In February 2015, I became a proud uncle for the first time. My niece is quite the character but I realized babies and toddlers can practically do anything and it is deemed “cute”. Yet, if somebody in their twenties was to display the same actions, chances are one would get weirder looks more so than cute remarks. Why is that? The assumption is that the person in their twenties has grown up and should no longer be acting as a child. In other words, maturity should have taken place. Our spiritual life can be viewed in the same framework. We are born again through the Word of God in the gospel (1:23-25). On the basis of our salvation, we are called to love (1:22). Through the obedience of God’s commands by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can mature in their faith. The New Testament offers many displays of what true maturity looks like. It is prevalent in our affections, attitudes, and actions. 1 Peter 2:1-3 lays out what proper affections and attitudes characterize the Christian life. Before we can grab hold of the new, however, we must turn away from the old. The Apostle Peter gets at that as he exhorts the Christians because of the command to love, “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander”. The Christian life is a life lived in the community, the church, and one obeys the command to love by putting away matters which work against unity and caring for others. A person who is deceitful, hypocritical, envious, and a gossip is not a person who understands the gospel. A person who understands the gospel is a person who responds with repentance of their sins and faith in Jesus Christ. They are born again and receive the Holy Spirit. The new life they have been given in Christ will be displayed in their actions as well as their attitudes and affections. They will be like newborn infants, not immature but dependent upon God’s Word. Their attitude is no longer about them but about God. They will long for the Word of God if they are those who have tasted and have seen that the Lord is good (2:3). Their affections are for the Lord, which will be evidenced in their love for one another. Notice, only in Christ can these things happen. Only in Christ can people be born again. Only in Christ can people grow up into salvation. Christ saves us and sustains us and when we are finally with Him we will be completely mature and our salvation will be fully realized because we will be with Him! On this side of eternity, though, we must continue to grow. For those who do not yet know Christ, they must be born again. They must respond to the gospel in forgiveness of their sins and faith in the gospel. For the Christian, they must recognize this call to grow by obedience to God’s Word. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we who are in Christ can put away what dishonors God by looking and longing for the Lord, the Father whom we have been reconciled to and know that He is good!
- Why is the church so important for living out the Christian life?
- How can you allow your actions, attitudes, and affections to be aligned to God’s Word?