The Book of 1 Peter - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.
Which things angels desire to look into.
1 Peter 1:12
What a wonderful chapter this is! After the introduction, it opens with a doxology, and then proceeds exultantly to deal with the wonders of Christian experience and privilege, resulting from the "great mercy" of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The whole theme is that of "the sufferings of Christ, and the glories which should follow them," or inclusively, that of "Salvation." Of this the prophets of the past had written having "sought and searched diligently," and that under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Apostle here describes as "the Spirit of Christ." These are the things into which angels desire to look. It is a revealing word, helping us to realize the depths and glories of our salvation. The angels are the unfallen ones, the high intelligences who serve God in holiness, and dwell in the light. So great is human salvation, that they desire to consider it. The word for "desire" is the simplest and strongest, showing us that they realize the amazing wonder, and earnestly wish to apprehend it. The word for "look," too, is a strong one, suggesting the closest attention and inspection, the bending over and careful examination of the matter. While prophets sought and searched diligently, and angels desire to look, those of us who are the objects of this mercy which is so full of wonder should surely be content with nothing less than the utmost diligence in our endeavour to apprehend the deep things of our "inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away."
For you therefore which believe is the preciousness.
1 Peter 2:7
This change in the Revised Version, from the "unto you therefore that believe He is precious" of the Authorized, gives a far better interpretation of the Apostle's words. The declaration is not that believers know the preciousness of Christ; it is rather that they share it. The idea of preciousness is that of honour, and therefore of honourableness, that is, of the qualities that are worthy of honour. This is the thought of the statement, then. The qualities of Christ that create His preciousness, His honour, are placed at the disposal of the believer. Twice already had the Apostle described the Lord as "precious" (see verses 4 and 6). In both cases the description was a declaration of God's estimate of Him. He was the rejected of men, but with God He was elect, precious. We know the things in Christ which made Him precious, honourable, in the sight of God. They were the things of His purity, His love, His conformity to all the perfect will of God. Here, then, is the wonder of this declaration. All these things are communicated to those who believe in Him. His very life and nature are given to the believer, and, by the might of their working, make that believer precious with His preciousness. He is the living Stone, and those who come to Him, who believe in Him, receive that very quality of life which is His, and so they become living stones. It is in the power of that preciousness that they become "an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession," and so are enabled "to show forth the excellencies" of God.
Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15
The simple meaning of the injunction is that at the very centre of life there is to be but one Lord, and that is Christ. To do this is to ensure the unification of being, consistency of conduct, and accomplishment of purpose. We are divided in our own life, inconsistent in our conduct, and ineffective in our service, when our loyalty is divided. This is so self-evident a truth that it hardly seems necessary to argue it. Nevertheless, while holding the truth theoretically, how constantly we are in danger of failing to live by it! Other lords are permitted to invade the sanctuary of the heart, and to exercise dominion over us. Our own selfish desires, the opinion of others, worldly wisdom, the pressure of circumstances, these and many other lords command us, and we turn from our simple and complete allegiance to our one Lord, and give ourselves up to the false mastery of these things. The results are always disastrous. We become storm-tossed and feverish; our conduct is not consistent; our work is spasmodic and devoid of power. Therefore the urgency of the injunction. To hallow the heart by excluding all other lords save Christ Himself, is to be strong, true, and effective. His knowledge is perfect, of the heart, of the circumstances, of the true way of life. To be governed by many lords is to be in bondage to them all, and to be desolated by their conflicting ways. To be in bondage to Christ, is to be released from all other captivity.
If a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.
1 Peter 4:16
This is one of the very few places in the New Testament where this description of believers is employed. There are only three. In the first, we are told where it originated: "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). It would seem that it was given to them by the men of Antioch, and it was not necessarily a term of reproach, but one used to mark the fact that they were followers of Christ. The second is where Agrippa said to Paul, "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian" (Acts 26:28). This shows that by this time it had probably become a general term. The third and last time is here, where Peter employed it in a sense that shows that in some cases it brought suffering to be known as a Christian. The Apostle says two things in view of that fact. The first is that no shame is attached to such suffering. As he wrote this he was probably remembering the time when he and his fellow-apostles left the council of the Jews, in actual physical agony from the stripes which had been laid on them, but rejoicing "that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name" (Acts 5:41). The second word is an injunction: "Let him glorify God in this name." That is more than glorying in the name. It is so living worthily of all it means as to glorify God. If a man is known as a Christian, and does not live as one, he dishonours God. To bear the name is to take a responsibility, a great and glorious one, but none the less a very solemn one.
Knowing that the same sufferings are being accomplished in your brethren who are in the world.
1 Peter 5:9
These words constitute the gounds of the Apostle's appeal to Christians to withstand the adversary who is ever "seeking whom he may devour"; and, rightly apprehended, they are full of power and of comfort. The outlook is on the whole conflict of the saints. It is seen as one. No soul is fighting alone. Each one is at once supporting, and supported by, all the rest. Therefore it follows that to cease to with-stand is to weaken all the line of battle, and to create a vantage ground for the enemy; while to continue to withstand is to strengthen that line, and to make it difficult for the foe to break through the plan of the great Captain of salvation. This means that in order to help me to withstand, all the saints are fighting. The resources of the enemy are not limitless. The greater the number of loyal soldiers opposed to him, the greater the difficulty he has in breaking through upon one soul. The resources of our Lord are limitless, and in proportion as we avail ourselves of them we are invincible. How it will help us if we remember this in hours of temptation! If we yield, we weaken the whole battle-line. If we withstand steadfast in our faith, the strength of our victory is a contribution of power to all the ranks. And moreover, we need not yield, not only because our Lord is on our side - that is enough - but also because all the saints who resist are helping us. We never fight alone.