Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

A few words should be said about the origin and authenticity of this letter before any attempt is made to comment upon its contents. In this modern age. men, primarily for the purpose of trying to build a foundation upon which they think they can stand to deny the word of God in its entirety, are questioning the authorship of the two epistles of Peter, just as, of course they are all the books of the Bible. To those of us who believe the word of God there is no reason to fear that such ideas have any value at all. If we believe that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," there is no room for such questions. In the very beginning of this letter, the writer is identified as, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ". So if he was not learned enough to personally write it, it was unquestionably written at his dictation. Therefore it is still his message as he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to speak; and thus it is in reality the word of God; it is true; and it is not subject to question.

Chapter 1

(Verses 1 and 2) "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."


We have already mentioned the fact that the author of this letter is here identified as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ", and since only one of our Lord's apostles was named "Peter", it leaves no doubt as to who he is. Then the address is "To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus , Galatia , Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia .” The claim has been made that the apostle is addressing Gentile churches scattered over the regions named, inasmuch as he called them, "strangers," while he, according to the apostle Paul, was the apostle to the Jews. Actually if one will study this epistle, he will find some statements that seem to prove this point; and, at the same time there are those that will convince the reader that it is written to Jewish believers. It appears that his primary address is to those who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," whether Jew or Gentile. In this short expression the apostle sets forth the operation of the Triune God in the wonderful work of salvation. The first step is that it is "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" that He has elected them "to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." In its usage here, the word, "foreknowledge," has a meaning far exceeding that of simply having prior knowledge of them. It carries the meaning of having given former recognition to them in such a manner that He chose, or elected, them unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus the Christ. Some seem to think that "obedience," as used here, refers to the imputation of the obedience of Jesus the Christ to those elected. While there certainly can be no argument against the fact that they were so elected, it seems that Peter's concern here is much the same as addressed by the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 2:10). "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Also God's elect are elected unto sprinkling of the blood of Christ Jesus. Just as those things which under the law service were, by being sprinkled with the blood of the offering, ceremonially cleansed and made fit for the service, so in reality God's elect, when sprinkled with the blood of our Lord Christ Jesus, are for ever cleansed, and made fit for the master's service. The Father has elected them to this obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus the Christ "through sanctification of the Spirit." Sanctification is a term that can have at least a three-fold meaning. Sometimes it is used to indicate only one part of that meaning, at others two parts, and at others, all three. The first thing involved in sanctification is the making choice of that which is to be used for the service of God; the second, the cleansing, or purifying of it for God's service; and the third, the placing of it into its proper place in His service. It is obvious from Peter's statement that God the Father has already performed the first part of this operation, in that they are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." He has elected that they through the Spirit should be cleansed by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ Jesus, and by that same Spirit be brought to obedience. The fact, that they are sprinkled by the blood of Christ Jesus, speaks of His death. So we have the Father making choice of His people, Jesus the Christ dying as the sacrifice for their sins, and the Spirit (Holy Ghost) making the application of Jesus' blood to the individual in regeneration. Further it is Jesus the Christ, Who places each one in His service in the proper place for the service He desires of him. (Ephesians 4:7-8 and 11-13) "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men._ _ _And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." So all three Persons of the Godhead are actively engaged in the salvation of each and every one of the elect. Having established the identity of those he addresses, the apostle prays that grace may be given them, and peace be multiplied to them. He shows by this statement, as does often the Apostle Paul, that grace is not only that which brings about the great work of regeneration, but something that is necessary to the continued well being of all of God's children. Therefore he prays that it be constantly given them all along the way. Only thus can peace be multiplied to them. This is just as true of us today as it was of those to whom this letter was written.


(Verses 3 through 5) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."


Surely, we all realize that the expression, "Blessed be the God and Father," in no wise indicates that we are able to confer upon Him a blessing, seeing that "the less is always blessed of the better," but instead it is to be understood, "Praised be the God and Father." We should always be engaged in praising Him for all His wonderful works, love, mercy, goodness, grace, wisdom, etc. But in this particular instance, one special act of God is singled out for which He is to be praised. That is, that according to His abundant mercy He has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead. Likely there are many more sermons preached concerning the death of our Lord Christ Jesus than there are about His resurrection, the speakers not stopping to think that such, if alone, can only lead to a dead hope. Certainly He died for our sins. He suffered the torments of hell to set us free; but hear what the Apostle Paul says, "But if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain._ _ _And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which have fallen asleep in Christ are perished." When Jesus died the hope of the disciples was dead. Witness what Cleopas and his companion said to our Lord, (Luke 24:21,) "But we trusted that it had been He Which should have redeemed Israel ." While He was alive they trusted that He would redeem and deliver Israel, but that, in their minds, could never be now, because He was dead; and dead men can do nothing more. They were burdened with sorrow because their hope was dead. Contrast this with their words and actions after the miracle set forth in verse 31 of that same chapter, when their hope was no longer dead, when they had been begotten again to a lively hope by His resurrection from the dead, of which they were now assured. His resurrection is the Father's means of begetting us again unto a lively hope. And that hope looks to an "inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Sometimes in this world men amass modest, or even great fortunes, which, in turn, are intended to be the inheritance of someone, or perhaps, more than one, who is, or are, deemed worthy by the testator, whether by the ties of nature, or for some other reason. Then when the time comes for those who are named as heirs to receive the inheritance, some question may come up about how the wealth was acquired in the first place. And under some circumstances it may prove to have been obtained in such a manner that it will be confiscated, and the heirs will receive nothing. It may be that nothing of this sort will take place, but some doubt may be raised as to the legality of the claim of one or more of the designated heirs. This might bring about such a long drawn out legal battle that even if the case is finally decided in favor of the named heirs, court costs, attorneys fees, etc., may be so great that the inheritance is depleted to the point that there is very little, if any thing left of it. It has faded away. Such can never happen to the inheritance of God's elect. It is reserved in heaven for each and every one of them. Our Lord Himself said of heaven, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." Since this is where this inheritance is reserved, and since God is the One, Who has reserved it, there is no possibility for it to fail. At the same time, those for whom it is reserved cannot fail to obtain it because they "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." We have heard it said that “faith is the hand by which man reaches forth and lays hold upon God." Viewed in the light of the apostle's statement, this saying shows up, as do most of man's ideas, to be directly opposite from the truth. If faith were the hand by which man reached forth and laid hold of God, the only possible conclusion would be that he is kept by the power of man, because man has reached forth and laid hold. But if we believe the Apostle Peter's statement, we are brought to the inescapable conclusion that faith is, in reality, the hand by which God reaches forth and lays hold of man. Since faith is a fruit of the Spirit, the sequence of events must be that the Spirit initially comes into the heart, and produces faith. Then, to insure that not one of the elect shall ever be lost or cast away, He renews that faith day by day as needed, that we may endure whatever our lot may be. As the Apostle Paul says, (II Cor. 4:16 ,) "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." So not only is the inheritance kept safe; but so are the heirs. That inheritance is indeed the great salvation which Jesus wrought out for every one of His saints. While sojourning here we do not as yet have this great salvation. It is ready to be revealed in the last time, but until our Lord returns, all we have is "the earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory". John says that it has not yet appeared "but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." So at the appointed time it shall be revealed.


(Verses 6 through 9) "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."


