I Peter 1

 

 

1 “Peter,” -  It is the Greek form of the name, which the Lord Jesus

himself had given to the great apostle; first, by anticipation, in the spirit of

prophecy (John 1:42); and again when the prophecy was already in a

measure fulfilled, and Simon was proving himself to be indeed a stone,

built upon the Rock of Ages, which is Christ (Matthew 16:18). It was

his Christian name; he must have prized that name as the gift of Christ,

reminding him always, of his confession and of the Savior’s promise,

urging him to maintain throughout life that rock-like steadfastness which

was indeed characteristic of him, but in which he had more than once very

sadly failed. The use of the Greek form seems to indicate that the Epistle

was originally written in Greek, and gives some slight support to the view

that it was addressed to Gentile converts as well as to Hebrew Christians –

 an apostle of Jesus Christ,” - He does not add any assertion of the truth

Of his apostleship, as Paul often does; his apostolic dignity had not been

questioned; the false brethren, who so often disputed the authority of

Paul, had never assailed Peter. He does not join other names with his

own in the address, though he mentions at the close of his Epistle Marcus

probably the John Mark who accompanied Paul in his first

missionary journey — and Silvanus — probably the Silas of the Acts of the

Apostles, and the Silvanus whom Paul associates with himself in

addressing the Church of the Thessalonians. He describes himself as “an

apostle of Jesus Christ.” All Christians who knew the gospel history knew

that Peter was one of the first-called apostles, one of the three who

were nearest to the Lord, one who had received the apostolic commission

in a marked and special manner direct from Christ. But he calls himself

simply an apostle, not the prince of the apostles; he claims no superiority

over the rest of the apostolic college. The impulsive forwardness which had

once been the prominent defect in his noble character had passed away; he

had learned that difficult lesson which the Lord had impressed upon the

apostles when He set the little child among them as their example; he was

now, in his own words, “clothed with humility ” - “to the strangers

scattered” -  To the strangers scattered; literally, to the elect sojourners of

the dispersion  of Pontus, etc. “The dispersion” (διασπορά) - diaspora

dispersion ) was the recognized term (compare James 1:1; John 7:35) for the Jews

who were scattered over Gentile countries. (See Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 4:27;

28:64; 32:26; I Kings 14:15; Nehemiah 1:8; Jeremiah 9:16; Ezekiel 5:2,10,12;

12:14-15; etc.)  The gospel of the circumcision was committed unto Peter

(Galatians 2:7); Paul and Barnabas were to go unto the heathen; James,

Cephas, and John unto the circumcision (Ibid. v.9). But Peter

had been taught to call no man common or unclean; he did not forget that

God had made choice that the Gentiles by his mouth should hear the word

of the gospel, and believe (Acts 15:7); he can scarcely have intended to

maintain in this Epistle that exclusiveness into which he once relapsed, and

for which he was rebuked by Paul (Galatians 2:11-14). He certainly

uses the word here rendered “strangers” (παρεπιδήμοιςparepidaemois

alien; pilgrim; stranger) metaphorically in ch.2:11 (compare Hebrews 11:13);

and we cannot but think that, by “the sojourners of the dispersion,” he means,

not merely the Jewish Christians of Asia Minor, but all Christian people dispersed

among the heathen. We shall see, as we proceed in the study of the Epistle, that the

writer contemplates Gentile as well as Jewish readers. Those readers were

sojourners for a brief time on earth (perhaps the preposition παρά - para

marks the passing character of their sojourn). “Here have we no continuing city,

but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14); they were dispersed here and there

