Further Practical Admonitions. 1 Pet. 2, 1-10.

Growth in holiness: V.1. Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings, v.2. as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby; v.3. if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. The apostle here continues the admonitions which he began in chapter 1, placing the old evil life of the unconverted in opposition to the sanctification of the believers: Laying aside, then, all wickedness, all guile and hypocrisy and envy, and all slanderings, like newly born infants yearn after the spiritual, unadulterated milk, that by it you may grow unto salvation. The sins which the apostle mentions in the first verse are characteristic of the unconverted state, but are incompatible with true sanctification. There is wickedness, or malice, whose constant aim is to harm one’s neighbor. There is, as an expression of this malice, guile, which tries to reach its selfish object by deceiving one’s neighbor; hypocrisy, which always assumes a garb to cloak the real condition of the heart and mind; envy, which begrudges one’s neighbor everything that the goodness or the mercy of the Lord has given him; and, as a culmination of them all, slanderings, backbitings, cleverly composed speeches which are intended to detract from the good name of one’s neighbor. All these vices should be laid aside, put off, because it interferes with the Christian’s growth in holiness and will certainly kill faith in his heart. Instead of that, the true believers will be found like infants that have just been born, like sucklings. For just as a healthy baby at that age is eager for its nourishment, practically hungry all the time, so the Christians should have an insatiable longing for the milk of the Word, for the nourishment which is the proper food for all believers from their conversion to their death. This Word of the Gospel is a spiritual milk, which, as Luther writes, the soul must draw and the heart seek; and it is a pure, unadulterated milk, it should be used just as it is found in Scriptures, without the slightest addition of man’s wisdom. Through this mental and spiritual food, the Word of the Gospel, the growth of the Christian takes place, the growth in grace, the growth in faith, the growth in sanctification, unto salvation. The Word works in us pure, holy, wholesome thoughts, wishes, and works, it gives us the strength both to will and to do according to the good pleasure of our heavenly Father.

In order to call the attention of his readers to the importance of this food and of the growth thereby, the apostle refers to an Old Testament passage: If, indeed, you have tasted that good is the Lord. Ps. 34, 9. He assumes as a matter of course that the Christians have enjoyed the food to which he has referred. But the excellence of this food is in itself an incentive for the believers to be eager for the proper spiritual growth. The very first taste of the goodness, of the kindness of the Lord, as shown in the Word of His grace, is bound to make the Christian eager for more of this wonderful benevolence, for more of this glorious news of the forgiveness of sins through Christ. Thus the faith that accepts and holds Christ is increased and strengthened through the Word, and out of this strength there flows, in turn, a truly righteous demeanor, true goodness of heart, Christian kindness and benevolence.

Lively stones built up on Christ: v.4. To whom coming, as unto a living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, v.5. 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. V.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. V.7. Unto you, therefore, which believe, he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the Stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the Head of the corner, v.8. and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. This entire paragraph refers to the Lord, of whom St. Peter had spoken in verse 3. Making use of a new figure or picture, the apostle writes: To whom coming, to that living Stone, rejected indeed of men, but chosen on the part of God, precious. The Christians have become partakers of the new spiritual birth, they are children of God. Mindful, therefore, of the sacred obligations and privileges which their new state lays upon them, they will come to the Lord, they will be joined to Him, they will range themselves on His side. They know that their Lord, Jesus, Christ, is the living Stone, Ps. 118, 22; Is. 28, 16, the Source of all spiritual life, and that they can retain their own life only in proportion as they remain in fellowship with Him. This living Stone, Jesus the Messiah, was indeed rejected by the builders, by the leaders of the Jewish nation, by men in general, for most of them concur with the Jews in rejecting the Savior. But the judgment of God does not agree with that of the blinded world, for He has chosen this Stone as a most precious stone, as the Headstone of the corner, Is. 8, 16. This fact, that Christ, although scorned and despised by the children of the world, is given such great honors in the sight of God, should encourage the Christians at all times to set aside the scornful attitude of the world and accept the judgment of the Lord instead.

