1 Peter 2:16-20
1 Pet 2:16 (KJB)
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
Free - Independent
Cloke - Veil or cover
Maliciousness - Depravity, evil, or trouble
As we silence the ignorance of foolish men by means of our true Christian walk, we do it as free which does not mean we are free to do anything. Peter has in mind here that in the Roman Empire there were slaves and free men . Peter is speaking of Christians as submitting ourselves to the authorities as free men and not like a slave under compulsion. Peter sternly warns that we are not to use the liberty that we have in Christ as some type of cover for doing evil things. Just because we live under grace does not mean we have been saved to sin uncontrollably, it means we are under the grace of God which has forgiven our sins and gave us eternal life. This means we should have a closer relationship to God than those who are serving Him under the law by the dictates of the law. Even though we are saved by grace, we are still the servants of God in this world and we must never forget that. Grace is not a license to sin.
1 Pet 2:17 (KJB)
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Honour - Regard or respect
We are given a four fold task. First, we are to respect all people, even though we have unbelievers in our life we should show a degree of respect since all people are made in the image of God. Secondly, we are to love the brotherhood, that is, we are to have a special place in our hearts for the true Christian. That love is an unconditional love. Thirdly, we are to fear God. This means to reverence Him and be in awe of Him as our Heavenly Father who has redeemed us from the pit of Hell. Fourthly, we are to respect or honor the King which means we show respect to the authorities of the land.
1 Pet 2:18 (KJB)
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
Servants - Like a household servant (different from slave)
Subject - Submissive or be in submission
Good - Upright, kind or benevolent
Gentle - Yielding or peaceful temperament
Froward - Crooked, corrupt, or unjust
Now Peter admonishes the servant class to treat all masters alike. The servants in view here are not the slaves but these household servants were closer to the family than those of the slave class. This is why it would be easier to take advantage of the situation by presuming upon the closeness of the relationship. He tells them they are still to remain submissive to the family which employs them. There are two types of masters in view here, first there is the good and gentle which probably has the Christian master in view and then there is the evil master who would probably whip a slave just for the sheer enjoyment of watching. Peter places no distinction between these two types when it comes to the position of servant. If you are a servant, you cannot control the temperament, the moodiness, or sensitivity of the master. You, as the servant, are to serve to the best of your capacity under either a good master or a bad master. You can carry these principles over to the work place today in that the company is paying us a salary and we are to work to the best of our ability, no matter what the mindset of our boss is.
1 Pet 2:19 (KJB)
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
Thankworthy - Commendable or worthy of thanks
Endure - To bear or submit to
Grief - Sadness, pain (of mind or body)
Suffering - Endure or undergo suffering
Wrongfully - Unjustly
When we obey either type of master (and most of the time it is the bad one) to the best of our ability it is a situation which is commendable in the Christian life. The Christian life gives us an endurance ability and when we are in a bad situation, then we have the opportunity to shine as a true witness. When our minds are stayed upon the Lord, we see Him and not our situation and this gives us the strength to endure very grievous situations and even gives us the strength to undergo these grievous situations even when we are unjustly treated or accused wrongly of something. (Isa 26:3 KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. There is great truth in what Isaiah teaches. When we read about the Christian martyrs in history, they went to their deaths keeping their eye focused upon the Lord Jesus and this even caused some of them to sing until the fire completely consumed them. God gives us the strength to endure all very bad situations in this life.
1 Pet 2:20 (KJB)
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.
Glory - Praise, honor, or credit
Buffeted - To strike with a fist
Faults - To sin or miss a mark
Now Peter contrasts two scenarios. The first one is if a Christian is sinning and not doing their best, and then they are found out and punished for not doing their share, well what honor does that carry? Basically, the person got what they deserved. I wonder how many Christians are fired from their jobs for legitimate reasons and expect God to rain down judgment upon their ex-employer? The second scenario is what is acceptable to God because if you have done your best and are treated wrongly, and you endure that wrong treatment because you are a Christian, God will intervene on your behalf, you may not be there to see it, but if you have acted like a Christian when being mistreated, this brings Glory to God just as when the Lord Jesus Christ was mistreated, He did not make a ruckus but endured the treatment and left any judgment to God for the individuals who partook. It is the same with us. God will deal with those individuals who have hurt us when we did not deserve it. (Rom 12:19 KJV) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. God can do a much better job in teaching these individuals than we can. When we give the situation totally over to the Lord, this means that we totally trust Him with our lives and that brings Glory to God.