As by faith we contemplate this wonderful inheritance, this great salvation, about which we know only a very few details, but are assured by the word of God that it is so wonderful that we should account all the trials, tribulations, and sufferings of this life not worthy to even be compared to it, we rejoice with great joy, even though we may be in a season in which we are sorely pressed by afflictions and temptations. Sometimes the word, "temptation," is used to indicate tribulation instead of what we commonly consider as temptation. However, since the apostle continues this thought as being a trial of faith, it can well include temptation in the normal meaning. When faced with such persecutions as surrounded these Christians, one is likely to hear Satan begin to whisper, "Is your hope worth the price you are having to pay? Just lay it aside. Recant and the path will be much smoother." Do not listen to him, but remember that the trial of your faith is much more precious than the finest of gold. We usually consider gold as something that will endure; and as compared to other worldly things, it will. Yet the day is coming when it, together with all worldly things will perish. That day is at the appearing of Jesus the Christ, that is, when He comes back to gather His elect home. Then will that trial of our faith be "found unto praise and honour and glory;" for then we will receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls. As the Apostle Peter told us in verse 5, and as the Apostle John also said in the quotation from him, we have not yet received this wonderful salvation, but it is ready to be revealed at the day when our Lord shall appear. When He appears we shall receive the end of our faith. That is, we shall receive that to which, by the grace and power of God, our faith has caused us to look all the days of our pilgrimage here. Our Lord Jesus, the Anointed of God, is the One, Who has brought all this about; and when He returns we shall see Him as He is, and be made like Him. We cannot see Him now except by faith, but in spite of our never having seen Him (with natural sight) we have been made to love Him, and to believe Him and His promises. As faith causes us to think upon His wonderful promises we are made to rejoice in anticipation of their fulfillment with "joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Then we long for the day when we shall see Him clearly.


(Verses 10 and 11) "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when It testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."


Notice how harmonious is this statement with one found in Rev. 19:10, "for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." Peter says that it was the Spirit of Christ Who signified, or showed, to the prophets the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, "when It testified beforehand" of these things. Since the sufferings of Christ are the work, which brought about this great salvation, and the glory that follows is the salvation itself, they together form the principal theme of all the prophets. Of course, there are some items mentioned in prophecy that may be a little obscure, at first glance, so far as their relation to this great salvation is concerned; but upon closer examination, will be seen to have to do with Israel , the church, the restored kingdom, or the final glory of the elect of God. So the prophets, as they prophesied of the grace that should come unto us in what is by some called, "the grace dispensation," inquired and searched diligently trying to find out when, and under what situation (manner of time) this would be. They could see our Lord's suffering and His glory, but it was mixed together in their sight so that it did not show up clearly. Perhaps one of the best illustrations of this is Chapter 53 of Isaiah's prophecy. Our Lord is presented in great detail as to His suffering, with very little said about His glory; and what is said about the latter is in such a manner that if we did not have the New Testament record of His sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and promise to return in glory to receive His elect, we would still be searching and inquiring as they did. This, no doubt, is what Jesus meant when He said, "For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." The prophets gave diligence to searching that they might know when and in what manner of times these things would take place; but that answer was not given them. For the answer they did receive we move on.


(Verse 12) "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."


Instead of being shown the entire picture in full detail, the prophets received only the revelation that this which they were enabled to prophesy was not for their sakes alone, but for the sakes of those of a later day, even the day of grace. One outstanding example of this is Dan. 12:8-9. "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my LORD, what shall be the end of these things? And He said, Go thy way Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." So, although the messages that were given to them concerning the sufferings and glory of Christ gave them a foreview of both. Some of the details were withheld, especially the timing of them, so that they were not so well served by them as are we who also have the gospel, which informs us that certain things have been fulfilled, while the remainder are promised fulfillment at the appointed time, all of which sets the whole more in perspective than it was for them. By this we have a threefold witness of these things: first, the prophets; then the gospel; and finally, the Holy Ghost, Who enables us to believe the word of God. This great salvation is so wonderful that the angels desire to look into all the details thereof. The word translated "to look into," carries the idea of "looking carefully into" something; that is, it is so great that they desire to miss no detail of it.


(Verses 13 through 16) "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He Which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."


Surely, since this wonderful salvation and inheritance are so great that even the angels do not want to miss a single detail of it, but desire to look very carefully into them, it is time for us to "gird up the loins of our minds," that is, cast away all fear of man, and all dread of persecutions, afflictions, tribulations, and temptations, and very soberly and firmly press on in the service of God, hoping for (having a confident expectation of) the grace that is to be brought to us at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Christ. Paul's expression in I Cor. 13:12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face," readily applies in our relation to the grace of God; and if that grace, while seen only dimly as it is in this life, is so wonderful that it is by grace we are saved, by grace we are kept by the power of God, and by grace that we are comforted and strengthened in time of trial, what must it be to see it clearly as we shall when our Lord returns! So as we look to that wonderful event, we are to leave off the things that our former lusts, those that governed us before we were given any saving knowledge of God, led us into as we fulfilled the desires of the flesh. As, or since, God Who has called us is holy we are to constantly strive for holiness in all that we do. In New Testament usage "conversation," although it includes what is said, reaches far beyond this, and covers what is thought, said, and done, by us as we sojourn here. The greatest incentive we can have to strive for holiness is that "He Which hath called us is holy"; and if we love Him we want to be as nearly like Him as possible. God has commanded it on that same basis; "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."


(Verses 17 through 21) "And if ye call on the Father, Who without respect of persons judgeth every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, That raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."


Every time we call upon the Father, all of us who call upon Him, need to keep firmly in mind that "God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." (Acts 10:34 ) Certainly we know that our fearing Him and working righteousness are not the means of making us accepted with Him, nor are they the means of bringing us from death unto life; but they are the means of identifying us as those who are accepted with Him; and we should spend the time of our sojourning here in fear, fear lest we do not manifest the proper identity. In the words of one of the wonderful old hymns we used to sing quite often:


                        "’Tis a point I long to know,

                         Oft it causes anxious thought;

                         Do I love the Lord, or no?

                         Am I His, or am I not?"


Then consider the last verse of that same hymn:


                        "Let me love Thee more and more,

                         Touch me with Thy love I pray;

                         If I have not loved before,

                         Help me to begin today."


We need to spend more of our time in self-examination, striving to find ways to improve our service to God, and to our brethren, remembering that the only better way is one that is closer to His commandments and the examples He has set for us. If we are doing this, we can witness with the Apostle Paul, "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25) The great reason why we should do this is that we know that we were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from our vain manner of living, but with something infinitely greater, "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."  The Apostle Peter's expression, "from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers," may be seen as a reference to the bondage of the law from which Jewish Christians have been made free by having been brought to Christ, since such was handed down from their fathers by tradition, and were indeed vain. However, Gentiles, or heathens, also had many vain traditions involved in their religions. So in either case the old way of life was vain, or worthless, but we have been redeemed from such by the precious blood of our Lord Christ Jesus, Who was indeed appointed of the Father to this work before the foundation of the world. Nevertheless the manifestation of Him and His work was kept secret according to God's own eternal purpose until His appointed time. (See Ephesians 3:5-12.) Then at the due time this secret was revealed for us "who by Him do believe in God, That raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that our faith and hope might be in God."


(Verses 22 and 23) "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, Which liveth and abideth for ever."


Since the Spirit (Holy Ghost) has led you to obey the truth and has thus brought you to a real, not a pretended, love of the brethren, give diligence to maintain with a pure heart that same intensity of love for, and to, one another as is fitting for those who are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, Which liveth and abideth for ever." Some seem to think that the preaching of the gospel, or the written word, the Bible, or both, are used of God to bring about the new birth. There are several reasons why this idea will not work. First, if the preaching of the gospel did the work, why, with two sitting side by side, listening to the same sermon, would one's heart be melted down to repentance, while the other is totally unaffected, or even angered? Second we find our Lord Himself saying, (John 5:35 -40,) "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." Finally, the Greek word, "logos," here translated "word," has many uses, depending upon the association of other words used with it; and when used as here, with "Which liveth and abideth for ever," can only mean the Word of God Who "was made flesh, and dwelt among us," none other than Christ Jesus our Lord, for it is He alone Who, having arisen from the dead, lives and abides for ever.


(Verses 24 and 25) "For all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the Word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."


This is a partial quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8, which in full reads thus: "The voice said, ‘Cry.’ And he said, ‘What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it:’ surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever." Surely the illustration is obvious, and needs no explanation. Man with all his vaunted wisdom and power when compared to God and His word is no more than the grass of the field "which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven" (Matthew 6:30), but the word of God can never fail. Therefore it shall stand forever. The Greek word translated "word" in verse 25, is "hrema," which means "the spoken word," not the living word, as in verse 23. So the spoken word, or the declaration, of God is what is by the gospel preached unto us; and it will not change nor fail, but will endure forever.


