”Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.”
Peter singles out five sins that deal with right relation to man. We cannot have right relation to God if we do not have right relation to men. The word means to put off from oneself, to lay aside. This is a call for change in attitude in five areas. God wants us to put away the following five sins like a useless garment. God wants us to lay aside anything that serves to hinder or prevent us from doing his will.
The New Testament uses “laying aside” for the idea of divesting clothes. It means to put off from oneself. “Laying aside” means here to renounce attitudinal sin from the ultimate source of yourself. Take the five following sins from the inner resources of your life. Your inner resource should be the Word of God (2:2).
Acts 7:58 uses the words “laying aside” for taking off one’s robes. The context is the stoning of Stephen. The people refused to hear his message so they stoned him, “and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” They took off their outer garments and laid them down. God wants us to take off sin like a garment.
Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
Ephesians 4:22, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”
Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.”
Colossians 3:8, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
God wants us to lay aside not only sins but weights or handicaps that get in the way of our Christian life. A thing may not be dirty or coarse. It may not be vulgar but it is a handicap to living the Christian life. It is a spiritual defect. Some Christians handicap themselves all their Christian experience because they never outgrow their defects.
James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
“Lay aside” means to make a clean-cut break with sin. God wants us to make a clean-cut break with not only the more gross immoral sins such as stealing and murder but he wants us to make a clean-cut break with the more sophisticated sins of our verse.
Without a decisive break with the past, it would be useless for Peter to urge his readers to nourish themselves with the Word.
God wants us to make a decisive break with sin so we can take in the Word of God with effectiveness.
It is useless to nourish ourselves with the Word of God (v.2) if we have not dealt with relationship sins in our lives. God wants us to strip sin off like a suit of clothes. He wants us to clear all clothes of relational sin out of our closet. This is self- judgment.