With the reference to Christ as the living Stone agrees the description of the believers: And yourselves like living stones be built up as a spiritual house, unto a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are well-pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. In order to remain in fellowship with the Corner-stone, Christ, it is necessary that the believers partake of His nature, be filled with His life. It is then, and then only, that they can be built up as a spiritual house, their faith sinking deeply and ever more deeply into this unshakable foundation of His eternal love, their mutual faith uniting them in mutual love, connecting them in one vast organization. In this way the Christians are built up as a spiritual house, built up on Christ and in Christ, unto a holy priesthood. The apostle is here describing the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the sum total of all the believers in Christ, an edifice of living persons filled with the Spirit of God. Every member of this Church is incidentally a priest of God in the sacred edifice which is erected upon Christ. Whereas in the Old Testament there was a special hierarchy, composed of members of the house of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, Heb. 5, 1, there is now, by virtue of the vicarious action of Christ, a general priesthood of believers. Every Christian has direct and free access to Cod, because the sin which formerly divided between us and God has been removed by Christ. Of this priestly dignity the believers should always be conscious; they should keep their relation toward God intact and ever draw more closely to the heavenly throne. At the same time, all these spiritual priests should be active in offering to the Lord such spiritual sacrifices as are well-pleasing to God. The entire life of a Christian, all his thoughts, desires, and deeds, are such sacrifices, because it is the Spirit of God that lives in them and teaches them to be duly grateful to the Lord for the gifts of His salvation, both in hymns of praise and in good works, Rom. 12, l.

In Support of these statements the apostle does not quote an Old Testament passage outright, but makes it the basis of an explanation in which he uses also other texts: For it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a Stone, a Corner-stone, chosen, precious; and he that believes on Him shall not be brought to shame. Cp. Is. 28, 16. Note that the reference is to a book which is a definite, well-known entity, which went by the name “Scripture” and was generally conceded to be the Word of God. The gist, or tenor, of the passage in Isaiah is given. In Zion, in His Church of the New Testament, the Lord places or appoints a Corner-stone, one that is at the same time a Rock of Salvation. For not one person that puts his trust in Him will be found ashamed on the last day. The congregation of believers that is built up on this Stone shall not be overcome even by the portals of hell.

The apostle now makes his application of the prophetical passage: To you, then, that believe He is preciousness; but as for the unbelievers, the Stone which the builders rejected, this has become the Corner-stone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, who stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. Cp. Ps. 118, 22; Is. 8, 14. In the case of all believers, in which number Peter pointedly and emphatically includes his readers, the living Stone, Jesus Christ, the Rock of Salvation, is preciousness; they partake of the wonderful value of this Stone, and should properly appreciate the honor which is thereby conferred upon them. Altogether different is the case with the unbelievers. To them that prophecy of the rejection of the Corner-stone applies, for they follow the Jews in their blind foolishness, in scorning the one way of salvation, through the redemption of Christ Jesus. And therefore they, who should have been built up with the saints, in their blind enmity stumble over this Stone, trip over this Rock, since they refuse to be obedient to the Word, to accept the truth of the Gospel. They stumble, they fall, they perish in the destruction which their stubborn refusal of salvation has brought upon themselves. They harden their own hearts against every effort of the Spirit to reveal the Savior to them. And thus the judgment is carried out in their case; their unbelief condemns them. They come under that terrible sentence of God according to which those that harden their hearts in spite of all calling of the Lord are finally appointed to that lot that the Word of Salvation becomes to them a savor of death unto death. It would hardly be possible to warn against the sin of unbelief in a more emphatic way.

