1. Growing up in Christ - v. 1-3
Growing up in Christ really includes getting rid of some things in our lives that are not pleasing to the Lord and detrimental to our Christian life. Notice the emphasis on our “getting rid of things in our lives.” What good can malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy or slander do for the believer? Do we have to explain what these mean? Do we really understand what damage they can do to the life of one who follows Jesus? Can one even be a believer and have those sins in their lives? Yes, why else would Peter mention them and then talk right after that about growing up into your salvation if a Chrstian couldn’t experience those sins? I think though, the true point Peter is making is that you can not be the growing believer, who is maturing in their faith, if one does not actively seek to rid them out of their life.
I really do like what the writer of the commentary on these verses, 2-3, have to say from the Life Application Bible. It says: “One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up—to be like big brother or sister or like their parents. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. How strong is your desire for God's Word?”
Have you thought about growing in Christ or have you been satisfied at the point you are now? Growing takes work!
I remember when I was a boy, I would go to my mom and ask her why my legs hurt all the time. She would tell me that they were “growing pains.” I believe every Christian has growing pains when they are in the process of becoming a mature believer. It is hard work and takes a toll at times on our lives to grow, getting rid of sin and adding to our life the things of God, that might be at odds with the “desires of our flesh.” So, Peter clearly reminds us to grow we must get rid of some things in our lives that hinder our growth. Those listed by Peter might not be your sins that need to be eliminated from your life as a Christian seeking to grow up into the Lord Jesus, but there are some and if we are willing to ask God is faithful, by the Holy Spirit, to reveal to us what are our weaknesses and sin.
In growing in Christ we need to “crave” pure spiritual milk, so that we can become a mature Christian. Peter is reminding us that the Christian life is about growing through the Word of God. We must as a little baby want the milk that will help us grow. But babies don’t stay babies and this milk Peter speaks of continues to help us grow into maturity. Here though, unlike the baby they stop craving milk and going onto more mature food, the milk of the Word of God is what Christian will continue to take from to be able to grow and mature.
J. Vernon McGee said in his commentary on this part of Peter the following, “My friend, without a hunger for the Word of God you will not grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. You will not develop as a Christian -- you will always be in your babyhood. We must remember that a little baby and a full-grown man are both human beings, but they are in different stages of growth and development. The little one needs milk so he can grow up to become a man. Now, how does a Christian grow? He grows by studying the Word of God. There is no growth apart from the Word of God.
I receive letters from many pastors who tell me that they are wet nurses for a lot of little babes. As one pastor said, "I spend my time burping spiritual babies!" Those babies should grow up so they wouldn't need a pastor to pat them and burp them all the time. And they would grow if they desired the pure milk of the Word.”