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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
1 Peter 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-25

Ch.2:1 to 6

Since the Word of God is the solid foundation of all, eternal blessing for us, it surely follows that we should gladly lay aside all that is contrary to It. Indeed, these evils listed in verse I will greatly hinder any true enjoyment of that Word. Malice may not be on the surfaces but its hard, bitter feelings against another will deaden any true desire for the Word. Guile may not be speaking a lie, yet it is so acting or speaking to give a wrong impression, so It Is an underhand lie. Hypocrisy is a pretense of being what one is not, and generally connected with spiritual matters. Envies may be silent also, yet cannot remain covered. All of these may very likely issue in the last mentioned, evil speaking. Let us learn to abhor such evil. and turn decidedly to what is positively good.

Newborn babes do not care to waste their time on negative things: they desire solely the positive nourishment of milk. Our desire should be just as fervent for the pure mental milk of the Word. R is not by any means that we should remain babes; but even when able to take the solid food of the Word, we should have no less fervent desire for the milk of the Word also, the elementary, simple things of Scripture are food by which we grow, and however much deep truth we learn, these are never to be forgotten, but desired. Such desire will be in exercise Just in the measure that we have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

He is spoken of as "a living Stone," to whom the saints of God have come. This is His enduring character, just as Ch.1:25 speaks of the Word enduring. Though he has indeed been refused by men (Israel in particular), yet in Him only is solid, enduring stability, the One chosen of God, and precious beyond man's conception, He is the living One, who became dead, and is alive forevermore, the solid Stone, and instinct with abiding life.

But the saints of God are linked with Him in the same blessed character of living stones. "'Stone" is the meaning of Peter's name, a name given him by the Lord Jesus on His first meeting him. John 1:42. Just as Christ endures, so will the believer and as he is living, so Is the believer. Christ is the corner stone (v.6), from whom all the building receives its character; and each believer is a living stone, a vital part of that spiritual house which our God is building up, spoken of by Paul as "the house of God, which Is the church of the living God." 1 Timothy 3:15.

If on the one hand, the living stones are seen as forming the house itself, yet on the other hand believers are seen as being built up a holy priesthood within the house, to perform the functions of priesthood; in this case particularly to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, For the church is seen both as the house of God, and the household of God (Cf..Ephesians 2:19). If God builds His church collectively, gradually adding to and forming it according to His own great wisdom; yet also He is building up every saint individually, that they might each engage in priestly service to Him, and do so unitedly.

In v.6 Isaiah 28:16 is quoted as to the corner stone being laid in Zion. The proper fulfilment of this awaits the millennium for Zion is the name by which Jerusalem will be specially known at that time, when from Christ, the true Messiah, will flow all blessing to Israel; for in Him the nation will find its eternal stability. It is appropriate that Peters in writing to Jewish believers, should refer to this; though the church is blessed previously to Israel in having the same corner stone. Eventually Israel too will recognize Him as "elect, precious, when they are brought in faith to His feet.Though the nation Israel has not now believed, yet meanwhile, to those who have believed is the preciousness. Israel has sadly missed it, but saints who believe have received all the preciousness of the revelation of God in the Person of His blessed son. The disobedient, on the other hand (primarily Israel), have disallowed this Stone, but He is made the head of the corner, the one reference point of the entire building. This will be realized by the nation only when they see Him come in His glory; but to the church it is blessedly true today.

If to Israel He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, yet the fact remains that He is both the Stone and the Rock,--not something that is easily brushed aside and forgotten. His very Name, even after His death and resurrection, was enough to incur the bitterest enmity and persecution of the Jew,. Why? Because the stone was directly in their way, Either they must submit to Him, or else, in plunging on in a headlong course, they would stumble. They stumbled too at the word concerning Him, after He was raised, because of a disobedient heart. They were appointed to this painful stumbling, not arbitrarily but because their wills were set in disobedience.

Against so dark a background how beautiful is the contrast of verse 9, "Ye are a chosen generation." Here is the true election of God, those chosen by Him whose knowledge brought Into consideration every circumstance long before creation. Precious, wonderful truth!--much higher than that of Israel's being God's chosen earthly people. "A royal priesthood" is the counterpart of "a holy priesthood." (v.5), the latter toward God, the former toward men, for it is royal character to bear God's witness toward the world (Cf.In.18:37). Precious is such dignity conferred Upon sinners saved by grace! "An holy nation" is in contrast to Israel in the flesh, In her unholy disobedience. It speaks of a vital sanctification for the glory of God, a setting apart to Himself. "A peculiar people" has the sense of being peculiar to Himself, that is, virtually bondslaves rather than hired servants, as Jews under law considered themselves.

All of this positive, eternal blessing of course has an end In view, and the present result of it is that believers "should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." It is not merely telling those praises, but showing them, the whole life character of the saint being involved in this. Having been called out of darkness into His marvelous light the evidence of this should shine forth brightly in every department of our lives

Verse 10 refers to Hosea 1:8-9, Israel reduced by their disobedience to the same level as Gentiles. As a nation they will not have this status changed until at the end of the tribulation they are brought to repentance at the feet of the Lord Jesus, their true Messiah. But believing Jews today anticipate that time, and are now the people of God, no matter how small a part Of Israel trey may be. Formerly in rebellion, strangers to God's mercy, now they have obtained mercy.