Chapter 2

(Verses 1 through 3) "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."


Because of all the apostle has already said, and especially because we are so soon to pass away while the word of God endures for ever, he says that if we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, that is, as the Apostle Paul phrases it, (Col. 3:1,)"If ye then be risen with Christ," we are to lay aside all malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speakings, in short, all the evil thoughts, words, and deeds that we formerly practiced, and as newborn babes, without any established ideas of our own about how to direct our lives, "desire the sincere milk of the word," the pure teachings and examples of our Lord, that we may grow thereby, that it may be both our guide for growth and the source of nourishment for the same. We must always keep in mind that to grow properly "in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" we must first lay aside all the evil things which the Apostle Peter has here mentioned, together with any others of which we may be guilty, and then earnestly desire, or seek, the sincere milk of the word, which is the only proper nourishment for our souls.


(Verses 4 and 5) "To Whom coming, as unto a living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."


Having been made able by the power of God to "taste that the Lord is gracious" we come to Him, Who is indeed a living Stone. In Deuteronomy 32:4, we find, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect," and in Deut. 32:18, "Of the Rock That begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God That formed thee." This stone was despised and rejected of men, "but chosen of God, and precious." Not only is He a living Stone in that He is alive for evermore, but also He is a "life giving Stone;" for it is by Him, and no other that we are given eternal life. In Acts 4:11-12, we are told, "This is the Stone That was set at naught of you builders, Which is become the Head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." So when by His grace and power we are brought to Him we are made "lively stones;" we are made alive in the spirit. And just as the stone mason places stones in the wall of a building as is fitting according to the plan and purpose of the building, so we are placed, by the Master Builder, in a spiritual house according to His plan. Since it is "according to the measure of the gift of Christ" and "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," that all spiritual gifts are given, it is clear that each "lively stone" is prepared by the Master for the place in which He purposes that it should serve, that the spiritual house may indeed be a "holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices ACCEPTABLE to God "by Jesus Christ." If a stone is out of place the perfection of the spiritual house is marred, as is also the spiritual sacrifice that is thus offered. In I Samuel 13, we read of King Saul as he offered a sacrifice unto God that was not acceptable because he, in his impatience intruded into an office in which he had no part, instead of waiting for Samuel to whom the office had been appointed of God. Let us therefore make as full use as possible of whatever gift God has given us, but never attempt to serve in that which has not been entrusted to us. Thus we can continue in unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and offer spiritual offerings acceptable unto God by Jesus the Christ.


(Verse 6) "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief Corner Stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded."


Because it is the Lord Who makes us into lively stones, and builds us into a spiritual house, it was long ago prophesied and recorded in scripture, the prophet writing God's message to us, that when it came to pass we might know that it was no accident, but was in perfect accord with His eternal purpose, "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief Corner Stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." This was not to be just any stone, but One Which was elect, or carefully chosen, and extremely valuable, in fact so valuable that there is no other that can even be compared to it. Not only so, but One, Who is so faithful, and has such power that no one who believes on Him shall ever be confounded. The Greek word here translated "confounded," means "be disgraced" or "be put to shame." So those who trust in this elect and precious chief Corner Stone shall never be put to shame, because He can never fail.


(Verses 7 and 8) "Unto you therefore that believe He is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the Stone Which the builders disallowed, the Same is made the Head of the corner, and a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."


Certainly, to everyone who believes in our Lord Jesus, the living Stone, He is precious, while by those who "do not believe" (and that is the meaning of the Greek word which is translated "disobedient") He is disallowed. Nevertheless He is "Made the Head of the corner, and a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence," a Stone upon Which, if one falls he shall be broken; but if It falls upon him, he shall be ground to powder. These who stumble at this Rock, are they who, not believing in God, stumble at His Word. Peter here returns to the use of the Greek word, "logos," instead of "Hrema." (See previous notes on Chapter I, verses 23 and 25.) "Whereunto also they were appointed," is an expression that causes some difference of opinion among readers. Some seem to think that it means that they were appointed unto the Word, but refused to do what God had appointed, and so did not believe. Perhaps a witness or two from God's word will clarify the matter. (Psalms 69:21-24) "They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink. Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them." This was written by David as he by the inspiration of God was able to see the crucifixion of our Lord and God's judgment upon the unbelieving religious leaders of Israel who stirred up the people to cry out "Crucify Him. Crucify Him." They were not appointed to believe the Word, but rather to stumble at Him, and be judged by Him. Remember that Jesus told them (John 10:26 ) "But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you," and (John 8:44 -45) "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it, And because I tell you the truth, ye believe not." Obviously, unbelievers do not become unrighteous because of their unbelief, but on the contrary, they cannot believe because they are unrighteous. Therefore the unrighteous, as they were appointed, stumble at the Word. Nevertheless, since He is the Head of the corner, He is the Judge they will finally have to face.


(Verses 9 and 10) "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."


Earlier we mentioned that some things in this epistle seem to support the idea that Peter is addressing Jewish Christians, while others seem to lean to the thought that the epistle is for Gentile believers. At that point we observed that the teachings of this writing are equally good for Christians of either Jewish or Gentile backgrounds. The language of the two verses now before us seems to indicate that both are under consideration. Verse 9 seems to point to Jews, while verse 10 seems more to indicate Gentiles. So it is, no doubt, better to consider the message general in scope to all believers of any race. All who have been called of God out of darkness into His marvelous light are a chosen generation. The Greek word, "genos," here translated, "generation," means "offspring, family, stock, race, nation, or the aggregate of many individuals of the same nature, kind, sort, or species." Therefore all who are thus called are the chosen family of God. They are a royal priesthood inasmuch as every one of them is a child of the Eternal King, and, according to Rev. 5:10, is made a priest and king unto God. They are a holy nation since each is a citizen of the kingdom of God , and has been made holy by the imputed righteousness of our Lord Christ Jesus. Further, they are a peculiar people. The Greek word here translated "peculiar" has no reference to being "strange" or "unusual," but simply means "one's own possession" or "one's own property."  In this case it obviously means a people who are our Lord's own property, which we surely are, since He not only created us, but He also bought us by His own precious blood. The Apostle Paul says, (I Cor. 6:20 ,) "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Peter says that we are God's own possession, or property, that we should show forth the praises of God, Who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. The expression, "that ye should shew forth the praises of Him_ _ _," does not mean that we ought to do so, but possibly might not. Instead it is a simple purpose clause showing that God has purposed this to be done, and to that end He has prepared us by making us "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people." Then the apostle says, "Which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." This statement would be very unpleasant to a Jew who still held fast to his "vain conversation received by tradition from his fathers." But to one who has been brought to realize that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, and "the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," it is a great comfort indeed, as it is also to the Gentile believer. This statement agrees perfectly with Paul's discussion of the relative position of Jew and Gentile according to the law, and their common ground in our Lord Jesus the Christ. See his letter to the Romans, chapters three through seven, as well as his epistle to the Ephesians, chapters two and three. Whether we had the law or not, we had not obtained mercy, and were not worthy of being called a people, or nation, until God revealed His Son in our hearts. At that time we became the people of God, because through that act of God we obtained mercy.


(Verses 11 and 12) "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."


