Address to the Elected of the Godhead:
Thanksgiving for the Living Hope to Which We
Are Begotten, Producing Joy Amidst
Sufferings: This Salvation an Object of
Deepest Interest to Prophets and to Angels: Its Costly Price a Motive to Holiness and Love, as We Are
Born Again of the Ever-abiding Word of God.
1. Peter—Greek form of Cephas,
man of rock.
an apostle of Jesus Christ—"He who
preaches otherwise than as a messenger of Christ, is not to be heard;
if he preach as such, then it is all one as if thou didst hear Christ
speaking in thy presence" [Luther].
to the strangers scattered—literally,
"sojourners of the dispersion"; only in Joh 7:35 and
Jas 1:1, in New Testament,
and the Septuagint, Ps 147:2,
"the outcasts of Israel"; the designation peculiarly given to the
Jews in their dispersed state throughout the world ever since the
Babylonian captivity. These he, as the apostle of the circumcision,
primarily addresses, but not in the limited temporal sense only; he
regards their temporal condition as a shadow of their spiritual calling
to be strangers and pilgrims on earth, looking for the heavenly
Jerusalem as their home. So the Gentile Christians, as the
spiritual Israel, are included secondarily, as having the same high
calling. He (1Pe 1:14; 2:10; 4:3) plainly refers to Christian
Gentiles (compare 1Pe 1:17; 1Pe 2:11). Christians, if they rightly consider
their calling, must never settle themselves here, but feel themselves
travellers. As the Jews in their dispersion diffused
through the nations the knowledge of the one God, preparatory to
Christ's first advent, so Christians, by their dispersion among the
unconverted, diffuse the knowledge of Christ, preparatory to His second
advent. "The children of God scattered abroad" constitute one whole in
Christ, who "gathers them together in one," now partially and in
Spirit, hereafter perfectly and visibly. "Elect," in the Greek
order, comes before "strangers"; elect, in relation to heaven,
strangers, in relation to the earth. The election here is
that of individuals to eternal life by the sovereign grace of God, as
the sequel shows. "While each is certified of his own election by the
Spirit, he receives no assurance concerning others, nor are we to be
too inquisitive [Joh 21:21, 22]; Peter numbers them among the
elect, as they carried the appearance of having been
regenerated" [Calvin]. He calls the
whole Church by the designation strictly belonging only to the better
portion of them [Calvin]. The election
to hearing, and that to eternal life, are distinct.
Realization of our election is a strong motive to holiness. The
minister invites all, yet he does not hide the truth that in none but
the elect will the preaching effect eternal blessing. As the chief
fruit of exhortations, and even of threatenings, redounds to "the
elect"; therefore, at the outset, Peter addresses them. Steiger translates, to "the elect pilgrims who
form the dispersion in Pontus.", &c. The order of the
provinces is that in which they would be viewed by one writing from the
east from Babylon (1Pe 5:13);
from northeast southwards to Galatia, southeast to Cappadocia, then
Asia, and back to Bithynia, west of Pontus. Contrast the order, Ac 2:9. He now was ministering to those same
peoples as he preached to on Pentecost: "Parthians, Medes, Elamites,
dwellers in Mesopotamia and Judea," that is, the Jews now subject to
the Parthians, whose capital was Babylon, where he labored in
person; "dwellers in Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Bithynia," the
Asiatic dispersion derived from Babylon, whom he ministers to by
1:20), inseparable from God's
foreknowledge, the origin from which, and pattern
according to which, election takes place. Ac 2:23, and Ro
11:2, prove "foreknowledge"
to be foreordination. God's foreknowledge is not the
perception of any ground of action out of Himself; still in it liberty
is comprehended, and all absolute constraint debarred [Anselm in Steiger].
For so the Son of God was "foreknown" (so the Greek for
"foreordained," 1Pe 1:20) to
be the sacrificial Lamb, not against, or without His will, but His will
rested in the will of the Father; this includes self-conscious action;
nay, even cheerful acquiescense. The Hebrew and Greek
"know" include approval and acknowledging as one's own.
The Hebrew marks the oneness of loving and
choosing, by having one word for both, bachar
(Greek, "hairetizo," Septuagint). Peter descends
from the eternal "election" of God through the new birth, to the
believer's "sanctification," that from this he might again raise them
through the consideration of their new birth to a "living hope"
of the heavenly "inheritance" [Heidegger]. The divine three are introduced in their
respective functions in redemption.
through—Greek, "in"; the
element in which we are elected. The "election" of God realized and
manifested itself "IN" their
sanctification. Believers are "sanctified through the offering of
Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10).
"Thou must believe and know that thou art holy; not, however, through
thine own piety, but through the blood of Christ" [Luther]. This is the true sanctification of the
Spirit, to obey the Gospel, to trust in Christ [Bullinger].
sanctification—the Spirit's setting
apart of the saint as consecrated to God. The execution of God's
choice (Ga 1:4). God
the Father gives us salvation by gratuitous election; the Son earns it
by His blood-shedding; the Holy Spirit applies the merit of the Son to
the soul by the Gospel word [Calvin].
