1 Peter 1:17
And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
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(17) And if.—The “if” casts no doubt, but, on the contrary, serves to bring out the necessary logical connection between invoking the Father—and such a Father—and fear. (See Note on 1Thessalonians 4:14.)

Ye call on the Father.—We might paraphrase by “if you use the Lord’s Prayer.” (Refer again to 1Peter 1:3; 1Peter 1:14.) The word seems not only to mean “if you appeal to the Father,” but “if you appeal to the Father by the title of Father.” (Comp. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.)

Who without respect of persons judgeth.—This “judgeth,” or decideth, refers not only to the great judgment of the last day, but is used in reference to the word “if ye call upon the Father.” That word has a forensic sense (in which it is used in Acts 25:11) of lodging an appeal, and every time we lodge our appeal to the Father on the ground of His Fatherhood, He decides the case, but decides it without favour—makes no allowance to our wrong doing on the ground of being His regenerate children, and certainly none on the ground of being of the Hebrew race. That this last notion finds place here we may see from St. Peter’s words in Acts 10:34-35. He decides “according to every man’s work”—i.e., upon the individual merits of the case before Him. The man’s “work” (not “works”) embraces all his conduct in the lump, as a single performance, which is either good on the whole or bad on the whole.

Pass the time . . . in fear.—The word for “pass” really is the same as the “conversation” of 1Peter 1:15, and is intended to take our thought back to it: “As obedient children, be holy in every part of your conduct; and if you wish for favour from the Father, see that that conduct is characterised by fear.” “This fear,” says Archbishop Leighton, “is not cowardice (nor superstition, we may add); it drowns all lower fears, and begets true fortitude; the righteous dare do anything but offend God. Moses was bold and fearless in dealing with a proud and wicked king, but when God appeared he said (as the Apostle informs us), ‘I exceedingly fear and quake.’“ This extract well contrasts with the meaning which some would apparently thrust into the word “fear,” as though it meant that the position of the Christians, as “aliens” in the midst of a hostile world, required a timid attitude towards man. The “fear” of the Father may be seen in the first two clauses of the Lord’s Prayer itself.

Your sojourning.—See on 1Peter 1:1, “strangers.” Because the word is metaphorical here and in 1Peter 2:11, is no reason why the similar word should be so there, in quite a different context. The expression here sets a limit for the discipline of fear, and at the same time suggests a reason for it—children though they are, they are not yet entered on their “inheritance” (1Peter 1:4), and have to secure it.

1 Peter


1 Peter 1:17.

‘If ye call on Him as Father,’ when ye pray, say, ‘Our Father which art in heaven.’ One can scarcely help supposing that the Apostle is here, as in several other places in his letter, alluding to words that are stamped ineffaceably upon his memory, because they had dropped from Christ’s lips. At all events, whether there is here a distinct allusion to what we call the Lord’s Prayer or no, it is here recognised as the universal characteristic of Christian people that their prayers are addressed to God in the character of Father. So that we may say that there is no Christianity which does not recognise and rejoice in appealing to the paternal relationship.

But, then, I suppose in Peter’s days, as in our days, there were people that so fell in love with one aspect of the Divine nature that they had no eyes for any other; and who so magnified the thought of the Father that they forgot the thought of the Judge. That error has been committed over and over again in all ages, so that the Church as a whole, one may say, has gone swaying from one extreme to the other, and has rent these two conceptions widely apart, and sometimes has been foolish enough to pit them against each other instead of doing as Peter does here, braiding them together as both conspiring to one result, the production in the Christian heart of a wholesome awe. If ye call on Him as Father ‘who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear.’

So then, look at this twofold aspect of God’s character.

Both these conceptions ought to be present, flamingly and vividly, burning there before him, to every Christian man. ‘Ye call Him Father,’ but the Father is the Judge. True, the Judge is Father, but Peter reminds us that whatever blessed truths may be hived in that great Name of Father, to be drawn thence by devout meditation and filial love, there is not included in it the thought of weak-minded indulgence to His children, in any of their sins, nor any unlikelihood of inflicting penal consequences on a rebellious child. ‘Father’ does not exclude ‘Judge,’ ‘and without respect of persons He judgeth.’