The royal priesthood of the Christians: V.9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; v.10. 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. A greater contrast cannot be conceived of than that which the apostle here presents with regard to the unbelievers and the believers. The unbelievers, by their own fault, have become subject to the condemnation of the Lord, and their lot is inexpressibly sad, since, if they persist in their unbelief, they are forever cast off by God. But to the believers the apostle applies all the honoring designations which were given to the people of God in the Old Testament: But you are the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the people of His possession, that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light, Ex. 19, 6. These excellencies do not appear, of course, before the eyes of men. According to the opinion of the world, on the contrary, the believers are a negligible quantity of misguided fools, to whom no sane person will pay serious attention. But hear the opinion of the Lord. He calls them the chosen generation; they have been chosen, or elected, for the position they hold by the resolution of God before the foundation of the world; not only the individual sojourners, but the entire congregation of saints was included in the plan of God; a royal priesthood, for Christ has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, Rev. 1, 6; the holy, the consecrated nation, separated from the world and reflecting the holiness of the Lord; the people of His possession, of His purchasing, that belong to Him, with regard to whose members all the plans of their enemies will prove futile. Because we occupy this wonderful position in the sight of God, therefore it behooves us, therefore it is natural for us to publish, to proclaim freely and widely, the virtues, the excellencies, of our God, to tell men of, to praise, the goodness, kindness, mercy, grace of God. We can do this with all the greater impressiveness, because we have experienced these attributes in ourselves, because He has called us out of the darkness of our natural condition into the wonderful light of His love in the Gospel, assuring us, at the same time, of the complete forgiveness of all our sins.

Of this the apostle has still more to say: Who formerly were not a people, but now the people of God, who had not become partakers of mercy, but now have received mercy. Cp. Hos. 2, 23. The readers whom Peter addresses had formerly, before their conversion, been a non-people, they had not been in the kingdom of the Lord. But now they have been transferred out of the darkness of heathenism and enmity toward God to the glory of the Kingdom of Grace. In their former state they were not under mercy, but under God’s wrath and condemnation. But now they have become partakers of the mercy of God in Jesus Christ. It is the same miracle which the Christians of all times have experienced. And this fact they are to make known to others, telling them of their deliverance from destruction, of their redemption from death, of their salvation through the blood of Christ. That is the best occupation in which Christians may engage.

Specific Admonitions Concerning the Station of the Christians. 1 Pet. 2, 11-25.

General requirements: V.11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; v.12. having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Having pointed out the inestimable blessings and privileges which the Christians enjoy, the apostle now makes a specific application of these truths in showing what obligations their possession implies: Beloved, as sojourners and strangers I admonish you to abstain from the lusts of the flesh, which battle against the soul. The intimate form of address, which is but rarely used by Peter, is intended to convey to the readers the force of the admonition. Because the Christians are but sojourners, strangers, pilgrims in this world, and are looking forward to their real home above, therefore they will certainly not endanger their hope of salvation by yielding to their fleshly lusts. The children of this world, the unbelievers, are governed and ruled by their evil desires; they perform the will of the flesh, and that gladly. But the Christians, instead of permitting their flesh, their old sinful nature, to rule them and to lead them into various sins, will wage an incessant war against these lusts of their flesh. For they know that these evil, godless desires battle against the soul, about whose salvation they are so earnestly concerned. If the lusts of the flesh gain the ascendancy in the heart of a Christian, then his soul, his true life in and with God, is lost. Under no circumstances, therefore, dare Christians heed the tempting voice of the charmers whose aim is to represent the sins of the flesh as a harmless gratification of natural inclinations. The attitude of the Christians must be that of an altogether uncompromising stand against every form of sin.

