Instruments of Righteousness (Part Two)- 1 Peter 1:23-2:2

In Romans 6:13, Paul commands us to “offer the parts of our body to God as instruments of righteousness”, and we have seen that we are instruments of the one we offer ourselves to, and we looked at the example of Peter and how he offered himself through the choices he made. We will now look to 1 Peter to get Peter’s own viewpoint on all of this and his advice to us. We will begin in 1Peter 1:23. Here we find Peter telling believers that they have been “born again”, here the perfect tense of anagennao, literally “born again”, with the perfect tense signifying something done in the past and standing done in the present. Believers have been born again once for all and this through the “word of God”, both the written word of God (Scripture) which promises salvation and the living Word of God (Jesus) who brings salvation. Since we have been born again, Peter then commands us (imperative mood) to “rid ourselves” of something. The Greek “rid yourselves” is apotithemi, which literally means to “lay off or lay aside”, and is primarily used in reference to taking something off as a garment. This is something we choose to do, like choosing to put on or take off a jacket, and we take off and put on these things over and over again every day in the choices we make moment by moment. Peter then gives a list of what we are to put off, and we are to put off both old attitudes and old ways of behaving. So how do we go about doing so, how do we put ourselves in position to make the right choices? By being “like newborn babies”, for we all have been “born again” and like newborns we are forming the habits of thinking and behaving which will characterize our lives. Just as babies crave milk, believers are to crave “pure spiritual milk”, which here is a metaphor representing the word of God. The word crave here is epithumia, usually translated “lust”, but used here in a good context and meaning to “intensely desire”. Those with an intense desire for something will “crave” it like a newborn craves milk, and look to be fed many times a day. Peter here implores us to feed on the Word of God like a newborn baby feeds on milk, for this is how we may “grow up in our salvation”. We have been born again and became babes in Christ, but we are never to remain as babes, we are to grow up. Like a baby grows by being provided proper nutrition, believers will also grow up by partaking of the proper nutrition, and the only proper nutrition for this type of growth is the Word of God. A baby provided proper nutrition will inevitably grow, and so also will believers who provide themselves with the proper nutrition, the pure spiritual milk of the Scripture. The word translated “grow up” here is auxano, and literally means to increase, and Peter is telling us here the only way to “increase” in any area of the Christian life. We increase our faith, our sanctification, our love, our generosity and our choosing to “put off” wrong attitudes and actions (offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness), by saturating our minds and hearts with the Word of God. Through this we will grow up properly in our salvation and will develop habits of thinking and behaving which will cause us to put off old attitudes and mindsets and “offer ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness”. Peter learned what is true for all believers, and he shares what he has learned with us in this passage. He wants us to all learn how to “offer ourselves to God” and “put off” our old habit of offering ourselves to sin, and the way we do so is by getting the Word of God into our hearts and minds, and allowing it to transform us from the inside out, so that we will find ourselves growing up in our salvation, putting off the old ways of thinking and behaving, and offering ourselves more and more to God as instruments of righteousness.

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Pure Spiritual Milk

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