Put Away All Slander.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 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, 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! 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. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 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!

 

Put Away All Envy.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 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.

Envy (φθόνος; phthonos) is jealousy. It is to hate someone for a presumed advantage they have. Envy is not only wanting what someone else possesses, but also resenting them for having this “something” when you do not. Envy can result in corruption and destruction in order to acquire what it is you believe you must have. Check out the Old Testament story of Naboth and King Ahab and a certain vineyard in I Kings 21.

God tells us in the final commandment of the Ten Commandments that believers are not to covet (Exodus 20). It doesn’t matter what it is, God says don’t envy and covet. It can be destructive.

Envy was regarded by the Apostle Paul to be a sin of the flesh (I Corinthians 3:3). Envy is among the things that comes from the heart, defiling a person (Mark 7:14-23). Jesus said the whole body is full of darkness when the eye, the lamp of the body, is bad (Luke 11:34-36).

Proverbs 17:5 says, “He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” Envy ruins the body’s health, making bones rot (Proverbs 14:30). Envy prohibites one inheriting the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Sometimes, as a punishment, people are left in their sins, falling prey to envy and other sins (Romans 1:18-32).

Envy is credited as the basis of all toil and is therefore deeply ingrained in man’s nature (Ecclesiastes 4:4). Envy comes into being when man lacks certain things, or when things are used for one’s own selfish pleasures (James 4:1-3). Envy may be caused by wealth (Psalm 73:3).

For example, Isaac, envied the Philistines (Genesis 26:12-15), by the brightness of wealth, power and beauty Assyria envied other kingdoms (Ezekiel 31:1-9), and by political and military popularity King Saul envied David from the moment he heard the women’s songs of joy (I Samuel 18:5-9).

Leah envied her sister Rachel (Genesis 30:1-2), Joseph’s brothers envied Jacob’s love for him (Genesis 37:1-11). The religious leaders envied the apostles (Acts 5:12-20) and the popularity of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:44-47). Unfaithful Jews envied the success of Paul and Silas in the conversion of many Thessalonians (Acts 17:1-5) and the chief priests envied Jesus’ virtues and true power to heal, to make miracles and to teach people (Matthew 25:15-26; Mark 15:6-15).

Ask God to reveal to you what areas of your life you are prone to envy. Repent of them knowing that godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6).

Have a blessed day, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Put Away All Hypocrisy.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 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.

Hypocrisy comes from the Greek word ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis) which means play-acting or pretense. It was the word for an actor in the ancient Greek plays. It means a person pretending to be something they are not. It is from this Greek word that we derive our English word hypocrite.

Now, this is not a problem on the stage when involved in performing in a play or live musical. However, it is a sin when pretending to be someone you are not in your relationships with other people. One pastor writes that hypocrisy is, “to give an impression of having certain purposes or motivations, while in reality having quite different ones.”

Jesus saved His most stinging criticism for the Pharisees. Seven times in Matthew 23 He pronounced woe upon them because of their hypocrisy.

One of the most common criticisms of the local church made by non-believers is that the “church is filled with hypocrites.” The common response is “Well then, join us! There is always room for one more.”

The Scriptures tell us otherwise. We must repent of any and all pretense in our Christian behavior. We must be people of integrity. God encourages us to be so. As His children, we must be so.

Have a blessed day, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!

Put Away All Deceit.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 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 the 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. Deceit (δόλος; dolos) is trickery, treachery and deception. In other words, it is lying.

Deceit can take on many forms. It may be exaggeration of one’s accomplishments. It could be a failure to tell someone some of the details of their legal agreement in buying an item like a car, house or even a time-share. Whatever the circumstances, deceit is willfully seeking to trick or deceive another individual.

Abraham was guilty of this sin. He not only commited this sin once (Genesis 12:10-16), but twice (Genesis 20:1-13). On both occasions Abraham deceived people into thinking that his wife Sarah was his sister.

Often we face the temptation to deceive in our jobs. We may experience pressure from a higher-up to trick a client or a board of directors in making the quarterly earnings appear better than they are. It may be deceiving one’s spouse. The Christian striving to be holy can never succumb to deceit.

When a Christian determines to be a person of integrity, it may cost them their job. Not all the time, but in some circumstances this could be the result of not being a deceitful person. Are you ready and prepared to be a Christian totally committed to God and truth, whatever the cost?

