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Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible
1 Peter 2

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

Outline of :

Things To Put Away:

A Living Stone In A Spiritual House:

The New Israel:

Introductory Comments:

‘In this chapter we continue the apostle’s discussion of the requirements of holiness….most of all it means being clothed with the likeness of Jesus Himself, and following in His steps. Because it was of great importance in the first century for the disciples of Christ, by their holy and virtuous behavior, to confute the accusations of their adversaries (who charged them with every conceivable crime)..Next Peter tells both Jews and Gentiles that by their believing on Christ, being built up into a temple and nation for the worship of God, all the honors formerly appropriated to the Jews, as the visible church and people of God, now belong to them.’ (Oberst pp. 89-90)

Outline of :

I. Conduct Before Unbelievers:

II. Submission To Civil Authorities:

III. The Obligations Of Servants:

How To Handle Suffering:

Introductory Comments:

We could call this section, ‘Christians keep God at the center of every relationship’. ‘Having discussed their privileges as the elect of God, our author turns to discussing the place of these Christians in the world. If they are so exalted, should they even recognize societal institutions? And if, despite their best efforts to live peacefully, they are attacked, how should they deal with society?’ (Davids p. 94) God has already commanded these Christians to be holy (). Now Peter tells them how they can be holy while at the same time living among unbelievers. POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Holiness can exist in less than ideal circumstances. Faithfulness is dependent upon one’s love for God, and not surrounding external factors. We can never excuse ourselves from serving God on the basis of hardship (2:20). 2. This section reveals: A. Becoming a Christian doesn’t excuse you from obeying the laws of the land or paying your taxes. B. Even worldly people in positions of authority are to be respected for the office they hold. C. The purpose of Christianity isn’t to reform or replace human institutions. The goal of Christianity isn’t to become the civil authority in the land or to create a nation of Christians-only.


Verse 1

1 Peter 2:1 ‘Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.’

‘Therefore’-‘resumes the line of argument which was interrupted by verses 23 to 25. The word “so”, or “therefore”, refers back to the command “love one another” in verse 22. This verse explains in more detail what is involved in loving one another “earnestly”: one must put away (give up, get rid of) attitudes and habits which are harmful to others.’ (Grudem p. 93) (Romans 6:2; Romans 6:11; Colossians 3:1-5)

‘putting aside’-‘lay aside, rid oneself of’ (Arndt p. 101). The tense is aorist, which indicates a definite and decisive act with permanent results. The admonition is to put off the following things for good, make a clean break. The phrase ‘putting aside’, ‘means literally to discard clothing…signifies the putting away of the evils of one’s former life as one would discard dirty and defiled linen (Romans 13:12; Colossians 3:8; Colossians 3:10; James 1:21).’ (Woods p. 53) ‘So once for all get rid of’ (Wms); ‘Now that you have done with..’(TCNT) (See also Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 4:25; Hebrews 12:1).

POINT TO NOTE: No one can remove these things from our lives, but ourselves. The final decision to part with sinful attitudes and actions must rest with us. We make the choice! Therefore, sin isn’t inherent or genetic. And years of counseling, therapy, listening to good preaching, etc…can never make the choice that only we can make. The good news is that each one of us has within ourselves the ability to part with any sin. Thus a habitual sin, is simply a sin that I presently do not want to stop.

‘all’-Even a little bit of sin cannot be justified. Notice that the word ‘all’ not only applies to malice, but all the other sins mentioned here. We need to remember this, because rationalizing a little sin is such a common practice.

‘malice’-ill will and especially the desire to injure. ‘an evil disposition and a malignant spirit’ (Woods p. 53). This word in the New Testament is frequently joined with grumbling, bitterness and envy (1 Corinthians 5:8; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; Titus 3:3). ‘Especially when a community (congregation) is under pressure there is a tendency to begin bickering and division, which only makes the community that much more vulnerable to outside pressure.’ (Davids p. 80) Malice is the opposite of love. One is active ill will directed toward others, the other, is active good will. ‘A malicious disposition leads to deception, deceit, envy and defamation; and the effort to conceal such produces hypocrisy’ (Woods p. 54)

‘all guile’-‘all deceitfulness’ (Wey). ‘craft, deceit’ (Thayer p. 155); ‘full of every kind of treachery’ (Arndt p. 203). All manner or every form of deception. ‘Deceitfulness that harms others through trickery or falsehood.’ (Grudem p. 93) This would involve removing all deception in your business dealings, marriage, family, and associations with brethren. Let us be careful that in dealing with others we don’t adopt worldly and carnal methods that are so often justified in the surrounding society. Since God is a God of truth, then His people must be truthful. This verse also infers that when we teach others the gospel, that we are completely honest with them. When someone asks what we believe about a certain topic, we need to be honest. If we aren’t sure, then admit it.

‘hypocrisy’-‘insincerity’ (TCNT). ‘pay acting’ (Vine p. 241). This would include, speaking or acting from impure motives (Matthew 6:1-4); pretending to be righteous on the outside, while remaining unconverted on the inside (Matthew 23:23 ff). The love commanded, which we are to have for our brethren, must be real (1 Peter 1:22). The presentation of God’s word must be done with complete truthfulness (1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 4:2).

‘envy’-‘the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others.’ (Vine p. 37) ‘the opposite of thankfulness for good which comes to others.’ (Grudem p. 94) Notice how ‘mental’ sinful attitudes need to be removed just as well as the actual act. ‘Therefore in his list Peter has neatly cut the ground from any practice other than open truth and love among members of the Christian community; it may be the “tough love” of a rebuke, but Christians should be able to trust that no ulterior motives lie behind fellow-believers’ actions and that nothing is said in their absence that has not already been said to their face.’ (Davids p. 81)

‘slander’-‘evil speech, defamation, detraction’ (Arndt p. 412) The above sins are all interconnected. Included in ‘slander’ would be backbiting and gossip. ‘The tongue is a very willing instrument to express the ill will of the heart.’ (Hamilton p. 63) (James 4:11)


Verse 2

1 Peter 2:2 ‘like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation’

‘like newborn babes’-‘Thirst, like newborn infants’ (Wey). While new converts or the spiritually immature are called babes (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:13). This expression doesn’t suggest that these Christians were recent converts. Rather, they are to crave the nourishment from the Word of God, like a newborn craves feeding time.

‘long for’-‘earnestly desire’ (Vincent p. 641); ‘an ever-recurring desire for the word of God such as is characteristic of infants in their passionate longing and yearning for the milk which alone constitutes their food.’ (Woods p. 54) This should be true of all Christians.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Every Christian needs to have an intense desire for God’s communication to man (Psalms 41:1-2; Matthew 5:6). At the present this is the only tangible contact that we have from God. Like cherishing a note from a departed father, mother or spouse or a letter from a loved one that we can’t see due to distance or circumstances. 2. ‘Infants do not have to be constantly urged and admonished to seek the source of their life!’ (Woods p. 55) 3. And intense desire for the word of God will be developed when we realize that we can depend upon nothing else for true nourishment.

‘the pure’-In contrast to the deception () found in the world. The truth found within the Bible is pure and it hasn’t been watered down or corrupted. 1. Peter could not call the word of God ‘pure’ if it had been corrupted, or if books and teachings had been removed or added. 2. Throughout the Scriptures it is always stated without reserve that the word of God can be trusted (John 17:17; Psalms 19:7-14; Psalms 119:1-176). God would never had said such things, if He knew that the Scriptures would eventually become a completely untrustworthy collection of writings. 3. Following the Bible is never a bad idea. Accepting the teachings found in the Scriptures will never bring out the undesirable in an individual. 4. The word pure also suggests that the Bible is completely free of error or impurity.

‘milk of the word’-others translate this expression, ‘spiritual milk’ (ASV). ‘Word’-‘agreeable to reason, reasonable’ (Thayer p. 379). ‘Word’ here is translated ‘spiritual’ in Romans 12:1 ‘which is your spiritual service of worship.’ POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Only the word of God can nourish the soul (Matthew 4:4). There are many wonderful benefits to poetry, good literature, art, music, etc….But we must never allow any of these to assume the role that only the Bible can fulfill. 2. The word of God is ‘reasonable’ (1 John 5:3). Every demand made by God is a very reasonable demand. Therefore, the person who rejects God is being unreasonable. Reason and the rejection of the Bible are not mutual friends, rather, they are sworn enemies (Acts 26:25). Therefore the faith of the Christian is not based on a subjective/emotional experience. Rather, it is the result of examining the overwhelming evidence (Romans 10:17).