Notice Peter's language in this sentence. Although he was writing to people whom he probably had never seen, he addresses them as "dearly beloved." Not only were they beloved of God, but since they were "elect according to the foreknowledge of God" they were beloved of the apostle also, and should be beloved by all of God's children. Then he does not say, "I command you," although as an apostle of the Lord Christ Jesus he had authority to command in the name of Jesus. Instead he says, "I beseech you", that is, "I beg you." The expression, "as strangers and pilgrims," might more properly be understood as, "while strangers and pilgrims," meaning "as long as you are in this world;" for all of God's people are strangers and pilgrims until He calls us home. His plea to us is that we "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" Every fleshly lust, small or great, is Satan's tool, or weapon, for carrying on his relentless war against the soul of man. We sometimes hear well-intentioned people say, "Satan doesn't worry about, or bother those who do not belong to the Lord. His only effort is against God's people." While it is true that he delights in laying all manner of snares for the Lord's elect, his own are not in any manner exempt from the same. His strongest hold upon his own, as well as his strongest weapon against the saints is his use of fleshly lusts. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the condition and attitude of modern society. Consider the promiscuity of sex in our nation, and in the entire world today. It is reported that even some, who claim to be gospel ministers are teaching that promiscuous sexual activity is a permissible and healthy pass time for young people, since it is such a natural thing. Certainly, if we are making a comparison of "natural" and "spiritual," it would have to be classed as a natural thing, because it IS NOT spiritual; it is assuredly a lust of the flesh, and as such it makes war against the soul. Every one who knows any thing about the teachings of our Lord knows that such is not to be tolerated. Modern society has become so involved in this particular lust, (not to mention any of the millions of others that are constantly tempting humanity,) that it is the primary cause of the murder of unborn babies. People think that they have the right to satisfy their lusts, and destroy the consequences thereof. GOD WILL NOT FORGET THIS ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT! In addition to the murders already mentioned that stem from this lust, consider all the horrible diseases that are by this one lust transmitted from one person to another. With all this going on, there are millions of dollars being spent to find a way for such activity to be "safe," so that it can go on without its natural consequences, while there is almost no effort, comparatively speaking, to get people to use the one remedy for the whole problem, a little seven letter word, "abstain." They talk about the various methods they recommend as "safety measures:" some of them range in efficiency from 50% to 90%, the latter being about the most efficient that they have. The Apostle Peter's method is always 100% efficiently effective, "Abstain from fleshly lusts, that war against the soul." This method is just as effective for all other lusts also, 100%. The only possibility of its failure is that it not be used. If used, it never fails.


"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles." As has been pointed out many times, this includes not just our speech, but our actions also. So the admonition is that we live an honest and upright life among the Gentiles, or heathens, as it could just as properly have been translated. The apostle then gives a reason for so doing. That reason is that, although at the present time these heathens may be trying to lay upon you a reputation as evildoers, your good works will belie their efforts. And if God sees fit to visit them in mercy, and open their eyes to the truth, they will glorify Him for having enabled you to continue faithful in the face of all their evil efforts.


(Verses 13 through 17) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."


Certainly, we should recognize the exception to the apostle's instruction, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake." That exception is not mentioned here, but is clearly set forth by this same apostle, in his answer to the council of priests, (Acts 5:29,) "Then Peter and the other apostles answered, and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." This clearly establishes an exception to the admonition given here. If man decrees that we must do something contrary to that which God has commanded, we are to obey God, whatever the cost. Otherwise we are to obey all ordinances of man, even if we feel that these ordinances infringe upon our "rights." Peter uses the expression, "whether it be to the king, as supreme: or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him_ _ _." Since we do not have a king, it simply means to us, "Obey all laws of the land, (with the before noted exception,) whether federal, state, or local; and render proper respect to those whose duty it is to administer these laws." We are to do this, not to seek favor with those who make and administer these laws, but for the sake of God, Whose will it is that in our quiet obedience to these ordinances we "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men," who may have been falsely accusing us of being evildoers. Our obedience to the laws coupled to our living a life of honest and humble service to God, leave them with no charge against us, and thereby glorify God. The apostle further admonishes us to live as being free, but not to take advantage of this freedom as a cloak of maliciousness. We are to obey these laws cheerfully, knowing that we as children of the King of kings are not under bondage to such things, but in honor of our Father we voluntarily obey. Yet, though we are free from such a bondage, we are not to use this freedom as an excuse for disobedience to the laws of the land, for, after all, we are the servants of God; and it is well-pleasing to Him that we render quiet obedience to all laws of the land in which we live, unless they directly contradict His own commandments. We are at all times to fear God. One of the meanings of the Greek word here translated "fear." is "render reverential respect;" and from the context in which it is used it is clear that this is exactly the apostle's meaning. We are also to love the brotherhood, the children of God. We are to honor, or respect, not only the king, the highest ruler in the land, but even all men. It is a very true saying, "He who does not respect others cannot respect himself."


(Verses 18 through 20) "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."


One might ask the question, "How can this apply to us today? Since slavery has been abolished in this country, we are all free, and not servants to any man." Sadly, this seems to be the attitude of most people today. However, it is entirely erroneous. For, if I accept payment from you for any service rendered, whether in the home, in the field, in the office, or in the factory, for the duration of that employment, and to the legal extent of whatever the duty of my position may be, though not your slave, I am nevertheless your servant. So, the apostle's instructions apply to me as if I were a slave. So it is our responsibility to God to do the best we can in whatever position or job we are employed. If we do something we ought not or fall short in something we should have done, and are reprimanded for it, it is only our duty as a hired servant to take it patiently; and we deserve no special vote of thanks for so doing. If we have done nothing amiss and our "boss" (whether the C. E. O. of the company, our foreman, or anyone in between) because of his own ill nature reprimands us, it is our duty, for conscience toward God, to take that patiently. This is acceptable with God, and in His own time, He will take care of the matter for us.


(Verses 21 through 25) "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him That judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."


It is amazing how Satan can so becloud the minds of even those who are considered ministers of the gospel. On every hand we hear some trying to persuade people to come to the Lord; and in their pleas, they present such a beautiful picture of how easy it is to follow Him, and how He will just remove all obstacles and make the road so smooth if we will only do his will. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Many times our Lord told of the rigorous requirements for one to be His disciple. Among the many places recording His declarations of such are Matthew 10:38-39, Mark 8:34-35, and Luke 14: 26. Then the Apostle Paul says, (Philippians 1:29,) "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake;" and here the Apostle Peter says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps." What makes us want to strike back at those who wrong us is not the Spirit of our Lord. On the contrary, it is none other than Satan himself. One of his greatest tools for deceiving us is the very popular, but totally inaccurate idea of "civil rights" or "individual rights." According to this doctrine, I should have the right to do anything that I please to do unless it causes actual damage of some kind to someone else, whereas the truth is that I have no rights to do anything except what my Lord has commanded. Because I have been bought, body, soul, and spirit, by the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, Who not only patiently and silently endured all the persecutions, insults, and ridicule that were heaped upon Him while He traveled here, but in that same patience and silence went to the cross, and there bore my sins and suffered death for me. Thus we are to consider ourselves dead to this world; and being dead to this world we can have no "rights" in it. We were called to endure suffering, even according to the example set before us by our Master. It is His stripes that have healed us. We indeed were as sheep going astray. We were following the wrong leader. The Apostle Paul describes our condition thus: "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." This was our condition before the Lord called us out of it. The wonderful part of it all is that is in the past. We have been brought out of that condition; and the Apostle Peter continues thus, "but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." What joy there should be in the heart of every one of us! What willingness to endure whatever He sees fit to allot us while we travel here! But, sadly, we too often listen to the whispers of Satan when he tells us, "You have not been treated properly. You ought to assert your rights, and fight back." The real question is "How can you assert that which you do not have, without becoming an evildoer yourself?" Let us patiently wait upon the Lord.


Chapter 3

(Verses 1 through 6) "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."


