1 Peter 2:1-3
The Pursuit of Holiness
Having come to the saving knowledge of Christ, we must now live like it. This is the theme of Peter’s letter: To walk in obedience before God, to prove our salvation, to grow in grace and godliness, to be a holy people. This is the reason God saved us—that he might have a holy people to be with Him forever. We begin that process here when we are born again; it is fulfilled in heaven when God brings our holiness to completion, but not a completion that ends but one that is ever growing more like Him. After all, as our God is infinite, our knowledge of Him and our growth in godliness in Him will never find its end, though it will be satisfied. It is a wonderful thing to be filled yet ever be filling, to be godly yet ever be godlier, to know yet ever know more, to be content in Him only to desire more of Him. They say that the universe is expanding; I don’t know about that. But I know heaven shall ever be expanding in joy, in holiness, in beauty—and we with it.
So we are to begin here sloughing off some obvious sins: Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. And note that it says, “all,” meaning, all of each one of them—the entirety of malice, the entirety of deceit…. Malice is hatred wishing ill-will on another. Deceit speaks to duplicity; it is the opposite of sincerity. Hypocrisy is near to deceit and finds its meaning from the ancient theatre in putting on masks. The hypocrite hides his true intentions and nature. Envy is jealousy and manifests discontent with what God has provided oneself. To slander someone is either to lie about them or share information (gossip) about them that should remain private (NICNT, 79-81). It is seen that each of these sins specifically destroys fellowship, which is why I think Peter primarily has the local church in view—not that Christians should go about committing such sins against pagans, certainly not, but that fellowship among the brethren must be characterized by love, simplicity, sincerity, generosity, and encouraging words.
Instead, Christians are to nurse at the breasts of the Church and partake of her “pure spiritual milk,” which is surely the word of God and the doctrine derived there from (NICNT, 81-83). This we must desire, hear, take into our hearts, and act upon that we may “grow up into salvation,” that we may become more like our Lord. This desire to grow up unto salvation is a result of our being born again—our having tasted that the Lord is good. It is His goodness, His grace, His kindness that compels us to run the race set before us (1 Corinthians 9:24-26). Since we have tasted, let is run, and let us be enamored with the pursuit of holiness, of God.