World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

A Living Hope

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,


Select a resource above

1 Peter, an apostle What in this salutation is the same with those of Paul, requires no new explanation. When Paul prayed for grace and peace, the verb is left out; but Peter adds it, and says, be multiplied; still the meaning is the same; for Paul did not wish to the faithful the beginning of grace and peace, but the increase of them, that is, that God would complete what he had begun.

To the elect, or the elected. It may be asked, how could this be found out, for the election of God is hid, and cannot be known without the special revelation of the Spirit; and as every one is made sure of his own election by the testimony of the Spirit, so he can know nothing certain of others. To this I answer, that we are not curiously to inquire about the election of our brethren, but ought on the contrary to regard their calling, so that all who are admitted by faith into the church, are to be counted as the elect; for God thus separates them from the world, which is a sign of election. It is no objection to say that many fall away, having nothing but the semblance; for it is the judgment of charity and not of faith, when we deem all those elect in whom appears the mark of God’s adoption. And that he does not fetch their election from the hidden counsel of God, but gathers it from the effect, is evident from the context; for afterwards he connects it with the sanctification of the Spirit As far then as they proved that they were regenerated by the Spirit of God, so far did he deem them to be the elect of God, for God does not sanctify any but those whom he has previously elected.

However, he at the same time reminds us whence that election flows, by which we are separated for salvation, that we may not perish with the world; for he says, according to the foreknowledge of God This is the fountain and the first cause: God knew before the world was created whom he had elected for salvation.

But we ought wisely to consider what this precognition or foreknowledge is. For the sophists, in order to obscure the grace of God, imagine that the merits of each are foreseen by God, and that thus the reprobate are distinguished from the elect, as every one proves himself worthy of this or that lot. But Scripture everywhere sets the counsel of God, on which is founded our salvation, in opposition to our merits. Hence, when Peter calls them elect according to the precognition of God, he intimates that the cause of it depends on nothing else but on God alone, for he of his own free will has chosen us. Then the foreknowledge of God excludes every worthiness on the part of man. We have treated this subject more at large in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and in other places.

As however in our election he assigns the first place to the gratuitous favor of God, so again he would have us to know it by the effects, for there is nothing more dangerous or more preposterous than to overlook our calling and to seek for the certainty of our election in the hidden prescience of God, which is the deepest labyrinth. Therefore to obviate this danger, Peter supplies the best correction; for though in the first place he would have us to consider the counsel of God, the cause of which is alone in himself; yet he invites us to notice the effect, by which he sets forth and bears witness to our election. That effect is the sanctification of the Spirit, even effectual calling, when faith is added to the outward preaching of the gospel, which faith is begotten by the inward operation of the Spirit.

To the sojourners 44     Inquilinis; they are those who dwell in a hired house, tenants. The original, παρεπιδήμοις, means those who dwell among a people, that is, not their own. Sojourners or pilgrims would be the best word. The sentence literally is, “To the sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus.” etc. — Ed. They who think that all the godly are thus called, because they are strangers in the world, and are advancing towards the celestial country, are much mistaken, and this mistake is evident from the word dispersion which immediately follows; for this can apply only to the Jews, not only because they were banished from their own country and scattered here and there, but also because they had been driven out of that land which had been promised to them by the Lord as a perpetual inheritance. He indeed afterwards calls all the faithful sojourners, because they are pilgrims on the earth; but the reason here is different. They were sojourners, because they had been dispersed, some in Pontus, some in Galatia, and some in Bithynia. It is nothing strange that he designed this Epistle more especially for the Jews, for he knew that he was appointed in a particular manner their apostle, as Paul teaches us in Galatians 2:8. In the countries he enumerates, he includes the whole of Asia Minor, from the Euxine to Cappadocia. 55     On this question both ancient and modern divines have differed. It is to be decided by the contents of the Epistle only. There is nothing decisive in favor of the opinion that it was written only to believing Jews; but there is a passage, 1 Peter 4:3, which seems clearly to shew that Peter included the believing Gentiles; for “the abominable idolatries” could only refer to them, as the Jews, since the Babylonian captivity, had never fallen into idolatry. — Ed.

Unto obedience He adds two things to sanctification, and seems to understand newness of life by obedience, and by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ the remission of sins. But if these be parts or effects of sanctification, then sanctification is to be taken here somewhat different from what it means when used by Paul, that is, more generally. God then sanctifies us by an effectual calling; and this is done when we are renewed to an obedience to his righteousness, and when we are sprinkled by the blood of Christ, and thus are cleansed from our sins. And there seems to be an implied allusion to the ancient rite of sprinkling used under the law. For as it was not then sufficient for the victim to be slain and the blood to be poured out, except the people were sprinkled; so now the blood of Christ which has been shed will avail us nothing, except our consciences are by it cleansed. There is then to be understood here a contrast, that, as formerly under the law the sprinkling of blood was made by the hand of the priest; so now the Holy Spirit sprinkles our souls with the blood of Christ for the expiation of our sins.

Let us now state the substance of the whole; which is, that our salvation flows from the gratuitous election of God; but that it is to be ascertained by the experience of faith, because he sanctifies us by his Spirit; and then that there are two effects or ends of our calling, even renewal into obedience and ablution by the blood of Christ; and further, that both are the work of the Holy Spirit. 66     The meaning would be more clear, were we to make a change in the order of the words, “Elected, according to the foreknowledge of God, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, through (or, by) the sanctification of the Spirit,” that is, they were elected in order that they might obey the gospel, and be cleansed from the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ, through the sanctifying power of the Spirit. It was not their obedience that made them the elect, but they were chosen that they might obey, and thus obey through the influence of the Spirit. This is clearly the doctrine of this passage. See 2 Thessalonians 2:13Ed. We hence conclude, that election is not to be separated from calling, nor the gratuitous righteousness of faith from newness of life.

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.




Advertisements