“Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (1 Peter 2:2-3; NASB)
When our children were younger, we kept a growth chart for them on the inside of a closet door in our home and every few months we would check to see how their growth was progressing. (Of course often all we had to do was take a look at their clothes and note how short their sleeves and pant legs were getting to see how quickly they were growing.)
The verse before us provides a similar spiritual growth chart and measurement. It affords us an opportunity to look at our lives and see the reality of our spiritual condition and progress.
Specifically, Do we crave Scripture? Do we long to look into the deep things of God and to know His mind? Do we find encouragement and joy even at hearing the hard things of God (the pure, unadulterated truth of God) — the things that call for difficult transformation and trust?
It is too easy for us to take a quick glance at our lives, see some small indicators of life (sometimes almost imperceptible signs), and assume that all is well. I haven’t had a spiritual heart attack, so I must be okay, we presume. Yet the condition of my life is not only determined by what isn’t wrong, but by what is right with it.
And one of the clearest indicators of the condition of my spiritual life is its diet. What am I eating — what is the regular source of my meditation? Am I eating spiritual junk food or am I eating a balanced diet of biblical food, taking pains to work through all the pages of Scripture and eat on every kind of theological truth, constantly looking to nourish my soul on every good Word of God to prepare myself for every kind of good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17)?
And here is the incentive to “eat well” — because in salvation we have tasted of a part of the wonder of God’s supreme kindness and heavenly glory. Through salvation we have been given an inkling of God’s immeasurable grace and the place where we will taste of the fulness of its goodness. And through Scripture we learn of the kindness that is God Himself.
But when Peter says, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, his emphasis is not so much that salvation is the source of our life, but that the Word of God is the means by which we increasingly live out the implications of our salvation. For our salvation is not only the originating point of our spiritual life; it is also the goal of our spiritual life. Every day, as we feast on the Word of God, there should be increasing maturity in our salvation and growth towards the fullness of our salvation (a process we call sanctification).
So here are some questions for the day:
- Are you battling to put off sin (recognizing that sometimes you may lose)?
- Is the reality of your salvation fresh to you? Do you rejoice in God’s continued grace to you?
- Are the implications of the gospel more evident in your life? Are you more ready to do good deeds? Are you being increasingly sanctified so you are more and more like Jesus Christ and less and less like the fleshly world?
- Most importantly, do you hunger for and crave Scripture?
- Has that craving led you to a regular feasting on and partaking of His Word? Do you think on it and meditate on it all through the day?
How you answer these questions is indicative of your spiritual health. Remember, the issue is not, “have you attained?” but, “are you pursuing? Are you hungry?” That’s a healthy child of the Father.