1 Peter 2:1-3 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
MAL’ICE, noun [Latin malitia, from malus, evil.] Extreme enmity of heart, or malevolence; a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge; unprovoked malignity or spite.
GUILE, noun gile. Craft; cunning; artifice; duplicity; deceit; usually in a bad sense.
HYPOC’RISY, noun [Latin hypocrisis; Gr. simulation; to feign; to separate, discern or judge.]
1. Simulation; a feigning to be what one is not; or dissimulation, a concealment of one’s real character or motives. More generally, hypocrisyis simulation, or the assuming of a false appearance of virtue or religion; a deceitful show of a good character, in morals or religion; a counterfeiting of religion.
I list the definitions found within this verse this morning for the sole purpose of a clearer understanding.
Often, those in opposition to the gospel, the Word of God and more specifically, Jesus Christ; have malice in their heart. Some of their own making; but more often, because they have been wounded – deeply. So much so, that it has shaken their faith at its roots.
I have found that hurt people, hurt people. That hurt; that wound, often becomes the foundation of their case against God. Many have left good families and good churches because their perception of who God is or who He should have been for them was sincerely compromised or at the very least – disappointed because of unmet expectations or unanswered prayer.
They take up the offense and wear it as their shield from ever being hurt again. They soon find others who have similarily been hurt and find solace and comfort in the fact that they are not alone.
For some, they declare themselves to be an atheist – One who disbelieves the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being; or an agnostic – a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable.
The very fact that some have swung from declaring a belief in Almighty God, to denying His existence or at least declaring that it cannot be known seems incredible to me… but not impossible.
I have seen the work of God’s enemy take form in many ways. He, Satan, desires to destroy all that God created. He hates all men saved or unsaved, because we are created in His likeness and image.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
The unsaved man (natural man) cannot receive the things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Satan also hates those who are saved in the extreme. We are full and complete in Jesus Christ. We have the promise of Heaven eternal. We are His children. In submission and obedience, we become more and more like the Son of God – Jesus.
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Peter likens our desire to learn the Word of God to that of a child. It is totally amazing what a child can learn and in such a short amount of time. It is like soft clay – easy to leave an imprint, yet captures the details quickly and easily.
Peter also says: “…If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
What taste would you say God has left you with?
Has He truly been gracious? Precious? Longsuffering? Merciful? Loving? Forgiving?
When we are able to ‘lay aside’ as we are asked to do here, I truly believe that we can see more clearly Almighty God for who He truly is – Sovereign and Supreme.
I do not wish to ever minimalize any hurt that anyone has sustained or any wound left – no matter how deep. But, I truly believe that God can heal all wounds – if we allow Him.
Once healed, it makes it much easier to ‘lay aside’ the malice, guile, hypocrisy, envyings and evil speaking to experience the true nature of God. I know because God did it for me!
Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten...”