‘Without respect of persons’--the word is a somewhat unusual New Testament one, but it has special appropriateness and emphasis on Peter’s lips. Do you remember who it was that said, and on what occasion he said it: ‘Now I perceive that God is no respecter of persons’? It was Peter when he had learned the lesson on the housetop at Joppa, looking out over the Mediterranean, and had it enforced by Cornelius’ message. The great thought that had blazed upon him as a new discovery on that never-be-forgotten occasion, comes before him again, and this unfamiliar word comes with it, and he says, ‘without respect of persons He judges.’ Mountains are elevated, valleys are depressed and sunken, but I fancy that the difference between the top of Mount Everest and the gorge through which the Jordan runs would scarcely be perceptible if you were standing on the sun. Thus, ‘without respect of persons,’ great men and little, rich men and poor, educated men and illiterate, people that perch themselves on their little stools and think themselves high above their fellows: they are all on one dead level in the eye of the Judge. And this question is as to the quality of the work and not as to the dignity of the doer. ‘Without respect of persons’ implies universality as well as impartiality. If a Christian man has been ever so near God, and then goes away from Him, he is judged notwithstanding his past nearness. And if a poor soul, all crusted over with his sins and leprous with the foulness of long-standing iniquity, comes to God and asks for pardon, he is judged according to his penitence, ‘without respect of persons.’ That great hand holds an even balance. And though the strictness of the judicial process may have its solemn and its awful aspect, it has also its blessed and its comforting one.

Now, do not run away with the notion that the Apostle is speaking here of that great White Throne and the future judgment that for many of us lies, inoperative on our creeds, on the other side of the great cleft of death. That is a solemn thought, but it is not Peter’s thought here. If any of you can refer to the original, you will see that even more strongly than in our English version, though quite sufficiently strongly there, the conception is brought out of a continuous Divine judgment running along, all through a man’s life, side by side with his work. The judgment here meant is not all clotted together, as it were, in that final act of judgment, leaving the previous life without it, but it runs all through the ages, all through each man’s days. I beseech you to ponder that thought, that at each moment of each of our lives an estimate of the moral character of each of our deeds is present to the Divine mind.

‘Of course we believe that,’ you say. ‘That is commonplace; not worth talking about.’ Ah! but because we believe it, as of course, we slip out of thinking about it and letting it affect our lives. And what I desire to do for you, dear friends, and for myself, is just to put emphasis on the one half of that little word ‘judgeth’ and ask you to take its three last letters and lay them on your minds. Do we feel that, moment by moment, these little spurs of bad temper, these little gusts of worldliness, that tiny, evanescent sting of pride and devildom which has passed across or been fixed in our minds, are all present to God, and that He has judged them already, in the double sense that He has appraised their value and estimated their bearing upon our characters, and that He has set in motion some of the consequences which we shall have to reap?

Oh! one sometimes wishes that people did not so much believe in a future judgment, in so far as it obscures to them the solemn thought of a present and a continuous one. ‘Verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth,’ and, of course, all these provisional decisions, which are like the documents that in Scotch law are said to ‘precognosce the case,’ are all laid away in the archives of heaven, and will be produced, docketed and in order, at the last for each of us. Christian people sometimes abuse the doctrine of justification by faith as if it meant that Christians at the last were not to be judged. But they are, and there is such a thing as ‘salvation yet so as by fire,’ and such a thing as salvation in fulness. Do not let filial confidence drive out legitimate fear.

He ‘judges according to every man’s work.’ I do not think it is extravagant attention to niceties to ask you to notice that the Apostle does not say ‘works,’ but ‘work’; as if all the separate actions were gathered into a great whole, as indeed they are, because they are all the products of one mind and character. The trend and drift, so to speak, of our life, rather than its isolated actions and the underlying motives, in their solemn totality and unity, these are the materials of this Divine judgment.

Now, let me say a word about the disposition which the Apostle enjoins upon us in the view of these facts.

