1 Peter 2:2 : ‘As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile.’
October 16, 2016 by David Farmer 0 comments
This Week’s Focus Passage: 1 Peter 2:2
‘As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile.’
Our passage for this week is the first three verses of Peter’s first epistle and the second chapter. The former chapter has concluded with the wonderful statement regarding the means that God has chosen to employ in the regeneration of His elect. Peter has begun an exhortation to his readers in 1:22, in these following words:
Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God which liveth and abideth.
And then after citing a passage from Isaiah 40, the old apostle continues his beautiful message about the word of God; he says: And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.
It is important to remind ourselves of that which precedes chapter two—remember that the chapter division in our Bibles are not inspired—because, in fact Peter begins the next verses, 2:1ff, with these connecting words, Putting away therefore. Excuse please the trite question that should be asked whether trite or not; what is the ‘therefore, there for?’ Peter has been teaching us about the new birth with the phrase, having been begotten again. And now he begins his exhorting as he continues:
Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation; if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Peter has put forward something of a picture of what a believer should look like. We know, and are convinced, that any attempt to establish some sort of criteria about spiritual growth that would implicitly be a thermometer, and that would, in effect, be a pretension of being able to read the heart of another person. This would be terrible folly. Yet Peter has enclosed his exhortations in the wrapping of a huge ‘IF.’ He said, if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Martin Luther has addressed the possibility of ‘ifs;’ the reality that there are professors of faith that are not possessors of true faith. Simon Magus perhaps heads the list of such in the New Testament. In commenting upon these words of Peter, the renowned reformer wrote:
“Here he institutes a comparison and would say, Ye are newly born by the Word of God, therefore be ye like newborn babes who seek nothing but milk. As therefore they strive for the breasts and milk, so be ye also eager for the Word. Long for it, have a craving for it, that ye may suck in the intelligible, unadulterated milk” —Martin Luther
There is expressed here in this passage a basic reality about life. In every instance of animal life, it is an established truth that the primary evidence of life is hunger. Puppies and kittens demonstrate this even as the infants of humans. One of the first signs of life is the whining, or the mewing, or the crying to be fed. What then would we think of an infant that had little, or no, interest in feeding? The unspoken question seems to be, ‘If you have no hunger for even simple milk, do you indeed have life,’ or, as J. C. Ryle’s best-known tract asks, ‘Are you born again?’ We are confronted on every side; that is, from neighbors to associates to family, who may profess faith in Christ. And while we can’t know their hearts, nevertheless, we are concerned when we see no hunger for spiritual things. We see no consistent desire to be in the Word; we often see no wish to be part of an assembly of believers with whom they may fellowship; we see no love for the Word; no hunger and longing for fellowship with other believers; we see no signs of spiritual life. How are we to react to this apparent lack of life in our neighbor; our friends; our family members? Are we demonstrating love by keeping silent? If their house was on fire, would we not consider it our duty to tell them? What are we to do? Listen to Leighton:
“Every real believer hath received a life from Heaven, far more excelling our natural life than that excels the life of the beasts. And this life hath its own peculiar desires and delights, which are the proper actings, and the certain characters and evidence of it: amongst others this is one, and a main one, answerable to the like desire in natural life, namely, a desire for food; and because it is here still imperfect, therefore the natural end of this is not only nourishment, but growth, as it is here expressed.”
It is painful to observe a loved one that has been assailed with Alzheimer’s disease, dying from starvation because they no longer have any desire to eat, or they no longer know how to eat; they don’t remember what they are supposed to do with the utensils in front of them. If they remember that the spoon is to be used in order to place food into their mouth, it just falls out on the table because they don’t recall that they must chew, and then they must swallow. They have no life after food and actually starve to death while the nourishment is right in from of them. Is there anything more saddening that this?
Yes, it is much more to be lamented and grieved, in the extreme, to know of a friend, neighbor, relative, that imagines that they are safely on their way to heaven while there are no serious signs of life. How many obituaries inform us that ‘so and so’ has gone to heaven, or is now with their believing spouse or parents, while in their lifetime they showed no signs of such life, no interest in spending time with believers, no interest in being in church, no interest in being in the Word, no interest in being under the Word. And still some preacher will stand up at a memorial and ‘put them in heaven,’ because they were such a nice person, because they were so good; because ‘they never met a stranger.’ O, how we wish under such a situation to be able to recall having seen them longing for the spiritual milk; to remember some sign of life. It is too late; Today if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts! What shall we do? What can we do? We can pray for our erring loved ones!
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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