1 Peter 2

1 Peter 2:1

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,

(a) Therefore. Because you have been born again of imperishable seed (1 Pet. 1:23), you can partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Pet. 1:4).

(b) Putting aside. We are to lay aside the old life, put on the new self, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Eph. 4:22–24). We don’t do this to earn favor with the Lord; we do it so that we might truly live (see entry for Rom. 8:6).

(c) Malice, deceit, hypocrisy. Peter’s list of fleshly deeds is similar to Paul’s lists (Gal. 5:19–21, Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8). All these things proceed from a selfish and unregenerate heart and corrupt us (Mark 7:20–23).

1 Peter 2:2

like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

(a) Newborn babies are known for their hunger and rapid growth. If we want to grow, we need to feed on the Bread of Life (John 6:51), and consume the pure milk of the Living Word.

(b) Pure milk of the word. The word is not the New Testament (which had not been written when Peter wrote his letters), but the Lord himself (see next verse).

(c) May grow. Growth is a natural process that can be hindered by malnutrition and poor diet (e.g., the cares of the world that choke the word (Matt. 13:22)).

(d) Salvation. Growing in respect to salvation means growing into who you are in Christ. You are a child of God, so act like it. You are holy, so be holy (1 Pet. 1:15). Be who you truly are. This is Peter’s version of “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (see entry for Php. 2:12).

1 Peter 2:3

if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

(a) If you have tasted. Peter is riffing on Psalm 34:8: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” The original Hebrew word for good in the psalm is an expansive word that means beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, favour, fine, glad, joyful, kindly, loving, merry, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare. The Lord is the very definition and origin of good.

Some Bibles translate this passage as “if you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” The kindness or graciousness of God was demonstrated on the cross (Tit. 3:4), and it is his kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). God reveals his grace and kindness to us today, tomorrow and forever more (1 Cor. 2:9, Eph. 2:7).

(b) The kindness of the Lord leads you to repentance, but you still need to repent.

Some have tasted the kindness of God – they’ve had a spiritual encounter or experience – but they have not allowed his word to take root in their heart and grow (Heb. 6:4–5). They’ve heard the gospel but not received it (Jas. 1:21). Then there are others who have received the word with thanksgiving and been born again (1 Pet. 1:23). Those in the first group need to repent; those in the second need to grow (see previous verse).

1 Peter 2:4

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,

(a) A living stone. Jesus is the living stone not cut with human hands (Dan. 2:34). Peter, whose name meant rock, liked rocky metaphors. He referred to Jesus as the corner stone, the stumbling stone, a choice stone, and the rock of offense. See entry for 1 Pet. 2:8.

(b) Rejected by men. The Messiah was rejected by the nation he came to save and by his own disciples. Indeed, he was rejected three times by Peter himself (Matt. 26:34).

(c) Choice or chosen by God; see entry for 1 Peter 2:6.

(d) Precious. The One who was rejected by men is highly valued by God. The Living Stone they rejected became the cornerstone and foundation of his spiritual habitation.

1 Peter 2:5

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

(a) Living stones. In union with Christ the Living Stone, we are the living stones of God’s holy habitation.

(b) Being built up. We are being built up not built into. We are already God’s holy habitation.

(c) A spiritual house. We are the house or temple of God and his Spirit dwells within us (1 Cor. 3:16). In the New Testament, believers are often referred to as the family or household of God (Matt. 12:50, Mark 3:35, John 11:52, 2 Cor. 6:18, Eph. 2:19, Gal. 3:26, 6:10, 1 Pet. 4:17).

(d) A holy priesthood. You are holy.

You were sanctified by God the Father (Jude 1:1, KJV), God the Son (Heb. 2:11, 10:10, 14, 13:12), and God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:16, 2 Th. 2:13, 1 Pet. 1:2). You are well and truly sanctified.

See entry for Holiness.