The Judge is the Father, the Father is the Judge. The one statement proclaims the merciful, compassionate, paternal judgment, the other the judicial Fatherhood. And what comes from the combination of these two ideas, which thus modify and illuminate one another? ‘Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.’ What a descent that sounds from the earlier verses of the letter: ‘In whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ Down from those heights of ‘joy unspeakable,’ and ‘already glorified,’ the apostle drops plump into this dungeon: ‘Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.’ Of course, I need not remind you that the ‘fear’ here is not the ‘fear which hath torment’; in fact, I do not think that it is a fear that refers to God at all. It is not a sentiment or emotion of which God is the object. It is not the reverent awe which often appears in Scripture as ‘the fear of God,’ which is a kind of shorthand expression for all modes of devout sentiment and emotion; but it is a fear, knowing our own weakness and the strong temptations that are round us, of falling into sin. That is the one thing to be afraid of in this world. If a man rightly understood what he is here for, then the only thing that he would be terrified for would be that he should miss the purpose of his being here and lose his hold of God thereby. There is nothing else worth being afraid of, but that is worth being afraid of. It is not slavish dread, nor is it cowardice, but the well-grounded emotion of men that know themselves too well to be confident and know the world too well to be daring and presumptuous.

Don’t you think that Peter had had a pretty rough experience in his life that had taught him the wisdom of such an exhortation? And does it not strike you as very beautiful that it should come, of all people in the world, from his lips? The man that had said, ‘Though all should forsake Thee, yet will not I.’ ‘Why cannot I follow Thee now?’ ‘Bid me come to Thee on the water.’ ‘This be far from Thee, Lord, it shall not be unto Thee’--the man that had whipped out his sword in the garden, in a spasm of foolish affection, now, in his quiet old age, when he has learnt the lesson of failures and follies and sins and repentance, says in effect: ‘Remember me, and do not you be presumptuous.’ ‘Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.’ ‘If I had known myself a little better, and been a little more afraid of myself, I should not have made such a fool of myself or such shipwreck of my faithfulness.’

Dear friends, no mature Christian is so advanced as that he does not need this reminder, and no Christian novice is so feeble as that, keeping obedient to this precept, he will not be victorious over all his evils. The strongest needs to fear; the weakest, fearing, is safe. For such fearfulness is indispensable to safety. It is all very well to go along with sail extended and a careless look-out. But if, for instance, a captain keeps such when he is making the mouth of the Red Sea where there are a narrow channel and jagged rocks and a strong current, if he has not every man at his quarters and everything ready to let go and stop in a moment, he will be sure to be on the reefs before he has tried the experiment often. And the only safety for any of us is ever to be on the watch, and to dread our own weakness. ‘Blessed is the man that feareth always.’

Such carefulness over conduct and heart is fully compatible with all the blessed emotions to which it seems at first antagonistic. There is no discord between the phrase that I have quoted about ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory,’ and this temper, but rather the two help one another. And such blended confidence and fear are the parents of courage. The man that is afraid that he will do wrong and so hurt himself and grieve his Saviour, is the man that will never be afraid of anything else. Martyrs have gone to the stake ‘fearing not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do,’ because they were so afraid to sin against God that they were not afraid to die rather than to do it. And that is the temper that you and I should have. Let that one fear, like Moses’ rod, swallow up all the other serpents and make our hearts impervious to any other dread.

‘Pass the time of your sojourning.’ You do not live in your own country, you are in an alien land. You are passing through it. Troops on the march in an enemy’s country, unless they are led by an idiot, will send out clouds of scouts in front and on the wings to give timeous warning of any attempted assault. If we cheerily and carelessly go through this world as if we were marching in a land where there were no foes, there is nothing before us but defeat at the last. Only let us remember that sleepless watchfulness is needed only in this time of sojourning, and that when we get to our own country there is no need for such patrols and advance guards and rearguards and men on the flank as were essential when we were on the march. People that grow exotic plants here in England keep them in glass houses. But when they are taken to their native soil the glass would be an impertinence. As long as we are here we have to wear our armour, but when we get yonder the armour can safely be put off and the white robes that had to be tucked up under it lest they should be soiled by the muddy ways can be let down, for they will gather no pollution from the golden streets. The gates of that city do not need to be shut, day nor night. For when sin has ceased and our liability to yield to temptation has been exchanged for fixed adhesion to the Lord Himself, then, and not till then, is it safe to put aside the armour of godly fear and to walk, unguarded and unarmed, in the land of perpetual peace.1 Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the Father — With an expectation of being heard; or, as you desire or expect audience and acceptance at God’s hands; who, without respect of persons — Which can have no place with God; see note on Romans 2:11; judgeth according to every man’s work — According to the tenor of his life and conversation; pass the time of your sojourning — The short season of your abode on earth; in fear — In the reverential and awful fear of God, in an humble and loving fear of offending him, in a watchful fear of your spiritual enemies, and in a jealous fear of yourselves, lest a promise being left you of entering into his rest, you should, through lukewarmness, sloth, and indolence, or through levity, carelessness, and negligence, after all, come short of it. This fear is a proper companion and guard of hope. The word παροικια, here rendered sojourning, properly signifies the stay which travellers make in a place while finishing some business. The term, therefore, is applied with great propriety to the abode of the children of God in the present world, as it signifies that this earth is not their home, and that they are to remain in it only a short time. See on Hebrews 11:13.1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.And if ye call on the Father - That is, if you are true Christians, or truly pious - piety being represented in the Scriptures as calling on God, or as the worship of God. Compare Acts 9:11; Genesis 4:26; 1 Kings 18:24; Psalm 116:17; 2 Kings 5:11; 1 Chronicles 16:8; Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13; Zephaniah 3:9; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 2:21. The word "Father" here is used evidently not to denote the Father in contradistinction to the Son, but as referring to God as the Father of the universe. See 1 Peter 1:14 - "As obedient children." God is often spoken of as the Father of the intelligent beings whom he has made. Christians worship Him as a Father - as one having all the feelings of a kind and tender parent toward them. Compare Psalm 103:13, following.

Who without respect of persons - Impartiality. One who is not influenced in His treatment of people by a regard to rank, wealth, beauty, or any external distinction. See the Acts 10:34 note, and Romans 2:11 note.

Judgeth according to every man's work - He judges each one according to his character; or to what he has done, Revelation 22:12. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:10. The meaning is: "You worship a God who will judge every person according to his real character, and you should therefore lead such lives as he can approve."

Pass the time of your sojourning - "Of your temporary residence on earth. This is not your permanent home, but you are strangers and sojourners." See the notes at Hebrews 11:13.

In fear - See the Philippians 2:12 note; Hebrews 12:28 note. With true reverence or veneration for God and His law. Religion is often represented as the reverent fear of God, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 6:13, Deuteronomy 6:24; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 14:26-27, et saepe al.

17. if ye call on—that is, "seeing that ye call on," for all the regenerate pray as children of God, "Our Father who art in heaven" (Mt 6:9; Lu 11:2).

the Father—rather, "Call upon as Father Him who without acceptance of persons (Ac 10:34; Ro 2:11; Jas 2:1, not accepting the Jew above the Gentile, 2Ch 19:7; Lu 20:21; properly said of a judge not biassed in judgment by respect of persons) judgeth," &c. The Father judgeth by His Son, His Representative, exercising His delegated authority (Joh 5:22). This marks the harmonious and complete unity of the Trinity.

work—Each man's work is one complete whole, whether good or bad. The particular works of each are manifestations of the general character of his lifework, whether it was of faith and love whereby alone we can please God and escape condemnation.

pass—Greek, "conduct yourselves during."

sojourning—The outward state of the Jews in their dispersion is an emblem of the sojourner-like state of all believers in this world, away from our true Fatherland.

fear—reverential, not slavish. He who is your Father, is also your Judge—a thought which may well inspire reverential fear. Theophylact observes, A double fear is mentioned in Scripture: (1) elementary, causing one to become serious; (2) perfective: the latter is here the motive by which Peter urges them as sons of God to be obedient. Fear is not here opposed to assurance, but to carnal security: fear producing vigilant caution lest we offend God and backslide. "Fear and hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from falling away from hope" [Bengel]. Though love has no fear IN it, yet in our present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear going ALONG WITH It as a subordinate principle. This fear drowns all other fears. The believer fears God, and so has none else to fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness and folly. The martyrs' more than mere human courage flowed from this.

And if; this particle is used here, and frequently elsewhere, not as a note of doubting, but by way of assertion, and supposition of a thing known.

Ye call on the Father; either this is to be meant of invocation, their calling on God in prayer; and then the sense is: If you be servants and worshippers of the Father; prayer being many times put for the whole worship of God, Isaiah 43:22 Acts 9:11: or, of their calling God, Father, as Matthew 6:9; and then the sense is: If you would be counted God’s children, Jam 2:7.

Who, without respect of persons; and so will no more excuse you that are Jews, and descended from Abraham, than those that are born of Gentile parents, Job 34:19 Acts 10:34 Ephesians 6:9.

Judgeth; and so is not a Father only, but a Judge, and that a most righteous one.

According to every man’s work; i.e. works, the singular number put for the plural, as Jam 1:25: see Romans 2:6 Job 34:11.