‘of the word’-i.e. the word which they drank from, just as we do, the written word of God. The message that was preached and recorded (1 Peter 1:23-25). In other places God’s revelation is mentioned as being spiritually nourishing (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4); pure (Psalms 12:6; Psalms 18:8; Psalms 119:96); and the idea of longing for it (119:20; 131).

‘that by it you may grow in respect to salvation’-final salvation (). 1. Spiritual growth is completely dependent upon our attitude towards and our time spent in the Scriptures (Hebrews 5:14). 2. Everyone who becomes a Christian isn’t guaranteed automatic growth. One can remain at the babe stage (1 Corinthians 3:2). 3. Eternal life is conditional. Final salvation depends upon our acceptance and application of what God has revealed. 4. The word helps us discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14); prepares us for judgment (John 12:48); equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17); and increases our faith (Romans 10:17). Therefore, we must never think that we have outgrown Bible Study or Bible reading.


Verse 3

1 Peter 2:3 ‘if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord’

‘if’-or since. The tense of the verb reveals that Peter is assuming that they have.

‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’-‘Tasted’-Feel, try, experience. ‘found by experience that the Lord is kind’ (TCNT). ‘Kindness’-Every Christian has experienced that God is extremely kind, for God has forgiven their sins and has even adopted them as His own children (Galatians 4:4-6). Psalms 34:8 ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good’.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Here we find additional motivation to desire the Word of God. For we have already experienced that God is very kind in our redemption. That should motivate us to come back for more of His teaching. What other great and kind things does He have in store for us? 2. ‘to read or listen to Scripture is to hear the Lord speak, to take his good and nourishing words into one’s heart. To drink…the Word is to ‘taste’ again and again what he is like….Moreover, those words give direction into the “good” paths of life (1 Peter 3:10-12); and give promises of his continued “goodness” in time of need (2 Peter 1:4).’ (Grudem pp. 96-97) 3. This means, if we have a hard time getting motivated to read the Bible, and to read with enjoyment, or to pray to God, then we have never really appreciated what God did for us. Failure to grow, is failure to appreciate your salvation (2 Peter 1:9). ‘That person who trusts in the Lord enough to be obedient to his will finds a pleasant and enjoyable experience.’ (Hamilton p. 68) In contrast, the ‘taste’ of the world is a very bitter experience (Titus 3:3; Romans 6:21).

Living Stones And A Spiritual House:

‘Peter uses extensive Old Testament imagery to show that New Testament believers (both Jew and Gentile) are in fact a new “people of God” who have come to possess all the blessings of Old Testament Israel but in far greater measure.’ (Grudem p. 97)


Verse 4

1 Peter 2:4 ‘And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,’

‘And coming to Him’-‘indicating a “close” and an habitual (present participle) approach and an intimate association.’ (Vincent p. 642). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. An expression used in the Greek translation of the O.T., for coming into God’s presence in the tabernacle to offer sacrifices (Exodus 12:48; Exodus 16:9; Leviticus 10:4-5). ‘By this expression Peter hints…that all believers now enjoy the great privilege, reserved only for priests in the Old Testament.’ (Grudem p. 97). 2. Jesus is our only access to a relationship with God (John 14:6; Hebrews 4:14-16). 3. Christians are encouraged to constantly draw near (Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 12:18; Hebrews 12:22)

‘as to a living stone’-Jesus is that living stone (Isaiah 28:16; Psalms 118:22). Unlike other religions, the founder of Christianity is a self-existent being, the eternal Creator Himself (John 1:1-3). And one Who can depart spiritual life to others. ‘The fact that Christ is the living stone shows at once his superiority of an Old Testament temple made of dead stones, and reminds Christians that there can be no longing for that old way of approach to God, for this way is far better.’ (Grudem p. 98)

‘rejected by men’-‘reject after scrutiny, declare useless’ (Arndt p. 90) Isaiah 53:3. Besides other factors, this rejection was motivated by willful ignorance Acts 3:14; Acts 3:17; Acts 13:27; and envy Matthew 27:18. Therefore we need to properly evaluate the rejection we face in the world. ‘Rejected’ is a word that we can certainly identify. How many times do you find yourself simply ignored or dismissed by the world? The world is in darkness (Acts 26:18), and it can’t even find God with its own wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21). The person who rejects the message we preach is the person with the problem.

‘but choice and precious in the sight of God’-1. ‘Choice’-select, ‘excellent, best usually chosen’ (Arndt p. 242). 2. ‘Precious’-‘held in honor, dear’ (Vine p. 275); ‘preciousness as recognized, or held in honor’ (Vincent p. 642) 3. ‘in the sight of God’-which is the only opinion that matters. God not only selected Jesus, but He esteemed Him better than any other foundational stone. These words suggest that we need to esteem Jesus just as highly as the Father esteems Him.


Verse 5

1 Peter 2:5 ‘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.’

‘you also’-Similar to the vine and the branches comparison (John 15:1 ff), Jesus is the chief cornerstone upon whom are Christians are said to be built upon.

‘as living stones’-‘Note that this building requires living stones---those that have life, vigor, and vitality…There is no place for dead bricks in Christ’s living tabernacle, the church. We are not, as in the old temple stones, plastered permanently into a wall! If we fail to be “doers of the word” (James 1:22) we will be rejected, not of men, perhaps, but God, the Master Builder.’ (Oberst p. 99)

‘built up as a spiritual house’-This house is the Church (1 Timothy 3:15). The foundation of this house is Jesus Himself (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20). One is added to this relationship upon baptism (Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47). As God had only one Temple, in like manner, God has only one household (Ephesians 2:19-20). Both the tabernacle (Exodus 25:9) and the temple (1 Chronicles 28:11-19), were built according to an exact pattern. In like manner, the Church is also constructed according to a pattern (1 Timothy 3:15).

‘for a holy priesthood’-This is what God had desired for Israel (Exodus 19:6). **’There is not a body of priests within the body of Christ, the church, separate and apart from other members of the body.’ (Hamilton p. 72) Upon conversion, each Christian is a priest (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10), and therefore each Christian is expected to offer something to God. This also infers, that each Christian has direct access to God through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).

POINT TO NOTE: In the Old Testament, before serving in the tabernacle or temple, the priests had to first wash in the laver (Exodus 30:17-21). In like manner, before one can serve as a priest in the house of God, one must also be washed, by submitting to baptism (Titus 3:5) and coming in contact with the blood of Christ.

‘to offer up spiritual sacrifices’-1. ‘To offer up’-The usual term in the O.T. for offering of sacrifice, lit., to bring up to the altar. 2. ‘Spiritual sacrifices’-in contrast to the material and animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. Such sacrifices include giving our bodies in serving God (Romans 12:1), singing and praying ( Hebrews 13:15-16; Psalms 141:2); and doing what we can to help in spreading the gospel (Philippians 4:18).

‘acceptable to God’-1. God’s standard hasn’t changed. As He required the best among the animals offered to Him in the O.T. (Malachi 1:6-9), God requires the best of our efforts in serving Him. 2. This infers that God isn’t obligated to accept all that is offered to Him. Unacceptable worship still exists, including worship which is unauthorized (Leviticus 10:1-2; 1 Samuel 15:1-23; Matthew 15:1-9);worship that isn’t from the heart (1 Corinthians 13:1-4); or worship which is engaged in with a careless attitude (1 Corinthians 11:27-28).

‘through Jesus Christ’-Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. Therefore we must always, as Christians, reject every human attempt to form a group of human mediators to which Christians must go to find favor with God, i.e. prayer or discipleship partners, Catholic priests, etc..


Verse 6

1 Peter 2:6 ‘For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.”’

‘For’-The statement about Jesus being a living stone in found in the Old Testament. ‘Peter now supports his affirmation in verses 4 and 5 with several Old Testament quotations.’ (Grudem p. 101)

‘contained in Scripture’-The Scripture cited is Isaiah 28:16. Notice how Peter viewed the Old Testament, it wasn’t myth or story, rather it was Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). The word Scripture also applies to the writings of the New Testament (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Timothy 5:18). Please note that the Biblical writers never apply the term to non-biblical writings.

‘Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone’-1. ‘Behold’-calling people to pay attention to what is about to be said. 2. ‘In Zion’-a name applied to Jerusalem, or at least certain parts of the city since the time of David (2 Samuel 5:7). 3. Outside the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended. It is the city in which God set up this spiritual house (Acts 2:47; Isaiah 2:2-4).

