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1 Peter 1:3-5

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

3. Benedictus Deus et Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, qui secundum multam suam misericordiam regenuit nos in spem vivare, per resurrectionem Jesu Christi ex mortuis,

4. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

4. In haereditatem incorruptibilem et incontaminatam et immarcescibilem, repositum in caelis erga vos,

5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

5. Qui virtute Dei custodimini per fidem in salutem, qut parata est revelari tempore ultimo.

 

3 Blessed be God We have said that the main object of this epistle is to raise us above the world, in order that we may be prepared and encouraged to sustain the spiritual contests of our warfare. For this end, the knowledge of God’s benefits avails much; for, when their value appears to us, all other things will be deemed worthless, especially when we consider what Christ and his blessings are; for everything without him is but dross. For this reason he highly extols the wonderful grace of God in Christ, that is, that we may not deem it much to give up the world in order that we may enjoy the invaluable treasure of a future life; and also that we may not be broken down by present troubles, but patiently endure them, being satisfied with eternal happiness.

Further, when he gives thanks to God, he invites the faithful to spiritual joy, which can swallow up all the opposite feelings of the flesh.

And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Understand the words thus, — “Blessed be God who is the Father of Jesus Christ.” For, as formerly, by calling himself the God of Abraham, he designed to mark the difference between him and all fictitious gods; so after he has manifested himself in his own Son, his will is, not to be known otherwise than in him. Hence they who form their ideas of God in his naked majesty apart from Christ, have an idol instead of the true God, as the case is with the Jews and the Turks. Whosoever, then, seeks really to know the only true God, must regard him as the Father of Christ; for, whenever our mind seeks God, except Christ be thought of, it will wander and be confused, until it be wholly lost. Peter meant at the same time to intimate how God is so bountiful and kind towards us; for, except Christ stood as the middle person, his goodness could never be really known by us.

Who hath begotten us again He shews that supernatural life is a gift, because we are born the children of wrath; for had we been born to the hope of life according to the flesh, there would have been no necessity of being begotten again by God. Therefore Peter teaches us, that we who are by nature destined to eternal death, are restored to life by God’s mercy. And this is, as it were, our second creation, as it is said in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Lively or living hope, means the hope of life. 77    ”This is a Hebraism,” says Macknight, “for a hope of life. Accordingly, the Syriac version hath here, in spem vitaeto a hope of life.” The begetting again seems not to refer to inward renovation, but to what God did by raising Christ from the dead. To beget, sometimes means to put one in a new state or condition; as the expression, “This day have I begotten thee,” means, that God had then constituted his Son a king, publicly invested him, as it were, with that office. Similar is the meaning here: God through the resurrection of Christ restored to the hope of life his desponding followers: hence the import of the word “again;” though Macknight thinks the reference to be to the covenant of grace made with our first parents after the fall, and that believers were begotten the second time to the same hope by the resurrection of Christ. The word for “begetting again,” is only found here, and in a passive sense in the 23d verse, where it has a different meaning, as it evidently refers to the renovation of the heart. — Ed. At the same time there seems to be an implied contrast between the hope fixed on the incorruptible kingdom of God, and the fading and transient hopes of man.

According to his abundant mercy He first mentions the efficient cause, and then he points out the mediating cause, as they say. He shews that God was induced by no merits of ours to regenerate us unto a living hope, because he assigns this wholly to his mercy. But that he might more completely reduce the merits of works to nothing, he says, great (multam) mercy. All, indeed, confess that God is the only author of our salvation, but they afterwards invent extraneous causes, which take away so much from his mercy. But Peter commends mercy alone; and he immediately connects the way or manner, by the resurrection of Christ; for God does not in any other way discover his mercy; hence Scripture ever directs our attention to this point. And that Christ’s death is not mentioned, but his resurrection, involves no inconsistency, for it is included; because a thing cannot be completed without having a beginning; and he especially brought forward the resurrection, because he was speaking of a new life.

4 To an inheritance 88     Pareus puts, “that is, to an inheritance,” making this sentence explanatory of “the hope,” as hope here is a metonymy for its object. It is an inheritance “incorruptible,” not to be destroyed by a flood or by fire, — “undefiled,” not like the land of Canaan, its type, which was defiled by its inhabitants, — “unfading,” different from any worldly inheritance, for the world passeth away. — Ed. The three words which follow are intended to amplify God’s grace; for Peter (as I have before said) had this object in view, to impress our minds thoroughly as to its excellency. Moreover, these two clauses, “to an inheritance incorruptible,” etc., and “to salvation ready to be revealed,” I deem as being in apposition, the latter being explanatory of the former; for he expresses the same thing in two ways.

Every word which follows is weighty. The inheritance is said to be reserved, or preserved, that we may know that it is beyond the reach of danger. For, were it not in God’s hand, it might be exposed to endless dangers. If it were in this world, how could we regard it as safe amidst so many changes? That he might then free us from every fear, he testifies that our salvation is placed in safety beyond the harms which Satan can do. But as the certainty of salvation can bring us but little comfort, except each one knows that it belongs to himself, Peter adds, for you For consciences will calmly recumb here, that is, when the Lord cries to them from heaven, “Behold, your salvation is in my hand and is kept for you.” But as salvation is not indiscriminately for all, he calls our attention to faith, that all who are endued with faith, might be distinguished from the rest, and that they might not doubt but that they are the true and legitimate heirs of God. For, as faith penetrates into the heavens, so also it appropriates to us the blessings which are in heaven.

5 Who are kept by the power of God We are to notice the connection when he says, that we are kept while in the world, and at the same time our inheritance is reserved in heaven; otherwise this thought would immediately creep in, “What does it avail us that our salvation is laid up in heaven, when we are tossed here and there in this world as in a turbulent sea? What can it avail us that our salvation is secured in a quiet harbour, when we are driven to and fro amidst thousand shipwrecks?” The apostle, therefore, anticipates objections of this kind, when he shews, that though we are in the world exposed to dangers, we are yet kept by faith; and that though we are thus nigh to death, we are yet safe under the guardianship of faith. But as faith itself, through the infirmity of the flesh, often quails, we might be always anxious about the morrow, were not the Lord to aid us. 99     The meaning would be somewhat different, but the sentence would be more intelligible, were we to render it thus, “Who are kept by faith in the power of God unto salvation.” Salvation here means that of the body as well as of the soul at the resurrection. — Ed.

And, indeed, we see that under the Papacy a diabolical opinion prevails, that we ought to doubt our final perseverance, because we are uncertain whether we shall be tomorrow in the same state of grace. But Peter did not thus leave us in suspense; for he testifies that we stand by the power of God, lest any doubt arising from a consciousness of our own infirmity, should disquiet us. How weak soever we may then be, yet our salvation is not uncertain, because it is sustained by God’s power. As, then, we are begotten by faith, so faith itself receives its stability from God’s power. Hence is its security, not only for the present, but also for the future.

Unto salvation As we are by nature impatient of delay, and soon succumb under weariness, he therefore reminds us that salvation is not deferred because it is not yet prepared, but because the time of its revelation is not yet come. This doctrine is intended to nourish and sustain our hope. Moreover, he calls the day of judgment the last time, because the restitution of all things is not to be previously expected, for the intervening time is still in progress. What is elsewhere called the last time, is the whole from the coming of Christ; it is so called from a comparison with the preceding ages. But Peter had a regard to the end of the world.


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