Compare Nu 6:24-26, the Old Testament triple blessing.
unto obedience—the result or end
aimed at by God as respects us, the obedience which consists
in faith, and that which flows from faith; "obeying the truth through
the Spirit" (1Pe 1:22).
Ro 1:5, "obedience to the faith," and
obedience the fruit of faith.
sprinkling, &c.—not in
justification through the atonement once for all, which is expressed in
the previous clauses, but (as the order proves) the daily being
sprinkled by Christ's blood, and so cleansed from all sin, which is
the privilege of one already justified and "walking in the light."
Grace—the source of "peace."
be multiplied—still further than
4:1, "Ye have now peace and
grace, but still not in perfection; therefore, ye must go on increasing
until the old Adam be dead" [Luther].
3. He begins, like Paul, in opening his
Epistles with giving thanks to God for the greatness of the salvation;
herein he looks forward (1) into the future (1Pe 1:3-9); (2) backward into the past (1Pe
Blessed—A distinct Greek word
(eulogetos, "Blessed BE") is used
of God, from that used of man (eulogemenos, "Blessed IS").
Father—This whole Epistle accords with
the Lord's prayer; "Father," 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, 23; 2:2; "Our," 1Pe 1:4, end; "In heaven," 1Pe 1:4; "Hallowed be Thy name," 1Pe 1:15, 16;
3:15; "Thy kingdom come,"
1Pe 2:9; "Thy will be done," 1Pe 2:15;
3:17; 4:2, 19; "daily bread,"
1Pe 5:7; "forgiveness of sins," 1Pe 4:8,
1; "temptation," 1Pe 4:12; "deliverance," 1Pe 4:18 [Bengel];
Compare 1Pe 3:7; 4:7, for allusions to prayer.
"Barak," Hebrew "bless," is literally "kneel." God, as
the original source of blessing, must be blessed through all His
abundant—Greek, "much," "full."
That God's "mercy" should reach us, guilty and enemies, proves
its fulness. "Mercy" met our misery; "grace," our
begotten us again—of the Spirit
by the word (1Pe 1:23);
whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in
unto—so that we have.
lively—Greek, "living." It has
life in itself, gives life, and looks for life as its object [De Wette]. Living is a favorite
expression of Peter (1Pe 1:23; 1Pe 2:4, 5). He delights in contemplating
life overcoming death in the believer. Faith and
love follow hope (1Pe 1:8, 21, 22). "(Unto) a lively hope" is further
explained by "(To) an inheritance incorruptible … fadeth not
away," and "(unto) salvation … ready to be revealed in the last
time." I prefer with Bengel and Steiger to join as in Greek, "Unto a
hope living (possessing life and vitality) through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ." Faith, the subjective means of the
spiritual resurrection of the soul, is wrought by the same power
whereby Christ was raised from the dead. Baptism is an objective means
3:21). Its moral fruit is a
new life. The connection of our sonship with the resurrection appears
also in Lu 20:36; Ac 13:33. Christ's resurrection is the cause of
ours, (1) as an efficient cause (1Co 15:22); (2) as an exemplary cause, all the
saints being about to rise after the similitude of His resurrection.
Our "hope" is, Christ rising from the dead hath ordained the power, and
is become the pattern of the believer's resurrection. The soul, born
again from its natural state into the life of grace, is after that born
again unto the life of glory. Mt 19:28, "regeneration, when the Son of man
shall sit in the throne of His glory"; the resurrection of our bodies
is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth and entering upon
immortality, a nativity into another life [Bishop Pearson]. The four causes of our salvation
are; (1) the primary cause, God's mercy; (2) the proximate cause,
Christ's death and resurrection; (3) the formal cause, our
regeneration; (4) the final cause, our eternal bliss. As John is the
disciple of love, so Paul of faith, and Peter of
hope. Hence, Peter, most of all the apostles, urges the
resurrection of Christ; an undesigned coincidence between the history
and the Epistle, and so a proof of genuineness. Christ's resurrection
was the occasion of his own restoration by Christ after his fall.
4. To an inheritance—the object of our
1:3), which is therefore not
a dead, but a "living" hope. The inheritance is the
believer's already by title, being actually assigned to him; the
entrance on its possession is future, and hoped for as a certainty.
Being "begotten again" as a "son," he is an "heir," as earthly fathers
beget children who shall inherit their goods. The
inheritance is "salvation" (1Pe 1:5, 9); "the grace to be brought at the
revelation of Christ" (1Pe 1:13); "a
crown of glory that fadeth not away."
incorruptible—not having within the
germs of death. Negations of the imperfections which meet us on every
side here are the chief means of conveying to our minds a conception of
the heavenly things which "have not entered into the heart of man," and
which we have not faculties now capable of fully knowing. Peter,
sanguine, impulsive, and highly susceptible of outward impressions, was
the more likely to feel painfully the deep-seated corruption
which, lurking under the outward splendor of the loveliest of earthly
things, dooms them soon to rottenness and decay.
undefiled—not stained as earthly goods
by sin, either in the acquiring, or in the using of them; unsusceptible
of any stain. "The rich man is either a dishonest man himself, or the
heir of a dishonest man" [Jerome]. Even
Israel's inheritance was defiled by the people's sins.
