Ed Clowney makes a brilliant comment on 1 Peter 2:18-20. Peter is teaching slaves how to react when they are punished, or suffer, for no fault of their own. Indeed, they may be suffering because they have done something good. Clowney says this:
“By patiently enduring unmerited abuse they show the opposite of a servile attitude. They demonstrate their freedom. In their servitude they may not escape beatings. They may be beaten without cause, or even for good things that they have done; a ‘crooked’, perverse master may repay evil for good. If the Christian response in kind – good for good, evil for evil – he becomes merely a victim when he is treated unjustly. In burning resentment he seeks an opportunity to repay the evil. But if he bears the evil patiently he has broken the chain of bondage in the power of the Lord. He shows his confidence in God’s justice; he need not avenge himself. He also shows that his service is not really forced but voluntary. He is willing to serve his master for the Lord’s sake, even to honour him for the lord’s sake. His master cannot enslave him, for he is Christ’s slave; he cannot humiliate him, for he has humbled himself in willing subjection.” (Page 113, Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter)
All being well, more on this teaching of Peter this coming Sunday, 9.30am at St Mary's Kemsing.