“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:1-5
I have been endeavoring to remember that we have been more than just rescued by the work of Jesus Christ; we have been restored to the purpose for which we were created. He has “freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father”. (Revelation 1:5-6) The opportunity, so utterly out of our reach on our own merit, has been granted us by Jesus’ glorious accomplishment and on the basis of His merit. Having been appointed to such a purpose, we must give ourselves to it with gratitude, sincerity and humility. This is like nothing we have ever done before and we must learn. Serving God as His priests does not come ‘naturally’. The only thing that comes naturally to us is sin! We must learn to serve through the Holy Spirit who teaches us.
The passage above from 1 Peter provides some basic and fundamental instruction for the humble servant. First, there are things that are a natural part of our makeup that we must simply get rid of. There is no place for them in our new purpose. Malice is just ugly and has no part in God, so it cannot continue to be a part of us. Matthew Henry described malice as, “anger resting in the bosom of fools, settled overgrown anger, retained till it inflames a man to design mischief, to do mischief, or delight in any mischief that befalls another.” Malice wants harm for others. How utterly unlike our God! Deceit also stands opposed to God, who is the very source and definition of truth. These just have to go, along with their vile offspring hypocrisy, envy and slander
Getting rid of these is our responsibility, but we are not on our own. We do have help from our Savior, if we ask. SO ASK! Cry out to God for His grace and get rid of the poison that thwarts our God-given purpose. The antidote to the ugliness of malice and deceit is large doses of the pure and true Word of God that tells how good our God is. Crave it like a baby craves milk. It will help you grow strong and healthy in your salvation.
The next important point we can notice is in the next sentence: “As you come to Him…” This may seem like a ‘duh’ when we are in our right minds, but it is amazing (painfully so) how often we attempt to serve God without coming to Him. We try to do something we know nothing of, on our own. How crazy is that? All that He created and saved us for is always His work in us and we must come to Him for Him to do it. He builds us, the living stones, into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, and then, we can offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him. Please note that the reference to acceptable sacrifices implies that there are sacrifices that are unacceptable. Come to Him! Let Him lead and build and teach. Being with Him and before Him is the great gift we have been given. Come to Him so that He will have what He wants and we will know the life we were saved for.