|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:14-22 We sanctify God before others, when our conduct invites and encourages them to glorify and honour him. What was the ground and reason of their hope? We should be able to defend our religion with meekness, in the fear of God. There is no room for any other fears where this great fear is; it disturbs not. The conscience is good, when it does its office well. That person is in a sad condition on whom sin and suffering meet: sin makes suffering extreme, comfortless, and destructive. Surely it is better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing, whatever our natural impatience at times may suggest. The example of Christ is an argument for patience under sufferings. In the case of our Lord's suffering, he that knew no sin, suffered instead of those who knew no righteousness. The blessed end and design of our Lord's sufferings were, to reconcile us to God, and to bring us to eternal glory. He was put to death in respect of his human nature, but was quickened and raised by the power of the Holy Spirit. If Christ could not be freed from sufferings, why should Christians think to be so? God takes exact notice of the means and advantages people in all ages have had. As to the old world, Christ sent his Spirit; gave warning by Noah. But though the patience of God waits long, it will cease at last. And the spirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of their bodies, are committed to the prison of hell, where those that despised Noah's warning now are, and from whence there is no redemption. Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, which carried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of all true believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type of the eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the Holy Spirit. To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but that baptism, of which the baptismal water formed the sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by the regeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and profess faith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presence of God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Let us learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and to inquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on our consciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced to outward things. But many who were baptized, and constantly attended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died in their sins, and are now past recovery. Rest not then till thou art cleansed by the Spirit of Christ and the blood of Christ. His resurrection from the dead is that whereby we are assured of purifying and peace.
Verse 17. - For it is better. St. Peter meets the common objection that suffering could be borne more easily if it were deserved; the Christian must take the cross, if it comes, as from God, sent for his good (comp. 1 Peter 2:19, 20). If the will of God be so; literally, if the will of God should so will. Θέλημα denotes the will in itself; θέλειν, its active operation (Wirier, 3:65. β). That ye suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing. The construction is participial, as in 1 Peter 2:20. As there, the participle expresses, not merely the circumstances, but the cause of the suffering; they would have to suffer, not simply while they were doing well, but because they did Well.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For it is better, if the will of God be so,.... For all things are ordered by the will of God, even all the sufferings and afflictions of the saints; and which is a reason why they ought to be patiently submitted to, and bore: and "better" it is, more honourable and profitable,
that ye suffer for well doing; for believing in Christ, professing him and his Gospel, giving a free and open reason for so doing, and for exercising a good conscience, and living godly in Christ Jesus:
than for evil doing; as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a busy body in other men's matters, 1 Peter 4:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. better—One may object, I would not bear it so ill if I had deserved it. Peter replies, it is better that you did not deserve it, in order that doing well and yet being spoken against, you may prove yourself a true Christian [Gerhard].
if the will of God be so—rather as the optative is in the oldest manuscripts, "if the will of God should will it so." Those who honor God's will as their highest law (1Pe 2:15) have the comfort to know that suffering is God's appointment (1Pe 4:19). So Christ Himself; our inclination does not wish it.
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