Chapter 1:20 - 2:3 (ESV) - He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 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.
Question to consider: What does Peter mean that “you have been born again?”
In studying scripture, I strive to understand it from the perspective of the author as well as the recipient of the texts before ever trying to apply the truths of a passage to my own life or the modern church. This letter from Peter was shaped by some of the experiences that had the greatest impact on him as a disciple of Jesus. I wonder if Peter was there to hear the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus or whether Jesus told him about it after Nicodemus left. Although Peter doesn’t use the exact word that Jesus did for "born again", the idea is the same. We are a new creation that is born out of the word of God and should desire the pure spiritual milk of holiness so that we may grow up in our salvation.
How do we become disciples of Jesus? According to Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19-20, we are baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and taught to obey Christ’s commands. Paul describes this in Romans 6:3-5, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
We begin to put away all malice and deceit and hypocrisy and envy and slander because we are new creations, not in order to become new creations. If we have no desire to grow up into salvation, it may be good to ask ourselves whether we do indeed know the Lord which is what Peter implies in his statement, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Dear Lord, thank you for uniting us to Christ’s resurrection in our baptism and give us the desire for the pure spiritual milk of your word that helps us to grow closer to you and increases our faith. For those times we fall short of your holiness, we praise and thank you for your continued forgiveness. Amen.