‘precious corner stone’-The cornerstone was the most important stone in the foundation of a building. The cornerstone was laid first, and often reached dimensions of 7 x 14 feet. The entire building had to await the arrival of the cornerstone. Hence, one still cannot have ‘Christianity’ while at the same time rejecting the deity of Christ. Modern denominations which reject the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His bodily resurrection, etc…are not ‘Christian’ in any sense of the word. Upon the cornerstone rested two walls, some have suggested that in like manner, Jesus joins both Jews and Gentiles in one body (Ephesians 2:14-20). ‘a stone placed at the corner, or the intersecting angle, where two walls of a building come together. By uniting two intersecting walls, a cornerstone helped align the whole building and tie it together.’ (Nelsons p. 257) Solomon used huge cornerstones in his buildings, some of those uncovered are more than 38 feet long and weigh above 100 tons.

‘And he who believes in Him’-Indicating that faith in Jesus is a choice (John 3:36).

‘shall not be disappointed’-put to shame, frustrated or ashamed. ‘to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived.’ (Thayer p. 331); ‘shall have no cause for shame’ (TCNT). ‘Indicates an attitude of mind and disposition of heart enabling one to be calm and unflurried, hence not stampeded into fearful and hasty flight.’ (Woods p. 59) One can place their trust, hopes and confidence in all sorts of things (others, money, beauty, power, etc..), but all such things will eventually fail and disappoint. Death and or the judgment day will be a time of shame for those who refused to place their confidence in Jesus. But those who place their trust in Jesus will never be disappointed. The only sure investment for the future is trust in the Son of God.


Verse 7

1 Peter 2:7 ‘This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,”’

‘This precious value’-‘It is you, therefore, who believe who see its value’ (Gspd). Which means that the only person who admits the true value of Jesus is the person who places their trust in Him. Many people in the world claim to have some respect for Jesus. But God doesn’t accept admiration from afar. A person hasn’t seen the true value of Jesus until they obey Him (Philippians 3:8).

‘for those who disbelieve’-refuse or withhold belief. ‘implying that the unbeliever has had a full opportunity of believing and has rejected it.’ (Vine p. 314) ‘in the present tense in the Greek, indicating a persistent unwillingness to be convinced.’ (Oberst p. 102)

‘which the builders rejected’-(Psalms 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11). By rejecting Christ, the Jewish rulers placed themselves in the foolish position of being builders who in trying to construct a building, rejected the most important stone in the building. They attempted to build without a foundation. Point to Note: The thought seems to be that anyone who rejects Jesus falls into the same category as did the Jewish rulers. When a person rejects Jesus today, they are being just as rebellious as the people who crucified Him (Hebrews 6:4-6).

‘This became the very corner stone’-Human rejection doesn’t stop God’s purpose. God’s plan wasn’t put on hold or even hindered (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11). Those who rejected Jesus have been proven wrong, by the Father’s exaltation of Jesus (Ephesians 1:20-23).


Verse 8

1 Peter 2:8 ‘and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.’

‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’-(Isaiah 8:14) 1. ‘Stone of stumbling’-a stumbling block, a stone which causes men to stumble. ‘There seems to be here a picture of construction workers who were stumbling over the very object they had cast out and left to the side of the building they were erecting. Or, perhaps more accurately, they continued to stumble at the projecting cornerstone, even after God had placed it (Him) in His proper place as head of the corner..’(Oberst pp. 102-103) 2. ‘Rock of offense’-‘anything which arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance or causes to fall by the way, the hindrance in itself may be good.’ (Vine p. 129) 3. Christianity will ‘offend’ certain individuals. People erroneously assume that if something doesn’t sound good to them, if they say, ‘Well, I cannot accept that’, then it must not be true. Man isn’t the standard for truth (Isaiah 55:8-9). We must never try to make the gospel into a ‘non-offensive’ message.

‘for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word’-1. ‘Stumble’-‘take offence at, feel repugnance for, reject’ (Arndt p. 716). Notice that this stumbling isn’t accidental and neither is it inherent in their nature. There is a clear reason why people reject Jesus Christ. 2. ‘Disobedient to the word’-‘to refuse to be persuaded, to refuse belief, to be disobedient’ (Vine p. 319) ‘Lit., “unbelieving”..willful opposition’ (P.P. Comm. p. 71).

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Unbelief is active opposition to the truth. One must work at becoming an unbeliever. One must reject the evidence which is all around them (Romans 1:20). One must also adopt foolish and illogical theories to support his or her unbelief (Romans 1:21). 2. Unbelief is a moral problem, not an intellectual problem. They stumble, because they are disobedient to the word, i.e. the word of God. ‘It indicates that many who reject Christ do so because of moral disobedience to God in their lives.’ (Grudem p. 107) 3. One cannot accept Jesus and at the same time, reject the words of Christ (John 12:48). Those who reject the ‘plan’, automatically reject the ‘man’. One cannot have a relationship with God, one cannot believe in Him or trust Him, without accepting what He taught.

‘and to this doom they were also appointed’-1. Specific individuals are not appointed for destruction, rather, it is the penalty for disobedience. It was God’s choice that obedience should be rewarded and that disobedience must be punished. 2. If one fails to accept the teachings of Christ, they will stumble. This is a natural cause and effect (Galatians 6:7). 3. Those who rejected Jesus were told to repent (Acts 2:36-38; Acts 3:17-19), which proves that no one has been predestined for doom. ‘God, in placing man under circumstances involving the possibility of great benefit as well as terrible dangers, expects man to seize the benefits and avoid the dangers; and if man refuses to do so, he cannot complain that God is unjust.’ (Woods p. 62)


Verse 9

1 Peter 2:9 ‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;’

‘But you are’-Only two groups exist. And what makes the difference is obedience to Christ. Carefully note that unbelief is equated to disobedience to the word (), therefore belief in Christ involves obedience to the word.

‘chosen race’-all these blessings are for ‘you who believe’ (). ‘Chosen’-picked out. ‘Race’-nation, people. POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Jewish and Gentiles believers in Christ now compose the chosen people, the true Israel (Galatians 3:29; Galatians 6:16; Romans 2:28-29; Matthew 21:43). 2. This reveals that physical Israel no longer plays a role in the plans of God. God doesn’t have one spiritual purpose for physical Israel and another spiritual purpose for the Church. Those who don’t accept Jesus are doomed! (John 8:24)

‘Royal Priesthood’-‘Royal’-‘a priesthood of royal rank, or in royal service’ (Arndt p. 371). Again, a destination that was given to Israel in the Old Testament (Exodus 19:6). Which is now given to Christians (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:9). 1. This expression infers that Jesus is presently reigning as King (Acts 2:29-31), and that we are in a sense sharing in that reign (Ephesians 2:6). 2. Have you ever though of yourself as ‘royalty’? 3. Christian do you realize that you have higher connections and more wealth than any earthly prince or king? That you have access to God that Cardinals, archbishops and even the Pope doesn’t have? That you have greater insight into truth than any philosopher, theologian, scholar or guru? ‘Of, course this priesthood of all believers is a concept contrary to the clergy-laity system (a concept that, in many instances, has someone else assuming our rightful Christian responsibilities and privileges.)’ (Oberst p. 105)

‘a Holy Nation’-‘a dedicated nation’ (NEB). What God desired of Israel (Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6). Dedication to God and purity is one of the themes of this letter (1:15; 2:11; 4:16). As a congregation, do we act like a group of people who are dedicated to God’s service? Our loyalty must always be first to our heavenly citizenship (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:1-2).

‘a people for God’s own possession’-‘a people claimed by God for His own’ (NEB). ‘Possession’-‘one’s own property’ (Thayer p. 504). (Titus 2:14) ‘the private, special treasured possession of God..’ (P.P. Comm. p. 72). Again, such an expression had been used of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18; Exodus 19:6; Malachi 3:17). 1. This passage contradicts the idea of the universal Fatherhood of God (i.e. God created us all, therefore we are all God’s children, and will all end up saved.) Only Christians truly belong to God. For they have been purchased with the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5-6). The statement is very exclusive. 2. Concerning everything which God has created, the only thing that God will ‘get’ is His people.

‘that’-such a relationship brings with it a great and wonderful responsibility.

‘you may proclaim’-1. ‘You may’-freewill, choice. 2. ‘Proclaim’-‘make known by praising or proclaiming, celebrate’ (Thayer p. 220).

