Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 7 -- By: Everett F. Harrison
BSac 98:392 (Oct 41) p. 459
Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
(Continued from the July-September Number, 1941)
The Testimony of Christian Conduct (2:11-3:7)
The apostle has hinted in 2:9 that the privilege of being called the people of God has its attendant responsibility to live in such a manner before the world that men may be able to glimpse with some clarity the virtues of God in His believing children. At a time when the New Testament canon was incomplete, much less collected, when the doctrines of the faith had been preached in few places with such publicity and thoroughness as to give the populace an understanding of Christianity as a system of truth, it was imperative that every believer should preach with his life so as to adorn the doctrine and commend it to others. In our own age, with its neglect of the Bible, its desultory interest in matters theological, and its notion that morality can be fostered independently of Christian truth, the necessity for the open page of Christian conduct is fully as great, for only as the world sees a higher standard than it possesses, in constant flesh-and-blood demonstration, will it be convicted of the inferiority of its own. And whether or not the maintenance of this high level of conduct results, in the turning of many to righteousness, it must go on, for the very genius of the gospel is to make men new creatures in Christ, whether they live in a metropolis, surrounded by a million pair of eyes, or on a desert isle with only the stars looking down.
The two verses 11 and 12, far from being an isolated section, contain a comprehensive introduction to the statement of particular duties of a civic and domestic nature subsequently unfolded. Personal holiness is fundamental to social righteousness, so the apostle starts his appeal at that point, grounding it most effectively on the proposition that Christians are alien to the morality of a sinful world. They
BSac 98:392 (Oct 41) p. 460
are sojourners, temporary residents here (cf. 1:1). The atmosphere of their lives should be heavenly, in accordance with their spiritual origin in the new birth and with their ultimate inheritance. A somewhat similar line of thought is found in Colossians 3:1–3 and in Philippians 3:19, 20, among other passages. Leighton reminds us that the traveler, whether his accommodations excite pleasure or annoyance,...
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