The distinction between believers and unbelievers must always be marked: Having your conduct in the midst of the heathen as an excellent one, so that, in the matter in which they now speak against you as evil-doers, they may, being spectators of your good works, glorify God in the day of visitation. The conduct of the Christians will, as a matter of course, always be in conformity with the will of God, with the denial and suppression of the lusts of the flesh, and therefore good, excellent in the sight of God. The corresponding impression upon men will then also not fail. For the very men that were now looking upon the Christians as bad or suspicious characters, as enemies of the government and as addicted to immoral practices, were still open to conviction. The Christians, therefore, should so conduct themselves in all their dealings before men, should so live in the very midst of the heathen, that their life would be a testimony for them, in favor of the Gospel. The good works of the Christians, their meekness under the severest provocations, their cheerful readiness to be of service at all times, their self-evident observance of all precepts of God's holy will - all these were bound to make an impression, in spite of all opposition. Many an unbeliever that originally considered Christianity a huge fraud has been led to reconsider his first impression by the conduct of the confessing believers. Exact observation, closer acquaintance, showed him the injustice of his position. And when the grace of God was then proclaimed to him, when God visited him with the gracious Word of the Gospel, his heart was changed in favor of the Christian religion, he accepted its truths, he glorified God, whom he now recognized also as his Father for the sake of Jesus.

Obedience to the constituted authorities: V.13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king, as supreme, v.14. or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well. V.15. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; v.16. as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. V.17. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Here the apostle mentions some specific instances in which his instructions concerning the behavior of the Christians over against the heathen should find their application: Submit yourselves to every human authority for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the emperor, as supreme, or to the governors as deputed by him for the punishing of evil-doers, but for the praise of those that do well. This admonition, the necessity of which must be admitted in our days without question, was badly needed also in the days of the early Church. Not only was the doctrine of spiritual liberty liable to be misinterpreted by superficial Christians, but some of them might be under the impression that the government, being heathen, was none of their concern, and that they owed no allegiance to the emperor. Therefore the apostle plainly states that believers are to submit themselves, are to be subject and obedient to every human authority and institution. Whether men have chosen the democratic or the monarchical form of government makes no difference to the Lord, for by His authority all governments exist, Rom. 13, 1. 2. It makes no difference either, as the apostle indicates, whether all authority is vested in a single man, as in an emperor, or whether this emperor, as the supreme, the preeminent head of the nation, commissions or deputes governors to administer justice in any section of the empire, the authority of the government should be recognized and its existence by divine order acknowledged. That is one of the functions of the government, that it punish such as are wicked, as refuse to keep the peace, as are disobedient to the laws of the country. The people that do well, on the other hand, those that live in conformity with the laws of the land, the government should acknowledge with proper praise, that is, by protecting them and their property against every form of wickedness. Note: It is self-evident that Christians cannot be obedient to the government if the latter tries to extend its authority to spiritual matters, Acts 4, 19.

The motive for the willing obedience of the Christians is given by the apostle: For so is the will of God, namely, that in well-doing you silence the error of foolish men, as free, and not having your freedom as a cloak of your malice, but as God’s servants. The statement just made by the apostle is not his own personal opinion, which the Christians may or may not accept, as they choose, but it is the will of God. The Christians in this way, by cheerful obedience to the constituted authorities, will do more to silence the wrong ideas, the errors which foolish men hold with regard to their status in the state, than by books written in explanation of their tenets. Mark: Also in our days, when the unbelievers are jeering at the otherworldliness of the true Christian religion and boldly declare that Christianity has proved a failure in coping with the special problems of our days, our most effective argument is to do our duty in good works, as citizens and as neighbors, meanwhile changing neither our religion nor the means of grace given to us by God. Christians should remember that they are free, that they are partakers of the wonderful freedom which the Son of God earned for them by His suffering and death. As free children of God we Christians will therefore show that willing submission to which the apostle admonishes. But no true believer will plead freedom from the Law as his excuse for not obeying the government, for not fulfilling the holy will of God in every possible way. He will not, under the pretense of standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, become guilty of sins and of various forms of wickedness. That would be a disgraceful abuse of the freedom to which Christ has called us, Gal. 5, 13. We are in the service of God; this is our highest boast, that we are not serving as unwilling slaves, but as servants, whose greatest delight it is to show the new spiritual life in works which will please our heavenly Father.