Pass the time of your sojourning here; the word signifies the temporary abode of a man in a place where he was not born, or doth not ordinarily reside; such being the condition of believers in the world, that they are sojourners, not citizens of it; they are travelling through it to their Father’s house and heavenly country, Hebrews 11:9,10,13,16. They are here exhorted to a suitable carriage, expressed in the next words.

In fear; which is due to him as a Father and a Judge. It may imply the greatest reverence, and the deepest humility, Philippians 2:12 1 Corinthians 2:3 1 Peter 3:2,15. And if ye call on the Father,.... Of Christ, and of all the saints; or "seeing" ye do. This is a fresh argument, engaging to holiness of life and conversation. Invocation of God includes the whole worship of him, the performance of every outward duty, and the exercise of every inward grace, particularly it designs prayer; and whoever are concerned in one, or the other, God will be sanctified by all them that draw nigh unto him: or the phrase may here intend an asserting God to be their Father, under the influence of the spirit of adoption; and all such that do claim so near a relation to God ought to honour and obey him, and to be followers of him: whoever call God their Father, and themselves his children, ought to be careful that they do not blaspheme, or cause to be blasphemed, that worthy name by which they are called:

who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work. This is another reason why men should be holy, taken from the general judgment; for this God that is a Father, is also a judge. There is a judgment after death, which is sure and certain, and reaches to all persons and things; and though the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, yet he will judge everyone by that man Christ, whom he has ordained to be the Judge of quick and dead: before his judgment seat all must stand, where they will be impartially, and without respect of persons, tried; no account will be had of what nation and place they are, whether Jews or Gentiles, or of this, or the other country, unless to aggravate or lessen their condemnation; for it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for such who have been favoured with a Gospel revelation, and believe it not; nor from what parents they have descended, for the soul that sins, that shall die; nor of what age and sex they are, small and great shall stand before him; nor of what state and condition, rich or poor, high or low, bond or free; or of what religious sect and denomination, or whether they have conformed to some external things or not; no regard will be had to any outward appearance or profession. The Judge will not judge according to the sight of the eyes, and outward view of things; for he looks on the heart, and knows the secret springs of all actions; and according thereunto will he judge and pass the sentence; and therefore what manner of persons ought men to be, in all holy conversation and godliness? Hence it follows,

pass the time of your sojourning here in fear; the people of God in this world are "sojourners", as all their fathers were; they are not natives of the place in, which they are; though they are in the world, they are not of it; they were natives of it by their first birth, but by their second they are born again from above, and so, belong to another place; they are of another country, even an heavenly one; are citizens of another city, a city which, has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, their citizenship is in heaven; and there is their Father's house, which is not made with hands, and is eternal; and there lies their estate, their inheritance; and though they dwell here below, neither their settlement nor their satisfaction are here; they reckon themselves not at home while they are on earth, and are strangers in it, to the men of the world, and they to them; with whom they have not, or at least ought not to have, any fellowship. It is indeed but for a "time", that they are sojourners, not an eternity; which time is fixed, and is very short, and will be quickly gone; it is but a little while, and Christ wilt come and take them home to his Father's house, where they shall be for ever with him; for it is only here on earth that they are pilgrims and strangers: and while they are so they should spend their time "in fear"; not of men nor of devils, nor of death and judgment, hell and eternal damnation; for such a fear is not consistent with the love of God shed abroad in the heart, and is the effect of the law, and not encouraged by the Gospel; is in natural men, yea, in devils themselves; but in the fear of God, and which springs from the grace of God, and is increased by it; is consistent with the strongest acts of faith, and with the greatest expressions of spiritual joy; is opposite to pride and self-confidence, and includes the whole worship of God, external and internal, and a religious conversation, in humility and lowliness of mind.

{10} And if ye {i} call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

(10) As before he distinguished true faith and hope from false, so does he now obedience, setting the quick and sharp sight of God, against an outward mask, and earnest reverence against vain severity.

(i) If you will be called the sons of that father.

1 Peter 1:17. From here to the end of the verse the preceding exhortation is continued; the connection is shown by the copula καί.

καὶ εἰ πατέρα ἐπικαλεῖσθε] corresponding to the ὡς τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, 1 Peter 1:14. εἰ is here: “particula non conditionalis, sed assertiva, non dubitantis, sed rem notam praesupponentis” (Calvin). The form of the sentence is, however, hypothetical; the sense is: “if you act thus and thus, as ye are indeed now doing.” By this form the language is made more impressive than it would have been by a simple causative particle.

