1 Peter 2:18-25
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent.…
Nothing is more striking to a close observer of human life than the almost infinite variety of character which exists among those who profess to be Christians. No two are alike. Even those who are alike revered for their saintliness show the widest diversity in individual traits, and in the cast and mould of their character. Yet all are sitting before the same model, all are imitators of the same blessed life. There is but one standard of true Christian character — the likeness of Christ. Why, then, is there such variety of character and disposition among those who aim to follow the same example?
1. One reason for this is that God does not bestow upon all His children the same gifts, the same natural qualities. Life is not minted as gold is. Grace does not transform Peter into a John, nor Paul into a Barnabas, nor Luther into a Melancthon. It makes them all like Christ in holiness, but it does not touch those features which give to each his personal identity. You drop twenty different seeds in the same garden bed, and they spring up into twenty different kinds of plants, from the delicate mignonette to the flaunting sunflower. In like manner each believer grows up into his own peculiar self. Regeneration neither adds to nor takes from our natural gifts.
2. Another reason for this diversity among Christians is because even the best and holiest saints realise but a little of the image of Christ, have only one little fragment of His likeness in their souls. The reason is that the character of Christ is so great, so majestic, that it is impossible to copy all of it into any one little human life; and again, each human character is so imperfect and limited that it cannot reach out in all directions after the infinite character of Christ. It is as if a great company of artists were sent to paint each one a picture of the Alps. Each chooses his own point of observation, and selects the particular feature of the Alps he desires to paint. They all bring back their pictures; but lo! no two of them are alike. The truth is, the Alps as a whole are too varied, too vast, for any one artist to take into his perspective, and paint upon his canvas. The best he can do is to portray some one or two features — the features his eye can see from where he stands. And Christ is too great in His infinite perfection, in the many sidedness of His beauty, for any one of His finite followers to copy the whole of His image into his own little life. The most that any of us can do is to get into our own soul one little fragment of the wonderful likeness of our Lord.
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.