There are many in this modern age, who are so enamored with the idea of "liberated women" that they will say this address to wives is utterly absurd. Even some so called "gospel ministers" will say that this is completely out-dated, and if the Lord or His apostles were here now, He, or they, would change the message to better fit the conditions of the times. Let me very quickly assure you that the word of God never changes. His word still stands true; and is the ONLY proper guide for the life of a Christian. Notice that the apostle begins this address with the word, "likewise," by this showing that his message is that just as, in his admonition to the servants, he says, "Servants, be subject to your own masters, with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward," so are wives to be obedient to their husbands, not only if the husband is good and gentle, but even if he is somewhat less than good or gentle. This is to be done in fear; not so much fear of the husband, as in fear of God. Patient endurance for conscience is here acceptable to God just as previously said in the case of servants. No one knows when God may see fit to open the eyes and heart of the unbelieving husband, and make him see, by having observed his wife's patient, chaste, and obedient conduct, how greatly God has blessed him in giving him such a wife. Thus he is won to living a Christian life not by the word, the preaching of the gospel, but by the example of a beautiful Christian life constantly before him. Then the apostle further instructs the wife to see that outward ornamentation is not her greatest beauty. He does not say that she cannot have a new hair-do, or jewelry, or a nice dress. His message is that she not let this be her only, or even her chief, ornament, but that which is in the sight of God far more valuable, "the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit." Turning back to the historical example of the one who was to the Jews the greatest of women, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and mother of the nation of Israel, Peter tells us that this was her manner of life, even to the point of calling Abraham "lord," or "master;" not only speaking thus in words, but living according to those words. Then he says, "whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." Just as all who have faith like that of Abraham are considered the children of Abraham, see Romans 4:12, so those women who follow Sarah's example are called the daughters of Sarah. The expression, "as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement," should be understood as, "as long as ye do well and are not paralyzed with fear," recognizing the fact that some situations could be so severe that a wife would be under a paralyzing fear, and might not be able to "do well," such as following Sarah's example, and thus not be able to prove herself a daughter of Sarah.


(Verse 7) "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."


No doubt the modern worldly woman will immediately complain that the apostle discriminated against her when she compares what he says to the husbands to that which he says to the wives. If we examine what he said to the husbands we will find that, although he did not use many words, he gave much instruction. In the first place he says, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge." The word translated "knowledge," does not mean knowledge in the sense of accumulated facts, but principally in the sense of intelligence, or understanding. So the husband is to show understanding, or consideration, toward his wife. If he does this, he will never abuse her by either word or deed. Some husbands seem to think that they have the right to physically abuse their wives. Others apparently believe that they have the right to use a rough tone of voice toward their wives when they want them to do something. Both types seem to believe that this kind of conduct shows them to be "real men." But such action is totally contrary to the apostle's commandment, and also shows them to be somewhat less than men; for, even our scientists admit that reasoning, intelligence, and understanding, are the primary factors that separate man from the lower order of animals. Then Peter continues, "giving honour unto them as unto the weaker vessel.” We have sometimes heard people try to connect this phrase, "the weaker vessel" with the fact that Eve was deceived by the serpent, and led into the first transgression, thus making the claim that she was deceived because she was "the weaker vessel." However, the scriptures abundantly prove that, although Adam was not deceived, it is still his transgression, not Eve's, for which the earth was cursed, and for which his entire posterity was plunged into sin and death. Furthermore, if this were the weakness to which the apostle refers, he certainly would not have set it forth as a cause for honoring the wife. There are two words, in particular, in this expression which give the key to one's understanding it. First, the Greek word, "astheneteroi", which is here translated "weaker", literally means of lesser physical strength; and, second, "timen," translated "honour," means "reverence," "deference," or "respect." So the admonition to the husband is actually to keep in mind that the wife is physically weaker and is to be protected, not only from enemies, but also from strenuous labor and hardships of all sorts. Also she is to be given deference, or respect, and by all means never to suffer abuse, physical or verbal, from her husband. Further, the apostle says, "And as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." In short, although the Apostle Paul teaches that the husband is "the head of the wife," he also says, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) So, husbands, consider your wives equal with you in the sight of God, since you are "heirs together of the grace of life." Thus you will have peace and harmony in the home; and there will be no disturbances to hinder your prayers. You can join together wholeheartedly in your prayers. Remember that our Lord said, (Matthew 18:19-20,) "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Some seem to think that verse 19 applied to the apostles only, but all want to claim verse 20. The manner in which they are joined together makes it seem that both may apply to the same persons, those who are together in the name of our Lord Jesus. How wonderful it is for a man and his wife to be thus met together in His name.


(Verses 8 through 13) "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should receive a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?"


No longer is the apostle addressing husbands or wives individually, but all Christians collectively; and the instructions he gives here seem to have been forgotten long ago by many, if indeed they ever knew them. Usually, when one in authority is giving instructions and comes to the point at which he says, "Finally," this is a sign he has come to the most important item of all. That is exactly the situation here. Notice carefully what the Apostle Peter says in verse 8, "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." He did not say, All of you have the same thoughts, and never have any difference of opinions among you." He was not concerned with individual thoughts, but the mind in which these thoughts occur: and accordingly he describes that mind. The very first thing to be cultivated in that mind is compassion for one another. The dictionary defines compassion thus: "a suffering with another; sympathy; pity; commiseration; an act of mercy." Considering the situation of those to whom Peter was writing, it seems that the most suitable meaning of all is the first one given, "a suffering with another." They were enduring much suffering, not only that which is common to all humanity, but especially that brought about by persecution from the enemies of the Lord. With this meaning we might read this part of the instructions thus: "Do not shrink from taking part with a brother or sister because of persecution, but endure it with him." Next, we are to "love as brethren." We are to have just as great love for all saints as if they were our own brothers or sisters in the flesh. Then we are to "be pitiful." This word is seldom used today with the same meaning it had at the time of this translation. It simply means that we are to have a mind filled with pity for those in distress, not just to feel sorry for them, but to minister to their needs in any way we can, whether with material help, spiritual help, or service by our own hands. We also are to be courteous. The meaning of the Greek word used here is "Friendly," or "kind." We usually think of "courteous" as a synonym for "polite," and this would certainly be proper if we keep in mind a definition of "politeness" given by someone many years ago:


          "Politeness is to do and say,

           The kindest thing in the kindest way."


Having told us what kind of mind to develop, Peter then tells us how to act, and why we are to do so. "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that you should receive a blessing." If, because I have received evil from someone, I feel that I have to "get even" with that person by doing him an evil turn, I am being led by Satan, and not by the Spirit of God. The same is true of our returning "railing for railing." According to our dictionary the verb, "rail," means "to utter reproaches; to use insolent and reproachful language; to scold," and the Greek word here used means the same. How sad it is to hear someone, in speaking of some incident he has experienced, say, in a boastful manner, "I really told him (or her) off," implying that he did rail, or sometimes worse, against that person. Regretfully, we all are subject to becoming so irritated at times that we may speak in an unbecoming manner to someone; but if we have the Spirit of God, we will be ashamed of such instead of boasting about it. Instead of doing such things we are to bless those who curse, or revile us, and pray for those who despitefully use us, knowing that this is the very thing to which God has called us; and His purpose in so doing is that we shall, at His appointed time, receive a blessing. "For he that will love life, and see good days_ _ _." From a close examination of the Greek wording in this clause, it is apparent that the meaning is simply, "For him who expects to enjoy life, and see happy days". For such a person, "let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it." These instructions can hardly be made clearer. The following of them would undoubtedly help anyone to a happier and more enjoyable life; and for one who believes in our Lord Jesus the Christ the value of such a manner of living is beyond our ability to calculate. The greatest reason why we should follow these instructions is, "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." Another reason for our rendering obedience to these instructions is that, as a general rule, though there may be some exceptions, we will not receive so much damage from others as if we disregarded them, for the apostle says, "And who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good?"


(Verses 14 through 17) "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of that hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing."


As pointed out above, when we live a quiet, peaceable, and godly life, trying our best to serve our Lord, no one is likely to harm us. Yet sometimes that becomes the very reason for some to try to harm us; and when such is the case, we are to be happy about it and, as did the apostles, rejoice that we are accounted worthy to suffer for the name of our Lord. We are not to be afraid of any of their threats, or even their actions, however severe they may be. At the same time, we are not to be arrogant and boastful, but meek and fearful; not fearful of what man may do, but fearing God, and sanctifying, or honoring, Him in our hearts, and being ready at all times to give to everyone who asks a reason for that hope that is in our hearts. Above all, let us live so that our conscience is clear before God, and our record before men is such that false accusers can find nothing to support their claims against us. Thus will they be brought to shame. If it is God's will that we witness for Him by enduring persecution and wrongful suffering, even to death, that is better than doing evil and having to suffer for that.