Defilement intrudes even on our holy things now, whereas God's service
ought to be undefiled.
that fadeth not away—Contrast 1Pe 1:24. Even the most delicate part of
the heavenly inheritance, its bloom, continues unfading. "In
substance incorruptible; in purity undefiled; in
beauty unfading" [Alford].
reserved—kept up (Col 1:5, "laid up for you in heaven,"
2Ti 4:8); Greek perfect, expressing
a fixed and abiding state, "which has been and is reserved." The
inheritance is in security, beyond risk, out of the reach of Satan,
though we for whom it is reserved are still in the midst of dangers.
Still, if we be believers, we too, as well as the inheritance, are
"kept" (the same Greek, Joh 17:12) by Jesus safely (1Pe 1:5).
in heaven—Greek, "in the
heavens," where it can neither be destroyed nor plundered. It does not
follow that, because it is now laid up in heaven, it
shall not hereafter be on earth also.
for you—It is secure not only in
itself from all misfortune, but also from all alienation, so that no
other can receive it in your stead. He had said us (1Pe 1:3); he now turns his address to the elect
in order to encourage and exhort them.
5. kept—Greek, "who are being
guarded." He answers the objection, Of what use is it that salvation is
"reserved" for us in heaven, as in a calm secure haven, when we are
tossed in the world as on a troubled sea in the midst of a thousand
wrecks? [Calvin]. As the inheritance is
1:4) safely for the far
distant "heirs," so must they be "guarded" in their persons so as to be
sure of reaching it. Neither shall it be wanting to them, nor they to
it. "We are guarded in the world as our inheritance is kept
in heaven." This defines the "you" of 1Pe 1:4. The inheritance, remember, belongs only
to those who "endure unto the end," being "guarded" by, or IN "the power of God, through faith."
8:13. God Himself is our sole
guarding power. "It is His power which saves us from our
enemies. It is His long-suffering which saves us from ourselves"
[Bengel]. Jude 1, "preserved in Christ Jesus"; Php 1:6;
4:7, "keep"; Greek,
"guard," as here. This guarding is effected, on the part of God, by His
"power," the efficient cause; on the part of man, "through faith," the
by—Greek, "in." The believer
lives spiritually in God, and in virtue of His power, and God
lives in him. "In" marks that the cause is inherent in the means,
working organically through them with living influence, so that the
means, in so far as the cause works organically through them, exist
also in the cause. The power of God which guards the believer is no
external force working upon him from without with mechanical necessity,
but the spiritual power of God in which he lives, and with whose Spirit
he is clothed. It comes down on, and then dwells in him, even as he is
in it [Steiger]. Let none flatter
himself he is being guarded by the power of God unto salvation, if he
be not walking by faith. Neither speculative knowledge and
reason, nor works of seeming charity, will avail, severed from faith.
It is through faith that salvation is both received and kept.
unto salvation—the final end of the
new birth. "Salvation," not merely accomplished for us in title by
Christ, and made over to us on our believing, but actually
manifested, and finally completed.
ready to be revealed—When Christ shall
be revealed, it shall be revealed. The preparations for it are being
made now, and began when Christ came: "All things are now
ready"; the salvation is already accomplished, and only waits
the Lord's time to be manifested: He "is ready to judge."
last time—the last day, closing the
day of grace; the day of judgment, of redemption, of the restitution of
all things, and of perdition of the ungodly.
6. Wherein—in which prospect of final
greatly rejoice—"exult with joy": "are
exuberantly glad." Salvation is realized by faith (1Pe 1:9) as a thing so actually present as to
cause exulting joy in spite of existing afflictions.
for a season—Greek, "for a
if need be—"if it be God's will that
it should be so" [Alford], for not all
believers are afflicted. One need not invite or lay a cross on himself,
but only "take up" the cross which God imposes ("his cross"); 2Ti 3:12 is not to be pressed too far. Not
every believer, nor every sinner, is tried with afflictions [Theophylact]. Some falsely think that
notwithstanding our forgiveness in Christ, a kind of atonement, or
expiation by suffering, is needed.
ye are in heaviness—Greek, "ye
were grieved." The "grieved" is regarded as past, the "exulting
joy" present. Because the realized joy of the coming salvation makes
the present grief seem as a thing of the past. At the
first shock of affliction ye were grieved, but now by
anticipation ye rejoice, regarding the present grief as past.
through—Greek, "IN": the element in which the grief has place.
