This portion of scripture starts off by giving us a list of things that we should not be doing. It seems fairly negative--at least that is what the critics of Christianity would have you believe. How dare God call us away from the antics of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and having conversations that hurt and injure other people! Such restrictions cramp our style. (Sarcasm) What the critics miss is the following qualification: "Laying aside all malice, etc...IF indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
The Apostle Peter is suggesting that my "good" behavior is predicated on the Lord's graciousness. In other words, God unilaterally treated me with graciousness, causing me to lay aside a lot of egocentric nonsense that I no longer need. Think about our lives in Christ: He graciously rescued us from sin and remains an ardent supporter, so much so that He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us!
What can I say? I want to live right. I want to do good. I want to lay aside sin and avoid the consequences thereof! Laying aside vices--walking in spiritual virtue--setting a high standard of personal conduct--all happen to be "things" that I want to do! I want to please God, because He has been miraculously good to me. I am always surprised by Christians who complain about the list of "thou shalt nots" that they somehow "feel" that they are missing out on. There is nothing on that list that I want to do, because, without a doubt, I have indeed tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Author's Note: I have found life with Christ to be meaningful and blessed. Indeed; "All things have worked together for my good." I don't feel as if I missed out on anything by walking in the light; at least anything that would have enriched my life. When it comes to the graciousness of God--it is without end. God has been nothing less than loving, kind, patient, good and gracious to "Yours Truly!" RJD