As such free men, that serve God in willing obedience, the Christians are glad to hear the apostle in his call: Give honor to all; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the king. To all their fellow-men the Christians are to give the honor which is due them in whatever position they hold in the state or in society. TO all their brethren in the faith they should show that intimate, intensive love which is proper among children of the same heavenly Father. To God they should give fear and reverence, all other considerations being relegated to the background in view of this demand. To the king or emperor, that is, to the constituted government, they will give the honor which is due according to the Fourth Commandment. Altogether, it is not a mere passive attitude which the Lord here speaks of, but an active exhibition of a state of mind which is bound in loving obedience under the Word of God.

The submission of slaves: V.18. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. V.19. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. V.20. 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. Having shown the proper relation of the citizens to their government, the apostle here delineates the attitude which God, according to the Fourth Commandment, expects from slaves, the majority of the members in the Asiatic congregations apparently belonging to this class: Servants, be in subjection in all fear to your masters, not only to the good and lenient, but also to the perverse. The word used by the apostle, “domestics, family servants,” is not SO harsh as the plain “slaves,” and it intimates that in many cases the masters granted to their slaves privileges which made them almost members of the family. Such Christian servants were not to be influenced by a false idea of Christian liberty and refuse to do their work, but they were, in free obedience, to be in subjection, in submission to their masters, and with all fear at that, Eph. 6, 5. They should feel a fear or dread of doing anything which might be contrary to the will of their masters, rather show all care and diligence in performing the work of their calling. And this was to be the case not only when the masters were good, kind, gentle, lenient, but also when they were of a perverse, morose disposition, when they were hard to please, when they were tyrannical.

This latter demand, which properly distinguished the Christian slaves from the unbelievers, the apostle substantiates: For this is grace, if on account of conscience toward God one patiently bears afflictions, suffering unjustly. There is no special distinction or praise in doing one’s work cheerfully and conscientiously if the master or employer is uniformly kind and lenient. But that is grace, that is pleasing and acceptable to God, that is a mark of His favor in granting the ability, that is a fine, excellent work in which God delights, if a person in that station, that of a slave, a servant, bears the afflictions of in justice, abuse, with patient endurance, if he takes upon himself even the unjust treatment administered by the temper of the master The Christian will put aside all provocation and not permit anger to get the better of him under such adverse circumstances, simply because he is conscious of the fact that it is the Lord who sends or permits such tribulations to come upon him, and because his conscience tells him that he owes it to God, his heavenly Father, to show patient endurance under such circumstances.

That a Christian servant will in just this way give evidence of his Christianity the apostle shows in a question which he now proposes: For what praise is it if you sin and then endure a beating patiently? But if you do right and then endure suffering, this is grace before God. There is no special credit in enduring beating, stripes, punishment, with a great show of patience if such punishment was soundly deserved on account of some willful defection, some wrong-doing. It is different, however, if a servant does right, does his work faithfully in every respect, and then is obliged to suffer, receives beatings, even though he does what he knows to be right and good before God. To endure patiently in a case of this kind, that is pleasing and acceptable to God, that can be done only by a gracious dispensation of strength on His part, that is a fine, excellent work. Mark: Although these words are addressed primarily to Christian slaves, their admonitions may well be heeded by all employees and servants everywhere; for a Christian will be faithful in his work and ready to endure even injustice, knowing that the good pleasure of the Lord rests upon him. 3)

The inspiring example of Christ: V.21. For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps; v.22. who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; v.23. who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, he threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously; v.24. 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. V.25. For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. The first reason for suffering wrong readily is the good pleasure of God, the second is that of the Christian’s calling, as it is typified in the example of Christ: For to this end you were called, because also Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow His footsteps. That is a part of the believer’s calling, that is the fate which was held out before him at the very time of his conversion, namely, that he will indeed be an heir of eternal glory, but that the way leading to this glorious bliss is also one of much tribulation, Acts 14, 22. Incidentally, the disciple is not above his Master, and Christ Himself serves as a type, example, or pattern to the believers that we should follow His footsteps, be as much like Him as possible, grow more like Him every day. This example He set before us in His suffering during His whole life, and particularly at the time of His last great Passion. The meekness and humility, the patience and endurance which Christ showed at this time should always stand out strongly before the eyes of the Christians.

