that pure and divine word, that we’ll eventually come to eternal salvation. Put aside the desire for sin, and fill your desires with the word of God. Because let me read to you the other passage that talks about “tasting” the goodness of God.
It’s in Hebrews 6, verses 4 thru 6, and it says; “Concerning those who were once enlightened, and tasted (or experienced) of the heavenly gift (that is having experienced the forgiveness of their sins, and all the spiritual blessings that are in Christ) and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit (in other words, you’ve taken the words of God, the words of the Spirit, and you’ve put them in your heart, and you’ve obeyed them. You’ve been a partaker of those words) and have tasted the word of God (you’ve experienced the word of God) and the powers of the age to come..”
Powers of the Age to Come
What are “the powers of the age to come”? Well, since we are living in, the “last days”, right now, the only “age to come” is eternity. So then, what are the “powers” of eternity? Let me put it this way; Who holds the power of eternity? God does! The “powers of the age to come”, simply refers to the power of God.
So let me read verse 4 & 5 once again; “Concerning those who were once enlightened, and experienced the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have experienced the word of God, and the power of God, and then have fallen away..” That’s what verse 6 says; “And then have fallen away.”
Some people have the nerve to say that it’s impossible to fall away, once you’ve been saved. And if you say, well, what about this verse, that specifically TALKS about people falling away? They say, that’s only hypothetical; That’s simply saying if someone WERE to fall away, but it can’t really happen. Yah, right. God is going to give us a warning, about a situation that is impossible to occur. Right.
To those people, who dare to say that, God has given us the words of 1 Corinthians 10, verse 12; “Wherefore, let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall!” You may THINK that you can’t fall away, but God says you can! You may THINK that you stand, but you’re the very one who better take heed, lest you fall!
And for the one who DOES fall away, after having been enlightened, after having been forgiven, after having taken the words of the Spirit, and put them into your heart, and after you’ve experienced, first hand, the word of God and the power of that word, for the one who does fall away from all of that, the scriptures says in Hebrews 6, verse 6; “..It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance, since they crucify to themselves, the Son of God, afresh, and put Him to shame.”
To turn your back on salvation, once you’ve learned the word, and experienced forgiveness, is to turn your back on Christ, and on God’s plan of salvation. And that’s why the scriptures says that they “crucify to themselves, the Son of God, afresh! And put Him to shame.” In other words, the one who turns from salvation, and goes back to their old sinful lifestyle, or even to a new sinful lifestyle, is basically saying; Jesus, your words aren’t worth anything; They are worthless. You put the Lord to shame, by saying that is words are useless! And you “crucify Him” all over again, to yourself. You might as well say, just take your useless words, and go die again.
That’s what “falling away” is equated with, in God’s eyes. And so you can see WHY, with that attitude, that renewing someone again to repentance, is virtually impossible.
We better quit for now. But next week, we’ll pick up with 1 Peter 2, and verse 4.