”Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.”
Peter is about to discuss Christian growth (2:2). Before a person grows into a healthy Christian he may be susceptible to certain childhood diseases. The Holy Spirit lists these diseases in verse one.
“Therefore” draws an inference from our new birth (1:23). A new life in God demands a new kind of person. The discussion continues the idea of holiness. Peter lists sins in this verse that destroy fellowship and retard our ability to hear God speaking to us through the Word. All five sins are relationship sins. These sins destroy relationships. They prowl in all of us.
“Laying aside” is negative. The positive is in verse 2, “desire the pure milk of the Word.” Babies thrive on milk. The implication is that we will not thrive on the Word of God if we have these five spiritual childhood diseases in our lives. We will not have an appetite for the unadulterated Word of God if we handicap ourselves with these five sins of attitude.
Before we partake of the nutritious food of the Word of God we must put aside poisonous foods of the soul. A person poisoned by toxic foods should empty his stomach. Before a Christian can absorb protein, minerals and vitamins, he should vomit out the poisons of malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies and evil speakings from his life.
We cannot have a right relation to God if we do not have a right relationship with man, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (I John 4:20). Jesus bids his hearers to step into right relationship with man before they try to get into a right relationship with God (Matthew 5:23f).
The vices that God wants us to lay away are those that concern our relationship with people.
When we commit sin against people we commit sin against God. Sin committed against people is evidence that our relationship with God is convoluted.
The five relationship sins of this verse will cripple our Christian life. We need spiritual intelligence to identify and confess them. If we are dull spiritually and if we call these sins something other than sins, we will wonder why God by passes us and uses someone less educated or not as intelligent as we are.
These five viruses will put us out of spiritual commission. We are still on God’s squad but we are not on God’s playing field. It is nice to make the squad and be issued a uniform, but who wants to play right end on the bench! Your aim is to be in the game. We are Christians; now we need to get into the game. We are now born again (1:23) so we are now to live the Christian life and serve our Lord. Most Christians sit on the bench while 11 or so others play the entire game.