manifold—many and of various kinds
temptations—"trials" testing your
7. Aim of the "temptations."
trial—testing, proving. That your
faith so proved "may be found (aorist; once for all, as
the result of its being proved on the judgment-day) unto (eventuating
in) praise," &c., namely, the praise to be bestowed by the
than that of gold—rather, "than
though—"which perisheth, YET is tried with fire." If gold, though perishing
1:18), is yet tried with fire
in order to remove dross and test its genuineness, how much more does
your faith, which shall never perish, need to pass through a fiery
trial to remove whatever is defective, and to test its genuineness and
glory—"Honor" is not so strong as
"glory." As "praise" is in words, so "honor" is in deeds:
appearing—Translate as in 1Pe 1:13, "revelation." At Christ's revelation
shall take place also the revelation of the sons of God (Ro 8:19, "manifestation," Greek,
"revelation"; 1Jo 3:2,
Greek, "manifested … manifested," for "appear …
8. not having seen, ye love—though in
other cases it is knowledge of the person that produces
love to him. They are more "blessed that have not seen and yet
have believed," than they who believed because they have seen. On
Peter's own love to Jesus, compare Joh 21:15-17. Though the apostles had seen Him, they
now ceased to know Him merely after the flesh.
in whom—connected with "believing":
the result of which is "ye rejoice" (Greek, "exult").
now—in the present state, as
contrasted with the future state when believers "shall see His
full of glory—Greek,
"glorified." A joy now already encompassed with glory. The
"glory" is partly in present possession, through the presence of
Christ, "the Lord of glory," in the soul; partly in assured
anticipation. "The Christian's joy is bound up with love
to Jesus: its ground is faith; it is not therefore either
self-seeking or self-sufficient" [Steiger].
9. Receiving—in sure anticipation; "the
end of your faith," that is, its crowning consummation, finally
completed "salvation" (Peter here confirms Paul's teaching as to
justification by faith): also receiving now the title to
it and the first-fruits of it. In 1Pe 1:10 the "salvation" is represented as
already present, whereas "the prophets" had it not as yet
present. It must, therefore, in this verse, refer to the present:
Deliverance now from a state of wrath: believers even now
"receive salvation," though its full "revelation" is future.
of … souls—The immortal
soul was what was lost, so "salvation" primarily concerns the
soul; the body shall share in redemption hereafter; the
soul of the believer is saved already: an additional proof that
"receiving … salvation" is here a thing present.
10. The magnitude of this "salvation" is
proved by the earnestness with which "prophets" and even "angels"
searched into it. Even from the beginning of the world this salvation
has been testified to by the Holy Spirit.
prophets—Though there is no
Greek article, yet English Version is right, "the
prophets" generally (including all the Old Testament inspired
authors), as "the angels" similarly refer to them in
inquired—perseveringly: so the
Greek. Much more is manifested to us than by diligent inquiry
and search the prophets attained. Still it is not said, they searched
after it, but concerning (so the Greek for "of")
it. They were already certain of the redemption being about to come.
They did not like us fully see, but they desired to see
the one and the same Christ whom we fully see in spirit. "As Simeon was
anxiously desiring previously, and tranquil in peace only when he had
seen Christ, so all the Old Testament saints saw Christ only hidden,
and as it were absent—absent not in power and grace, but inasmuch
as He was not yet manifested in the flesh" [Calvin]. The prophets, as private
individuals, had to reflect on the hidden and far-reaching sense of
their own prophecies; because their words, as prophets, in their
public function, were not so much their own as the Spirit's,
speaking by and in them: thus Caiaphas. A striking testimony to verbal
inspiration; the words which the inspired authors wrote are
God's words expressing the mind of the Spirit, which the writers
themselves searched into, to fathom the deep and precious meaning, even
as the believing readers did. "Searched" implies that they had
determinate marks to go by in their search.
the grace that should come unto
you—namely, the grace of the New Testament: an earnest of
"the grace" of perfected "salvation … to be brought at the
(second) revelation of Christ." Old Testament believers also possessed
the grace of God; they were children of God, but it was as children in
their nonage, so as to be like servants; whereas we enjoy the full
privileges of adult sons.
11. what—Greek, "In reference
to what, or what manner of time." What expresses the
time absolutely: what was to be the era of Messiah's coming;
what manner of time; what events and features should
characterize the time of His coming. The "or" implies that some of the
prophets, if they could not as individuals discover the exact
time, searched into its characteristic features and events. The
Greek for "time" is the season, the epoch, the fit time
in God's purposes.
Spirit of Christ … in
them—(Ac 16:7, in
oldest manuscripts, "the Spirit of Jesus"; Re 19:10). So Justin
Martyr says, "Jesus was He who appeared and communed with Moses,
Abraham, and the other patriarchs." Clement of
Alexandria calls Him "the Prophet of prophets, and Lord of all
the prophetical spirit."
did signify—"did give intimation."
of—Greek, "the sufferers
(appointed) unto Christ," or foretold in regard to
Christ. "Christ," the anointed Mediator, whose
sufferings are the price of our "salvation" (1Pe 1:9, 10), and who is the channel of "the
grace that should come unto you."
the glory—Greek, "glories,"
namely, of His resurrection, of His ascension, of His judgment and
coming kingdom, the necessary consequence of the sufferings.
that should follow—Greek,
"after these (sufferings)," 1Pe 3:18-22; 5:1. Since "the Spirit of Christ" is the
Spirit of God, Christ is God. It is only because the Son of God
was to become our Christ that He manifested Himself and the Father
through Him in the Old Testament, and by the Holy Spirit, eternally
proceeding from the Father and Himself, spake in the prophets.