among the unbelievers, but they were one body in Christ - “throughout Pontus,

Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”  He mentions the

five provinces in the order in which the names naturally occurred to one

writing from the East. This is not precisely accurate, for Cappadocia lies

to the south-east of Galatia, and Bithynia to the north-east of Proconsular

Asia; but yet the general arrangement of the names seems to furnish a slight

argument ‘in favor of the view that the Babylon from which Peter

wrote was the famous city on the Euphrates. The Churches of Galatia and

Asia (by “Asia” Peter means Proconsular Asia, that is Mysia, Lycia, and

Carla; Phrygia also was commonly reckoned as belonging to it, but not

always, see Acts 2:9-10) were founded by Paul and his companions; those

of Pontus possibly by Aquila, who, like the other Aquila who translated the

Old Testament into Greek, was a Jew of Pontus (Acts 18:2). Of Cappadocia

all that we know from the New Testament is that dwellers in Cappadocia, as

well as in Pontus and Asia, were in Jerusalem at the Pentecostal outpouring of

the Holy Spirit, and heard the great sermon of Peter, by which three thousand

souls were added to the Church (Acts 2).  The Cappadocian Churches may have

owed their origin to some of these men, or to some of Paul’s converts from Galatia

or Lycaonia.  Paul himself had once “assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit

 suffered them not” (Acts 16:7); that province may have received the word of

God from Troas; the famous letter of Pliny, written about the year 110,

shows how widely the faith of Christ had spread throughout the district.

We notice that the missions of the Church in Asia Minor had now covered

a field considerably larger than that reached at the date of the Acts of the

Apostles. We notice also that many of the Churches addressed by Peter

were founded by Paul or his converts. There was no rivalry between the

two great apostles. There had been jealousies among the twelve

(Matthew 18:1; 20:24, etc.); there had been differences between Peter and

Paul (Galatians 2:11); but they were children no longer — they were full-grown

Christians now.

 

 

Peter’s Office (v. 1)

 

Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ; he is sent by the Lord; he has a message from

Him. He feels his own responsibilities; he impresses upon his readers theirs; he

must speak, for he has a message; they must listen, for that message is from

JESUS CHRIST! The consciousness of being sent gives earnestness, weight, and

dignity to the words of Christ’s faithful ministers; if we do not feel that we have

a message to deliver, our utterances are forced, unreal, unprofitable. His readers

must receive his message with reverence and obedience, for it was the Lord Jesus

Christ who gave him the apostolic commission, and the Lord had said, “He that

 heareth you HEARETH ME.”   He thinks of the responsibilities of his office, not

of its grandeur. His name stands first in all the lists of the apostles; he describes

himself simply as a fellow-presbyter (ch.5:1). The true minister of Christ knows

the dignity of his calling; it will keep him humble in the deep consciousness

of his own unworthiness.

 

2 “Elect” -  This word, in the Greek, is in the first verse; the Greek order

is “to the elect sojourners of the dispersion.” We begin already to notice

coincidences with the teaching of Paul. Paul insists strongly on the doctrine of

election; Peter holds it no less clearly. Holy Scripture constantly ascribes all that

is good in us to the choice or election of God. The sacred writers do not enter into

the many difficulties which lie around this central doctrine: they do not attempt to

explain its relations to that other great truth, taught in Scripture and revealed in

consciousness — the freedom of the human will; their statements of the two

apparently conflicting doctrines balance, but do not explain, one another; they seem

to recognize the fact that we are in the presence of an insoluble mystery; and

they teach us by their silence that the proper attitude of the Christian, when

brought face to face with mystery, is rest in the Lord, humble childlike

confidence in his love and wisdom - “according to the foreknowledge of

God the Father,” - St. Peter sets in the forefront of his Epistle the mystery of

the blessed Trinity and the Divine plan of human salvation. It is, however, a

question whether the words just quoted should be taken, as in the

Authorized Version, with “elect” or with “apostle.” Many ancient

authorities take the latter view. ‘Thus we should have a description of St.

