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The Temple of Living Stones
Summary —Desiring the Sincere Milk. The Living Stone. The Spiritual Temple. The Stone the Builders Rejected. The Peculiar People. Letting Our Light Shine. Obedience to Authorities. The Glory of Suffering for Righteousness.
1–3. Wherefore. In view of the salvation and duty of brotherly love pointed out in chapter 1. Laying aside all malice. The things to be laid aside are inconsistent with brotherly love. Malice. The mental state opposed to love. Guile. The mental state opposed to sincerity. 1:22. Hypocrisies. Guile exhibited in word and deed. Envies. “Love envieth not” (1 Cor. 13:4). Evil speakings. Speaking evil of others. 2. Newborn babes. The new birth has been spoken of in 1:23. They are 359babes in Christ. Babes hunger for milk. Let babes in Christ earnestly desire the sincere milk of the word. In the Revision “the spiritual, guileless milk.” This word, unadulterated, is the food upon which Christians must feed in order to grow. 3. If so be. This is the proper food for those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, or been converted. See Ps. 34:9.
4, 5. To whom coming. To Christ the Lord. A living stone. Christ is often called a Stone, or Rock, as the foundation whom which we build our spiritual life, and of the church; a “living stone” because he imparts life to all who build upon him, and himself lives eternally. See 1 John 1:1; Rev. 1:18; Acts 4:11. Disallowed. Rejected by the Jewish nation. Chosen, not of men but of God who raised him from the dead. See also verse 6. 5. Ye also, as lively stones. Christians, born again to eternal life, become living stones also built into the spiritual temple of which Christ is the corner stone. Spiritual house. The church. God's spiritual temple of which the temple was a type. An holy priesthood. Christ, the High Priest, hath anointed them all as priests in his spiritual house. They need no human priest to stand between them and God. Every Christian can offer up spiritual sacrifices. See Heb. 13:15; Ps. 50:23; Hos. 14:3; Rom. 12:1. The sacrifices of the Christian priest are prayer, praise, good deeds, the consecration of our bodies and substance to God's service. Acceptable to God. When offered in the name of Christ.
6–8. Behold, I lay in Zion. See Isa. 28:16, and Rom. 9:33. Hence God had foretold that Christ should be a Living Stone. Peter has not quoted the passage in full which declares that the stone is “a tried stone,” “a sure foundation.” Elect. Hence, “chosen by God” (verse 4). Precious. Since it is “the chief corner stone” without which the structure could not be built. He that believeth on him. Hence this stone is a person, and faith in him is the basis of salvation. 7. Unto you therefore which believe. The prophecy is now applied. He is precious to believers because they enjoy the promise embraced in “he that believeth,” etc. Unto the disobedient. Those who do not believe and hence, disobey; to these he is the stone which the builders disallowed, which is spoken of in Ps. 118:22. See also Matt. 21:42, and Acts 4:11. The head of the corner. Peter in Acts 4:11, quotes this passage from the Old Testament and applies it with great force. The rejected Savior had become the Head of God's spiritual temple. 8. A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. He is this to the disobedient. To believers, “precious;” to the disobedient, a stone over which they stumble and fall. Whereunto. Unto stumbling over the stone and falling. This is God's appointment to the disobedient. 360It is the result of their unbelief. The idea is that stumbling is their condition. When they reject Christ they stumble more and more.
9, 10. But ye are a chosen generation. God's chosen race, like ancient Israel. Christians are now the chosen people (Isa. 43:21). A royal priesthood. See Exod. 19:6. The Hebrew passage which Peter refers to means “a kingdom of priests.” Either this is its meaning, or that all in it, “anointed ones” like Christ, are in some sense like him, priest-kings. An holy nation. Set apart to God. A peculiar people. Differing from the world in life. That ye should show forth. They differ from the world that their holy lives may shine as a light and honor God. Out of darkness. In this and the next verse Peter surely has in mind Gentile Christians. 10. Which in time past were not a people. Not the people of God. See Hosea 2:23, which Peter quotes. The prophets in many places foretold the call of the Gentiles. See Rom. 9:25, 26.
11, 12. I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims. They were all, like the fathers (Heb. 11:13), only pilgrims and sojourners on the earth, seeking for a better home. Hence they should abstain from fleshly lusts, which would destroy their prospects of that home. 12. Having your conversation. Daily life. Let it be such as to refute slanders of their enemies. Evil doers. See Acts 17:6. The Jews often accused Christians to heathen rulers of being seditious. Because they rejected the heathen gods, they were accused of being atheists. The best way to answer these charges was to live them down. By your good works. Compare Matt. 5:16. Day of visitation. The day when God will make all clear and the heathen shall be converted.
13–17. Submit yourselves. Obey human laws. For the Lord's sake. Because it is the Lord's will. Whether the king. The Roman emperor whom the Greeks styled king. 14. Governors. The magistrates placed over the provinces of the Roman empire. Rulers are necessary, both to punish the evil and to reward the good. Compare Rom., chapter 13. 15. That with well doing. It is God's will that thus you may silence the charge that you are seditious persons. 16. As free. Christians, freed from the bondage of sin and of the law, and having the free spirit of children, must not use their liberty as a cloke, an excuse, for wickedness. Servants. They are God's servants. 17. Honor all men. Respect men of every station. Love the brotherhood. As Christ loved us. Fear God. With reverential fear. 361
18–20. Servants. Compare Eph. 6:5, and Col. 3:22. The Greek word here is not that of the former passages which means slaves. This may mean hired servants. Be subject. That is the duty of the relation. Nor is a faithful obedience due to good masters only, but to the froward. The perverse. 19. Thankworthy. “Acceptable” in the Revision. If a man suffers wrong for conscience sake, God notes his suffering and approves of his conduct. 20. For what glory is it? To bear with patience punishment for faults is no glory, but to bear patiently suffering inflicted for right doing is approved before God.
21–25. Hereunto were ye called. It was the experience of the Christian calling in that age to suffer for right doing. Even so Christ our Lord suffered. He is our example. 22. Who did no sin. He had no fault. 23. When he was reviled. He resented neither insults nor the sufferings inflicted upon him. But committed. He gave our judgment between him and his enemies to God. 24. Who … bare our sins. Died for our sins, not his own. He took our burdens. On the tree. The wood of the cross. That we being dead to sins. “Crucified with him,” penitent, the repentant sinner is baptized into his death, and rising to a new life, lives unto righteousness. By whose stripes. See Isa. 53:5,6. 25. Ye were as sheep. Led astray by sin. Are now returned. By coming to Christ. The Shepherd and Bishop. The good Shepherd who died for the sheep; the Bishop who watcheth over and careth for them. 361
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