(e) Priesthood. In the old covenant, only certain people could serve as priests, but in the new covenant every believer is a priest or minister offering spiritual sacrifices the Lord. Indeed, you are not just a priest, but a king-priest and a royal priesthood; see entry for 1 Pet. 2:9.

(f) Spiritual sacrifices. In the old covenant, the priests brought animal sacrifices that could not take away sins (Heb. 10:4), but in the new covenant we bring “sacrifices” of praise and thanksgiving to the One who carried all our sins (Heb. 13:15). We present our bodies as holy and living sacrifices in a spiritual act of worship (Rom. 12:1). We don’t do this out of a sense of obligation, but in response to God’s great love.

God is for us and with us and he wants the best for us. He treasures us and adopts us into his family. He watches over us and gives us everything we need. Why wouldn’t we worship such a good God?

1 Peter 2:6

For this is contained in Scripture:

(a) In Scripture. Peter quotes Isaiah 28:16, a prophecy which he heard from the Lord (see Matt. 21:42).

(b) Zion is another name for the city of God. It is the place God dwells, which in the new covenant is the body of Christ (see entry for Heb. 12:22).

(c) A choice stone. The original word for choice (eklektos) is the same word which is sometimes translated as chosen (e.g., Luke 23:35). Jesus is both the choice stone and the Chosen of God.

(d) Corner stone. As the first stone laid, the corner stone sets a mark for the rest of the building. Jesus is the corner stone on which God’s house is being built (Eph. 2:20).

(e) He who believes in him. The chief takeaway of the new covenant is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (see entry for John 3:16).

(f) Will not be disappointed. You will never regret putting your faith in the Lord.

In his original prophecy, Isaiah said “He who believes in it (the costly cornerstone) will not be disturbed” or panicked or be in haste. Peter interprets this as “not be disappointed” or disgraced or put to shame. (Paul draws a similar conclusion in Romans 9:33.) Put your faith in imperfect people and you may be disappointed, but the Lord will never let you down. His love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8).

1 Peter 2:7–8

This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and,
“A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

(a) Precious value. Unlike those who reject Jesus, believers understand his priceless value.

The original word for precious (time) is the same word that is translated as honor elsewhere in Peter’s writings (1 Pet. 1:7, 3:7, 2 Pet. 1:17). Believers honor Jesus Christ as the Son sent to save us, the high priest who represents us, and the Lord whose Name is above all.

(b) The stone which the builders rejected. Peter started with a prophecy (see previous verse), but segues into a psalm (Ps. 118:22). This psalm must have been one of his favorites for he included it in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 4:11). He would have been inspired by the Lord who also quoted this psalm (Matt. 21:42).

(c) The builders. The Jews were proud of the temple they built. In their minds, they had built something that would impress the Lord. But when Jesus the Living Stone showed up, they didn’t want to know him.

(d) A stone of stumbling. Jesus is the cornerstone (Ps. 118:22, Is. 28:16, Zech. 10:4, Eph. 2:20), the capstone (Zech. 4:7), and the living stone (1 Pet. 2:4) who is in the path of every person. Either we will fall on the stone and be broken in repentance (Matt. 21:44), or we will stumble over the stone offended. The unbelieving Jews were in the second group.

(e) A rock of offense. The religious Jews were offended by Jesus.

Those who have invested their lives in works of righteousness are offended by the message of grace. They do not care to hear that their good works count for nothing or that Jesus befriends and justifies sinners.

(f) They stumble. Just as the Galatians fell from grace when they put themselves under law (Gal. 5:4), the unbelieving Jews fell from their privileged position by pursuing works-based righteousness (Rom. 9:32).

(g) Disobedient to the word. The original word for disobedient (apeitheo) means to disbelieve. Peter is contrasting unbelievers who reject the corner stone with believers who are being built like living stones into God’s holy house.

(h) This doom they were also appointed. Those who disbelieve, fall, and this was foreseen by the prophets (e.g., Is. 8:14–15).

1 Peter 2:9

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

(a) But you. Believers (1 Pet. 1:8). Those who believe in Jesus the precious corner stone (1 Pet. 2:6–7).

(b) A chosen race. You have been chosen by God. See entry for 1 Pet. 1:1.

(c) A royal priesthood. Like Melchizedek, who was a king and a priest (Heb. 7:1), Christians are king-priests or priest-kings (Rev. 1:6, 5:10).

If we are to rule and reign in the Name of the Servant-king, we need to understand our dual vocation as kings and priests. If you get the priestly part but not the kingly part, you’ll be servant-minded instead of servant-hearted. And if you get the kingly aspect but not the priestly part, you’ll be a tyrant. As kingly-priests we minister with power and authority. As priestly-kings we rule as servant-hearted ministers.

Further reading: “You are a king (so act like one)

(d) A holy nation. We are a holy priesthood, a holy house, and a holy nation. You are not primarily an American, Australian, or Argentinian. You are a Christian, a citizen of a heavenly kingdom and a holy nation belonging to God.

This wonderful promise was originally given to the nation of Israel (Ex. 19:5–6), but the Jews broke the covenant and cut themselves off from God through unbelief. Now the blessings promised to the children of Abraham are for all who share Abraham’s faith (Gal. 3:9).

(e) God’s own possession. You have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23, Tit. 2:14). Since you belong to God, your welfare is his concern. You can be sure that the One who paid such a high price for you can be trusted to keep you safe and secure to the end (1 Cor. 1:8–9).

In the old covenant, the Israelites were told they would be a treasured possession if they kept the law (Ex. 19:5–6). But the new covenant reveals that you are a treasured possession because God loves and treasures you. You are the pearl of great price. Jesus happily gave everything he had to purchase you.

(f) So that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you. To proclaim (exaggello) is to publish or show forth. The original word is related to the word for messenger (aggellos). We have been called to proclaim the message of God’s salvation. That doesn’t mean we will all be preachers in the conventional sense. But we are all called to be generous with whatever gifts God has given us (1 Pet. 4:10).

(g) The excellencies or praises (arete) refer to God’s manly attributes in rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness. Although God’s nature has feminine and nurturing characteristics (e.g., Is. 49:15, 66:13, Luke 13:34), his mighty deliverance is portrayed here in manly terms.

(h) Who has called you. God did not negotiate with the powers of darkness to secure your release. Nor did he engage in some kind of prisoner exchange. When God called you, you came because the word of the king has power (Ecc. 8:4).

(i) Out of darkness. Darkness is a metaphor for evil and sin and anything untouched by the God-who-is-light. Any place the good news of Jesus is not heard or received remains in darkness.

(j) His marvelous light. The light of God’s love is revealed in Jesus Christ, the light of life and the light of the world. See entry for John 8:12.

1 Peter 2:10

for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

(a) Not a people. Once upon a time, we were nobodies.

(b) The people of God. But now we are somebodies, the dearly-loved children of God (1 John 3:1).

(c) Received mercy. Every believer has received God’s grace and mercy.

Mercy is one facet of God’s grace (Heb. 4:16). Mercy is God’s compassion for those in need. Just as we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:5), we are saved by mercy (Tit. 3:5). And just as we are forgiven by grace (Eph. 1:7), we are forgiven by mercy (Heb. 8:12). Just as we receive grace (Rom. 5:17), we receive mercy (2 Cor. 4:1).

See entry for Mercy.

1 Peter 2:11

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

(a) Beloved. The original word (agapetos) means dearly loved, esteemed, favorite and worthy of love. It is closely related to a verb (agapao) that means to be well pleased or fond of or contented. This word captures God’s heart for you. Your heavenly Father is fond of you. You are his esteemed favorite and he is well pleased with you. He looks at you with a feeling of deep contentment knowing that you are his dearly loved child.

All the epistle writers referred to believers as the beloved or dearly-loved children of God (see entry for Rom. 1:7).

(b) Aliens and strangers. Since you are a citizen of a heavenly kingdom (1 Pet. 2:9), don’t act as though you belonged to the fallen kingdoms of this world.

(c) Fleshly lusts are natural desires as opposed to spiritual desires. Three basic desires or lusts of the flesh are; wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, and wanting to appear important (see entry for 1 John 2:16). Some examples of destructive desires are listed in 1 Peter 2:1 and 4:3.

(d) Wage war. When we feed our flesh but neglect our spirits our souls wither.

The desires of the self-life are inherently destructive. Just as the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), the fruit of the flesh is corruption (Gal. 6:8). A mind focused on the preservation of self can never fully experience the abundant life that God offers through his spirit (Rom. 8:6).

(e) Against the soul. The lusts of the flesh wage war against our purified souls (1 Pet. 1:22).

This may surprise you, but your born again soul does not want to sin (1 John 3:9). When you were born again, you were given a new nature with new desires to please the Lord. This is why the former lusts of the flesh wage war against you. They are not on your side. The devil would love for you to reclaim ownership of those old habits, but a better response is to die to sin and live for righteousness (see entry for 1 Pet. 2:24).

1 Peter 2:12

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

(a) Your behavior. Live in such a way that others see your good works and praise your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Peter compares the good behavior or holy conduct of believers (1 Pet. 1:15, 17, 2:12, 3:1, 16, 2 Pet. 3:11) with the lawless and sensual deeds of the ungodly (1 Pet. 4:3, 2 Pet. 2:7–8, 13–14, 18).

(b) The Gentiles. Heathen unbelievers.

Jewish people considered foreigners to be Gentiles, but since Peter’s letter was sent to churches in Gentile regions – churches that had Gentile believers in them – he is referring to people outside the church.

(c) Slander has long been used to stir up trouble for the church.

False accusations may seem relatively benign, but they were used by the enemies of the church to great effect. In New Testament times religious Jews falsely accused Christians of being opposed to Caesar. “They’re godless heretics who stir up trouble all over the world” (see Acts 17:6–7, 21:28). By spreading slander they hoped to stir up civil unrest and provoke the Romans into action.

In Corinth, the Jews brought Paul into the Roman courts on the charge of persuading men to worship God contrary to Jewish law (Acts 18:12–13). On that occasion the Roman proconsul did not take the bait. But there were times when the Jews played the Romans like fiddles (e.g., Acts 21:27ff).

(d) Your good deeds are the things you do when you have been apprehended by the goodness of God.

Since the time of Christ, Christians have been at the forefront of the arts and sciences. Christian trailblazers have promoted education, built hospitals, created industries, freed slaves, and defended the rights of women and children. Every year, millions of Christians volunteer to feed the poor, visit the sick and imprisoned, and help the refugee.

Although Christians can be recognized by their good deeds, they are not defined by their good deeds. Rather, their good deeds are done in response to the goodness of God. It is the love of Christ that makes a Christian a Christian.

(e) Glorify God. Unbelievers will glorify God because they have been won over by your witness.

(f) Visitation. The original word (episkope) means inspection. It is the same word that is used to describe the Lord’s first coming to Israel in Luke 19:44. In context, “the day of visitation” implies the Lord’s final coming or the day of the Lord. See entry for 2 Peter 3:10.

1 Peter 2:13

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,

(a) Submit yourselves. Submit means to yield, defer, and respect. It’s something we choose to do in honor of the Lord.

Christians are good neighbors and model citizens. When we disagree with those in authority, we disagree respectfully. When we protest, we protest lawfully.

(b) For the Lord’s sake. Jesus was no rebel and nor are his followers (Rom. 13:1–2).

(c) Every human institution includes your government, your local council, your workplace, your church, and your school board. Peter is not calling for blind obedience (see entry for 1 Pet. 2:19), but a respectful and humble attitude.

(d) King or emperor or president or prime minister. See entry for 1 Pet. 2:17.

1 Peter 2:14

or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

Governors. If we are to honor the king (1 Pet. 2:17), we must respect those who have been sent in his name. The Apostle Paul, when brought in chains before Roman governors, typically spoke with courtesy (e.g., Acts 24:10).

1 Peter 2:15

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

(a) The will of God is one of Peter’s favorite phrases (1 Pet. 2:15, 4:2, 6, 19, 5:2). It is God’s will for you to honor and pray for those authority and bear up patiently under unjust suffering (1 Pet. 2:12–14, 20). It is not God’s will for you shoot your mouth off, to rebel, and to generally act unlike a Christian.

(b) Doing right is another one of Peter’s favorite phrases (see 1 Pet. 2:20. 3:6, 17, 4:19). In the old covenant, doing right meant keeping the rules, but in the new covenant doing right is what we do when we’re living in right relationship with the Creator (1 Pet. 2:24, 4:19). It is the righteous life we have when we put our faith in the Righteous One.

(c) Silence. We do not silence our enemies by engaging in fruitless debates, but by living peaceably with all and by praying for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44, Rom. 12:18).

(d) The ignorance of foolish men. Those who slander and falsely accuse the body of Christ (see 1 Pet. 2:12).

1 Peter 2:16

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

(a) Act as free men because in Christ you are free. Let your life be a witness of God’s liberating grace. When you submit to your spouse, boss or the king (1 Pet. 2:17, 18, 3:1, 7), do it out of love, not fear, as a free child of God.

(b) Freedom as a covering for evil. The message of grace has set many people free, but if we use our freedom to rebel or put others down, we’ve missed the point of grace. Jesus did not set us free from darkness so that we might win arguments or get puffed up with pride. He did it so that we might proclaim the goodness of God and draw others into his loving embrace.

(c) Bondslaves of God. Along with Paul (Rom. 1:1), James (Jas 1:1), and Jude (Jud 1:1), Peter saw himself as a bondslave or bondservant of God (2 Pet 1:1). This can lead to confusion among believers. Am I a son or servant of God?

Jesus, the Son of God, took the form of a bondservant (Php. 2:7). He was not confused about his identity, but he was servant-hearted (Mark 10:45). He is the Son who serves.

Similarly, when the apostles identify themselves as servants of Christ, they are saying, “We are the sons of God who serve in the manner in which Christ served,” meaning they served others (2 Cor. 4:5). They did not serve to curry favor with God, but to reveal the Servant-king. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, so that I may win more” (1 Cor. 9:19).

It’s the same with us. Although we are free in Christ, we choose to serve in the name of Christ so that the orphans and slaves of this world might come to know their Father who loves them. Like Christ, we are the sons who serve.

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

(a) Honor all people. The world judges people according to their appearance, pedigree, and performance, but we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Cor. 5:16). If Jesus died for them, they matter. Everyone is precious to God.

(b) Love the brotherhood. We honor all people, but we show heartfelt and intentional love to our brothers and sisters in the Lord (1 Pet. 1:22. We love one another by clothing ourselves with humility and preferring one another (Rom. 12:10, 1 Pet. 5:5).

(c) Fear God. Worship the Lord giving him the reverence and honor due his name.

In the old covenant, you were commanded to “Fear the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Deu. 6:13). But when Jesus quoted this command to the devil, he changed the word fear to worship (Matt. 4:10). To fear the Lord in a new covenant sense is to worship him. This sort of fear has nothing to do with pain and punishment but is a proper response to a God who is holy, righteous, awesome, and good.

Further reading: What is the fear of the Lord?

(d) Honor the king. We are to respect those in authority regardless of their political persuasions or character defects.

To put this in context, Peter lived most of his life under the rule of tyrants. As a Jew, he was governed by the same ruling council (the Sanhedrin) that tried to murder Jesus and which persecuted the early church. As a Galilean who frequently visited Judea, he was subject to the oppressive rule of the Herodians and Roman governors. And as an apostle, he attracted the hostile attention of the emperor Nero, one of the most wicked rulers in history (see entry for 2 Pet. 1:14).

1 Peter 2:18

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.

Servants… masters. Respect your boss, even if he’s a jerk.

It’s easy to serve a boss who is good and gentle; it’s not so easy if they are unreasonable and demanding. Respect them anyway. Serve them gladly, as though you were serving the Lord (Eph. 6:7). Pray for them, and in your actions reveal the love of Christ to them.

1 Peter 2:19

For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.

(a) For this finds favor. Bearing up under unjust treatment is commendable because it shows you are entrusting yourself to the One who judges righteously (1 Pet. 2:23).

(b) The sake of conscience toward God. Sometimes you have to choose between obeying God and human authority.

So far Peter has been encouraging us to submit to kings, unreasonable bosses, and every human institution. But that does not mean we should do things that violate our consciences. When Peter and John were commanded by the Sanhedrin to never teach or even speak about Jesus, they refused (see Acts 4:18–20).

We submit to every human authority as an act of obedience to the Lord. But if those authorities ask us to disobey the Lord and do things that violate our conscience, we respectfully refuse, even if it leads to unjust suffering.

(c) Bears up under sorrows. You patiently endure the persecution or unjust suffering. See next verse.

(d) Suffering unjustly. Sometimes obeying God leads to unjust treatment from the very authority figures you have been treating with respect.

When the Sanhedrin judged Paul to be a troublemaker, he looked them in the eye and said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day” (Acts 23:1). This sort of behavior is commendable, but it can lead to suffering. Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and ultimately executed for refusing to obey human authority.

1 Peter 2:20

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

(a) When you sin. There is nothing commendable about bearing up under punishment that is justly deserved.

(b) Do what is right. Live a righteous life because you have put your faith in the Righteous One. See entry for 1 Pet. 2:15.

(c) Suffer. “Suffer for doing what is right” can be read as suffering for the sake of righteousness (1 Pet. 3:14) or suffering for being a Christian (1 Pet. 4:16). It’s being persecuted for your faith in Christ.

(d) Patiently endure it. When we are unjustly treated, the flesh reacts with indignation. But Christ, when he was slandered and persecuted, remained silent. He trusted God to work things out (1 Pet. 2:23). When we respond to persecution in the same manner as Christ, it is a witness to others (1 Pet. 3:15–16) and pleases our Father.

(e) Finds favor with God. The word for find should be in italics as it is not in the Bible, and the word for favor (charis) can also be translated as grace. A literal reading of this verse is as follows: if you patiently endure, (this is) grace from God. Alternatively, God will give you the grace to patiently endure.

The early Christians experienced the harshest and most unjust treatment for their faith. They were flogged, imprisoned, and some (including Peter) were martyred. They endured not because of their intestinal fortitude, but because God was with them. In the same way, you will endure your trials when you realize that God is with you. He has not abandoned you and he certainly is not punishing you. God wants to use your trial to give you a greater revelation of himself and his great love. When you see him towering above your trial and holding you securely in his hand you find the strength to endure (see entry for Jas. 1:3).

1 Peter 2:21

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

(a) Called for this purpose. This is the life to which we have been called – the life of Christ. It’s a blessed life of doing what is good and right and occasionally suffering for it. As citizens of another kingdom, we swim against the current.

(b) Leaving you an example. Christ’s reaction to hostility inspires us. He did not fight back or call down heavenly fire. We hated on him, but he laid down his life for us to show us how much he loves us. His unfailing love disarmed us and won our hearts.

(c) Follow in his steps. Jesus wins people to himself when we reveal his sacrificial love to others.

