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Fruits of salvation (1:13-2:3)
Now that Christians have received such a great salvation, they should discipline their thoughts and behaviour so that they will always be ready for the return of Jesus Christ (13). They should think and act not according to their former habits, but according to the ways of God. They should pattern their character not on the people of the sinful society around them, but on the holy God (14-16).
As Christians reverence God as their Father and Judge, they will want to be more holy in their daily lives (17). Their appreciation of what Christ has done for them will also make them want to be more holy; for his death, and nothing else, can set people free from the worthless manner of life passed down from one generation to the next (18-19). God planned salvation from eternity, and brought it to reality through the death of Christ. He showed it to be perfect by raising Christ from death, and sinners prove that it works when they put their trust in him (20-21).
Believers can show that they have received cleansing and been given new life, by acting with sincere love towards each other (22). This new life comes through accepting the gospel, and because the gospel is God’s word, not man’s, the new life is permanent. Things born of human origins die, but things born of God do not (23-25).
Since believers are to exercise love towards each other, they must remove from their lives all attitudes and actions that hinder love. They were born into this new life through the Word of God, and the only way to grow is through feeding on that same Word (2:1-3).
God’s living temple (2:4-10)
People in general might see no worth in Christ and reject him, but God sees him as the chosen one through whom sinners have eternal life. Those who receive new life through Christ are likened to living stones who form a temple in which God is worshipped. They also form the priesthood that offers the worship (4-5).
Christ is the chief cornerstone in this living building, and those who believe in him will never be disappointed (6). The people of Israel, who were originally intended to build God a living temple, threw out the main stone when they rejected Christ. A rejected building stone lies in the way and becomes an obstacle to the builders, preventing them from doing their work as they should. In the same way Jesus Christ, whom the people of Israel rejected, becomes an obstacle to them, so that they cannot do what God requires of them. God has now taken this rejected stone and made him the chief cornerstone in a new living temple, the Christian church (7-8).
During the period of the Old Testament, Israel was God’s people, God’s chosen nation; but now all believers are God’s people, regardless of race. They pass from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. They have received God’s mercy, and their task now is to tell others about the great and merciful acts of God (9-10; cf. Exodus 19:4-6).
2:11-3:12 CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS
In society (2:11-25)
The present world is not the true home of those who have come into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. They are now God’s people and they belong to the heavenly kingdom. But their higher status and greater citizenship do not give them the right to do as they like in the present world. They must discipline and control themselves. Negatively, they must not give in to the desires of the sinful nature; positively, they must maintain right behaviour in the eyes of people in general. Their conduct should demonstrate to an unbelieving world the worth of the Christian life (11-12).
God desires life in human society to be orderly, and Christians should cooperate with God’s purpose by obeying civil authorities. The civil authorities, on their part, should be just and fair in punishing those who do wrong and rewarding those who do good (13-14). Right conduct by Christians in this matter will prevent criticism from their opponents. It will also show that Christians, though they are free, know how to make the proper use of their freedom. They respect, love and honour people as true Christians should, and above all they reverence God (15-17).
Christian servants also must be cooperative, whether their masters are kind or harsh (18). Masters may be unreasonable and life may become difficult and painful, but those who follow Jesus must endure their sufferings patiently as he did (19-21). Jesus Christ did no wrong, but he had confidence that God would act justly on his behalf. Such confidence enabled him to endure unjust treatment silently (22-23).
What caused Christ’s suffering, however, was more than the cruelty of his persecutors. It was the sins of Christians, the people who are now asked to suffer for his sake. It was their sins he bore on the cross. Through his death, sin’s power over them is broken. They are cleansed, given new life, and brought under his loving care (24-25).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany