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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1PETER 2
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    CHAPTER 2

    1Pe 2:1-25. EXHORTATIONS.

    To guileless feeding on the word by the sense of their privileges as new-born babes, living stones in the spiritual temple built on Christ the chief corner-stone, and royal priests, in contrast to their former state: also to abstinence from fleshly lusts, and to walk worthily in all relations of life, so that the world without which opposes them may be constrained to glorify God in seeing their good works. Christ, the grand pattern to follow in patience under suffering for well-doing.

    1. laying aside--once for all: so the Greek aorist expresses as a garment put off. The exhortation applies to Christians alone, for in none else is the new nature existing which, as "the inward man" (Eph 3:16) can cast off the old as an outward thing, so that the Christian, through the continual renewal of his inward man, can also exhibit himself externally as a new man. But to unbelievers the demand is addressed, that inwardly, in regard to the nous (mind), they must become changed, meta-noeisthai (re-pent) [STEIGER]. The "therefore" resumes the exhortation begun in 1Pe 1:22. Seeing that ye are born again of an incorruptible seed, be not again entangled in evil, which "has no substantial being, but is an acting in contrariety to the being formed in us" [THEOPHYLACT]. "Malice," &c., are utterly inconsistent with the "love of the brethren," unto which ye have "purified your souls" (1Pe 1:22). The vices here are those which offend against the BROTHERLY LOVE inculcated above. Each succeeding one springs out of that which immediately precedes, so as to form a genealogy of the sins against love. Out of malice springs guile; out of guile, hypocrises (pretending to be what we are not, and not showing what we really are; the opposite of "love unfeigned," and "without dissimulation"); out of hypocrisies, envies of those to whom we think ourselves obliged to play the hypocrite; out of envies, evil-speaking, malicious, envious detraction of others. Guile is the permanent disposition; hypocrisies the acts flowing from it. The guileless knows no envy. Compare 1Pe 2:2, "sincere," Greek, "guileless." "Malice delights in another's hurt; envy pines at another's good; guile imparts duplicity to the heart; hypocrisy (flattery) imparts duplicity to the tongue; evil-speakings wound the character of another" [AUGUSTINE].

    2. new-born babes--altogether without "guile" (1Pe 2:1). As long as we are here we are "babes," in a specially tender relation to God (Isa 40:11). The childlike spirit is indispensable if we would enter heaven. "Milk" is here not elementary truths in contradistinction to more advanced Christian truths, as in 1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12, 13; but in contrast to "guile, hypocrisies," &c. (1Pe 2:1); the simplicity of Christian doctrine in general to the childlike spirit. The same "word of grace" which is the instrument in regeneration, is the instrument also of building up. "The mother of the child is also its natural nurse" [STEIGER]. The babe, instead of chemically analyzing, instinctively desires and feeds on the milk; so our part is not self-sufficient rationalizing and questioning, but simply receiving the truth in the love of it (Mt 11:25).
    - desire--Greek, "have a yearning desire for," or "longing after," a natural impulse to the regenerate, "for as no one needs to teach new-born babes what food to take, knowing instinctively that a table is provided for them in their mother's breast," so the believer of himself thirsts after the word of God (Ps 119:1-176). Compare TATIUS' language as to Achilles.
    - sincere--Greek, "guileless." Compare 1Pe 2:1, "laying aside guile." IRENÆUS says of heretics. They mix chalk with the milk. The article, "the," implies that besides the well-known pure milk, the Gospel, there is no other pure, unadulterated doctrine; it alone can make us guileless (1Pe 2:1).
    - of the word--Not as ALFORD, "spiritual," nor "reasonable," as English Version in Ro 12:1. The Greek "logos" in Scripture is not used of the reason, or mind, but of the WORD; the preceding context requires that "the word" should be meant here; the adjective "logikos" follows the meaning of the noun logos, "word." Jas 1:21, "Lay apart all filthiness . . . and receive with meekness the engrafted WORD," is exactly parallel, and confirms English Version here.
    - grow--The oldest manuscripts and versions read, "grow unto salvation." Being BORN again unto salvation, we are also to grow unto salvation. The end to which growth leads is perfected salvation. "Growth is the measure of the fulness of that, not only rescue from destruction, but positive blessedness, which is implied in salvation" [ALFORD].
    - thereby--Greek, "in it"; fed on it; in its strength (Ac 11:14). "The word is to be desired with appetite as the cause of life, to be swallowed in the hearing, to be chewed as cud is by rumination with the understanding, and to be digested by faith" [TERTULLIAN].

    3. Peter alludes to Ps 34:8. The first "tastes" of God's goodness are afterwards followed by fuller and happier experiences. A taste whets the appetite [BENGEL].
    - gracious--Greek, "good," benignant, kind; as God is revealed to us in Christ, "the Lord" (1Pe 2:4), we who are born again ought so to be good and kind to the brethren (1Pe 1:22). "Whosoever has not tasted the word to him it is not sweet it has not reached the heart; but to them who have experienced it, who with the heart believe, 'Christ has been sent for me and is become my own: my miseries are His, and His life mine,' it tastes sweet" [LUTHER].

    4. coming--drawing near (same Greek as here, Heb 10:22) by faith continually; present tense: not having come once for all at conversion.
    - stone--Peter (that is, a stone, named so by Christ) desires that all similarly should be living stones BUILT ON CHRIST, THE TRUE FOUNDATION-STONE; compare his speech in Ac 4:11. An undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. The Spirit foreseeing the Romanist perversion of Mt 16:18 (compare Mt 16:16, "Son of the LIVING God," which coincides with his language here, "the LIVING stone"), presciently makes Peter himself to refuse it. He herein confirms Paul's teaching. Omit the as unto of English Version. Christ is positively termed the "living stone"; living, as having life in Himself from the beginning, and as raised from the dead to live evermore (Re 1:18) after His rejection by men, and so the source of life to us. Like no earthly rock, He lives and gives life. Compare 1Co 10:4, and the type, Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11.
    - disallowed--rejected, reprobated; referred to also by Christ Himself: also by Paul; compare the kindred prophecies, Isa 8:14; Lu 2:34.
    - chosen of God--literally, "with (or 'in the presence and judgment of') God elect," or, "chosen out" (1Pe 2:6). Many are alienated from the Gospel, because it is not everywhere in favor, but is on the contrary rejected by most men. Peter answers that, though rejected by men, Christ is peculiarly the stone of salvation honored by God, first so designated by Jacob in his deathbed prophecy.

    5. Ye also, as lively stones--partaking of the name and life which is in "THE LIVING STONE" (1Pe 2:4; 1Co 3:11). Many names which belong to Christ in the singular are assigned to Christians in the plural. He is "THE SON," "High Priest," "King," "Lamb"; they, "sons," "priests," "kings," "sheep," "lambs." So the Shulamite called from Solomon [BENGEL].
    - are built up--Greek, "are being built up," as in Eph 2:22. Not as ALFORD, "Be ye built up." Peter grounds his exhortations, 1Pe 2:2, 11, &c., on their conscious sense of their high privileges as living stones in the course of being built up into a spiritual house (that is, "the habitation of the Spirit").
    - priesthood--Christians are both the spiritual temple and the priests of the temple. There are two Greek words for "temple"; hieron (the sacred place), the whole building, including the courts wherein the sacrifice was killed; and naos (the dwelling, namely, of God), the inner shrine wherein God peculiarly manifested Himself, and where, in the holiest place, the blood of the slain sacrifice was presented before Him. All believers alike, and not merely ministers, are now the dwelling of God (and are called the "naos," Greek, not the hieron) and priests unto God (Re 1:6). The minister is not, like the Jewish priest (Greek, "hiercus"), admitted nearer to God than the people, but merely for order's sake leads the spiritual services of the people. Priest is the abbreviation of presbyter in the Church of England Prayer Book, not corresponding to the Aaronic priest (hiereus, who offered literal sacrifices). Christ is the only literal hiereus-priest in the New Testament through whom alone we may always draw near to God. Compare 1Pe 2:9, "a royal priesthood," that is, a body of priest-kings, such as was Melchisedec. The Spirit never, in New Testament, gives the name hiereus, or sacerdotal priest, to ministers of the Gospel.
    - holy--consecrated to God.
    - spiritual sacrifices--not the literal one of the mass, as the Romish self-styled disciples of Peter teach. Compare Isa 56:7, which compare with "acceptable to God" here; Ps 4:5; 50:14; 51:17, 19; Ho 14:2; Php 4:18. "Among spiritual sacrifices the first place belongs to the general oblation of ourselves. For never can we offer anything to God until we have offered ourselves (2Co 8:5) in sacrifice to Him. There follow afterwards prayers, giving of thanks, alms deeds, and all exercises of piety" [CALVIN]. Christian houses of worship are never called temples because the temple was a place for sacrifice, which has no place in the Christian dispensation; the Christian temple is the congregation of spiritual worshippers. The synagogue (where reading of Scripture and prayer constituted the worship) was the model of the Christian house of worship (compare Note, see on Jas 2:2, Greek, "synagogue"; Ac 15:21). Our sacrifices are those of prayer, praise, and self-denying services in the cause of Christ (1Pe 2:9, end).
    - by Jesus Christ--as our mediating High Priest before God. Connect these words with "offer up." Christ is both precious Himself and makes us accepted [BENGEL]. As the temple, so also the priesthood, is built on Christ (1Pe 2:4, 5) [BEZA]. Imperfect as are our services, we are not with unbelieving timidity, which is close akin to refined self-righteousness, to doubt their acceptance THROUGH CHRIST. After extolling the dignity of Christians he goes back to CHRIST as the sole source of it.

    6. Wherefore also--The oldest manuscripts read, "Because that." The statement above is so "because it is contained in

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