In verse 11 we pass on to another division of the book; for, it is established that these are the people of God, now we must see in practice the character of those who are His own. They are dearly beloved, and on this basis enjoined to be true to their stranger and pilgrim character. As strangers, they cannot be expected to be understood by the world: they are not part of its system. As pilgrims, they journey with a definite end in view. Fleshly lusts then are contrary to their proper nature: such things war against all soul prosperity.

Being scattered among the Gentiles, the whole manner of life of these Jewish believers was to be honest, in actual contrast to both Jews and Gentiles in the flesh. They may be spoken against as though they were evil-doers, but they could meet this by doing positive good, which will in every case bear good fruit eventually, The day of visitation may refer to God's visiting Israel in grace in a future day; but may be applied to any time at which God may be pleased to visit any soul in such a way as to break down his stubborn resistance to His Gospel of grace. When this happens, the former opposser will have cause to glorify God for the honest and good testimony of believers, which has had gradual effect in such blessed results.

A matter in this regard is that of submission to ordinances of government, rather than any resistance or complaint, a too prevalent character of man naturally. And this submission is to be "for the Lord's sake," and therefore real and wholehearted. In whatever country it may be, the same was true, though of course that submission is limited in the case of government violating one's conscience toward God. Whether it were the supreme government of a country, or lesser governments, it is the same. For God has established government with the object of punishing evildoers and encouraging those who do well.

Therefore, it is certainly the will of God that the believer, should, in subjection to Government, exhibit the well-doing becoming to his confession, so that foolish men, will have no ground for their ignorant accusations against him. For he is: free: he is not dependent on the government, though he respects it: he depends on God. And such liberty as this is not to be perverted into mere self-will, for it is actually liberty to please God as His willing servants. To honor all is to have proper respect for them as those whom God has created. To love the brotherhood is of course to love the saints of God as brethren, a far nearer relationship than that of creatures of God. " Fear God" is a firm, decided command. This involves standing in awe of His greatness, His glory, His holiness, giving Him His place of absolute supremacy and dignity. And lastly, to honor the, king is to give him the respect due to his position: it is honoring authority, not merely the person who holds it.

Paul, in Ephesians and Colossians, in dealing with special relationships, mentions husbands and wives before servants but Peter begins with servants, and in this case household servants, not necessarily slaves. For Peter's main subject is the Father's government indeed all believers partake of this same servant-character, as subject to Government. The servant is to be subject with all fear: not with unseemly familiarity, nor fleshly irritation. Of course, if the master were good and gentle, this would not be so difficult but the same applies even if the master is bad-tempered.

If the servant therefore suffers in silence because of his conscience as before God, this is acceptable with God. God takes full account of it, and how valuable is His approval! If, on the other hands one were to suffer because of his own faults, it is no particular honor to take this patiently: he fully deserves it, and it is only right that he should bow to it. But when one does well, and suffers for this, in good conscience toward God if he patiently endures this suffering, this is to the glory of God. Verse 21 goes further, to indicate that in being called of God as His own, it is in view of suffering as believers. And Christ is presented as having suffered for us as an example. There are not atoning sufferings (verse 24 deals with those): but His sufferings from the hand of evil. men. His steps we are to follow. The sufferings of the Lord Jesus were totally undeserved He did no sin. And not only His actions, but His words were entirely pure, free from the slightest motive of misrepresentation. And when subjected to the bitter scorn and ridicule of men, He did not answer in kind. However great His suffering from them, no threats or bitter words came from His lips. As the true servant of God, He committed Himself to His God and Father, leaving His case entirely in the hands of the Judge of all the earth.

But verse 24 goes much further, indeed where others could never go. His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. Not only did He suffer from man unrighteousness; but He assumed the full responsibility for our sins as before God, and suffered on the tree the full, unalleviated penalty of God's wrath against sin. In the three hours of darkness there, the agony He endured as forsaken of God, as being Trade a curse of God, is infinitely beyond explanation or understanding. Alone, intensely alone, He accomplished that great work of atonement.

Besides other great and precious objects of this sacrifice, the object here insisted upon is "that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness." So it is not only that our sins should be forgiven, but that we should recognize ourselves. in His death, to have died to sins, having left them practically in the grave, cutting off all connection with them, so that not even the cruelest treatment of ungodly men would revive such things again In our hearts. For it is by His stripes we are healed. This is no mere bodily healing, but healing from the dread malady of sin: for the stripes are those of God's judgment poured out upon Him on Calvary.

It is in the past that we were as sheep going astray; and this was specially true of Israel. Now at least these to whom Peter writes had returned to the Shepherd and Bishop (or overseer) of their souls. This is Christ, of course: therefore It is Christ who, in the Old Testament, was the true Shepherd little as Israel discerned it: it was Him they had left. How precious for them the truth of Psalms 23:1-6 : "He restoreth my soul!" Observe here that all of this is said in connection with household servants, the subject beginning in v.18.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/1-peter-2.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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