ἐπικαλεῖσθαι] as medium, means to “call upon” (for the meaning “to name,” as Wiesinger, de Wette, Brückner take it, is supported in the classics only by a doubtful passage in Dio Cass. lxxvii. 7). πατέρα is the accusative of more precise definition (thus Hofmann also); Luther: “since ye call on Him the (i.e. as, ὡς) Father.” The sense is: “if ye look on Him as Father who, etc., and ye acknowledge yourselves as His children.”[87] It is to be noticed that the ἐπικαλεῖσθε corresponds to the καλέσαντα, v. 15; God has called believers,—and they answer with the call to Him, in which they name Him Father. This mutual relationship lays the Christians under obligations to be holy as He is holy.[88]

τὸν ἀπροσωπολήπτως κρίνοντα τὸ ἑκάστου ἔργον] a circumlocution for God full of significance, instead of the simple ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ, corresponding to the ἍΓΙΟΝ, 1 Peter 1:15.

ἈΠΡΟΣΩΠΟΛΉΠΤΩς, a ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., formed on the noun ΠΡΟΣΩΠΟΛΉΠΤΗς (Acts 10:34), which is composed of ΠΡΌΣΩΠΟΝ and ΛΑΜΒΆΝΕΙΝ; see Meyer on Galatians 2:6.

The present ΚΡΊΝΟΝΤΑ indicates that impartial judgment is a characteristic function of God. The apostle mentions ΤῸ ἜΡΓΟΝ as that according to which the judgment of God is determined; in this connection the plural is generally found (Romans 2:6); by the singular the whole conduct of man (outwardly and inwardly) is conceived as a work of his life.

ἙΚΆΣΤΟΥ] not without emphasis. It implies that the Christian also—a son of God though he be—will, like all others, be judged according to his work; it is arbitrary to limit the application of the general term ἙΚΆΣΤΟΥ to Christians only (Schott); there is no thought here of the distinction between Jew and Gentile (Bengel).

The term judge, as applied to God, stands in a peculiar contrast to πατέρα. The Christian, while conscious of the love of God shed abroad in his heart (Romans 5:5), must still never forget that God judges the evil, that His love is an holy love, and that sonship involves obligation of obedience towards a just God.

ἐν φόβῳ τὸνἀναστράφητε] corresponding to the ἍΓΙΟΙ ἘΝ ΠΆΣῌ ἈΝΑΣΤΡΟΦῇ ΓΕΝΉΘΗΤΕ, 1 Peter 1:15; the feeling which harmonizes with the thought of the impartial judge is the ΦΌΒΟς; thus Peter places ΦΌΒΟς first by way of emphasis. ΦΌΒΟς is here, indeed, not the slavish fear which cannot co-exist with love (see 1 John 4:18); no more is it the reverence which an inferior feels for a superior (Grotius, Bolten, etc.); but it is the holy awe of a judge who condemns the evil; the opposite of thoughtless security. Calvin: timor securitati opponitur; cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:17; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Php 2:12.[89]

τὸν τῆς παροικίας ὑμῶν χρόνον] specifies the duration of the walk ἐν φόβῳ; παροικία: “the sojourn in a foreign country;” in its strict sense, Acts 13:17 (Ezra 8:34, LXX.); here applied to the earthly life of the Christian, inasmuch as their κληρονομία is in heaven, 1 Peter 1:1. This expression serves to give point to the exhortation expressed, hinting as it does at the possibility of coming short of the home; cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:11.

[87] It is possible, and as Gerhard and “Weiss (p. 172) think probable, that Peter here alludes to the Lord’s Prayer.

[88] Schott rightly remarks that ἐπικαλεῖσθαι is based on the same common relationship as in the preceding verses; but here it is not considered as established by God, but as realized in practice by the readers, i.e. as subjectively known and acknowledged by them.

