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1 Peter 1:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And if ye call on the Father - Seeing ye invoke the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your Father through Christ, and profess to be obedient children, and sojourners here below for a short time only, see that ye maintain a godly reverence for this Father, walking in all his testimonies blameless.

Who without respect of persons - God is said to be no respecter of persons for this reason among many others, that, being infinitely righteous, he must be infinitely impartial. He cannot prefer one to another, because he has nothing to hope or fear from any of his creatures. All partialities among men spring from one or other of these two principles, hope or fear; God can feel neither of them, and therefore God can be no respecter of persons. He approves or disapproves of men according to their moral character. He pities all, and provides salvation for all, but he loves those who resemble him in his holiness; and he loves them in proportion to that resemblance, i.e. the more of his image he sees in any, the more he loves him; and e contra. And every man's work will be the evidence of his conformity or nonconformity to God, and according to this evidence will God judge him. Here, then, is no respect of persons; God's judgment will be according to a man's work, and a man's work or conduct will be according to the moral state of his mind. No favouritism can prevail in the day of judgment; nothing will pass there but holiness of heart and life. A righteousness imputed, and not possessed and practiced, will not avail where God judgeth according to every man's work. It would be well if those sinners and spurious believers who fancy themselves safe and complete in the righteousness of Christ, while impure and unholy in themselves, would think of this testimony of the apostle.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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 Philemon 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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 139.2

He [God] expects His workers to be tenderhearted. How merciful are the ways of God! (See Deuteronomy 10:17-20; 2 Chronicles 20:5-7, 9; 1 Peter 1:17.) But the rules God has given have been disregarded, and strange fire has been offered before the Lord.... PM 139.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 457

“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” How many have experienced this? How many realize the true meaning of these words? Will we individually seek to understand the word of God, and practice it? This word, believed, is to every truly converted soul, the free gift of grace. It cannot be bought with money. We should continually realize that we do not deserve grace because of our merit, for all that we have is God's gift. He says to us, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” FE 457.1

The atmosphere of unbelief is heavy and oppressive. The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13-18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels. FE 457.2

What testimony does Peter bear? “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Here again the same principle is brought out distinctly. No one need make a mistake. If as newborn babes you desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, you will have no appetite to partake of a dish of evil speaking, but all such food will be at once rejected, because those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious cannot partake of the dish of nonsense, and folly, and backbiting. They will say decidedly, “Take this dish away. I do not want to eat such food. It is not the bread from heaven. It is eating and drinking the very spirit of the devil; for it is his business to be an accuser of the brethren.” FE 457.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 139

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised” (Jeremiah 9:23-25). 2SM 139.1

“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:6-9). 2SM 139.2

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye 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: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:13-19).—Pamphlet published in 1893, Should Christians Be Members of Secret Societies? 2SM 139.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 458

Paul was deeply anxious that the humiliation of Christ should be seen and realized. He was convinced that if the minds of men could be brought to comprehend the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, all selfishness would be banished from their hearts. He directs the mind first to the position which Christ occupied in heaven, in the bosom of His Father; he reveals Him afterward as laying off His glory, voluntarily subjecting Himself to all the humbling conditions of man's nature, assuming the responsibilities of a servant, and becoming obedient unto death, and that death the most ignominious and revolting, the most shameful, the most agonizing—the death of the cross. Can Christians contemplate this wonderful exhibition of the love of God to man without emotions of love and a realizing sense of the fact that we are not our own? Such a Master should not be served from grudging, covetous, selfish motives. 4T 458.1

“Ye know,” says Peter, “that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.” Oh, had these been sufficient to purchase the salvation of man, how easily it might have been accomplished by Him who says: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine.” But the transgressor of God's holy law could be redeemed only by the precious blood of the Son of God. Those who, failing to appreciate the wonderful sacrifice made for them, withhold their means and their physical, mental, and moral powers from the service of Christ, will perish in their selfishness. 4T 458.2

“Whosoever hath not [put to the best use his ability and means], from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” Those who are too indolent to realize their responsibilities and exercise their faculties will fail of receiving the blessing of God, and the ability which they had will be taken away and given to the active, zealous workers who increase their talents by constant use. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” A person who diligently labors under the direction of the Spirit of God will possess power and influence, for all may see in him a spirit of untiring devotion to the cause of God in any department where duty calls him. 4T 458.3

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