‘the excellencies of Him who has called you’-‘Excellencies’-‘gracious dealings, excellent and glorious attributes’ (Alford p. 1641). ‘intrinsic eminence, moral goodness, virtue’ (Vine p. 189). ‘that you may proclaim the wondrous deeds’ (Mof). Note that the word “excellencies” is plural. There is so much that can be said about the wonderful nature and acts of God. The list is endless.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Christians are people who tell others about the greatness of God: Isaiah 43:21 ‘The people whom I formed for Myself, Will declare My praise’. Are we sold on God? Do we talk about God in wonderful and glorious terms? Are we so impressed with our own salvation that we can’t stop talking about our new life and its blessings? Mark 5:19 ‘Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.’ 2. ‘Christians are to “publish abroad” the mighty works of God, which include both his activity in creation and his miracle of redemption in the life, death, resurrection, and revelation of Jesus Christ.’ (Davids pp. 92-93) 3. According to the verse, this is one of our reasons for existing! For examples of praise see (Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 15:3-4; Revelation 19:1). 4. God needs to be praised when we preach the gospel to individuals (Acts 17:21-31). In addition, the character and reputation of God needs to be defended when we hear people assigning the origin of this earth to Evolution, etc…5. ‘The answer to our search for ultimate meaning lies in “declaring the excellencies” of God, for he alone is infinitely worthy of glory. Redemption is ultimately not man-centered but God-centered.’ (Grudem p. 112) 6. The Psalmists often talk about the greatness of God (9:14; 71:15; 73:28; 79:13; 107:22; 119:13,26)

‘who called you out of darkness’-By the gospel message (2 Thessalonians 2:14). ‘Darkness’-(Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12-14). How many of us realize that we were in darkness? What would your life be like today, if you were still in the darkness?

‘into His marvelous light’-‘Marvelous’-‘wonderful, remarkable’ (Arndt p. 352). 1. Do we appreciate the insight, knowledge, clarity, etc…given to us by the Word of God? (Psalms 119:130). 2. Like men and women who had been blind, we can now see, really see what life is all about. Have we taken this for granted? Think of all the hurtful and foolish attitudes and opinions from which God has set you free. Think of the consequences which you have avoided. Think of the vast improvement in your life and especially the life to come. God has liberated us from ignorance, guilt, bondage to sin, sinful addictions, superstition, worry, etc…


Verse 10

1 Peter 2:10 ‘for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.’

‘for you once were not a people’-Prior to their conversion, these people had not belonged to God. The idea of predestination completely dies in this verse. How could people predestined from eternity for salvation have never been the people of God? Outside of Christ, one doesn’t belong to God (Ephesians 2:11-13). This statement also suggests many Christians from a Gentile background. For the Jews had been the people of God. No matter who you are in the eyes of the world, if you don’t belong to God, then you are a spiritual nobody.

‘but now are the people of God’-Note the singular. The people of God is composed of all Christians. We don’t find ‘peoples of God’. Not just ‘a’ people of God, but ‘THE’ people of God.

‘you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy’-A quotation from Hosea 2:23, which is applied to the Gentiles in Romans 9:25-26. 1. There is no mercy outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Until one comes into contact with the blood of Jesus, one is far off (Ephesians 2:13). 2. This mercy is available to all who choose to obey Christ (Revelation 21:17). 3. If people in remote Turkey needed to be born again to be saved (1:23), then people in any part of the world need to obey Jesus to receive the same salvation. 4. Mercy isn’t dispensed in an automatic or unconditional manner (Titus 2:11-12). It could not be made any plainer that the Church has replaced physical Israel as THE people of God. And that from now on until the end of time, mercy will only be dispensed to the person who believes on Jesus as the Son of God. This applies to every Jew and every Gentile (Romans 11:22-23).


Verse 11

1 Peter 2:11 ‘Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.’

‘Beloved’-‘dear friends’ (Arndt p. 6); ‘term of endearment and warm affection’ (Woods p. 65) A word which indicates that Peter himself was practicing a sincere love for the brethren (). ‘By using the word ‘beloved’ Peter reminds his readers that though he exhorts them as an apostle he also cares for them as beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family.’ (Grudem p. 114)

‘I urge you’-‘admonish, exhort’ (Thayer p. 482). The word ‘urge’ reveals that the information to follow isn’t optional, at the same time, the word hints at the freewill of the readers. ‘The word..has the sense “I strongly urge you, I strongly appeal to you’ (Grudem p. 114)

‘as aliens’-a word denoting a temporary resident, stranger or foreigner. It reminds these Christians, that this world is not their home (Philippians 3:20-21; Matthew 6:19-20). ‘Because our citizenship papers are in heaven, we should be speaking heaven’s language and observing the ways and customs that heaven has designed’ (Oberst p. 110) ‘one who lives in a place that is not his true home’ (Grudem p. 114)

‘strangers’-‘away from one’s own people’ (Vine p. 183) (1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 1:17)

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘The knowledge that they do not belong does not lead to withdrawal (like a hermit), but to….. taking their standards of behavior, not from the culture in which they live, but from their “home” culture of heaven, so that their life always fits the place they are headed to, rather than their temporary lodging in this world.’ (Davids p. 95). 2. ‘The knowledge that Christians have no true home here on earth has been of comfort especially to those who spend years and even lifetimes away from their earthly homes ( or home town) in the service of Christ.’ (Grudem p. 115) 3. The words ‘alien’ and ‘strangers’ is an indictment against all who want the Church to change with the times and accommodate its teachings to the present culture. Such doctrines as the New Hermeneutic would argue that Christians no longer have to be aliens and strangers in this world. 4. The faithful in past ages have always had a ‘sojourner’ attitude (Hebrews 11:10-16). 5. God’s people have always needed to guard themselves against becoming like the unbelieving cultures surrounding them (Leviticus 18:3; Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15; James 4:4). 6. To live like a sojourner, one must think like one, i.e. our heart and mind must be focused on our true home (Colossians 3:-12; Matthew 6:21). 7. The Christian must always remember that we don’t take our cue from the customs of this world. Just because man says something is legal, or something is a ‘right’, it doesn’t we have the ‘right’ to engage in it. What is truly right or wrong, comes from heaven (Matthew 16:19) 8. Christian, how well are you representing your homeland? 9. The Christian who has placed other things ahead of God (Matthew 6:33) is no longer a pilgrim, rather, they have become a permanent resident.

‘to abstain’-‘hold oneself from, keep from’ (Vine p. 16). Here in the present tense, ‘keep on abstaining from.’

‘fleshly lusts’-‘physical cravings’ (Gspd).

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. I am always intrigued by those who try to make the above statement mean something like, ‘the lusts of our sinful nature’. But if one is born with a sinful nature, then other doctrines of Calvinism are also true, i.e. once saved, always saved, and predestination. Which would completely undermine the exhortation ‘to abstain’. For why should I abstain, if I can’t lose my salvation? And why should I abstain if my example won’t make a bit of difference between who ends up saved? 2. Every physical craving isn’t sinful (1 Timothy 4:1-4). Rather, physical cravings become sinful when they become perverted and are abused (Galatians 5:19-21). 3. The word abstain admits a very important truth: ‘Such a command implies that inward desires are not uncontrollable but can be consciously nurtured or restrained---a needed rebuke to our modern society which takes feelings as a morally neutral ‘given’ and disparages any who would say that some feelings and desires are wrong.’ (Grudem p. 115) (See also Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:18; Titus 2:12) Christians are not helpless, we can abstain, even from what the world would consider to be irresistible temptations (2 Timothy 2:22).

‘which wage war against the soul’-‘to carry on a campaign’ (Robertson p. 100) ‘not merely a state of antagonism, but rather a constant, active, aggressive, conflict’ (Woods p. 66). ‘to perform military duty, serve as a soldier’ (Oberst p. 111) Present tense, ‘which are continually waging war.’

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Man does have a soul! 2. ‘To entertain such desires may appear momentarily attractive and entirely harmless…..but they are in reality enemies which inflict harm on the Christian’s soul, making him spiritually weak and ineffective.’ (Grudem p. 115). 3. We don’t have the right to believe or think whatever we want to think (Matthew 5:28). ‘Lust’ will destroy your spiritual health and relationship with God. 4. Allowing sinful desires to enter our minds is nothing short of opening a wide door so the enemy can walk right in. Too many people have bought into the myth that we can think what we want, just as long as our outward actions remain in line. (Mark 7:20-23). 5. And please note that ‘fleshly lusts’ are not just sins involving the body. Rather, they also include such things as arrogance, envy, malice, hatred, etc…(Galatians 5:19-21).

The Positive Result Of Such Abstaining:


Verse 12

1 Peter 2:12 ‘Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.’

‘Keep your behavior’-again, the language of choice and freewill. The final line of defense against sin, is the choice of the individual being tempted (Jude 1:21 ‘keep yourselves in the love of God’; 2 Timothy 4:7 ‘..I have kept the faith’).

