1 Peter 2:11-12
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;…
It is our duty not only to live godly among the godly, but even among the wicked; we must not follow a multitude to do evil. True, it is no easy thing with the cruel to live mercifully, with the hurtful to live helpfully, with the profane to live holily; yet it is to be attained unto, and we must labour for it.
1. This rebukes such as severing themselves from all company, because they would not be tainted nor troubled with men's ill manners, betake themselves to a solitary, hermit's life. We are not born for ourselves, but for our parents, country, God's Church, etc. Besides, it is no such mastery for a man to avoid all occasions, as to live among occasions, and not be tainted with them.
2. It rebukes those that be for all companies. In good company they will be sober, in ill as the company is, will swear with swearers, lie also and dissemble when they be with such, so thinking that they may hold with the hare and run with the hound; like the chameleon they change themselves into all colours; but these are none of God's honest men, they are not for His turn, as if He were not the God of all places and times. Let such know that they have rotten and unsanctified hearts. But how should a man do, to live well among such? As they that live where the plague is, use preservatives; so must we daily pray God to keep us in a continual hatred of sin, considering the happiness of them that hold out. Think of Noah, Lot, Abraham, and their commendation; observe the judgments that fall upon bad men, and think what will be hereafter. Again, avoid familiarity with them; we cannot touch pitch and not be defiled, walk on coals and not be burnt.
3. It rebukes such Christians as living among such, walk not so holily as they should, but if they do not approve of, yet consent to their bad behaviour, without dislikes, especially being with their betters.
4. If God would have us live well among the wicked, what would He then in the midst of all good means? What, then, is their sin, and where shall they appear, that break out and live badly in the midst of the means of good, the ministry of the Word, etc.? What would these do, if they were far from such means?
5. It rebukes those that professing religion more than ordinarily, yet remember not with whom they live, but as if they were only among the good, which would hide all their frailties, or interpret them to the best, not as if they were among the wicked, that seek occasion against God's servants, that desire no better booty than the fall of a professor, etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;