Peter’s apostleship, such as we often read at the opening of St Paul’s

Epistle. He was, like Paul, called to be an apostle, separated unto the

gospel of God; he was chosen before the foundation of the world to be

holy and without blame; like Paul, he had received grace and

apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations (compare Romans

1:1, 5). There is much to be said in favor of this connection. But, on the

whole, the balance of the sentence, and the general usage of similar

language in the New Testament, lead us to prefer the common view, and to

regard Peter’s words as a description of the origin, progress, and end of

God’s election. The origin is the grace of God the Father. He chose His

elect before the foundation of the world. He predestinated them unto the

adoption of children; and that according to the good pleasure of His will

(Ephesians 1:4-5). It is interesting to note that the substantive

“foreknowledge” (πρόγνωσιςprognosis - foreknowledge) occurs

nowhere else in Holy Scripture except in St. Peter’s Pentecostal speech (Acts 2:23).

We mark the agreement of St. Peter and St. Paul (compare Romans 8:29, “Whom

 He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of

His Son;” compare also Romans 11:2 and II Timothy 2:19). Election is

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;” but not simply, as

the Arminians taught, ex praevisis meritis; for we cannot separate

foreknowledge and predestination; the foreknowledge of an Almighty

Creator must imply the exercise of choice and will; what He knoweth, that

He also willeth; eligendos facit Deus (in the well-known words of St.

Augustine), non invenit. Thus in v. 20 “foreknown,” the more exact

rendering of the Revised Version must imply the “foreordained” of the old

translation. But that foreknowledge is the foreknowledge of God the

Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but our Father also. He careth

for his children; we must trust in Him. The potter makes one vessel for

honor, another for dishonor; but he makes none for destruction. A veil of

awful mystery hangs round the relations which exist between the Almighty

and His creatures; but “God is Love.”  (I John 4:8) - “through

sanctification of the Spirit,” -  rather, in, as in the Revised Version. We

 have the same words in II Thessalonians 2:13. The word ἀγισμόςhagiasmo

sanctification - which St. Peter uses here, is almost peculiar to St. Paul; it occurs

eight times in his Epistles; once in the Epistle to the Hebrews; but elsewhere only

here in the New Testament. Like other verbals of the same form, it may have either

an active or a passive meaning. Perhaps the former is the more suitable here. God’s

election places the Christian in the sphere of the sanctifying influences of

the Holy Spirit; he lives in the Spirit, he walks in the Spirit, he prays in the

Holy Ghost; and the blessed Spirit sanctifieth the elect people of God: he

worketh in them that holiness (ἁγιασμόν - hagiasmon translated holiness

by the Authorized Versiion in Romans 6:19,22; I Thessalonians 4:7; I Timothy 2:15

and Hebrews 12:14, is always rendered sanctification in the Revised Versionbut

both are basically the same word) without which they cannot see God

(Hebrews 12:14); they have their fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, unto holiness (ἁγιασμόν,

 Romans 6:22). The fundamental idea of the Hebrew vwOdq;, which is represented

by the Greek word ἅγιοςhagiosholy - seems to be, “separation, purity,”

though some connect it with חָדַשׁ;, and regard it as meaning originally “fresh, new,

young,” and so “pure, shining, bright.” By the word “spirit” we might, if we took

the words apart from the context, understand the spirit of man, which is

sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God; but the context shows that St. Peter is

thinking of the work of the three blessed Persons of the Holy Trinity

“unto obedience” -  Obedience is the work of the Spirit; for the fruit of the Spirit

Is love, and “if a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23).  Thus

election has its origin in the foreknowledge of the Father; it is wrought out in the

sanctifying influences of the Spirit as its sphere, and it issues in active

obedience. Obedience is the sign and test of God’s election: “By their fruits

ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20).  The end of election is obedience first,

then EVERLASTING LIFE!  - “and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

(The necessity for eternal lifeCY – 2012)  The word ῤαντισμόςrhantismon

sprinkling -  occurs also in Hebrews 12:24 (compare also 9:19). In both places there

is an evident reference to the events related in Exodus 24:8, where we read that

“Moses took the blood, arid sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the

 blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you.” It is an illusion

to the use of the blood of sacrifices, appointed for Israel, that are TYPICAL OF

THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST!  We observe that in this place also

