(Vs. 17) "Honor all men" to whom honor is due, according to office, position, rank, authority, or circumstance, whether believers or unbelievers.
Husbands and wives are to honor and respect one another. Children are to honor, respect, and obey parents. Teachers and school officials are to be honored and held in great esteem. Pastors and elders are worthy of honor and respect. Government officials and all who are vested with civil authority are to be honored (Rom. 13:1-8).
"Love the brotherhood." This is special, family love for all believers who are of the same body, spirit, and faith. We are taught of our Lord to hate no one, but to love all people and especially those of the faith of Christ. (I Thess. 4:9.)
"Fear God." This is not a slavish fear of wrath, judgment, and punishment, but a reverent and holy respect and awe before the living God. God is greatly to be feared, worshipped, and praised (Prov. 9:10; Eph. 5:21; I Peter 1:17).
"Honor the king." The king or president of a nation holds a high office and represents authority. That office and authority are to be respected and honored regardless of who the man may be. We salute and speak respectfully not so much of the man as the office or authority he represents. It is a sad commentary on our times when people speak disrespectfully and joke carelessly about leaders and officials, especially of the highest office of the land.
(Vs. 18) The unbelieving Jews had a notion that because they were the seed of Abraham, they ought not to be the servants of any. Some of the believers in Christ thought that they should not have to be subject to unbelieving masters since Christ was their master. They also had the idea that they should not have to serve and be obedient to believing masters since they were equally brothers in the Lord. Peter says that a workman, servant, or hired man is to be subject to, obey, and serve the person in authority with fear, respect, and loyalty whether he is a brother or an unbeliever. Faith does not do away with authority, a chain of command, and dedicated service (Eph. 6:5-7).
(Vs. 19-20) If a believer is a good and obedient wife, child, servant, or subject and suffers persecution, endures grief, and is mistreated, his conduct and attitude are well-pleasing to God. However, if one is rebellious, lazy, and disloyal and suffers the consequences, there is no glory nor honor if he endures it patiently. We must not call it bearing our cross and suffering for Christ when our difficulties are brought upon us because of our own evil attitude and behavior (Matt. 5:11-12).
(Vs. 21) You were called to obedience, godliness, good works, and to bear whatever affliction, trial, and suffering that may result from a godly conversation (John 16:33; Phil. 1:29). If we must bear reproach and suffering in the pursuit of a true Christian conduct, then this is all part of our calling (II Tim. 3:10-12).
(Vs. 22-23) Christ is our example! He committed no sin. He was in the world and did no sin. There was no guile, deceit, lies, or exaggeration in His mouth; yet He suffered. When men reviled Him (calling Him a devil, a wine-bibber, a friend of sinners), He did not revile them in return. When He suffered, He did not make them suffer in return nor did He threaten them with vengeance, but rather prayed for them. He committed His cause to the Father; He left His case with the Judge of all men, Who will do right. This is our example! We may be misunderstood, ridiculed, and persecuted; but we are not to employ these same methods in our treatment of our enemies, but are to love and pray for them, leaving our cause in the hands of our Father! (Deut. 32:35; I Thess. 5:15.)
(Vs. 24-25) Christ bore our sins in His body on the cross that we might be Justified, pardoned, and redeemed before God and that we, being dead to this world, should live righteously and godly. We were as sheep going astray, walking our own way; but by His grace and mercy, we have come back to our Shepherd and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. We live not to please ourselves but to please Him Who redeemed us! (Rom.6:10-12; II Cor. 5:14-17.)