Therefore, putting aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander refers to the fact that having purified your souls, this should be the end result. Grace and peace cannot be yours as a believer if you do not purify yourself of these things.
Malice is the Greek word “kakia,” which means a desire to injure someone, spite, petty antagonism. It means to derive pleasure from the misfortune and the discomfort of others toward whom you are antagonistic. Guile is the Greek word “dolos,” which means fraud or deceit. To live in guile or deceit is the function of emotional revolt of the soul. Hypocrisy is the Greek word “hupokrisis” meaning to speak from under a mask. It was used of the actor in the ancient world. This is the phony facade that covers the malice and the guile. Envy is the Greek word “phthonos” and means jealousy, and every time you have a list of sins where mental attitude sins are involved this is always prominent because it is very common and very dangerous. Jealousy is total disorientation to the grace of God. Jealousy is the feeling of displeasure at the good fortune of others. It is always a button that starts an emotional revolt of the soul. Slander is the Greek word “katalalia,” which means to speak down or to speak against. It refers to gossip, maligning, judging and speaking evil of someone. If these five things are habitual then you have a potential or an actual emotional revolt of the soul. And the laying aside of these things can be accomplished only by what is said in verse two - by Bible doctrine. It is impossible to deal with these sins in any other way.
Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation is a poorly translated verse. Pure milk is not even in the original language. This verse has nothing to do with milk. The Greek word translated pure is correct, which is “adolos” meaning without guile or without deceit. “Logikos” is the Greek word translated milk and actually means reasonable or spiritual service. So it would be “without deceit your reasonable (or spiritual) service is to long for the Word.”
There is an analogy here. We know that because of the word “like” which begins verse two. There is an analogy between physical and spiritual growth. Physical growth begins with physical birth; spiritual growth begins with spiritual birth. So “newborn babes” is correctly translated. This is a word used for the experiential condition of a person at the moment he accepts Christ and shortly thereafter (a babe in Christ).
Long for is the Greek word “epipotheo,” which means to have an intense desire for something, to have a deep love or a deep affection. In this case, Peter is encouraging his readers to have a desire for Bible doctrine, a desire that should come as a result of the new birth. The imperative mood is a command from God. So, as believers we are commanded to have a pure desire for Bible doctrine. That by it you may grow in respect to salvation is an obvious reference to spiritual growth through the intake and application of Bible doctrine. Many believers never grow spiritually so that they never really fully benefit from their salvation while here on earth. The most important objective in life for a believer should be spiritual maturity.
If you have tasted the kindness of the Lord refers back to all that God has for the believer; first in saving him and giving him eternal life and then in providing for everything he needs to advance in the Christian way of life. Some people say that this is not really a person being saved because of the word “tasted.” It is the same concept as in Hebrews 6:4 where they tasted salvation. The proof as to what this means is the statement that the Lord tasted death for us found in Hebrews 2. The reason the word “taste” is used here is to emphasize the grace of God. Tasting has the concept of non-meritorious appropriation. It takes just a little faith to be saved and tasting brings that out.
And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God is the point that we are face to face with Jesus Christ at the point of salvation. Salvation is a technical term and we generally associate it with eternal life. It is true that salvation includes eternal life but it includes much more than that. It is actually entering into a relationship with God. And this particular phrase, along with everything that comes in the next four or five verses, actually defines Christianity. Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God in time and in eternity. And like everything else that is related to God it has divine design. This means that when we believed in Jesus Christ we entered into the plan of God. It is a permanent relationship because of the character of God and not because of our character.
The living stone is a reference to Jesus Christ. (1 John 5:11-12) In this passage the word “stone” is used for a building. The living stone or “the eternal life stone” is Jesus Christ. The Greek word for stone here is “lithos” a generic term for stone. It means a stone which is going to be used for something. It might refer to a flat stone on which people are going to write or it might refer to a precious stone which will be polished and put into jewelry. So it can be a building stone, a tablet for writing, or a precious stone. Because “lithos” is used it indicates that Christ had a purpose; it also indicates that we will have a purpose. So we have come face to face with the eternal life stone which has a purpose. The purpose of this eternal life stone was to provide for us His life, eternal life. So He was rejected by men; He was chosen by God, and He is the highest on the scale of values — the word “precious.”
Historically Christ was rejected as Messiah. Rejected by men refers to the fact He was rejected by both Jewish law and Roman law. Christ received rejection which He did not deserve. The Jewish religion of Israel rejected Him. And they were responsible, of course, for sending Christ to the Cross with the help of the Romans who had also rejected Him. Choice and precious refer to Jesus Christ Who is the highest in the Father’s scale of values. In other words, Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing the Father had and He gave the most valuable thing for our salvation.