Ceremonial sanctification (Exodus 19:10) and the promise of obedience

(Ibid. ch.24:3) preceded the sprinkling of blood. “The blood of sprinkling”

is called by the Lord Himself the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 26:28;

Mark 14:24), the blood by which the covenant of grace was ratified and

inaugurated.  Moses sprinkled the blood of the old covenant once upon the

people; the blood of the new covenant was shed ONCE FOR ALL;   but it is

EVER FRESH IN EFFICACY AND POWER;  still we have boldness to

enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19); still, if

we abide in Him, we have our “hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience”

(Ibid. v. 22); still, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,… the blood

 of Jesus Christ his Son is cleansing us from all sin”  (I John 1:7).  Those

who are elect unto obedience are elect unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus

Christ; the loving obedience of faith keeps them in the presence of the cross,

within the cleansing range of the one all-sufficient sacrifice. Thus we have in this

verse the concurrence of the THREE BLESSED PERSONS IN THE

SCHEME OF SALVATION  the choice of the Father, the sanctification

of the Spirit, the redeeming work of the Son. “Grace unto you, and peace, be

multiplied.”  St. Peter uses the familiar salutation of St. Paul; possibly he quotes

it, for he was plainly familiar with Paul’s Epistles — he refers to them expressly

in II Peter 3:15-16, and Sylvanus, the old companion of St. Paul, was now with

him. He unites into one expression the Greek and Hebrew salutations, the

χαίρεινchareinbe cheerful; be happy; God speed; rejoice  -  of the

Greeks under its Christian aspect of χάριςcharis - grace - the favor of God;

and the שָׁלום; of the Hebrews — the peace which is the fruit of grace, which is

the blessed possession of those on whom the favor of God abideth. That grace

and peace is granted to all the elect of God. St. Peter prays that it may be

multiplied, that his readers may be blessed with an ever-increasing

measure of that heavenly gift. He uses the same form of salutation in his

Second Epistle. It is interesting to observe that the phrase, Peace be multiplied

 unto you,” occurs also in the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1),

and in that of Darius (Ibid. ch.6:25),both written in Babylon, the city from which

St. Peter now sends the message of peace. The anarthrousness of these two

verses is remarkable; in the original there is not one article in vs.1-2.

 

If we are lost, it will not be because of foreordination, but BECAUSE IN

OUR FREEDOM WE FAILED TO USE THE MEANS PROVIDED!

SALVATION IS OFFERED TO ALL!   God willeth not the death of a

sinner”(Ezekiel 33:11);  all are commanded to believe, AND ARE

CONDEMNED FOR NOT BELIEVING.  Election is not out of harmony

with that, AND CLOSES THE DOOR TO NONE!. We may not see the

harmony, but God’s secret purposes cannot contradict His declared purposes.  The end

of election is faith, and the consequent application of the atoning blood.  Because

of what the sprinkling of that blood does for us:  justifies (Romans 3:24-26;

cleanses (I John 1:7); seals to us the blessings of the covenant (I Corinthians 11:25);

heaven (Hebrews 10:19).

 

If God chose us to all the blessings of perfect salvation, it is certain we shall have

 them.  Nothing can be more sure than GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE. This

assurance produces PERFECT PEACE!   None can be afraid who have (in the

separation of the Spirit) the seal that they are divinely elected to grace multiplied

without end.

 

 

Description of the Readers (vs. 1-2)

 

  • They are strangers. God’s people are “strangers and pilgrims on the

earth” (Hebrews 11:13, where the word rendered “pilgrims” is the

same with that translated “strangers” here). Here they have no continuing

city; they are sojournerssojourners of the dispersion, dispersed here

and there in an unbelieving world. But they have a city which hath

foundations; it seems afar off, but faith, like a telescope, brings it

within the range of vision. They must lay up their treasures there;

their hearts must be there; they must be “not of the world,” as their Lord

and Master Jesus Christ was not of the world. (Matthew 6:19-21; John

17:16). This word “strangers” first strikes the key-note of the

Epistle, which is hope the hope of the inheritance reserved in heaven.