(Verses 18 through 20) "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by Which also He went and preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."


Surely, there can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who has ever listened very much to the preaching of the gospel, concerning the meaning of verse 18. It is an extremely condensed account of the whole gospel. Jesus our Lord, having no sin and therefore being perfectly just, suffered and died for us who were totally unjust, being dead in trespasses and sins. And by His death He put away forever our sins, and removed from us the curse of the law, so that, through Him we are brought to God. This death of our Lord was in the flesh. That is, He came into this world, and lived here in a body of flesh, blood, and bone; and in this body He died; but by the power of the Eternal Spirit He arose from the dead, and is alive for evermore. Verses 19 and 20 are the ones that far more often provoke differences of opinion, and sometimes argument and debate.  One theory that has been put forth is that between the time of His death and His resurrection, He, in the Spirit, went into Hades, considered the place of abode of the departed spirits, or souls, of men who have died, until the time of their resurrection, and preached to those spirits shut up therein. Supposedly, according to this theory, He was giving them another chance to repent. This is so obviously contrary to the teachings of the word of God that it should be rejected without further thought. There are, of course, many more theories concerning this matter, but, although there is practically nothing else in scripture to tie in directly with this subject, here are a few thoughts which seem reasonable. First, in verse 19 the apostle says, "By Which [the Spirit] also He went and preached to the spirits in prison." Isaiah 61:1 says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Then, after reading this to the congregation, our Lord said, (Luke 4:21 ,) "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Thus it seems that the prison in which these spirits were bound is the prison of sin, in which all men are bound until our Lord releases them. It is certainly by His Spirit that not only gospel ministers today, but also the prophets of old are, and were called, and by Whom they are and were given a message, so that, in fact, it is Jesus the Christ Who by the Spirit is today preaching through His ministers, and did in days of old, preach by His prophets. Verse 20 gives a specific instance of this preaching to those spirits "which sometime (not ‘sometimes’) were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing." This apostle tells us (II Peter 2:5) that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. If he was a preacher, he undoubtedly preached; and this had to be by the Spirit of Christ Jesus our Lord, for in Revelation 19:10 we find, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." But at that time, although "the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah" all the time in which the ark was being prepared, those spirits in the prison of sin continued in their disobedience, and those wicked men in whom were these disobedient spirits perished in the flood, while eight persons, few indeed compared to the multitude that must have inhabited the earth at that time, were saved by the very same water that destroyed the wicked. Some may object to this statement and say, "The ark is what saved them; not the water." Can you not visualize what would have happened had there not been enough water to lift the ark up out of reach of those who were being destroyed by the flood? Surely they would have destroyed the ark, or at the very least, they would have destroyed Noah and his family. Someone will surely say, "But God could have protected them." So He did indeed. He caused the flood to raise the ark up out of their reach, where it floated upon the waters until that judgment of God was past.


(Verses 21 and 22) "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him."


Since it is always acceptable to remove any parenthetical expression from a sentence, and consider the remainder without it, we shall do just that with verse 21, and consider the parenthesis later. "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This makes the apostle's meaning to show up a little more clearly. Noah's experience and baptism are one and the same symbol, or figure. In Noah's situation, God opened the windows of heaven and broke up the fountains of the deep (See Gen. 7:11.) so the water was over, under, and around the ark, a true baptism, or immersion, just as even now baptism of the individual is by immersion. Just as one is raised up from the liquid grave, the ark was raised up to rest upon the top of the water. But as important as baptism should be considered by the Christian, it, like Noah's experience, is only a figure of that by which we are saved, the resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord. The Apostle Peter very clearly states that baptism is "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh." It has no part in cleansing us from sin although it is a work of righteousness that we, as those who believe in the resurrection of Christ Jesus, should fulfill that we might thus give the answer of a good conscience toward God in bearing witness by this act that we do believe that God did indeed raise up Jesus from the dead. Now He, being raised up, "is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." While here on earth, Jesus said, "Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne_ _ _." Therefore we conclude that He is even now at the throne of God. Moreover He is at God the Father's right hand. This expression, whether taken literally or figuratively, gives the same meaning; for One Who is at the right hand of the King, is the One in greatest authority under the King, and figuratively, to be at the right hand of the King is to be His highest and most trusted officer and friend. The apostle says, "Angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." In Hebrews 2:8 we find, "But now we see not yet all things put under Him," and in I Corinthians 15:25 -26, and 28, the Apostle Paul says, "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death_ _ _And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him That did put all things under Him, that God may be All in All." So the work of subduing angels, authorities, and powers, and indeed all things, unto Him is in process of being done, and the last book of our Bible, "The Revelation Of Jesus Christ," gives, as it were, a blow by blow description of the final chapter of that work, the subduing of Satan and all his evil agents.


Chapter 4

(Verses 1 and 2) "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."


The Apostle here takes, as a foundation, the fact that Christ has suffered for us, that is, He has suffered death, or has died, in our place. Then upon this he says, "Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh (died) hath ceased from sin." If He has died in our place, we are then figuratively, and indeed legally, dead; and one who is dead has stopped sinning. Therefore arm yourselves, or prepare for battle, against sin with this attitude of mind. That since He died in my place, I am therefore dead, and should spend no more of my time here on earth continuing in sin, but I should be dead to it and alive to God, spending my time striving to do His will, and fighting against the lusts of the flesh. If we could only hold fast to this frame of mind, it would be one of our greatest weapons against the wiles of Satan.


(Verses 3 through 5) "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."


Since anyone who has been brought to Jesus through the power of the Holy Ghost, has been made so ashamed of the sins of his past life that he will readily admit, with the Apostle Peter, that the time of his past life is enough, and in fact, far too much, to have wasted in sin, he should be ready to lay all of that aside and serve the Lord. The word here translated "Gentiles," also means "heathens," and in view of its context that seems a more appropriate translation as we consider the heathen practices to which the apostle refers. Nevertheless when one has been by the power of God set free from such things, he will usually find that his former associates will think it strange that he no longer engages with them in those activities, even to the point of ridiculing him, or worse. But let us all keep in mind that they will without fail give account to our Lord, not only for their lustful activities, but also for their evil treatment of us. Therefore instead of returning railing for railing, let us pray for them.


(Verse 6) "For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."


There are three principal ways in which the word, "dead," is used in scripture. They are, "dead" in the physical sense, "dead" in sin, and "dead" to sin. It can be found in a few places with a different usage. In this verse it seems that its use is that of being physically dead, with special reference to those who have with their blood sealed their testimony of God. The gospel was preached to them, not to give them life, but to call forth those whom God had made alive from the evil lifestyle of the heathens to walk in the pathway of righteousness. This change in their lives caused them to be judged, (or more properly translated, "condemned,") according to men in the flesh. However this condemnation according to men, although it may have been so severe that it brought about their death, cannot prevent their living in the spirit; for though they are physically dead, their spirits even now are living in the presence of God. This should be a great comfort to any little child of God who is suffering the condemnation of his former associates because he is now striving to serve the living God.


(Verses 7 through 11) "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak. let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."