‘excellent’-‘praiseworthy, morally good, noble’ (Thayer p. 322). This is in contrast to the vain manner of life, which we had formerly been engaged in living (1 Peter 1:18). ‘lovely, fine, attractive, winsome….The Christian must make his whole way of life so lovely and so fair and so good to look upon that the slanders of his heathen enemies may be undeniably demonstrated to be false.’ (Barclay p. 239)

POINT TO NOTE: 1. We should be encouraged by the word ‘excellent’. Instead of being drawn to a lifestyle in which people feel sorry for us. Shouldn’t we rather be drawn to a lifestyle, which is noble, spiritually attractive, winsome and appealing? 2. You can live an excellent life! (Titus 2:9-10; Matthew 5:13-16)

‘among the Gentiles’-Which implies that Christians are to live among unbelievers. There is no place in Christianity for hermits and monks (Philippians 2:15). ‘Gentiles’-many of their neighbors were probably non-Jewish. But the word Gentile here seems to include all non-Christians. The person of Jewish stock who doesn’t accept Christ, is a ‘Gentile’ in the mind of God (Romans 2:25-29).

‘so that’-one of the purposes of living an excellent life.

‘in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers’-‘to speak against, speak evil of, defame’ (Arndt p. 412). This indicates that some of their trials had come in the form of verbal abuse ().

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The world often gets confused concerning what is right and what is wrong and often gets them reversed (Isaiah 5:20). 2. Barclay notes, ‘Christians were accused of cannibalism. This accusation took its rise from a perversion of the words of the Last Supper, “This is my body”, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”. So the Christians were accused of killing and eating a child at their feasts. The Christians were accused of immorality and even of incest.’ (p. 240) For they talked about loving each other and called each other, ‘brother and sister’. They were accused of being atheists because they refused to worship the politically correct ‘gods’. Of treason against the Empire and being disloyal citizens, because they refused to worship the emperor. (See Acts 17:6-7; Acts 16:21; Acts 28:22). ‘They (Christians) were held responsible for, and blamed with, all the national evils of the day’, wrote Tertullian (died 220-240 A.D.) ‘If the Tiber rises to the walls of the city, if the Nile does not irrigate the fields, if an earthquake takes place, if famine or the pestilence arises, they cry forthwith: “Away with the Christians to the lions”. 3. And nothing has changed! In our own time Christians are accused of being unloving and uncaring because they won’t jump on the pro-abortion bandwagon or endorse the idea of homosexuality is simply a matter of genetics.

‘they may on account of your good deeds’-A good example can overcome prejudice (1 Peter 3:1-4).

‘as they observe them’-‘Observe’-to view attentively and carefully. This implies that unbelievers are constantly watching the conduct of Christians. This ‘observing’ may last for years or decades (). This verse infers that people can get past even very severe prejudices and preconceived ideas. ‘though their original motive was to find occasion for further accusation, they are led from such minute scrutiny to reverse their attitude and glorify God.’ (Woods pp. 68-69) Let us never think that our life isn’t having an impact! People are watching us, watching how we handle life, watching our marriage, watching the way we raise our children, etc…..Don’t give someone an easy excuse why they shouldn’t obey the gospel.

‘glorify God’-to praise, magnify, extol, celebrate. The ultimate purpose of a good life isn’t to bring glory to oneself, but rather, to glorify God (Matthew 5:16).

‘in the day of visitation’-‘Visitation’-‘inspection, investigation’ (Thayer p. 242). The word may refer to either a visitation of mercy (Genesis 50:24-25; Exodus 13:19; Isaiah 23:17;Luke 19:44) or judgment (Job 7:18; Isaiah 10:3; Isaiah 29:6). POINT TO NOTE: 1. Two basic views exist concerning what ‘day’ is the day of visitation. The Second Coming or the day that God visit’s them with mercy when they obey the gospel, in part, due to the godly lives of these Christians. 2. ‘there is no definite article in the Greek text (‘the’ in English) and ‘on a day of visitation’ could be certainly a legitimate translation.’ (Grudem p. 116) 3. Some see these Gentiles being forced to glorify God, ‘the forced acknowledgment by unbelievers that God has been right’ (Philippians 2:11). 4. Grudem argues, ‘The verb “doxazo”, “glorify”, occurs sixty-one times in the New Testament but it is never used to speak of unbelievers …They are converted and glorify God because of seeing your good deeds (cf. Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 3:15-16). Peter gives a specific example of this in 3:1-2..’ (p. 117)

Duties Toward Unbelievers:

Civil Authorities


Verse 13

1 Peter 2:13 ‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,’

‘Submit yourselves’-One of the common accusations directed against Christians is that they did not obey the laws of the land (Acts 16:21; Acts 17:7). At times, the only option we have in dealing with slander, is to simply out live it. ‘Submit’-which includes obedience to the one in authority (Luke 2:51; Ephesians 5:24). Note the next word, ‘yourselves’: ‘submission only because it is forced upon one from external (human) sources is not in the Spirit of Christ.’ (Oberst pp. 118-119) The only submission that counts is submission that is rendered because we love Jesus and this is what Jesus wants (Ephesians 5:22 ‘as to the Lord’; 6:1 ‘in the Lord’; 6:7).

‘for the Lord’s sake’-Which modifies and limits the above statement: 1. The true authority is Christ, and not Caesar or any other human authority. We are to submit to those in positions of civil authority, not because they have inherent authority within themselves, for they are merely another human being. But because Jesus commands submission because He created civil government in the first place (Romans 13:1 ff). 2. The motive for submission needs to be pure. Too many people merely obey because they feel that disobedience carries too high of a price tag. 3. The expression also suggests that we are not bound to obey when civil authority commands something that would involve us in sin, if we did obey (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19-20; Daniel 3:13-18; Daniel 6:10-17; Exodus 1:17). Thus, obey, except when commanded to sin. ‘This is the Christian’s responsibility toward all forms of rightful authority, whether the individual Christians agrees with all the policies of that authority or not.’ (Grudem p. 118)

‘to every human institution’-‘Institution’-‘institution or authority’ (Arndt p. 456).

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘Every’-In the context this includes civil authorities and employers (ff). ‘authority structures in businesses, educational institutions, voluntary organizations, etc..). God has established such patterns of authority for the orderly functioning of human life, and it both pleases and honors him when we subject ourselves to them. Nor should we think that the need for authority is only due to sin, for there is authority among sinless angels (Jude 1:9)…’(Grudem p. 118) 2. God expects submission to every form of government, and not just a certain kind. 3. Submission doesn’t mean that we don’t have a voice, or can’t work for improvements. But it means that when we do speak, let us speak respectfully, and let us offer solutions, instead of complaining just for the sake of having something to criticize. 4. This verse is a rebuke to those who think that no government would constitute the ideal society. In addition, God is a big supporter of having ‘citizenship classes’ as part of the course of study in any school or university.

‘whether to a king as the one in authority’-The emperor, termed ‘king’ by Greek writers. (John 19:15 ‘we have no king but Caesar’). Peter now applies the previous statement to a specific office. ‘The Roman emperor at the time Peter wrote was Nero (reigned A.D. 54-68), under whose persecution Peter himself would later be put to death….God expects Christians to be subject even to human authorities who are neither believers nor morally upright.’ (Grudem p. 119) In our modern times this would be or include the President. ‘As the one in authority’-‘as the supreme authority’ (TCNT). The exact same Greek word (‘authority’) is translated ‘higher’ powers in Romans 13:1. In the form of government which these Christians found themselves under, the Roman Emperor held the supreme place of authority.


Verse 14

1 Peter 2:14 ‘or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right’

‘or to governors as sent by him’-These Christians lived in Roman provinces (), which were ruled by governors and other officials. Roman governors mentioned in the Bible included Pilate (Matthew 27:2) and Felix (Acts 23:24). ‘the legates or procurators (of imperial provinces) and proconsuls (of senatorial provinces), who were the highest authority with which people normally had to deal in their lives. Since they at times had a direct effect on daily life and since their various evils were often well known, they would be much harder to submit to than the distant unknown Emperor.’ (Davids p. 100)

‘for’-Here we have a very brief, but comprehensive description of the role of civil government.

