Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Peter’s point here is that Christians, being born again, must act like it.
Keep in mind that this was originally a letter not divided up into the chapters and verses which man inserted to make Bible study easier. Therefore, the above sentence is part of the point the apostle is making, that point starting when he had told his Christian readers: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love for the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God…And this is the word which was preached to you” (1:22-23, 25b). In other words, “You’ve been born again through the Word of God which we preached to you, Christians. Your souls are now pure because you’ve obeyed the truth and have been saved by the kindness of the Lord. That’s why you must love each other as brethren. That’s also why you have to put these sins out of your lives. You have newly purified souls. You have to keep them that way by getting these sins out of your lives. Not only that, but being spiritual newborns, it is essential that you be continually fed with milk just like physical newborns. In your case, the pure milk you must have is God’s Word. Long for it the way a newborn baby longs for his mother’s milk. You’ve just been saved, and if you want to stay saved by growing stronger so you can put these sins out of your lives and become more like your Savior, you need to have God’s Word fed to you multiple times every single day.”
What was said to them so long ago is likewise said to us, brethren. We too “have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (cf. Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 2:4-11; 5:6-10; 6:23) by being “born again” (cf. John 3:3-5; Tit. 3:4-5). We therefore have the same obligations:
We must “put aside” (apotithemi) these sins; the Greek term carries with it the concept of discarding unwanted items and was used by the Greeks of old to describe how they got rid of cast-off clothing. Just as they got rid of worn out clothes, we must get rid of the sin in our lives (cf. James 1:21; Rom. 6:16-18; 13:12-14; Col. 3:5-10). The sins listed here by Peter include “all malice” (kakia), generally evil overall but specifically a desire to injure other people (cf. Rom. 1:29; Acts 8:22; 1 Cor. 5:8; 14:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8); “all deceit” (dolos), trickery, craftiness, guile, like that a fisherman would use when baiting his hook for the fish (cf. 1 Pet. 2:22; 3:10); “hypocrisy” (hypokrisis), acting holy and pious on the outside while being worldly and wicked on the inside, basically pretending to be someone or something you’re not like an actor would do (cf. Matt. 23:27-28; 1 Tim. 4:1-2); “envy” (phthonos), basically covetousness and jealousy (cf. Matt. 27:18; Acts 7:9; 17:5; 1 Cor. 3:3; Gal. 5:19-21); and “all slander” (katalalia), the backbiting gossip and lies which would defame our fellow man (cf. 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:15; Eph. 4:29).
We must “long for the pure milk of the word” in the same way “newborn babies” long for physical milk. Parents of newborns are well aware of how nothing but milk will satisfy a wailing baby who is hungry. Christians, do we long for Bible study in similar ways? Let us take a minute to examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5). Is the sermon something to look forward to…or are you checking your watch and your social media status on your iPhone after the sermon has gone on for less time than your favorite TV show? With your free time, is your first inclination to study your Bible some…or turn the TV on? What do you truly long for, brothers and sisters?