It is evident in the writings of both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul, that their love for our Lord Jesus and their zeal for His service, were so great that, they actually felt that His return was imminent in their day although He never told them when it would be. On the contrary, He told them that neither men nor angels, nor even the Son knew the timing of that great event. Nevertheless He did instruct them, (Luke 12: 35 -36,) "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord," signifying that, so far as any man knows, it could be at any time. We might well keep in mind also that we are living in "the day of grace;" and when this day is over He will return. Therefore indeed the time is at hand. Further, this signifies that this is the next prophesied great event for the Christian. Therefore we are to be "sober, and watch unto prayer." Certainly we are not to spend our time in drinking and carousing; and neither are we to fall into such a stupor, being lulled with the things of the world, that we forget our Lord's commandments. We are to be vigilant in our watching; and while we watch we are to pray, asking that He keep us by His power and especially praying as He taught His disciples, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Then "above all things," or the most important thing of all is that we have fervent, or very warm, love among ourselves. The lack of love is the greatest contributing cause of the sad decline of the church today. In the Lord's judgment on the Ephesian church (Rev. 2:4-5) the only thing he mentions against this church is that it had left its "first love." This one thing necessitated repentance and a return to the original status, or else the candlestick would be removed out of its place. It is no wonder then that Peter here says that above everything else we are to hold on to this love, or as it is translated, "charity." He further declares that it "shall cover the multitude of sins." Notice that he does not say, "a multitude," but "the multitude," of sins. This is the equivalent of saying "all sins." Indeed if we have fervent love among ourselves it will do two things for us that nothing else will or can do. First, it will prevent our sinning against one another, for the Apostle Paul said, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor;" and second, it will prevent our seeing every little mistake that a brother or sister makes. Thus in a very real way, it "shall cover the multitude of sins." Then the apostle tells us how we are to use whatever gift God has entrusted to our use. We are to do so "as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Perhaps the most appropriate definition of "steward" in this context is "one who has affairs to superintend for another." The affairs we have to superintend for God are the using of those gifts He has entrusted to us. They are all given by the grace of God, which is indeed manifold, for it not only gives many gifts, but also does many things for us. Each of the gifts, or abilities given by the grace of God, is profitable only when properly used for that purpose for which it is given. We must remember that as stewards we are responsible to God for the manner in which we attend to the affairs entrusted to us. If one has the gift of speaking, (preaching, teaching, or other public speaking) he is to speak as, or in harmony with, the oracles of God. According to the dictionary an oracle is "an answer or wise saying." So our speaking is to be according to the answers and wise sayings of God, all of which are found in the holy scriptures, and nowhere else. Then "if any man minister," that is, if he renders any service, "let him do it as of the ability, which God giveth." Let him not think that he has of himself done some great thing for which he should be commended; but let him do it only as making use of what God has entrusted to him to use for the benefit of his brethren. In this way only can we so live "that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ." In living thus we ascribe praise and dominion to Christ Jesus, and may it be to Him forever and ever. Amen.


(Verses 12 through 15) "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."


Here Peter gives a warning of the persecutions that were soon to become extremely heavy upon all Christians. Just as he probably would to his own children, he says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." When you are engulfed in these persecutions, don't think that you have been singled out for some strange trial. This is the lot of God's elect while here in this world; and although these trials may be severe, they are not unusual. Instead of being alarmed and bewildered by them, rejoice that you are thus made a partner with our Lord Jesus the Christ. He suffered persecution, even unto death, for you; and now you are suffering for His sake. Consider this as the greatest possible evidence that when He returns in His glory and power you will be able to rejoice with exceedingly great joy, a joy that will never end. Therefore if you are reproached and persecuted for His name you are to be extremely happy; for you are indeed a blessed person. These reproaches and persecutions bear witness that the Spirit of glory, which is also the Spirit of God, rests upon you. Remember that this is the same treatment that the world laid upon Jesus. So you must be following Him. Those who are persecuting you are speaking evil of God, and attempting to rebel against Him; but as you patiently bear their reproaches, you glorify God. The apostle then gives a strong caution, or warning, saying, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters." It may seem unnecessary to try to give further explanation of these evils, but one thing must be said. In spite of the modern way of thinking, ABORTION IS MURDER, and must be included under that head in the warning given. The way to make sure that we do not suffer for any of these things is to make sure that we do not do such.


(Verses 16 through 18) "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"


Although we are instructed to make sure that we do not lay ourselves open to having to suffer for evil conduct of any sort, yet, if we "suffer as a Christian," that is, only because we are following Christ our Lord, we should never be ashamed of that, nor discouraged by it. "For," says the apostle, "the time is come," that is, even in His day it was time, "that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" This is a quotation which men, for some inexplicable reason, have twisted so that they have come up with some ridiculous interpretations of it. Let us consider a statement of our Lord Himself, (Matthew 23:33-35,) "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men and scribes: some of them ye shall kill and crucify: and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily, I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation." Again, we have it recorded thus in Luke 11:49-51, "Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation." All through this epistle Peter has maintained that, so far as their sojourn in this world is concerned, the saints are called to suffering. Certainly glory awaits us at the return of our Lord; but in this present world, persecution and suffering, and that by the appointment and judgment of our Lord Jesus the Christ and God our Father. And it is something in which every Christian should rejoice since it is the token of our having upon us the Spirit of glory and of God. Judgment begins at the house of God, not that He is sending punishment upon us, but rather by our suffering these things He is setting the stage for the judgment He will send upon the wicked. The declaration of our Lord quoted above says nothing about those who actually shed the blood of those from Abel to Zacharias being in any degree relieved of their guilt by the fact that it would be required of "this generation." The Lord only said that He would send prophets and apostles to them that by persecuting and killing those sent they would "fill up the measure of their fathers," and thus be fully guilty with them in all the blood that was shed; and undoubtedly the same holds true with generation after generation of the wicked. So judgment does indeed begin at the house of God, with the saints, who for their faith itself are judged and condemned by the wicked, reproached, persecuted, and often killed, by them that they may fill up the measure of their fathers that in the day of the judgment of the wicked, God may lay upon them the guilt of all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. Remember what the Apostle Peter said in verse 6 of this chapter. "For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." This is still the same principle. Also God has judged us worthy to suffer for His sake, but He has reserved glory for us when He returns. Therefore "if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" We hear some saying, "But those who do not obey the gospel of God are God's children, just walking in disobedience." The writer of the Hebrew epistle will have none of that. He says, "And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him," (Heb.5:9). This quotation is fully as clear in what it does not say as in what it does say. He, Jesus, is the author of eternal salvation to every one of those who obey Him. At the same time, Not a single one of those who do not obey Him is included. If we obey Him, we obey the gospel; if we obey the gospel, we obey Him. The negative side of this is equally true. Notice what Jesus told the Jews, "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" For the answer to the question, "What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" look to the question our Lord asked the Pharisees, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Peter rephrases the same question he has already asked, "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Some at this point raise a strange objection to what we have presented. They say, "This cannot be speaking of eternal salvation when it says, `If the righteous scarcely be saved,' because we are saved by the blood of Jesus the Christ, and there is no scarcity of salvation. It is full and complete." Before giving the meaning of the text, we wish to answer this objection. Assuming that this refers to eternal salvation, which we certainly affirm is by the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, and that His blood is fully sufficient to cleanse us from all sin, we still have this to consider. If you had a fatal disease, were in the terminal stage of it, had searched the whole world, finding no cure and no promise of cure; then just before your final breath someone came to you with a medicine that instantly cured you, leaving no ill side effects, and no harm of any kind, would you not say that you were scarcely cured? Our Lord did more than that. He came to us after we were DEAD, dead in sin. No one else could have done it. So we may rightly be considered as being scarcely saved. Now let us return to the text. Inasmuch as the apostle is considering the persecution which God suffers the wicked to bring against His saints in order that they, the wicked, may fill up their guilt, as the beginning of the judgment, we are brought to this. Since this persecution is so severe that the righteous are scarcely saved from it, some, indeed, delivered from it for a time, others finding no deliverance except through death itself, through which they pass on into the presence of God. Compare Stephen, who was the first recorded Christian martyr, to the Apostle Paul, who traveled many weary miles, suffered much persecution, and finally met death also for his testimony of Christ. Only by death can any of God's elect be saved from this judgment until the day of our Lord's return. Those who are alive at His coming will not suffer death, but all others will. So they are scarcely saved. "Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Our Lord answered that. "How can ye escape the damnation of hell?"


(Verse 19) "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator."


Since this persecution that the saints must endure is the beginning of the judgment which God will finally conclude in the casting of all the wicked into that lake of fire, this suffering must be according to the will of God. Therefore let us patiently look to Him and continue to obey His commandments, leaving the keeping of our souls in His hands, and laying aside all worry, for He is our Creator, and He is faithful, so every promise He has ever made will be completely fulfilled.