12. Not only was the future revealed to them,
but this also, that these revelations of the future were given them not
for themselves, but for our good in Gospel times. This, so far from
disheartening, only quickened them in unselfishly testifying in the
Spirit for the partial good of their own generation (only of
believers), and for the full benefit of posterity. Contrast in Gospel
22:10. Not that their
prophecies were unattended with spiritual instruction as to the
Redeemer to their own generation, but the full light was not to be
given till Messiah should come; it was well that they should have this
"revealed" to them, lest they should be disheartened in not clearly
discovering with all their inquiry and search the full
particulars of the coming "salvation." To Daniel (Da 9:25, 26) the "time" was revealed.
Our immense privileges are thus brought forth by contrast with
theirs, notwithstanding that they had the great honor of Christ's
Spirit speaking in them; and this, as an incentive to still greater
earnestness on our part than even they manifested (1Pe 1:13, &c.).
us—The oldest manuscripts read "you,"
as in 1Pe
1:10. This verse implies that
we, Christians, may understand the prophecies by the Spirit's
aid in their most important part, namely, so far as they have been
with the Holy Ghost sent down—on
Pentecost. The oldest manuscripts omit Greek preposition
en, that is, "in"; then translate, "by." The Evangelists
speaking by the Holy Spirit were infallible witnesses. "The Spirit of
Christ" was in the prophets also (1Pe 1:11), but not manifestly, as in the case of
the Christian Church and its first preachers, "SENT down from heaven." How favored are we in being
ministered to, as to "salvation," by prophets and apostles alike, the
latter now announcing the same things as actually fulfilled which the
which things—"the things now reported
unto you" by the evangelistic preachers "Christ's sufferings and the
glory that should follow" (1Pe 1:11, 12).
angels—still higher than "the
prophets" (1Pe 1:10).
Angels do not any more than ourselves possess an INTUITIVE knowledge of redemption. "To look into" in
Greek is literally, "to bend over so as to look deeply into and
see to the bottom of a thing." See on Jas 1:25,
on same word. As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the
emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze
upon and desire to fathom the depths of "the great mystery of
godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen
of angels" (1Ti 3:16).
Their "ministry to the heirs of salvation" naturally disposes them to
wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love,
justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can know
it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they personally
have not the direct share in it that we have. "Angels have only the
contrast between good and evil, without the power of conversion from
sin to righteousness: witnessing such conversion in the Church, they
long to penetrate the knowledge of the means whereby it is brought
about" [Hofman in Alford].
13. Wherefore—Seeing that the prophets
ministered unto you in these high Gospel privileges which they did not
themselves fully share in, though "searching" into them, and seeing
that even angels "desire to look into" them, how earnest you ought to
be and watchful in respect to them!
gird up … loins—referring to
Christ's own words, Lu 12:35; an
image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the passover with
the loose outer robe girded up about the waist with a girdle, as ready
for a journey. Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and warriors (all
of whom are types of the Christians), so gird themselves up, both to
shorten the garment so as not to impede motion, and to gird up the body
itself so as to be braced for action. The believer is to have his mind
(mental powers) collected and always ready for Christ's coming. "Gather
in the strength of your spirit" [Hensler]. Sobriety, that is, spiritual
self-restraint, lest one be overcome by the allurements of the
world and of sense, and patient hopeful waiting for Christ's
revelation, are the true ways of "girding up the loins of the
to the end—rather, "perfectly," so
that there may be nothing deficient in your hope, no casting away of
your confidence. Still, there may be an allusion to the "end"
mentioned in 1Pe 1:9. Hope
so perfectly (Greek, "teleios") as to reach unto the
end (telos) of your faith and hope, namely, "the grace that
is being brought unto you in (so the Greek) the revelation of
Christ." As grace shall then be perfected, so you ought
to hope perfectly. "Hope" is repeated from 1Pe 1:3. The two appearances are but different
stages of the ONE great revelation of
Christ, comprising the New Testament from the beginning to the end.
14. From sobriety of spirit and
endurance of hope Peter passes to obedience, holiness,
and reverential fear.
As—marking their present actual
character as "born again" (1Pe 1:3, 22).
"children of obedience": children to whom obedience is their
characteristic and ruling nature, as a child is of the same nature as
the mother and father. Contrast Eph 5:6, "the children of disobedience." Compare
1:17, "obeying the Father"
whose "children" ye are. Having the obedience of faith (compare
1:22) and so of
practice (compare 1Pe 1:16, 18). "Faith is the highest obedience,
because discharged to the highest command" [Luther].
fashioning—The outward fashion
(Greek, "schema") is fleeting, and merely on the surface.