Have a blessed day, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!

Obedience

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God”(I Peter 1:22-23).

Holy living requires a heart which desires purity. Psalm 119:9 says, ““How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word.” You cannot have one without the other. It is cause and effect. Obedience to God and His Word results in purity and holiness of soul and body. This is to be a daily discipline.

One pastor writes, “As trials refine faith, so obedience to God’s Word refines character. One who has purified himself by living according to God’s Word has discovered the joy of obedience.”

Obedience (ὑπακοή; hypakoe) is paying attention to the truth. God’s Word (John 17:17). Much like guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23-27), holy living by obedience to God is our responsibility. Thankfully we are assisted by the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13). It is a cooperative effort, but we must not be slack or uncommitted to our responsibility.

Commitment to obedience results in brotherly love (φιλαδελφία; philadephia) or an affection for a fellow believer. Sincere (ἀνυπόκριτος; anypokritos) means that our love is to be genuine. This means a lack of pretense or show. God calls us to love one another sincerely and to not pretend to do so. We are also to love earnestly (ἐκτενῶς; ektenos). This means eagerly and continuously.

Unfortunately, Christians hurt Christians. It happens. Perhaps, it even happens a lot. However, while we may not have any control over other Christians hurting us, we certainly have control of whether or not we hurt other Christians. If we want to be pure, we begin by being obedient to God’s Word which results in holy behavior.

Let’s begin today!

Soli deo Gloria!

Holy

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:13-16).

As we noted in our previous devotional, one of the most basic disciplines in the Christian life is to not be conformed to the world’s desires which stem from a disobedient spirit towards God. The Apostle John described these desires as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (I John 2:15-16). The Apostle Paul also encouraged believers to not be conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2).

Along with what we are called to not do, God also reveals to us through Peter what we are to do. God commands each believer in Christ to be holy. The holiness of God is His most important attribute (Isaiah 6). It stands to reason that the Christian should be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 11:44; 19:2; 20:7).

What does it mean to be holy? Holiness (ἅγιος; agios) means to be separate from sin. It means to have pure, moral qualities. Consequently, we are commanded to be holy in all our behavior or conduct (ἀναστροφή; anastrophe). This refers to how we daily live and conduct ourselves. A holy inner life from God (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21) leads to a holy outer walk before God (Ephesians 2:10) and other people.

As one commentator has written, “Though absolute holiness can never be achieved in this life, all areas of life should be in the process of becoming completely conformed to God’s perfect and holy will.”

Our standard of holiness is God. It is His moral perfection which we are to pursue (Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5:1). As people recreated in His image to be like Him in His holy character, let each of us today reflect His holiness. Read today elated Isaiah 6:1-7; Revelation 4-5.

Soli deo Gloria!

For This Reason

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13).

The word “therefore” (διό; dio) means “for this reason.” It is a conclusion. Peter draws a conclusion or deduction from what he has previously written in 1:1-12, and which indicates what will now be the focus of what is contained in the rest of his epistle.

In light of all of which Peter has stated the believer is and possesses in Christ, while even in the midst of suffering, he calls believers to prepare their minds for action. To prepare (ἀναζώννυμι; anazonnymi) our minds (διάνοια; dianoia) for action (ὀσφῦς; osphys) is our responsibility. Peter uses three words which essentially have the same meaning. Believers are to get their minds ready for action. In other words, we are to get what Peter has said, and will say, through our heads or into our thinking. We are to prepare ourselves for learning.

God wants His children to understand and apply what He has revealed to them in His Word. Following Christ is not about fun, games and frivolity. The Christian life is about living for the glory of God and being holy in everything we do. This is a serious concern for the Apostle Peter and should be for you and me.

God calls us to be sober-minded. This means to be self-controlled and restrained in our behavior. We are called to not have irrational thoughts, but rather minds guided by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. This is so God will help us to progress in the grace relationship He has established with us, which ultimately will be fulfilled and completed when Jesus Christ returns to earth in His power and glory.

Each day we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for action in progressing in the covenant relationship we have with God in Christ. This means to become more holy today than we were yesterday and to be more holy tomorrow than we are today. We are to take this seriously because holiness is serious business with God. Press on, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!