Chapter 5

(Verses 1 through 4) "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."


In many ancient cultures, and especially in the nation of Israel , the custom of rule or government was that the father was the head of the family which included all of his descendants even though he might have married sons, and even married grandsons, etc. Upon the death of the father, his firstborn son became the patriarch of the family. From this practice grew the practice of governing the community by "elders", so called because they were the elder, or older men of the community, and by reason of age and experience were considered wise and experienced enough to make decisions for the community, as its representatives. It seems that this system is also the basis for the practice of having elders in the Christian church. There have been many debates about whether or not elders are always identical with preachers and pastors. To those who hold to one side of the question, there seems ample proof in the scriptures to support their position, while those on the other side feel to be adequately supported by scripture in their contention. So we shall not get into that argument, seeing that neither side can be persuaded to even consider the other position. One thing stands forth with complete clarity in the Apostle Peter's exhortation. That is that those whom he addresses as "elders" are considered as "overseers" and "feeders" of the flock of God that is among them, for he says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof." He says that he is himself an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ. His testimony of the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord was neither imagination nor hearsay, for he was there, and witnessed it. He also declares that he is a "partaker of the glory that shall be revealed." Obviously since that glory has not yet been revealed, he is not yet in full possession of it, but his faith in the word of the Lord is such that he has no doubt about receiving it when it is revealed. As Paul expressed it in Ephesians 1:14, he already has "the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession." He is only awaiting the time of its revelation. His exhortation to the elders is that they "feed the flock of God which is among you." The only thing that will properly feed the flock of God is the pure gospel message of salvation by our once crucified, but now risen Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. Then they can be instructed how to live that their walk may be acceptable to Him. The apostle further exhorts these elders to take the oversight of the flock not by constraint, but willingly. They are not to feel that this is a burden that has been pushed off upon them, but with willingness to do whatever they have been called of God to do for His people. We who have been brought up in a land where, all our lives, we have had religious freedom, may not fully appreciate this part of his exhortation. We sometimes see men who appear to be "running for the office" of overseer of the flock. So we might wonder why it is necessary to exhort them to take it willingly. The answer is simple. Those who persecuted the church put forth extra effort to harass the leaders, who, of course, were the elders. So the office of elder was one of great danger, not figuratively, but actually and physically. It could easily be the cause of greater persecution, even death. He continues, "not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." No man should ever undertake this work for the sake of worldly gain, whether wealth, power, popularity, or whatever else may be included in that. But if God has called him to this work, he should be ready to serve to the best of his ability, knowing that God will give him the grace needed to fulfill that for which he has been called. The final caution in this is that no one should take this position thinking himself to be a lord (master or ruler) over God's heritage. He is to be an example ("ensample") to the flock. Without question, if he is to be an example to the flock of God, his life must be according to the rules, which God has given and the examples, which He and His apostles have set before us. Peter then says, "And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away". You may, possibly, serve the Lord all your life and never be recognized, even by your own brethren, for any of the work you have done, but if you have been faithful, do not be discouraged. The Chief Shepherd, Christ Jesus our Lord, has promised to return one day; and when He does, you will be recognized by Him. That recognition will never fade away.


(Verses 5 through 7) "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."


In verse 5, "elder" has no reference to the office of any one, in the church or elsewhere, but is only used in its original meaning of "older" as contrasted with "younger" in the same statement. So the apostle's instructions are that the younger members show proper respect to the older ones as to those who have more experience, and probably more mature wisdom. Then all, whether older or younger, are to show respect ("be subject") to each other. This is to be done not in a pretense of humility, which would have been called "a cloak of humility," but in the real thing, "be clothed with humility." Then he cautions thus, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." All through this epistle Peter has constantly reminded us that Christians are called and appointed to suffering in this world. See again Chapter II, verses 19 through 24, where he clearly tells us that we are even called to this very thing, because He, our Lord, also suffered for us, thus giving us an example of what to expect, and how we are to bear it. Therefore in whatsoever lot God suffers us to be cast, let us be humble, neither murmuring nor complaining, but patiently waiting not that we may exalt ourselves, but that He may exalt us "in due time," that is, at the appointed time. We are neither to worry nor to fret because of the fiery trials that may come upon us. They are not strange, and should not be unexpected, seeing that God has already told us they are to come. Therefore we are to leave all our cares and worries in His hands, and not be discouraged, because He cares for us. Our answer to each trial should be as that of Job, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."


(Verses 8 through 11) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever Amen."


The Apostle Peter's instructions here seem to need far less explanation than just adamant insistence that they be followed to the letter. We are to be constantly on the watch against all the devil's efforts to approach us. He may put forth some very enticing things, but he is still, at best, no better than a roaring lion, seeking his prey by any means at his disposal. We are to resist him "steadfast in the faith." This seems to have special reference to resisting all attempts he may make to cause us to recant, or turn away from the faith. This was not an unusual thing in that day. Some who professed to be Christians, and for a while seemed very fervent in their zeal for the Lord, would, because of persecution, or desire for worldly gain, or for some other reason, recant. Then as Judas did with our Lord, they would betray Christians to those who persecuted them. So the apostle says we are to resist the devil "steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." We are not alone. All our brethren in the world are having to bear the same afflictions. The only discharge from this warfare is when our Lord calls us away from this world either by death or by His return. Until then we are to resist steadfastly all the way, knowing that we are not just an isolated case: we are not having the hardest time of any one in the world, but are only a small part of the overall picture. Then Peter prays for us: "But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." A notable difference between this prayer and many that we hear today is, that most of those we hear now are asking God to lighten the load of someone, and even asking that He will completely remove his suffering. But, the apostle only asks that after our suffering is over, "after that ye have suffered a while," God will make us "perfect, stablish, settle" us. Some will, no doubt, interpret this as that after just a little while of suffering God will remove such, and will make us more mature Christians, for the same word that is translated "perfect" can also mean "mature". However, in view of the fact that this is, in reality, the conclusion of an epistle, which from beginning to end is a treatise upon our being called to suffering in this world, and to the glory of God at the return of our Lord; it seems more in keeping with the overall subject to consider it simply as a prayer that when our troubles are over and our suffering finished God will indeed make us perfect, establish us in His eternal presence, strengthen us by His almighty power, and settle us in that eternal city where no unsettling storms of persecution can ever arise. And indeed to Him belongs all glory, dominion, and power forever and ever. And to this the Apostle Peter solemnly declares, "So be it."


Verse 12 introduces one Silvanus, whom the apostle says he considers to be a faithful brother, and who is the messenger bearing this epistle to those whom he is addressing. He further says that the purpose of this writing is to testify to them that this grace wherein they stand is the true grace of God, certainly a very comforting testimony to them.


Verse 13 apparently gives Peter's location at the time of this writing. He says, "The church that is at Babylon , elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son". Some may argue that "Marcus my son" does not mean that Marcus is the flesh and blood son of the apostle, but that this is to be considered in the same manner as Paul's relationship with Timothy and Titus, that is, that Marcus is "his son in the faith". However, since we know that the Apostle Peter was a married man, and we have no scriptural evidence to the contrary, it seems possible that Marcus was his biological son.


Verse 14 says, Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity [love]. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." In middle-eastern culture the kiss is historically, even from ancient times, the common manner of greeting among men as well as among women, just as the handshake is the most common greeting among men in western societies. The apostle's instruction here will apply just as well to the handshake as to the kiss. That is, let it be from the heart prompted by the love of God and the love of the brother or sister as a member of the family of God. Let there be no pretense, but let our greeting be of real love. Now we have the apostle's closing prayer. "Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." In view of his prayer in verse 10 and the entire line of his teaching in this letter, one can hardly believe that he is here praying that peace reign between these brethren and their enemies all around. It seems rather to mean that even in this time of persecution and suffering that he has already told them will come, may peace be with those who are in Christ Jesus. May they have peace among themselves, and in their own hearts, in order that they can steadfastly resist Satan and all his enticements. So be it.



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