Daily Readings and Thought for December 12th. “THAT BY IT YOU MAY GROW UP INTO SALVATION”
We meditate thoughtfully on Peter’s 1st letter: he was writing to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion” [1 v.1] – primarily Jews – as James (1 v.1) had also done “To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” [1 v.1] Peter names them as being in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” – and Paul visited some of these places, and he usually began by teaching in the synagogue, e.g. Acts 17 v,17 and 18 v.4.
Today we saw how Peter’s message to his fellow Jews was largely about how they must live – ways which were to be in contrast to that of the Jews who had opposed and crucified Jesus. Peter told them to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” [2 v.1] and – “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.“ [v.2,3]
Interesting, indeed, challenging, is this word – “tasted”! It implies the contrast between ‘head knowledge and ‘heart knowledge.’ We ponder the points Solomon makes in his Proverbs on this “for wisdom will come into your heart”, see ch. 2 v.10; 15 v,14; 22 v.17. Let us reflect on the degree to which we have been through the stage of being “newborn infants’ – spiritually.
Peter tells his fellow Jews, who are now believers, “this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”[2 V,15,16] Peter is giving practical details on how to “grow up into salvation” and show, in doing so, that “now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” [v.10]
Let us “grow up into salvation” becoming more and more grown up spiritually, ready for our Lord’s return when he will “gather his elect” [Matt 24 v31] for God’s “fig tree” [v.32] shows us “that summer is near” and “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” [v,34] There may not be much time left to complete our “growing up.”