Verse of the Day Devotion. 1 Peter 2:1
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,” – 1 Peter 2:1
The ‘therefore’ refers back to chapter one where Peter spoke of being born again to a living hope, that being life everlasting with God. As well as His calling on us to live a holy life. He is saying, because of all this, we are to put away all malice and guile, as well as hypocrisy, envy, and slander. As Christians and thus children of God, we must not participate in these things, for in doing so we are not acting in love for our fellow man. Let take a look at each of these.
By definition, malice is the intention or desire to do evil due to enmity against someone in our heart. While in some contexts this term simply means evil, depravity, or vice, the intent here regards ill-will. This refers to something that destroys fellowship which is harmful and could destroy Christian communities. It is often associated with grumbling, bitterness, and envy. This is an internal heart issue that eventually shows up in negative behavior.
Next comes guile, essentially saying one thing but meaning another. The idea here is that the person is speaking or acting with evil ulterior motives, which would in some way cause harm if the person accepted it. Next, comes a similar idea, hypocrisy. This is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. This is where people are not so much robbed or injured as deceived.
Next we see envy, a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, luck, etc. This is looking at someone and either wishing you had something they had, or wishing they did not have it. And finally, slander. This is the idea of spreading something false about someone that injures a brother or sister’s reputation.
None of these should be done or promoted in the Christian community. These are the ways of the world, not of believers. As Peter wrote earlier, “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16. We are to be holy in our conduct and our thoughts. None of these are holy activities and should not be in us.
We are to be as infants who when hungry go for the mother’s milk. We should desire the word of God in the scriptures and learn how we are to live, and how not to live. We are called to love everyone; God, our brothers, and sisters in Christ, and those who are not saved. If we have malice, envy, and/or deceit in our hearts, or are hypocritical and slanderous, how can we say we love others? Jesus told the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. Do not take on these sinful activities, for in no ways are these characteristics of love, and if people see or hear of us doing them, it will cover the light we are to be in the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.