2Who have believing masters The name of brother may be thought to constitute equality, and consequently to take away dominion. Paul argues, on the contrary, that slaves ought the more willingly to subject themselves to believing masters, because they acknowledge them to be children of God, and are bound to them by brotherly love, and are partakers of the same grace. (116) It is no small honor, that God has made them equal to earthly lords, in that which is of the highest importance; for they have the same adoption in common with them; and therefore this ought to be no slight inducement to bear slavery with patience.
They are believers and beloved It is an additional argument, that slavery is much more easily endured under mild lords, who love us, and whom we love in return. There is also the bond of faith which binds very closely together those who are of different conditions.
These things teach and exhort. He means that these are matters on the teaching of which he ought to dwell largely, and wishes that doctrine should be accompanied by exhortations. It is as if he had said, that this kind of instruction ought to be daily repeated, and that men need not only to be taught, but likewise to be roused and urged by frequent exhortations.
(116) “ us learn to honor the graces of God when they shall be placed before our eyes; and when we shall see a man who has some token of the fear of God and of faith, let us value him so much the more, that we may seek to cherish the closest friendship with him, that we may bear with him as far as we are able, and that we may desire to be on good terms with him. And let every one consider what is said here, that, since God has thus brought us together, it is that we may know that it is in order that he may make us all his heirs, that we have one Spirit to guide us, one faith, one Redeemer, one baptism, for all this is included in the word Benefit. Since therefore we have that, let us learn to esteem the graces of God, in order that they may lead us to all mutual kindness, and that we may act in accordance with the lesson which Paul teaches us in another passage, (Eph_4:2,) namely, that we owe to each other brotherly love for that is “ bond’ which ought to be reckoned sufficient for uniting us.’ — Fr. Ser.