‘the punishment of evildoers’-1. Civil government is God’s minister to administer justice, keep order, and punish the evildoer. 2. This punishment includes the right to execute the criminal (Romans 13:1-4; Acts 25:11). 3. Notice that this punishment doesn’t have to be aimed at reforming the criminal. Reformation is the choice and obligation of the individual being punished. ‘Though some theories of criminal punishment maintain that reforming the criminal and protecting society from further crimes are the only legitimate purposes of punishment, Peter here includes retribution, the inflicting of just desert on the one who has harmed others….By contrast, governments that fail to punish wrongdoers disobey God’s purpose for their existence.’ (Grudem p. 120)

‘praise of those who do right’-‘and encourage honest men’ (Knox). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘Governors deserve submission because even the worst of them preserve some semblance of conformity to pagan standards of good, and that is better than chaos.’ (Davids p. 100) 2. People, even Christians are tempted to complain about the government, but we sometimes fail to appreciate how many benefits are gained, i.e. law and order, which enables people to settle down and conduct business, including providing running water, electricity, transportation systems, comfortable housing, the production of all kinds of material things, food, etc…3. Even a bad or corrupt government is better than anarchy. 4. This verse suggests that civil government is expected by God to provide some incentive for those who do right. This runs contrary to various theories which suggest that government should treat everyone alike. In addition, governments often get sidetracked in rewarding the lazy.


Verse 15

1 Peter 2:15 ‘For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.’

‘For such is the will of God’-Peter isn’t giving his own opinion. The Apostles knew what they were writing (1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

‘that by doing right’-In the immediate context, “doing right” is defined as submitting to the civil authorities. ‘Instead of indulging in vehement vindication of their character and conduct, the saints to whom Peter wrote were admonished to make their good deeds the most conspicuous feature of their lives, this being the most effective defense available to them against the false and malicious slanders…..This was the manner in which God wanted them to defend themselves against such attacks; and it is the way he wants us to meet such today.’ (Woods pp. 72-73)

‘doing right’-Christians should not ridicule the laws of the land, but should be careful to obey them, including traffic laws, tax laws, building codes, etc….Included in the context is also ‘good deeds’ (), which would involve being a generous person and helping those in need (James 1:27). Even pagan cultures admire the person who puts their religious convictions into practice at a very practical level. One of the great tests of any system of thought or belief is, ‘how does it work in the real world?’ Christianity works just fine (Matthew 7:12).

‘may’-Despite your best efforts some will not be convinced or silenced.

‘silence the ignorance of foolish men’-‘silence the ignorant talk of foolish men’ (Mon). 1. ‘Foolish’-‘senseless, without reflection, acting rashly’ (Thayer p. 90); ‘without reason, want of mental sobriety, reckless’ (Vine p. 113). 2. Slander against Christianity is nothing but the careless and irrational thoughts of ignorant men. Those who ridicule and attack the Bible, often view themselves as enlightened, but God calls them ignorant. Every atheist is a person living in ignorance. 3. The verse seems to suggest that the ignorance is willful. It doesn’t say the ignorance of honest and sincere men. 4. Often people wander about the spiritual condition of people who don’t seem to have access to the gospel message. It is assumed by some that their ignorance will be excused. Verses such as this one reveal that ignorance is often a choice (Romans 1:21-22). God might say, ‘Don’t be so naïve’, that native in the jungle is not as innocent as you assume him to be. 4. Notice how God doesn’t allow Peter to give any credit to the criticisms against Christianity. Peter doesn’t say, ‘You know, those unbelievers do have a point, or this criticism against Christianity has some validity.’ Brethren, there is nothing wrong with the gospel, there is nothing wrong with the Church. The only imperfections are found when we fail to practice what we preach. But how many people try to ‘fix’ these problems are overhauling the Church or the Bible, instead of overhauling the members! 5. Mark this down: Those who work for unscriptural change in the Church often focus on tampering with various Biblical doctrines concerning the Church. In fact, they often assume that the Church isn’t growing as it should because of a doctrine that is holding us back. They tell the members, ‘Of course you love the Lord’.


Verse 16

1 Peter 2:16 ‘Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.’

‘Act as free men’-‘live as free men’. 1. Christians have been liberated from sin (John 8:32). In addition we have also been liberated from superstition, distracting anxiety, the fear of death, guilt, etc…2. ‘Any great Christian doctrine can be perverted into an excuse for evil. The doctrine of grace can be perverted into an excuse for sinning..’ (Barclay p. 245) (Romans 6:1; Galatians 5:13; Jude 1:4). 3. ‘Because his readers might think such extensive submission to authority would be oppressively restrictive, Peter explains that true freedom is consistent with obedience to God’s will…True freedom, true ability to choose and do what one really wants to do, comes….in entire submission to God as his obedient servants (cf. James 1:25; 1 John 5:3).’ (Grudem p. 121) 4. ‘Some Gentile sects, confusing liberty with libertinism, maintained that grace meant deliverance from all law (a view likewise held today by those who subscribe to the doctrine of impossibility of apostasy), and the Jews, on the plea that they were in possession of the oracles of God, often claimed immunity from law originating with man.’ (Woods pp. 73-74) 5. Various voices in our society talk quite a bit about freedom, liberty and rights. But true freedom isn’t doing what you want to do, or casting off all restraint. Rather, true freedom means being liberated from selfishness, and being free to serve God and others. The sweetest freedom is choosing to do the right thing, even when such a choice brings hardship and discomfort.

‘and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil’-‘a pretext to do wickedness under’ (Robertson p. 102). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Can you spell ‘relevant’? Nothing has changed. There will always be people, even professed Christians who think that ‘grace’ means that our sinning is no longer a big deal. To some ‘Christian liberty’, ‘or saved by grace’, becomes the slogan to justify anything they want to do. 2. As today, some Christians might have thought that their conversion released them from any obligation to obey the laws of the land (i.e. my only King is Jesus). In the verses that follow, the slave might think that his freedom, set him free from his earthly obligations. 3. Some have claimed that we in the Church of Christ always qualify ‘grace’. But the apostles had to do the same thing (Romans 6:1; Galatians 5:13).

‘but use it as bondslaves of God’-1. There is no such thing as absolute personal liberty. We are always and ever a servant of someone or something (Romans 6:16; 2 Peter 2:19). 2. Freedom must be used and used properly. 2. ‘The Christian is not an isolated unit; he is not an individual and nothing else…Only in Christ is a man freed from self and sin and passion to be as good as he ought to be…Freedom comes when a man takes the yoke of Christ upon him..’ (Barclay p. 246) (Matthew 11:28-29). The following verses examine how our freedom is to be properly used.


Verse 17

1 Peter 2:17 ‘Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.’

‘Honor all men’-‘Show honor to everyone’(Wms). 1. ‘Honor’ is in the aorist tense, suggesting that we are to adopt this principle as a definite rule in our lives. 2. Honor is due to all, even the humblest of men, because every man and woman is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26); their soul is worth more than all the world contains (Matthew 16:26); and Jesus died for all men (1 Timothy 2:6). 3. Being a Christian doesn’t give us the right to look down upon others (Luke 18:9). 4. A religion that breeds contempt, arrogance and disrespect is not Christianity. We are to be courteous and respectful of all people. 5. ‘when Peter wrote this letter it was something which was quite new. As we shall go on to see, there were 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire. Everyone of them was considered in the eyes of the law to be, not a person, but a thing, with no rights whatever. In effect, Peter is saying, “…..remember the dignity of every man; remember that every man in this world is a person, and not a thing.” It is still possible to treat people as things. An employer may treat his employees as simply so many human machines for producing so much work…When we regard anyone as existing simply and solely to minister to our comfort, and to further our plans, we are in effect regarding them, not as persons, but as things. And the most tragic danger of all is that we may come to regard those we live with, those who are nearest and dearest to us as existing to make things comfortable for us…..’ (Barclay p. 247) (Romans 13:7)

‘love the brotherhood’-present tense. (John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 1:15; Philippians 2:2). ‘Practice love for the brotherhood’. Not only respect, but a strong and deep love (1 Peter 1:22). 1. The Universal Church is composed of a brotherhood of believers, not a sisterhood of various denominations. Individuals compose the Church, not separate religious bodies (1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27). 2. But too often, we fail to love properly, those who we should love first and foremost, i.e. fellow Christians. Familiarity should never be used as an excuse not to love brethren, as we should.

‘fear God’-reverential fear, awe. Present tense, ‘keep on fearing God’. The fear of offending or causing pain through misconduct (Woods p. 75) ‘Practice reverence to God’ (Wms). Concerning Proverbs 1:7 ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, Barclay notes, ‘the fear of the Lord is the principal part, the very foundation of wisdom…It is only when God is given His proper place in the centre of things that all others things will take their proper place.’ (p. 248) Our ‘love’ for God can never be allowed to degenerate into mere sentimentality. Our love for God, must always respect God, realize He will punish the rebellious, and that if we really love Him, then we wouldn’t want to do anything which would hurt Him.

