ADDRESS TO THE
ELECTED OF THE
THANKSGIVING FOR THE
PROPHETS AND TO
AGAIN OF THE
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"
to the strangers scattered--literally, "sojourners of the
dispersion"; only in
and Jas 1:1,
in New Testament, and the Septuagint,
"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
(1Pe 1:14; 2:10; 4:3)
plainly refers to Christian Gentiles (compare
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
from northeast southwards to Galatia, southeast to Cappadocia, then
Asia, and back to Bithynia, west of Pontus. Contrast the order,
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 letter.
2. foreknowledge--foreordaining love
inseparable from God's foreknowledge, the origin from
which, and pattern according to which, election takes place.
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,"
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
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"
"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
sanctification--the Spirit's setting apart of the saint as
consecrated to God. The execution of God's choice
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
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"
"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 already.
"Ye have now peace and grace, but still not in perfection; therefore,
ye must go on increasing until the old Adam be dead"
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
(2) backward into the past
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;
1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, 23; 2:2;
end; "In heaven,"
"Hallowed be Thy name,"
1Pe 1:15, 16; 3:15;
"Thy kingdom come,"
"Thy will be done,"
1Pe 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19;
"forgiveness of sins,"
1Pe 4:8, 1;
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.
abundant--Greek, "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
whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in sins.
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
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
Its moral fruit is a new life. The connection of our sonship with the
resurrection appears also in
Christ's resurrection is the cause of ours, (1) as an efficient cause
(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
"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"
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"
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