2:18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors. What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.
24. his own self—there being none other but Himself who could have done it. His voluntary undertaking of the work of redemption is implied. The Greek puts in antithetical juxtaposition, OUR, and His OWN SELF, to mark the idea of His substitution for us. His "well-doing" in His sufferings is set forth here as an example to servants and to us all (1Pe 2:20).
bare—to sacrifice: carried and offered up: a sacrificial term. Isa 53:11, 12, "He bare the sin of many": where the idea of bearing on Himself is the prominent one; here the offering in sacrifice is combined with that idea. So the same Greek means in 1Pe 2:5.
our sins—In offering or presenting in sacrifice (as the Greek for "bare" implies) His body, Christ offered in it the guilt of our sins upon the cross, as upon the altar of God, that it might be expiated in Him, and so taken away from us. Compare Isa 53:10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin." Peter thus means by "bare" what the Syriac takes two words to express, to bear and to offer: (1) He hath borne our sins laid upon Him [namely, their guilt, curse, and punishment]; (2) He hath so borne them that He offered them along with Himself on the altar. He refers to the animals upon which sins were first laid, and which were then offered thus laden [Vitringa]. Sin or guilt among the Semitic nations is considered as a burden lying heavily upon the sinner [Gesenius].
on the tree—the cross, the proper place for One on whom the curse was laid: this curse stuck to Him until it was legally (through His death as the guilt-bearer) destroyed in His body: thus the handwriting of the bond against us is cancelled by His death.
that we being dead to sins—the effect of His death to "sin" in the aggregate, and to all particular "sins," namely, that we should be as entirely delivered from them, as a slave that is dead is delivered from service to his master. This is our spiritful standing through faith by virtue of Christ's death: our actual mortification of particular sins is in proportion to the degree of our effectually being made conformable to His death. "That we should die to the sins whose collected guilt Christ carried away in His death, and so LIVE TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS (compare Isa 53:11. 'My righteous servant shall justify many'), the gracious relation to God which He has brought in" [Steiger].
by whose stripes—Greek, "stripe."
ye were healed—a paradox, yet true. "Ye servants (compare 'buffeted,' 'the tree,' 1Pe 2:20, 24) often bear the strife; but it is not more than your Lord Himself bore; learn from Him patience in wrongful sufferings.