The word here rendered “stranger,” or, as in the Revised Version,

“sojourner,” implies both residence in a foreign land, and temporary residence;

and if we add to it the remaining word, we have a threefold view of the

condition of a Christian, as an alien, a passing visitant, an isolated man.

 

  • He is an alien.  He does not belong to the polity, the order of things

in which he lives.  Nowadays Christians seem to be trying how far into

the city of the Canaanites they can go (Let us remember that it is

easier to lead our children into Sodom than it is to bring them out – Dwight

Moody), and how handsome a house they can build themselves there.

It is never well with the Church unless the world describes it, as Haman did

the Jews, “a certain people, scattered abroad, and their lives are

diverse from all people” (Esther 3:8).  It is never well with a Christian

soul which does not hear ever sounding in conscience the voice which says,

“Come ye out and be separate” (II Corinthians 6:17).  The world has

got into the Church, and the Church has struck up a friendship with

the world; and never was there more need to press upon every Christian that,

in the measure in which he belongs to Christ, he is an alien here, and that

if he feels quite at home among material things, that is because he has lost his

nationality, and has stooped to the degradation of being naturalized in

his place  of abode.  Men judge of Christianity very largely by the specimens

of it which they see. We are each sent among a circle of associates that they

may learn what the gospel can do for men by what it has done for us. Are we

such specimens as to inspire onlookers with a respect for the religion

 which has made us what we are?

 

  • He is a passing visitant.   We too often speak and think of the transiency

of this present and the coming of death, with sadness, or at the best with

resignation. But if we rightly understood that our deepest affinities

connect us with that other order into which death introduces us,

and that repose from weary effort, congenial companionship instead of

isolation, and all the sweet satisfaction and freedom of home, are death’s

gifts to the Christian soul, we should think of our departure hence

with hope. Were the happiness of the next world as closely

 apprehended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to live!

 

  • They are elect. The strangers on earth are God’s elect in heaven. The

fact that they are in a true sense strangers here, that their governing

principles, hopes, motives, are not of this world, proves their election of

God. We cannot read the names written in the book of life; but we can read

our own hearts, and if our heart condemn us not, if the holy name of Jesus

is written there, if His love is constraining us to live no longer to ourselves,

but to Him who died for us and rose again, then have we confidence

toward God.

 

Ø      Election is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

The first source of our salvation lies in the electing love of God our

heavenly Father. In the beginning, when God only was, and there

 was none but God; before the ages were, while yet there was no

voice of angel or man to break the awful silence with words of

prayer or praise, even then each ransomed spirit was known

unto the everlasting Father; for to the Eternal time is not; all

the long vista of future ages lies clear and open before the glance

of the Omniscient. “The Lord knoweth them that are His;”

He chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world

(Revelation 13:8).  He chose them not because He foresaw that

they would be worthy apart from His choice (which is impossible);

rather by His choice He made them worthy. We are children now.

We know only in part, very imperfectly. The child wonders, but

it does not doubt. We must cultivate the childlike spirit; we must

believe in humble faith our Father’s words; we shall hereafter

reach the point, now high above us, where these apparently

conflicting truths meet in perfect harmony; we shall know even

as also we are known. Thus if we approach the mysteries of

God’s election from the practical point of view, as the Scripture

leads us, rather than from the speculative, in which case we get

at once beyond our depth, these awful and blessed truths should

help to produce in us a childlike spirit, and teach us to live in

loving trustfulness and humble dependence upon God.

