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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, 4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


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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 1:10-12) [Alford].

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 works.

abundantGreek, "much," "full." That God's "mercy" should reach us, guilty and enemies, proves its fulness. "Mercy" met our misery; "grace," our guilt.

begotten us again—of the Spirit by the word (1Pe 1:23); whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in sins.

unto—so that we have.

livelyGreek, "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 (1Pe 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 "hope" (1Pe 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].

reservedkept 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 heavenGreek, "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. keptGreek, "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 "kept" (1Pe 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." Contrast Lu 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 effective means.

byGreek, "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 salvation.

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 seasonGreek, "for a little time."

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 heavinessGreek, "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.

throughGreek, "IN": the element in which the grief has place.

manifold—many and of various kinds (1Pe 4:12, 13).

temptations—"trials" testing your faith.

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 Judge.

than that of gold—rather, "than gold."

though—"which perisheth, YET is tried with fire." If gold, though perishing (1Pe 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 full value?

glory—"Honor" is not so strong as "glory." As "praise" is in words, so "honor" is in deeds: honorary reward.

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 … 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").

nowin the present state, as contrasted with the future state when believers "shall see His face."

unspeakable—(1Co 2:9).

full of gloryGreek, "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.




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