[89] Weiss (p. 170) thinks that the passage, Romans 8:15, proves Paul’s fundamental views of Christian life to have been different from those of Peter; this opinion, however, is sufficiently contradicted by Weiss himself, who admits that in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Paul mentions the fear of God as a peculiar mark of the Christian’s life, and that he often speaks of a fear of Christ.”—Schott insists, in the first place, that φόβος be understood absolutely (without special reference to God as the judge) as the consciousness of liability to err, but afterwards more precisely defines the expression as that fear which is anxious that nothing should happen which might cause God, as the righteous judge, to refuse the inheritance to him who hopes to attain it.1 Peter 1:17, cf. Romans 2:10 f., εἰ πατέρα ἐπικαλεῖσθε, if ye invoke as Father:—reminiscence of Jeremiah 3:19, εἰ πατέρα ἐπικαλεῖσθέ με (so Q[147] perhaps after 1 Peter, for εἶπα πατέρα καλέσετέ με) cf. Psalm 89:27, αὐτὸς ἐπικαλέσεται με Πατήρ μου εἶ σύ. There may be a reference to the use of the Lord’s Prayer (surname the Judge Father); but the context of Jer. l.c. corresponds closely to the thought here: “All the nations shall be gathered … to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those day.… Judah and Israel shall come together out of the land of captivity … and I said ‘My father ye shall call me’.”—ἀπροσωπολήμπτως summarises St. Peter’s inference from experience at Caesarea (Acts 10:34) καταλαμβάνομαι ὅτι οὔκ ἐστιν προσωπολήμπτης ὁ θεός. Adjective and adverb are formed from λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον of LXX = נשא פוי receive (lift up) the face of, i.e., be favourable and later partial, to. The degeneration of the phrase was due to the natural contrast between the face and the heart of a man, which was stamped on the Greek equivalent by the use of πρόσωπον for mask of the actor or hypocrite.—κρίνοντα. If the tense be pressed, compare the saying of Jesus recorded in John 12:31, νῦν κρίσις ἐστιν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Romans 2:16 is referred to the last Judgment by διὰ χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. But the present participle may be timeless as in ὁ καλῶν, ὁ βαπτίζων, etc.—κατὰ τὸ ἑκάστου ἔργον, a commonplace Jewish and Christian, cf. Ps. 12:12 (cited Romans 2:6), σὺ ἀποδώσεις ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ (Hebrew has the work). R. Aqiba used to say … The world is judged by grace and everything is according to the work (Pirqe Aboth., iii. 24). For collective singular lifework, cf. also 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, etc.—ἐν φόβῳ, Fear is not entirely a technical term in N.T. Christians needed the warning to fear God (so Luke 12:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10), although love might be proper to the perfect—Gnostic or Pharisee—1 John 4:18. The natural and acquired senses exist side by side, as appears in the use of ἄφοβος. Compare ἄφοβος οὐ δύναται δικαιωθῆναι (Sir 1:22) with ἐν τούτῳ ἄφοβός εἰμι (Psalm 27:2, Symmachus) = in Him I am confident.—τὸν τῆς παροικίας χρονον, during your earthly pilgrimage, which corresponds to the sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Acts 13:17). If God is their Father, heaven must be their home (1 Peter 1:4); their life on earth is therefore a sojourn (see on 1 Peter 1:1). St. Paul has his own use of the metaphor (Ephesians 2:19). Gentile Christians are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints.

[147]. An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus17. And if ye call on the Father …] Better, as the Greek noun has no article, if ye call upon a Father, i.e. if you worship not an arbitrary Judge, but one of whom Fatherhood is the essential character. The sequel shews that this attribute of Fatherhood is not thought of as excluding the idea of judgment, but gives assurance that the judgment will be one of perfect equity.

who without respect of persons] We note the prominence of this thought, derived originally from the impression by our Lord’s words and acts (Matthew 22:16), as presenting a coincidence (1) with the Apostle’s own words in Acts 10:34; and (2) as in other instances, with the teaching of St James (James 2:1-4).