The "form," or conformation in the New Testament, is something
deeper and more perfect and essential.
the former lusts in—which were
characteristic of your state of ignorance of God: true of both Jews and
Gentiles. The sanctification is first described negatively (1Pe 1:14, "not fashioning yourselves,"
&c.; the putting off the old man, even in the outward
fashion, as well as in the inward conformation), then
positively (1Pe 1:15,
putting on the new man, compare Eph 4:22, 24). "Lusts" flow from the original
birth-sin (inherited from our first parents, who by self-willed desire
brought sin into the world), the lust which, ever since man has
been alienated from God, seeks to fill up with earthly things the
emptiness of his being; the manifold forms which the mother-lust
assumes are called in the plural lusts. In the regenerate, as
far as the new man is concerned, which constitutes his truest
self, "sin" no longer exists; but in the flesh or old man it does.
Hence arises the conflict, uninterruptedly maintained through life,
wherein the new man in the main prevails, and at last completely. But
the natural man knows only the combat of his lusts with one another, or
with the law, without power to conquer them.
15. Literally, "But (rather) after the pattern
of Him who hath called you (whose characteristic is that He is) holy,
be (Greek, 'become') ye yourselves also holy." God is our grand
model. God's calling is a frequently urged motive in Peter's
Epistles. Every one that begets, begets an offspring resembling himself
[Epiphanius]. "Let the acts of the
offspring indicate similarity to the Father" [Augustine].
conversation—deportment, course of
life: one's way of going about, as distinguished from one's internal
nature, to which it must outwardly correspond. Christians are already
holy unto God by consecration; they must be so also in their outward
walk and behavior in all respects. The outward must correspond to
the inward man.
16. Scripture is the true source of all
authority in questions of doctrine and practice.
Be ye … for I am—It is I with
whom ye have to do. Ye are mine. Therefore abstain from Gentile
pollutions. We are too prone to have respect unto men [Calvin]. As I am the fountain of holiness, being
holy in My essence, be ye therefore zealous to be
partakers of holiness, that ye may be as I also am [Didymus]. God is essentially holy: the creature is
holy in so far as it is sanctified by God. God, in giving the command,
is willing to give also the power to obey it, namely, through the
sanctifying of the Spirit (1Pe 1:2).
17. if ye call on—that is, "seeing
that ye call on," for all the regenerate pray as children of
God, "Our Father who art in heaven" (Mt 6:9; Lu
the Father—rather, "Call upon as
Father Him who without acceptance of persons (Ac
10:34; Ro 2:11; Jas 2:1, not
accepting the Jew above the Gentile, 2Ch 19:7; Lu 20:21; properly said of a judge not biassed in
judgment by respect of persons) judgeth," &c. The Father judgeth by
His Son, His Representative, exercising His delegated authority (Joh 5:22). This marks the harmonious and
complete unity of the Trinity.
work—Each man's work is
one complete whole, whether good or bad. The particular works of
each are manifestations of the general character of his lifework,
whether it was of faith and love whereby alone we can please God and
pass—Greek, "conduct yourselves
sojourning—The outward state of the
Jews in their dispersion is an emblem of the
sojourner-like state of all believers in this world, away from
our true Fatherland.
fear—reverential, not slavish. He who
is your Father, is also your Judge—a thought which may well
inspire reverential fear. Theophylact
observes, A double fear is mentioned in Scripture: (1)
elementary, causing one to become serious; (2)
perfective: the latter is here the motive by which Peter urges
them as sons of God to be obedient. Fear is not here opposed to
assurance, but to carnal security: fear producing
vigilant caution lest we offend God and backslide. "Fear and
hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from
falling away from hope" [Bengel].
Though love has no fear IN
it, yet in our present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear
going ALONG WITH It as a subordinate
principle. This fear drowns all other fears. The believer fears God,
and so has none else to fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness
and folly. The martyrs' more than mere human courage flowed from
18. Another motive to reverential, vigilant
fear (1Pe 1:17) of
displeasing God, the consideration of the costly price of our
redemption from sin. Observe, it is we who are bought by the
blood of Christ, not heaven. The blood of Christ is not in Scripture
said to buy heaven for us: heaven is the "inheritance" (1Pe 1:4) given to us as sons, by the promise of
corruptible—Compare 1Pe 1:7, "gold that perisheth," 1Pe 1:23.
silver and gold—Greek, "or."
