THE IMPERATIVE OF OUR RESPONSE
If the Word of God is precisely that--the Word of GOD--it demands a response from all of us. There can be no neutrality in the hearers. The very nature of Scripture requires that a choice be made. It is declared in a moral arena, i.e., a domain that requires choice. The Word of God is not neutral, and no one hearing it can remain neutral to its message.
If we have properly presented the Word of God, it stands to reason that a strong desire for it is imperative. Here, in the Word, we find the means through which God speaks to, and directs, His people. It is true that we are "led by the Spirit," and that Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God, interceding for us (Rom 8:14, Heb 7:25). It is also true that the very angels of God have been appointed as our ministers, to assist us in arriving safely in glory (Heb 1:13-14). God Himself has "called" us "into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:9). All of these realities depend on our relationship to God's Word, the appointed means of realizing Divine benefits.
Building upon this premise, Peter reminds us of the eternalness of God's Word. He then summons us to rid ourselves of all corrupting qualities, in order that we mighty long for the Word of the Lord. "BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER. And this is the word which was preached to you. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 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. And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:25-2:5).
The phrase "pure milk of the Word" (NASB), or "sincere milk . . . " (KJV), denotes the "unadulterated Word." This is the Word less the traditions of men. It is an undiluted Word that has not been mingled with human opinion, or mitigated with the wisdom of the world. It is the Word itself, the mind of the Lord communicated through holy men that spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. It is "the Scriptures" in general, and the Gospel in particular. The desire for this "sincere milk of the Word" depicts an attitude that wants to know the Word of the Lord without passing it through the filter of other men's opinionated teaching.
A Rare Attitude
The rarity of such an attitude is apparent. Myriads of religious people only subject their minds to what others have SAID about God's Word. While there is measured value in the words of godly men, they cannot be allowed to carry the weight of a word from God. Yet, that is precisely the situation that is confronting us. Rather than passing Scripture through the sieve of human opinion, the expressions of men must be viewed in light of Scripture. It would revolutionize the world of books if religious literature was consistently judged by Scripture! Many famous authors would never have become famous!
Those that have truly tasted of the Lord are not so interested in the latest religious book as they are in the Word of God. I learned long ago that this is a most rare attitude. In fact, I know of no religious institution that considers a working knowledge of the Word of God a qualifying attribute for participation in their work. Religious academic credentials rarely include insight into Scripture. I know of no degree that is offered for this quality. It simply is not valued very highly. As lamentable as it is, there are a great number of Bible Colleges and Seminaries that have sanctioned teachers that, at best, have only a cursory understanding of the Word of God, to say nothing of many with seriously distorted views of the Scripture. Peter's words do not allow for such a condition, and it is not to be tolerated!
Like Newborn Babes
The Spirit is speaking of an attitude--i.e., a frame of spirit. "Like newborn babies" (NIV). There is no point in the faith-life where such an attitude can be abandoned! The secret to being spiritually mature is the maintenance of a newborn's spiritual appetite. Living by faith produces this marvelous quality.
The 119th Psalm contains a number of wonderful expressions that evince this attitude. A few of them will prove refreshing to our soul. "Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee. . .I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word . . . May those who fear Thee see me and be glad, Because I wait for Thy word. . . I rejoice at Thy word, As one who finds great spoil . . . How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! . . . I have inherited Thy testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart . . . My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Thy word . . . I rejoice at Thy word, As one who finds great spoil" (Psalm 119:11,16,74, 103,111,148,162, NASB).