‘honor the king’-Even if the king is as morally corrupt as was Nero. Even if the king is opposed to Christianity. This would include praying for him (1 Timothy 2:1-2). (Romans 13:7) 1. The verse makes it clear: While we honor the emperor, we do not honor him as God. 2. What wonderful balance we have in the teachings of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 22:21). How practical and at the same time, lofty teachings.

Servants and Masters:


Verse 18

1 Peter 2:18 ‘Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.’

‘Servants’-POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘the horrible degradation of slaves in 19th-century America gives the word ‘slave’ a far worse connotation than is accurate for most of the society to which Peter was writing. Although mistreatment of slaves could occur then too, it must be remembered that 1st-century slaves were generally well treated and were not unskilled laborers but often managers, overseers, and trained members of the various professions (doctors, nurses, teachers, musicians, skilled artisans)…..They were normally paid for their services and could expect eventually to purchase their freedom….this was by far the most common kind of employee-employer relationship in the ancient world…(Free men who worked for others as day labourers were closer to “independent contractors” today, since they seemed to resist any suggestion that their employers could tell them what to do). In fact, the word ‘employee’, though not conveying the idea of absence of freedom, does reflect the economic status and skill level of these ancient ‘slaves’ better than do either of the words ‘servant’ or ‘slave’ today.’ (Grudem pp. 123-124) 2. The frequent mention of ‘slaves’ in the Epistles, suggests that many First Century Christians belonged to this class (1 Corinthians 7:21-23; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22; 1 Timothy 6:1-2).

‘be submissive’-to subject oneself. ‘the action is volunteered by the Christian servant, rather than forced or coerced by the master.’ (Oberst p. 126)

‘with all respect’-‘with utmost respect’ (Wey). Some Christian slaves might be tempted to think that their conversion released them from the obligation to obey their earthly masters, especially is that master was a Christian. ‘There then arose the danger that the slave might trade and presume upon the new relationship. He might well make the new relationship an excuse for shirking his work, and for failing in his duty, and for general slackness and inefficiency…..That is a situation which is by no means completely at an end. There are still people who trade on the goodwill and the sympathy of a Christian master, and who think that the fact that both they and their employers are Christians gives them a right to dispense with discipline and punishment.’ (Barclay p. 251) POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Contrary to the assumptions of some, God doesn’t always side with the blue-collar worker. 2. Labor and management have definite Divine obligations to each other (Ephesians 6:5-9). 3. Another common assumption, is that if one works for a Christian employer, one shouldn’t have to work as hard. Barclay notes, ‘The Christian must, indeed, be a better workman than anyone else. His Christianity is not a reason for claiming exemption from discipline (or hard work); it should bring him under self-discipline and should make him more conscientious than anyone else.’ (pp. 251-252) 4. Carefully note that Christianity doesn’t abolish our obligations to human relationships (Titus 2:9-10; Ephesians 6:1-9).

‘not only to those who are good and gentle’-‘kind and thoughtful’ (Wey); considerate and fair. Note that ‘good’ masters did exist.

‘but also to those who are unreasonable’-unfair, unjust, crooked, unscrupulous, dishonest, harsh, overbearing, arbitrary, cruel.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Our obligation to our duties, work, job, do not depend upon the character of the person in charge. At times people try to justify their laziness, or uncooperative attitude, because their boss or the company is so unfair. 2. Suffering injustice doesn’t give the Christian a right to act in an unjust manner, i.e. steal time or things from the company, become less then earnest in your work, etc…3. The Christian must always remember that the Master they are always serving in whatever economic situation they find themselves, is Christ (Ephesians 6:5-6). ‘Christianity introduced a new attitude to work. It is the conviction of the New Testament that all work must be done for Jesus Christ….work is not done (primarily) for personal prestige…to make so much money…It is, of course, true that a man must work in order to earn a wage, and he must work to satisfy a master; but beyond that there is for the Christian the conviction that his work must be done well enough to take it and to show it to God without shame.’ (Barclay pp. 253-254). 4. Another New Testament verse which reveals that suffering or hardship do not release us from our obligations. In contrast, the person who believes in a situational ethic must disagree with what God revealed through Peter on this point. 5. For the slave to rise up and kill his master, riot and loot, would prove that the slave was just as evil has his cruel master.


Verse 19

1 Peter 2:19 ‘For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.’

‘For this finds favor’-The slave who remains submissive and respectful, even to an unjust master.

‘if for the sake of conscience toward God’-‘conscious sense of one’s relation to God’ (Vincent p. 647); ‘spiritual awareness of God’ (Arndt p. 786); ‘because conscious of God’s presence’ (TCNT); ‘from a sense of duty to him (God),’ (Mon).

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. We must endure with the right motive. Some endure suffering out of Stoic apathy, others claim that injustice is only an illusion. Others simply have resigned themselves that they are powerless to change the circumstances. And then there are those who endure, simply because they are waiting for the right moment to take revenge. 2. The only motive that gains favor with God, is to endure such injustice, because it is God’s will that we continue to live godly lives, even in the midst of trial. Thus, patience is only a virtue, when it has the right motive behind it, the same is true with all other virtues (1 Corinthians 13:1-4). 3. ‘God is pleased with Christian slaves who bear up under unjust suffering, not because there is no other option or because of their optimistic character, but because they know this pleases God and conforms to the teachings of Jesus.’ (Davids p. 107) 4. God doesn’t exempt Christians from suffering (2 Timothy 3:12; Acts 14:22). Suffering doesn’t prove that God is apathetic or unloving (Romans 8:35).


Verse 20

1 Peter 2:20 ‘For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.’

‘For what credit is there’-The above Scripture needs to be inscribed above the entrance to every jail and prison. There is no merit in receiving punishment for one’s faults. ‘One might show stoic endurance when one is punished for a fault, but it is hardly heroic or praiseworthy.’ (Davids pp. 107-108) ‘Credit’-‘there is no special approval or honour due to you’ (Grudem p. 127)

‘when you sin and are harshly treated’-‘Harshly treated’-lit., to strike with the fist. To some this might seem like God is being insensitive, but God looks at things from the standpoint of eternal reality (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sin deserves much more than simply harsh treatment or even a literal beating (Romans 6:23). Every sinner suffering the physical consequences of their sin(s) needs to be thankful that they aren’t presently suffering the eternal consequences.

‘if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God’-‘do what is right’-present tense, keep doing what is right. ‘patiently endure it’-present tense, keep on enduring. Hardship doesn’t excuse us from ‘doing good’. ‘This kind of endurance is something only made possible by being ‘conscious of God’ () and continually trusting him to care for those rights which have been trampled underfoot by others. At such times trusting God is not easy…But it is then that faith shows itself to be genuine, something that in God’s eyes is “far more precious than gold”.’ (Grudem pp. 127-128)


Verse 21

1 Peter 2:21 ‘For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,’

‘For you have been called for this purpose’-‘Indeed it was to this kind of living that you were called’ (Wms); ‘That is the life to which you have been called’ (Gspd). Trusting God, patiently enduring mistreatment, and doing good, even when it brings suffering, is the type of life to which Christians are called (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:18-20; John 16:33).

‘since Christ also suffered for you’-This statement should silence every complaint or grumbling we might have concerning the previous verses! 1. Our sins brought tremendous suffering upon Jesus (). Hence, we can’t complain and should never feel sorry for ourselves, when we suffer as the result of another’s sinful ways or attitude. 2. Barclay notes, ‘He suffered in order to bring men back to God. And it may be that, when the Christian suffers insult and injury with uncomplaining steadfastness and unfailing love, he sets such an example and shows such a life to others, that that example and that life will lead others to God. It may be that the sufferings of the Christian also can lead men to God, and can be a real and true sharing in the redemptive sufferings of Christ.’ (p. 255) 3. What this says, is that every experience of suffering can be made into something very positive! For the Christian, hardship and suffering never have to be in vain.

‘leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps’- 1 Corinthians 11:1. ‘Follow’-to follow closely. POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Increasingly we are hearing people say, ‘But God wants me to be happy. God wouldn’t want me to remain in this marriage, if such meant that I would be unhappy, etc…’ 2. When people talk about ‘the love of Jesus’, they also need to remember the example of Jesus. ‘Love’ is never a valid excuse in choosing sinful options to avoid suffering. 3. People need to be thankful that Jesus doesn’t think the way they think. If He had, He would have never died for our sins.


