1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)
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.
In our Verse of the Day, Peter is encouraging us to “grow up in our salvation.” What does that mean? How do we “grow” in our salvation? Well, our growth begins with our new birth in Christ (once we have experienced His goodness) and our need for spiritual nourishment (crave pure spiritual milk) to sustain us. Let’s read the larger context to better understand the metaphor he uses to illustrate. The foundation is laid in the preceding chapter, 1 Peter 1, and continues in 1 Peter 2. I reprinted the most relevant passages for us:
1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Citing Leviticus 11:44-45)
1 Peter 1:22-25 (NIV)
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (Citing Isaiah 40:6-8) And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)
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.
I believe in this brief overview we see some key principles that Peter wants us to understand. When we first come to faith in Jesus, we do so as new creatures – born of the living and enduring Word of God … born again of the Spirit who wrote the Scriptures through holy men of God as He moved them. (Cf. 2 Peter 1:19-21) As Paul articulated it: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Cf. Romans 10:17) The Apostle John affirms that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Cf. John 3:16; 3:36) So it follows that as “newborn babies in the Spirit” we are in need of “spiritual food” to sustain us. Spiritual milk is a great metaphor to use! Just like babies, we should be “craving” this milk to satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness…. But we are exhorted to move on and to grow in our faith. Let’s me how this metaphor is used elsewhere is the NT scriptures:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Hebrews 5:12-14 (NIV)
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
There is a pattern with these NT writers – urging us to grow up and to move on in spiritual maturity. And I have noticed that milk appears to be associated with the initial phases of sanctification – bringing our sinful nature into submission, growing in holiness, and bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our relationships. Perhaps this is why both Peter and Paul prayed for believers to “grow in their knowledge of God and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” And growth will come as we spend time reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God. As we spend time in prayer and discipline ourselves with fasting, we will mature in our understanding and wisdom. This is what growing in our salvation means. This is what adding to our faith means. We move on from milk and begin eating solid food. We move forward from our initial profession of faith into Kingdom service and ministry. Yes, as the Apostle James wrote: “We know the testing of our faith produces perseverance; and let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Cf. James 1:3-4) Amen!
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8