Compare Peter's own words, Ac 3:6: an
redeemed—Gold and silver being liable
to corruption themselves, can free no one from spiritual and bodily
death; they are therefore of too little value. Contrast 1Pe 1:19, Christ's "precious blood." The
Israelites were ransomed with half a shekel each, which went towards
purchasing the lamb for the daily sacrifice (Ex 30:12-16; compare Nu 3:44-51). But the Lamb who redeems the
spiritual Israelites does so "without money or price." Devoted by sin
to the justice of God, the Church of the first-born is redeemed from
sin and the curse with Christ's precious blood (Mt 20:28; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Re 5:9). In all these passages there is the
idea of substitution, the giving of one for another by way of a
ransom or equivalent. Man is "sold under sin" as a slave; shut up under
condemnation and the curse. The ransom was, therefore, paid to the
righteously incensed Judge, and was accepted as a vicarious
satisfaction for our sin by God, inasmuch as it was His own love as
well as righteousness which appointed it. An Israelite sold as a
bond-servant for debt might be redeemed by one of his brethren. As,
therefore, we could not redeem ourselves, Christ assumed our nature in
order to become our nearest of kin and brother, and so our God or
Redeemer. Holiness is the natural fruit of redemption "from our vain
conversation"; for He by whom we are redeemed is also He
for whom we are redeemed. "Without the righteous abolition of
the curse, either there could be found no deliverance, or, what is
impossible, the grace and righteousness of God must have come in
collision" [Steiger]; but now, Christ
having borne the curse of our sin, frees from it those who are made
God's children by His Spirit.
vain—self-deceiving, unreal, and
unprofitable: promising good which it does not perform. Compare as to
the Gentiles, Ac 14:15; Ro 1:21; Eph 4:17; as to human philosophers, 1Co 3:20; as to the disobedient Jews, Jer 4:14.
conversation—course of life. To know
what our sin is we must know what it cost.
received by tradition from your
fathers—The Jews' traditions. "Human piety is a vain
blasphemy, and the greatest sin that a man can commit" [Luther]. There is only one Father to be imitated,
1:17; compare Mt 23:9, the same antithesis [Bengel].
19. precious—of inestimable value. The
Greek order is, "With precious blood, as of a lamb without
blemish (in itself) and without spot (contracted by contact
with others), (even the blood) of Christ." Though very man, He
remained pure in Himself ("without blemish"), and uninfected by
any impression of sin from without ("without spot"), which would
have unfitted Him for being our atoning Redeemer: so the passover lamb,
and every sacrificial victim; so too, the Church, the Bride, by her
union with Him. As Israel's redemption from Egypt required the blood of
the paschal lamb, so our redemption from sin and the curse required the
blood of Christ; "foreordained" (1Pe 1:20) from eternity, as the passover lamb was
taken up on the tenth day of the month.
20. God's eternal foreordination of Christ's
redeeming sacrifice, and completion of it in these last times for
us, are an additional obligation on us to our maintaining a holy
walk, considering how great things have been thus done for us. Peter's
language in the history corresponds with this here: an undesigned
coincidence and mark of genuineness. Redemption was no afterthought, or
remedy of an unforeseen evil, devised at the time of its arising. God's
foreordaining of the Redeemer refutes the slander that, on the
Christian theory, there is a period of four thousand years of nothing
but an incensed God. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of
the world (Eph 1:4).
manifest—in His incarnation in the
fulness of the time. He existed from eternity before He was
in these last times—1Co 10:11, "the ends of the world." This last
dispensation, made up of "times" marked by great changes, but still
retaining a general unity, stretches from Christ's ascension to His
coming to judgment.
21. by him—Compare "the faith
which is by Him," Ac 3:16.
Through Christ: His Spirit, obtained for us in His resurrection
and ascension, enabling us to believe. This verse excludes all who do
not "by Him believe in God," and includes all of every age and clime
that do. Literally, "are believers in God." "To believe
IN (Greek, 'eis')
God" expresses an internal trust: "by believing to love
God, going INTO Him, and cleaving to
Him, incorporated into His members. By this faith the ungodly is
justified, so that thenceforth faith itself begins to work by
love" [P. Lombard]. To believe
ON (Greek, "epi," or
dative case) God expresses the confidence, which grounds itself
on God, reposing on Him. "Faith IN (Greek, 'en') His blood" (Ro 3:25) implies that His blood is the
element IN which faith has its proper
and abiding place. Compare with this verse, Ac 20:21, "Repentance toward (Greek,
'eis,' 'into,' turning towards and going into) God
and faith toward (Greek, 'eis,' 'into') Christ": where,
as there is but one article to both repentance and faith,
the two are inseparably joined as together forming one truth; where
"repentance" is, there "faith" is; when one knows God the Father
spiritually, then he must know the Son by whom alone we can come to the
Father. In Christ we have life: if we have not the doctrine of Christ,
we have not God. The only living way to God is through Christ and His
that raised him—The raising of Jesus
by God is the special ground of our "believing": (1) because by it God
declared openly His acceptance of Him as our righteous substitute; (2)
because by it and His glorification He received power, namely, the Holy
Spirit, to impart to His elect "faith": the same power enabling us to
believe as raised Him from the dead. Our faith must not only be IN Christ, but BY and THROUGH
Christ. "Since in Christ's resurrection and consequent dominion our
safety is grounded, there 'faith' and 'hope' find their stay"
that your faith and hope might be in
God—the object and effect of God's raising Christ. He
states what was the actual result and fact, not an exhortation, except
indirectly. Your faith flows from His
resurrection; your hope from God's having "given Him
glory" (compare 1Pe 1:11,
"glories"). Remember God's having raised and glorified Jesus as the
anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces.
Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and
hoped in God. Compare 1Pe 1:3, 7-9, 13, on hope in connection with
faith; love is introduced in 1Pe 1:22.
22. purified … in obeying the
truth—Greek, "in your (or 'the')
obedience of (that is, 'to') the truth (the Gospel way of
salvation)," that is, in the fact of your believing. Faith
purifies the heart as giving it the only pure motive, love to God
15:9; Ro 1:5,
"obedience to the faith").
through the Spirit—omitted in the
oldest manuscripts. The Holy Spirit is the purifier by bestowing the
obedience of faith (1Pe 1:2; 1Co 12:3).
unto—with a view to: the proper result
of the purifying of your hearts by faith. "For what end must we
lead a chaste life? That we may thereby be saved? No: but for this,
that we may serve our neighbor" [Luther].
unfeigned—1Pe 2:1, 2, "laying aside …
hypocrisies … sincere."
love of the brethren—that is, of
Christians. Brotherly love is distinct from common love.
"The Christian loves primarily those in Christ; secondarily, all who
might be in Christ, namely, all men, as Christ as man died for all, and
as he hopes that they, too, may become his Christian brethren" [Steiger]. Bengel remarks that as here, so in 2Pe 1:5-7, "brotherly love" is preceded by the
purifying graces, "faith, knowledge, and godliness," &c.
Love to the brethren is the evidence of our regeneration and
justification by faith.
love one another—When the purifying
by faith into love of the brethren has formed the habit,
then the act follows, so that the "love" is at once habit
with a pure heart—The oldest
manuscripts read, "(love) from the heart."
with all the powers on the stretch (1Pe 4:8). "Instantly" (Ac 26:7).
23. Christian brotherhood flows from our new
birth of an imperishable seed, the abiding word of God. This is the
consideration urged here to lead us to exercise brotherly love.
As natural relationship gives rise to natural affection, so spiritual
relationship gives rise to spiritual, and therefore abiding love, even
as the seed from which it springs is abiding, not transitory as
of … of … by—"The word of
God" is not the material of the spiritual new birth, but its mean or
medium. By means of the word the man receives the incorruptible
seed of the Holy Spirit, and so becomes one "born again": Joh 3:3-5, "born of water and the
Spirit": as there is but one Greek article to the two nouns,
the close connection of the sign and the grace, or new birth
signified is implied. The word is the remote and anterior
instrument; baptism, the proximate and sacramental instrument.
The word is the instrument in relation to the individual; baptism, in
relation to the Church as a society (Jas 1:18). We are born again of the
Spirit, yet not without the use of means, but by the word of God.
The word is not the beggeting principle itself, but only that by which
it works: the vehicle of the mysterious germinating power [Alford].
which liveth and abideth for ever—It
is because the Spirit of God accompanies it that the word carries in it
the germ of life. They who are so born again live and abide for
ever, in contrast to those who sow to the flesh. "The Gospel bears
incorruptible fruits, not dead works, because it is itself
incorruptible" [Bengel]. The word is an
eternal divine power. For though the voice or speech vanishes, there
still remains the kernel, the truth comprehended in the voice. This
sinks into the heart and is living; yea, it is God Himself. So God to
4:12, "I will be with thy
mouth" [Luther]. The life is in
God, yet it is communicated to us through the word. "The
Gospel shall never cease, though its ministry shall" [Calovius]. The abiding resurrection
glory is always connected with our regeneration by the
Spirit. Regeneration beginning with renewing man's soul at the
resurrection, passes on to the body, then to the whole world of
24. Scripture proof that the word of God lives
for ever, in contrast to man's natural frailty. If ye were born again
of flesh, corruptible seed, ye must also perish again as the grass; but
now that from which you have derived life remains eternally, and so
also will render you eternal.
flesh—man in his mere earthly
as—omitted in some of the oldest
of man—The oldest manuscripts read,
"of it" (that is, of the flesh). "The glory" is the wisdom, strength,
riches, learning, honor, beauty, art, virtue, and righteousness of the
NATURAL man (expressed by "flesh"),
which all are transitory (Joh 3:6), not
OF MAN (as English Version reads)
absolutely, for the glory of man, in his true ideal realized in
the believer, is eternal.
literally, "withered," that is, is withered as a thing of the past. So
also the Greek for "falleth" is "fell away," that is, is
fallen away: it no sooner is than it is gone.
thereof—omitted in the best
manuscripts and versions. "The grass" is the flesh: "the flower"
25. (Ps 119:89.)
this is the word … preached unto
you—That is eternal which is born of incorruptible seed
1:24): but ye have received
the incorruptible seed, the word (1Pe 1:25); therefore ye are born for eternity,
and so are bound now to live for eternity (1Pe 1:22, 23). Ye have not far to look for the
word; it is among you, even the joyful Gospel message which we preach.
Doubt not that the Gospel preached to you by our brother Paul,
and which ye have embraced, is the eternal truth. Thus the
oneness of Paul's and Peter's creed appears. See my Introduction, showing Peter addresses some
of the same churches as Paul labored among and wrote to.