In this me-first world, there is nothing special about defending your views or attacking those who disagree with you. But to surrender your rights, love your enemies, and entrust yourself to God is to present the world with a picture of a superior reality, one based on love, forgiveness and peace.

1 Peter 2:22


(a) No sin. Jesus is the sinless Man from heaven, not born of Adam’s line, and the only human who did not grasp, claw, or fight for his rights. He showed us another way to live and then he laid down his sinless life so that we might be free. Because he was without sin, he was able to ransom our lives from sin’s captivity.

(b) Deceit. Jesus never said a word he did not mean (Is. 53:9). If he had, the Pharisees would have brayed about it and the law-teachers would have hung him for it.

We marvel at the Lord’s ability to bridle his tongue, as though he was able to refrain from saying what he was thinking. But the Lord’s pure speech reflected his pure heart. When you are abiding in the love of the Father, you do not need to watch your words. When you have made God your Source, everything you do and say will be good.

1 Peter 2:23

and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;

(a) Reviled… suffering. For years, Jesus dealt with undeserved hatred and violence. And this was not the hatred of social media trolls, but the vitriol of the most powerful men in Israel and their fanatical followers. Jesus was regularly slandered (e.g., Matt. 11:19) and on several occasions people tried to murder him (Luke 4:29, 13:31, John 5:18, 7:1).

(b) He uttered no threats. The Lord’s silence in the face of injustice speaks volumes (Is. 53:7).

When we are unjustly treated, our flesh reacts with indignation. It cries out in self-defence. But Jesus denied himself and put his faith in his Father.

(c) Entrusting Himself. In his darkest hour, Jesus put his life in his Father’s hands. As the Son of God he could have called down fire from heaven or summoned legions of armies to slaughter those who were trying to kill him. With a word he could have split the planet in half. But he stayed silent, like a lamb to the slaughter, because he trusted his Father would make things right. In doing this he set an example for us to follow (1 Pet. 2:21).

1 Peter 2:24

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

(a) Bore our sins. Jesus is the Lamb of God who carried away the sins of the whole world (John 1:29). He took responsibility for all our sin so that we might be free from that unbearable burden and be reconciled to with God.

(b) Die to sin. So that we might be done with sin once and for all.

Jesus broke open the prison of sin and secured your freedom. So be free and have nothing to do your old master sin. Stop acting like the prisoner you once were and enjoy the righteous life that Christ has given you. Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ (see entry for Rom. 6:11).

(c) Live to righteousness. To live to righteousness is to live in right relationship with God. It’s living out of our union with the Lord and experiencing life as it was meant to be. It is knowing and being known; loving and being loved. It is being holy because you are holy. It is seeing the touch of God in everything you do and in everyone you meet.

(d) By his wounds you were healed. Our healing is described in the past tense. All the grace we need to be healed was provided at the cross.

When we pray for healing, we do not need to ask God to provide. Rather, we receive what he has made available to us through his Son. We don’t pray like beggars asking God to do what he has done. We pray like commanders resisting the devil and all his filthy diseases. To pray with faith means thanking Jesus for the cross and for the healing that is ours in his Name.

1 Peter 2:25

For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

(a) Straying like sheep. At one time we were restless wanderers in need of a shepherd. Like sheep, we had all gone astray (Is. 53:6).

(b) The Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who call his sheep by name, watches over them, and lays down his life for them (John 10:11, Heb. 13:20). You can be confident that the Good Shepherd will bring you safely to his heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18).

The original word for shepherd (poimen) can be translated as pastor (Eph. 4:11). Jesus is not just a pastor, he is the Pastor, and what a wonderful pastor he is!

(c) Guardian. The Good Shepherd lovingly watches over your soul. He who saves you, keeps you (Ps. 121:5, 145:20).

The original word for guardian (episkopos) is translated elsewhere as bishop or overseer (Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 3:2), which is why some translations say Jesus is the Bishop or Overseer of your souls.

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