“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).
Chapter Two of I Peter begins a conclusion which directs the reader throughout the rest of the epistle. Peter identifies “five” sins involving our speech and attitudes which we must eliminate.
The word “so” is another way of saying “therefore.” As a consequence of who we are in Christ and our desire to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16) God directs believers to put away or cease what we are accustomed to doing. What follows is not a pretty list, but Peter is less concerned with hurting people’s feelings as he is with truth. Please notice the adjective “all” which precedes all five nouns. This repentance is to be a total renunciation of ungodliness.
The first sin mentioned is malice. The second is deceit. The third is hypocrisy. The fourth is envy. The fifth and final sin is slander.
Slander (καταλαλιά; katalalia) is evil speech. It is to speak evil of someone with the intention of harming them. It is backbiting lies. Unfortunately, this sin was a concern the Apostle Paul had for the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 12:20).
James 3:5-10 says, “5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
Our growth in the Lord is not just about pursuing holiness, but also repenting from unholy behavior and emotions. The desire for God’s Word should give us an appetite for holiness, with an ever increasing desire for more. Resolve today by the Spirit’s power to guard what you say and speak today (Proverbs 4:23-27).
Have a blessed day, beloved. Soli deo Gloria!