babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your
I Peter 2:2 NIV
This epistle of Peter is addressed to the diaspora of Jews in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
He writes to remind them that God has chosen them and his spirit has made them holy. For whatever reason, they seemed to be doubtful of this fact.
Maybe the new believers doubted because they were far removed from their beloved Jerusalem – driven away because of religious persecution.
Peter wrote to remind them that they were children of God. When they put their faith in Jesus believing him to be the promised Messiah, they received salvation.
Our key verse reads as an admonition:
“Pretend that you're babies” Peter writes. “Now as a baby your greatest desire is milk. You need this milk to grow healthy and strong. The word of God for you has the same effect that milk has on babies.”
Have you ever observed a hungry baby? Ever heard one? If a baby gets hungry while they are asleep, he starts rooting around for his mother’s breast. If the milk supply is nearby and he’s able to latch on, awesome! He drinks while seemingly asleep until his stomach is filled. And if there’s no milk nearby …
The baby comes fully awake. Soft cries eventually become shrill wails until the bottle or breast is placed in the mouth and he is able to sup.
This was the image I think Peter wanted his readers to have in their minds. He wanted them to imagine the determination – and desperation – of a hungry baby. Furthermore, he wanted them to crave the word of God in a similar manner. Just as a baby needs milk to live, a new believer needs the word of God to grow.
Taking the imagery a step further: just as children need solid food to sustain them as they get older, so too a mature Christian requires a deeper exploration of the word of God to continue the process of sanctification.
A lot of us have a mistaken impression of what being saved means. We think that once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and get baptized, that’s it. We’re saved forever. But that’s not the case – it’s not ‘once saved always saved’. If it were there would be no need for us to desire to be like Christ or to go through the process of sanctification.
“For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
Our Father loves us and he wishes that everyone would accept the gift of salvation and receive the reward when his Son returns. There’s room for all of us in the kingdom. What God does not want, is for us to say,
“Yes, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I accept him as my Lord and Savior. I am baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost but I won’t change any of the behavior or beliefs that I held before I was baptized. I will continue to do what I have always because I am saved.”
The process of sanctification recognizes that each day we have to make a choice to be like Christ. We have to willingly take up our cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26).
"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Jesus prayed for us in John 17:17. Christ knew that we needed the word of God to make us holy.
Only when the word gets into our hearts and changes us from the inside will we be made over in the image of Christ. Contrary to what some of the Jews may have believed at that time, rites and rituals do not make us holy. Only God can do that.
Sanctification seems to require effort on our part. We have to learn to “crave” this spiritual milk.
Dictionary.com defines crave as:
‘To long for; want greatly; to require; need; desire eagerly, to ask earnestly for (something); beg for.'
If we start craving the word of God we will make time to fulfill that desire in our lives. We will seek earnestly for it. We will cry out for the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and minds with his truth.
I like how the New Living Translation renders this verse:
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment
Jesus told his disciples, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 NIV)
After feeding on the truth we will “grow up in our salvation”. That means we’ll become mature Christians. We will have learnt how to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the enemies attacks. We will be able to mentor others who are new to the body of Christ.
Are you growing in your salvation? Cry out for the nourishment that comes from the word of God.
Prayer for Today
Father, I thank you for the blood of your Son Jesus. I pray that I will learn to crave your Word. Fill me with a desire to know more about you. Sanctify me by your truth. In Jesus name, amen.
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