Verse 22

1 Peter 2:22 ‘Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;’

‘Who committed no sin’-Quotation from Isaiah 53:9. ‘Who’-Jesus. ‘Committed no sin’-Aorist tense, ‘never in a single instance did Jesus commit sin’ (Woods p. 79). ‘He never sinned, nor was anything deceitful ever heard from his lips’ (TCNT).

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. This statement is quoted by Peter, an eye-witness and close personal follower of Jesus. He had the chance to closely observe Jesus for three years, and see Him constantly under fire from hostile adversaries. And yet, Jesus never sinned. Not even so much as even a suggestion or guess concerning whether He might have sinned. Note the confidence of the statement. 2. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 3:5; John 8:46; John 14:30.

‘nor was any deceit found in His mouth’-1. ‘This was not just an apparent sinlessness, for there was no deceit in Jesus.’ (Davids p. 111) 2. Therefore, we must reject the idea that Jesus endorsed the events described in the Old Testament, even though He personally knew they weren’t true. 3. ‘Guile is mentioned because servants were apt to tell lies to screen themselves from punishment’ (Macknight p. 464). 4. ‘This teaching fits well as an encouragement to suffering slaves, for they are concerned about suffering for doing right. Jesus their Lord was perfectly innocent in every way, they are reminded, and yet he suffered. Thus their innocent suffering can be part of their identification with Christ.’ (Davids p. 111)

The Example Of Jesus Under Fire:


Verse 23

1 Peter 2:23 ‘and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to him who judges righteously;’

‘while being reviled’-At the very moment He was suffering abuse. Godly patience must be exercised right at the moment that suffering hits. ‘Reviled’-‘heap abuse upon’ (Thayer p. 382). Present tense, they kept on reviling Him. Macknight notes, ‘They said he was possessed with a devil; they called him a Samaritan, a glutton, a wine-bibber, a blasphemer, a demonic, one in league with Beelzebub, a perverter of the nation, and a deceiver of the people. In the high priest’s palace, his judges spit in his face. The servants covering his face, smote him with the palms of their hands, and in derision of his pretensions to inspiration bade him prophesy who it was that smote him. In the common hall, the soldiers crowned him with thorns; put a reed into his hand, and smote him therewith, and bowing the knee, said, “Hail King of the Jews”. While hanging on the cross, the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocking him, said, He saved others, himself he cannot save. But, though he could both save himself, and have destroyed them, he did not threaten or punish.’ (p. 464)

‘He did not revile in return’-The picture is of Jesus being continually harassed, spoken against, abused, and yet he never retaliated. (Isaiah 53:7 ‘He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth…). Carefully note that lashing out with the tongue is a form of retaliation. Enduring hardship includes keeping our speech in line (James 1:26). Jesus observed His own teaching concerning loving one’s enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). ‘Unlike the Maccabean martyrs of Jewish history, who called for God’s vengeance on their persecutors….Jesus was silent (Mark 14:61; Mark 15:5; Luke 23:9).’ (Davids p. 111) We are not given the right to get even, or to hurt in return for being hurt. ‘Or if that is impossible people will threaten to get even later, trying to give their enemies at least the anxiety that revenge may be taken sometime in the future.’ (Grudem p. 130)

‘but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously’-POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘Jesus was not, however, simply a Stoic who had moved beyond feeling to detachment.’ (Davids p. 111). 2. ‘Kept entrusting’-present tense. ‘He committed his cause to the one who judges’ (Arndt p. 615) ‘handed over, delivered’. 3. Revenge and retaliation is the response given to hardship , by people who are trusting in themselves. ‘To the suffering person who trusts deeply in God and believes that God is indeed in control of every situation, there is another response (besides retaliation)….Rather than depending on his own abilities to retaliate (which were far greater than the powers of his opponents), when Jesus was suffering he kept entrusting the situation to God the Father, knowing that God would be just and fair, for he is the one who judges justly. It is important to note that Peter here commends neither the supposed therapeutic value of expressing one’s anger when wronged, nor merely holding the anger in and trying to suppress it (both are self-dependent solutions), but rather repeatedly and continually committing the situation into God’s hands’ (Grudem pp. 130-131) 4. Thus, taking our own revenge, or striking back, is a demonstration that we don’t believe that God is just, or that God can be trusted to judge righteously.

‘who judges righteously’-(). 1. Therefore Jesus could entrust Himself, His persecutors, every injustice committed, the whole situation, to the Father. For every act will be recompensed (2 Corinthians 5:10); and none will escape justice. God has the ability to sort everything out. 2. God will recompense the evil-doer (1 Peter 4:5) ‘This knowledge that God will ultimately right all wrongs is essential to a Christian response to suffering. (Colossians 3:25; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9; James 5:7-8).’ (Grudem p. 131) 2. See also Romans 12:17-21.


Verse 24

1 Peter 2:24 ‘and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.’

‘He Himself bore our sins in His body’-Though they were not His, He bore them. Jesus wasn’t “just” a martyr. He wasn’t dying for some vague cause, rather He died as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:28; Isaiah 53:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

‘on the cross’-‘tree’ (KJV). The Greek word here is ‘xylon’, which means ‘wood, object made of wood’, and is translated according to the context.

‘that we might’-The intended purpose of this great sacrifice.

‘die to sin’-‘that we might break with sin’ (Mof); ‘cease to live for sin’ (NEB). ‘To be removed from, depart, ‘to die to any thing’, become utterly alienated from our sins’ (Thayer p. 60). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The unselfish and brave sacrifice of Jesus, should motivate us to cease the practice of sin (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Colossians 3:1-5; Romans 6:1 ff). 2. If the sacrifice of Jesus doesn’t motivate you to change your life-then nothing will! The key factor in repentance isn’t the preacher, the elders, the size of the congregation, etc…..But rather, how impressed are we with what happened upon the cross!

‘and live to righteousness’-Christianity is more than just not doing certain things. One must not only cease the practice of sin, but also begin practicing righteousness (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-11). ‘To live to’ describes an active and energetic pursuit after what will please God. The truly converted individual desires to be involved in the things of God, they want to make a difference, they want to spread the gospel and they are willing to make whatever sacrifices and changes are necessary to do the will of God.

‘by His wounds you were healed’-Healed spiritually and morally, i.e. forgiven of your sins. (Isaiah 53:5). 1. ‘Wounds’-‘welt, bruise, wound caused by blows’ (Arndt p. 531) 2. A statement, especially meaningful to servants with cruel masters. Some of them had probably felt the sting of the lash. 3. Each blow of the whip that Jesus endured was for the salvation of my soul. ‘God took the beating that I deserved-that we all deserved’.


Verse 25

1 Peter 2:25 ‘For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.’

‘For’-Again, reminding us why Jesus endured such suffering. He paid the price for our own selfishness.

‘were continually straying like sheep’-Denoting a habitual condition. 1. A good description of sin. Sin happens when we insist upon doing things our own way (Isaiah 53:6). 2. Many lost people are like sheep, i.e. just blindly following the crowd without thinking much about where the crowd is headed (Matthew 9:36; Luke 15:4; Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17).

‘but now you have returned’-aorist tense, indicating that they had ‘turned’ at a definite point in time, i.e. when they were born again (/Mark 16:16).

‘Shepherd’-(Matthew 26:31; John 10:11; John 10:14; John 10:16; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4; Psalms 23:1 ff).

‘Guardian’-the same word as the term ‘bishop’ or ‘overseer’, i.e. to look over or watch.

‘of your souls’-POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The only ‘guardian’ that the Christian has beyond this life, is Deity. Note that Peter didn’t cite a list of ‘patron saints’, who watch over the Christian. Jesus is the singular guardian of our souls. 2. ‘For slaves this was good news. They might be suffering, indeed, they might be suffering because of their faith. But they were not lost. Christ was with them, and they were under his care even if their present physical experiences were unpleasant.’ (Davids p. 114) ‘With us, sheep are often left to themselves; but I do not remember ever to have seen in the East a flock of sheep without a shepherd. In such a landscape as Judaea, where a day’s pasture is thinly scattered over an unfenced track of country, covered with delusive paths, still frequented by wild beasts, and rolling off into the desert, the man and his character are indispensable. On some high moor, across which at night the hyneas howl, when you meet him, sleepless, far-sighted, weather-beaten, armed, leaning upon his staff, and looking out over his scattered sheep, everyone of them on his heart, you understand why….Christ took him as the type of self-sacrifice…..Indeed, this word shepherd tells us most vividly of the ceaseless vigilance and the self-sacrificing love of God for us; who are His flock …(Psalms 110:3).’ (Barclay p. 257)

 


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Bibliography Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-peter-2.html. 1999-2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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