pass the time of your sojourning here in fear] The verb for “pass” is that from which is derived the noun for “conversation” or “conduct.” The connexion of thought may be indicated, in the English as in the Greek, by rendering conduct yourselves during the time of your sojourning. The latter word connects itself with the “strangers” of 1 Peter 1:1, and yet more with the “strangers and sojourners” of ch. 1 Peter 2:11. The “fear” which is urged upon them, is not the terror of slaves, but the reverential awe of sons, even the true fear of the Lord which is “the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7.) Comp. also Luke 12:4-5.1 Peter 1:17. Ἐπικαλεῖσθε, ye call upon) and are called by His name.—ἀπροσωπολήπτως, without respect of persons) whether any one is a Hebrew or a Greek.—ἀπροσωπολήπτωςἐν φόβῳ) Comp. 2 Chronicles 19:7.—ἔργον, work) The singular. The work of one man is one, whether it be good or evil.—ἐν φόβῳ, in fear) Fear is joined to hope, each flowing from the same source. Fear prevents us from falling away from hope.—παροικίας, of sojourning) He calls them strangers, because they are in the world, ch. 1 Peter 2:11; not however without an allusion to the διασπορὰ, the dispersion, in Asia, 1 Peter 1:1.Verse 17. - And if ye call on the Father. "If" does not imply doubt; it introduces an hypothesis which, being taken for granted, involves a duty. Apparently there is here a reference to the Lord's Prayer, as in 2 Timothy 4:18. You call on God as your Father; then pass your time in fear (comp. Malachi 1:6, "If I be a Father, where is mine honor?"). He called you first; now ye call on him. The translation of the Revised Version is more exact than the Authorized Version, "If ye call on him as Father." Who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work. The adverb ἀπροσωπολήπτως, rendered "without respect of persons," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; but the thought is familiar. St. Peter himself had said, when he was sent to receive Cornelius into the Church, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). The disciples of the Pharisees had said the same of our Lord (Matthew 22:16; comp. also Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; James 2:1-4). The Lord said (John 5:22), "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son." But the Father is "Fens judicii," as Didymus says (quoted by Alford), "judicante Filio, Pater est qu;. judicat," for the Son judges as his Delegate; as it was through the Son that the Father made the worlds. He judges according to every man's work, regarding, not distinctions of rank, or wealth, or nationality, but only the character of the work. Observe that the word "work" (ἔργον) is in the singular number, as πρᾶξιν in Matthew 16:27. God judges according to every man's work as a whole, according to the whole scope and meaning of his life as issuing from the one governing principle, whether faith or selfishness. So Bengel, "Unius hominis unum est opus, bouum malumve." Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. The verb here, ἀναστράφητε, corresponds with the noun ἀναστροφή ("conversation") of ver. 15; both might be rendered (as Dean Plumptre suggests) by "conduct" (noun or verb) - "in all your conduct" in ver. 15; and here, "conduct yourselves." The word "sojourning" reminds us of ver. 1 of this chapter and of 1 Peter 2:11, in which last place we have the corresponding Greek word. We are sojourners here, life is short; but the character of that short life determines our eternal condition; therefore live in fear. St. John says, "Perfect love casteth out fear;" but there is no contradiction, as some have said, between the two holy apostles; for the fear which cannot coexist with perfect love (it may in various measures coexist with imperfect love) is slavish fear, selfish fear of death and punishment. The fear which St. Peter and St. Paul (Philippians 2:12) commend is holy fear - the fear of a son for a loving father, the fear of displeasing God before whom we walk, God who gave his blessed Son to die for us, God who will judge us at the last. This fear is not cowardice. Our Lord said (Luke 12:4), "Be not afraid of them that kill the body.... Fear him," etc. They who fear God need fear nothing else but God. If ye call on the Father - judgeth

More correctly, Rev., If ye call on him as Father; the point being that God is to be invoked, not only as Father, but as Judge.

Without respect of persons (ἀπροσωπολήμπτως)

Here only. Peter, however, uses προσωπολήμπτης, a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34, which whole passage should be compared with this. Paul and James also use the kindred word προσωπολημψία, respect of persons. See Romans 2:11; James 2:1. James has the verb προσωπολημπτέω, to have respect of persons. The constituents of the compound word, πρόσωπον, the countenance, and λαμβάνω, to receive, are found in Galatians 2:6; and the word is the Old-Testament formula to accept or to raise the face of another; opposed to making the countenance fall (Job 29:24; Genesis 4:5). Hence, to receive kindly, or look favorably upon one (Genesis 19:21; Genesis 32:20, etc.). In the Old Testament it is, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, "a neutral expression involving no subsidiary notion of partiality, and is much oftener found in a good than in a bad sense. When it becomes an independent Greek phrase, however, the bad sense attaches to it, owing to the secondary meaning of πρόσωπον, a mask; so that πρόσωπον λαμβάνειν signifies to regard the external circumstances of a man, his rank, wealth, etc., as opposed to his real, intrinsic character."

Sojourning (παροικίας)

Compare sojourners, 1 Peter 1:1.

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