The individual instances in which His example stands out with such marked emphasis are now named: Who did not commit sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth, who, being reviled, reviled not in return, suffering did not threaten, but left it to Him that judges righteously. Cp. Is. 53, 9. The suffering of the Messiah was in no way merited by His own transgressions of the divine Law; even upon His direct challenge the Jews were unable to convict Him of a single sin, John 8, 46. In both His actions and His words Christ was unblamable. Even those sayings of Christ which were deliberately branded as lies by His enemies were without guile, altogether true. Not one of the accusations which the members of the Sanhedrin brought against the Lord was substantiated. When Christ was scorned, cursed, covered with the vilest epithets, He did not return in kind in a single instance. What He had taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount He kept in every way. Even His apparently harsh rebukes were not personal vilifications, no expressions of hatred, but words of warning to show His opponent the foolishness of his self-hardening. In the midst of the most bitter sufferings, as when He was nailed to the cross, He did not threaten His jubilant persecutors, but, instead, pleaded with His heavenly Father to forgive them their sin. Far from seeking His own revenge, He placed the entire matter into the hands of His heavenly Father, the just Judge, that He might adjust the affair as He should think best. Surely we believers that confess Christ, that bear His name, should be willing to bear His reproach with the same patience.

Just wherein the secret of the Christian’s ability to bear injustice and wrong lies, is shown in the next verse: Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the wood, in order that we, having gotten rid of our sins, should live to righteousness, by whose wounds you are healed. Here the vicarious suffering of Christ is plainly taught, as in Is. 53, 4. Christ, of whom it had been stated that He had no sin, stepped into our place and took upon Himself the burden of our sins, as our great Substitute. They were laid upon His body, His person: He was considered the greatest sinner of all times. Thus He assumed also the guilt of our sins, He took upon Himself their punishment. He ascended the wooden altar of the cross, the accursed tree, loaded down with their terrible weight. And all this He did in order to give us the benefit of His suffering and death. It is now possible for us, having gotten rid of our sins in the manner indicated, to spend our entire life in living in conformity with the holy will of God, in true righteousness. Without the vicarious suffering and death of Christ we should never have been able to reach this state, to obtain this ability; but faith in His redemption gives us the power, since He became wounded that we might be healed, since He became sick that we might be made whole. What an inspiring example, what a compelling motive, what a divine source of power!

But the apostle repeats his thought, clothing it in another picture, in order to give it the proper emphasis: For you were like sheep gone astray, but you have now been turned back to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Cp. Is. 53, 6. That is true of all men by nature; they have turned away from the God of their life, of their salvation, following their own sinful bent, walking the way of sin and of destruction. It is due to the redemption of Christ and to the proclamation of this redemption in the Word of the Gospel that we have been turned, brought back, literally turned ourselves back, from the ways of sin and death to God and life, by the power transmitted to us in the Gospel-call. In accepting God as our Father, we, at the same time, have turned to Christ, to the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, to Him who, as the one Good Shepherd, brought us home out of the desert of sin and is now daily leading us in the green pastures of His gracious Word. Truly, the sheep of Christ are provided for in a wonderful way, they live secure under the guiding staff of Him who laid down His life for them. 4)

Summary. In continuing his admonitions, the apostle describes the true growth in holiness on Jesus Christ as the true Foundation, resulting in the spiritual house of the royal priesthood which the Christians form; he gives specific admonitions to be obedient to the government and to masters, holding up before his readers the inspiring example of Christ.