You also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ is a reference to the edification complex of the soul. Stones are building materials for the building of God’s spiritual house – the Church (all believers of the Church Age). Remember our previous studies; God is using us to build His spiritual house as we build our own personal spiritual house. God’s spiritual complex houses holy priests – believers. And believers in God’s spiritual house offer up acceptable sacrifices to God by means of their relationship with Jesus Christ. These spiritual sacrifices are divine production, praise to God, giving and using our spiritual gift/gifts, all done under the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 13)
Since the point of faith in Christ the believer has a relationship with God that will never change. So the weak enters into the strong and the weak therefore becomes strong, positionally. That is why we are called rocks (stones). Christ is the Rock; we are in union with Christ, therefore we are eternally living rocks. So God found a way in eternity past to take all kinds of people who believe in Jesus Christ and make them strong, positionally. No matter how weak we are as a person we are just as strong as a strong person because we are in union with the same person, Jesus Christ. Christ is the foundation Rock; the believer is a rock in the building, in a relationship with God.
Are being built up is a reference to the continuation of the Church Age as God builds His Church. The Greek word for built is “oikodomeo,” a word which has to do with construction. Sometimes it is used for the erection of an edification complex of the soul. Here Peter is using it for the continuation of the Church during the Church Age. During the Church Age people will always be saved and rocks will be put in to the building all the way to the Rapture. When the building is completed the Rapture will occur.
Remember that the foundation for this building is union with Christ, so every rock actually has a root in the foundation. Obviously then it is a spiritual house. A spiritual house emphasizes not only positional truth and Christianity as a relationship with God, but it indicates a permanent spiritual establishment in the devil’s world and it emphasizes the Angelic Conflict. The greatest conflict in this world is a spiritual conflict and this is a house that stands up against all the storms of the Angelic Conflict. Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Peter was a priest; you are a priest; every believer is a priest. Every believer is permanently in the plan of God and as a priest he has the right to serve God. A priest served God in the Tabernacle, and later on in the temple. A priest served God in spiritual service; the believer is in a spiritual conflict and he serves God in spiritual service. And, without exception, every believer is a priest; every believer is in full-time Christian service. Full-time Christian service is whatever one does — a job, or whatever they do in life. This is done as unto the Lord when operating under the principles of God’s grace.
Every believer is a priest and therefore he has the right to represent himself before God while on earth. In Heaven Jesus Christ represents every believer; He is our defense attorney. (1 John 2:1-2) But on earth the believer represents himself by personally confessing (naming or citing) his sins. This is a part of the doctrine of the privacy of the Church Age in which a believer lives his life in privacy as unto the Lord. Self-evaluation is a part of the priesthood. (1 Corinthians 11:31)
For this is contained in Scripture is a quote from Isaiah 28:16. God was speaking to the nation of Israel who had wandered away from Him to other gods. In their arrogance they thought that they were protected from their enemies and that God had turned a blind eye to them. The truth was that God had not forgotten them and would do everything necessary to discipline them as a nation in an attempt to get them back on track spiritually. To accomplish this, God said He would send a stone, a cornerstone firmly placed as the foundation. By believing in this “stone” they would not be disturbed as a nation. Reading on past verse 16 we see that God’s integrity (righteous and justice) was the measuring rod. Rejection of God’s integrity brings destruction, but acceptance of God’s integrity protects. So how does this apply to what Peter is teaching?
Peter is linking the past with his present, which also applies to us. Remember the analogy is building a house. One wall is Israel — past dispensation; the other is the Church — a spiritual house. What is the link? There is a corner stone, Jesus Christ. Christ came at the end of the Jewish dispensation as the king of the Jews. He is David’s Son; He is also the Head of the Church. He is still the king of the Jews and will return in that function at the Second Advent and the beginning of the Millennium. In the meantime we have a spiritual house. Every believer is a perfectly fitting block in the spiritual house because he is in union with Christ, the chief cornerstone for all believers of all time. Your attitude toward Jesus Christ as a believer, just like Israel, pretty well determines your attitude about everything in life. Mental attitude is one of the most important things you have going for you in life, or one of your greatest enemies.
This precious value, then, is for you who believe, but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”
The most dramatic and important decision in life is the decision to believe in Christ. Salvation by faith in Christ is the principle throughout all history. And throughout history God requires the same thing from His people – a spiritual house. So, believers in Israel had the same responsibility that believers in the Church Age have – build a spiritual house in their soul. By doing so the client nation to God is preserved and the Gospel can go out to the world and Bible doctrine can be freely taught without interference from the government or anyone else.
The unbeliever’s attitude is described under the word disbelieve, which means to reject Christ as Savior. The religious Jews in the Old Testament and in the New Testament had the facts. They first examined very carefully everything pertaining to Jesus Christ, they saw all of the evidences, some were observers of the miracles, and having gone through all of the facts they rejected Him as the Messiah (Savior).
The very cornerstone refers to the fact that Jesus Christ is the ruler of the Jews, the legitimate ruler forever. He is the Son of David and on both sides He is descended from David. On the side of Solomon He is descended through Joseph who is His legal but not His real father; on the side of Mary He is descended from Nathan (Solomon’s brother). So Jesus Christ is the legitimate Heir to the throne of David on which He will reign forever. But Jesus Christ is also the Head of the Church. He is the cornerstone: the ruler of Israel and will rule forever; and He is the Head of the Church, forever.