“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)
One of the illustrations the Bible uses to speak about our conversion is that of being “born again.” Jesus said in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We were dead in our sins, but now, by God’s grace, we are born again. Peter says in his first epistle that we have “been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (1 Peter 1:23) Now in this text, Peter says, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word.” (verse 1) In other words, since you are born again, act like babies.
It’s not very often that we’re told to act like babies. And Peter isn’t implying that his readers were young or immature Christians. In fact, some of the recipients of this letter had been Christians for over thirty years. What Peter wants is for these Christians to have the same longing for the Word that babies have for milk.
When it comes to milk, babies don’t have an attitude that says, “I don’t care whether I get it or not. I can get along just fine without it.” No! When babies want to be fed, they want to be fed now. They cry for milk, and they will not be satisfied by anything else. You might try to distract them by giving them a toy, but it won’t work for very long. Babies want to be fed, and only when they are fed are they content. That’s how Peter wants us to crave the Word.
Babies crave milk because they have experienced that it is good for them. We have tasted the Word and know how good it is for us. But how easily we forget! And so, just as we might develop a taste for a physical food that is not good for us, our sinful nature craves all sorts of worldly pleasures more than it craves the Word. We often have a greater desire for things that ultimately do not satisfy. We chase after things that we think will fulfill us, but in the end they leave us spiritually empty.
Peter urges us back to the pure milk of the Word. Thanks be to God that in His grace, He doesn’t take His Word away from us. As Peter reminds us in the previous chapter, “the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25) We have tasted that pure Word in the past. We have tasted the Word when our sins have terrified us and weighed us down. The Word has shown us a God Who loves us and has paid for our sins so that we would not be punished. We have tasted the Word when there have been troubles in our lives, when everything seemed to go against us. In those moments, the Word tell us, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) When the future looks bleak, the Word tells us not to worry about the future because “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We have tasted that the Lord is gracious. We have been taken care of by Jesus, Who has paid for all our sins. When we devour the pure milk of the Word, we lack nothing that is truly good.
Dear Christian, when it comes to God’s Word, act like a baby. Crave the pure milk of the Word so that you will grow in the assurance that you are forgiven of your sins, and eternal life is yours!