Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. – I Peter 2:1-3 (NASB)
We come up with all kinds of excuses for our sins, don’t we? I know that I’ve come up with more than I can recall. Yet, here in I Peter, we are instructed, not to excuse our sin, but to rid ourselves of it. How?
How are Christians to get up out of bed and daily face the world, demonstrating, exhibiting and therefore proving that we have new life in Christ Jesus? Turns out the answer to abandoning our sin is far less complicated than we often make it.
The key is the word apotithēmi. It is a Greek word meaning (literally or figuratively) to put off, put aside or away. It comes from two Greek words: apo, meaning off, and tithēmi, meaning place. The verb itself gives the imagery of removing a garment, taking a piece of clothing off. What’s interesting is that first word, translated malice, is kakia, and means badness or wickedness. [These are all plural nouns]. That pretty much covers all sins, doesn’t it?
What Peter is telling his readers is pretty clear. Put all malice, hypocrisy, envy and all slander aside. Cast it away. If he had told them to put aside their sandles, they would take them off their feet and lay them aside. If he had told them to put aside whatever is in their mouth they would spit it out. If he had told them to put aside their shirt or hat, they would have taken them off and laid them aside. Simple, isn’t it?
Basically, he is telling them to stop it. Just stop it.
There is no instruction for contemplating, meditating or vacillating. No need for lengthy counseling sessions. No need for checking ourselves in to some type of spiritual rehab center. His instruction is clear: Stop these things.
In light of Romans 6, we know that the power of sin has been broken. it is no longer our tyrannical master, no longer has the hold on us that it once had. Because of this, we can say ‘No’ to sin. So when peter tells them, and us, to stop it, we can. Likewise, when a Christian does sin, it is because we, as Christians, have chosen to.
For the unbeliever, being told to “stop it” just doesn’t help at all, because the power of sin remains – it’s all they can do. But for we who believe and are being saved, ah! brethren! we need not go through any process of contemplation on anything.
As Christians, the first step to furthering our spiritual growth is that we simply need to trust and obey, which in this case, is to simply take a sin and….stop it.