 

Ø      Sanctification of the Spirit is the sphere in which God’s election

works, the form of life in which the elect must necessarily walk;

for God’s Holy Spirit sanctifieth the elect people of God

    they are “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is

the earnest of our inheritance.” (Ephesians 1;13-14).  The Bible

tells us that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord”

(Hebrews 12:14); and these words are full of awful meaning,

for holiness is the sum of all Christian graces; it is that heavenly

mindedness which ever turns to things Divine and spiritual with

a love so strong and deep that it rules the life and fills the soul,

leaving but little room for this present world of sense. NO POWER

OF MAN CAN EFFECT THIS CHANGE OF HEART; IT IS

THE PECULIAR WORK OF GOD THE HOLY GHOST.

 

Ø      Their election is unto obedience. God’s election, drawing His

chosen to Himself through the sanctifying influences of His Spirit,

must issue in obedience. “If we live in the Spirit,” says Paul,

“let us also walk in the Spirit.” – (Galatians 5:25);  He whose

daily life is irradiated by the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit,

must walk with God like Enoch (Genesis 5:24); before God like

Abraham, in the consciousness of God’s presence; and when we

feel that God’s eye is on us, and God’s presence with us, it must

become more and more the great effort of our life to please Him

in all things, and to do His blessed will.  “Thy will be done” is

the constant prayer of his elect!

 

Ø      And sprinkling of the blood of JESUS CHRIST.   At Sinai Moses

sprinkled with the blood of the covenant, not only the altar, but

the people also. The blood of the Lord Jesus was shed once upon

the cross; but Holy Scripture says of all believers, “Ye are come…

unto the blood of sprinkling” (Hebrews 12:24). “Without shedding

of blood there is no remission.”  The precious blood, once shed

for the sins of the whole world MUST BE APPLIED

INDIVIDUALLY TO EVERY BELIEVER’S SOUL.

 Therefore, St. Peter says that election is “unto the sprinkling of

the blood of Jesus Christ.”   As each individual walks in the light

which streams from the cross; and while he is walking in the light,

THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST IS EXERTING ITS LIVING

POWER, cleansing him daily and hourly from every stain of sin.

 

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” – The Greek

word rendered “blessed” (εὐλογητόςeulogaetos -blessed ) is used by the New

Testament writers only of God; the participle (εὐλογημένοςeulogaemenos

Blessed - is said of men.  Peter adopts the doxology used by Paul in writing to the

Churches at Corinth and Ephesus (II Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3), the last

being one of those to which this Epistle is addressed. It is a question

whether the genitive, “of our Lord Jesus Christ,” depends on both

substantives or only on the last. The Greek will admit either view, and

there are high authorities on both sides. On the whole, the first seems the

most natural interpretation. The Lord Himself had said, “I ascend unto my

Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).

He could not say, “our God,” for the relations are widely different; he

could say, “my God,” as he had said upon the cross; for, in the well-known

words of Theophylact, “he is both the God and the Father of one and the

same Christ; His God, as of Christ manifest in the flesh; His Father, as of

God the Word.” So Paul, after using this same form of salutation in

Ephesians 1:3, speaks of God in the seventeenth verse as “the God of

our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” (compare also Romans 15:6;

II Corinthians 11:31; Colossians 1:3) -“which according to His abundant

mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of

Jesus Christ from the dead,” - Peter refers our regeneration back to the great

fact of the resurrection of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is “the First-begotten of

the dead” (Revelation 1:5); we are “buried with Him in baptism, wherein

also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who

hath raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). The Church, “which

is his body” (Ephesians 1:23), died with Him in His death, rose with Him

in His resurrection. Christians individually are baptized into His death, “that

like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,

 even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). The

resurrection of Christ was in a real sense the birth of the Church. Therefore

Peter, who in ch.3:21 speaks so strongly of the effect of holy baptism, here

refers our regeneration to that without which baptism would be an empty

ceremony, the resurrection of our Lord. God’s great mercy (compare

Ephesians 2:4-5, “God, who is rich in mercy.... hath quickened

us together with Christ”) is the first cause of our new birth, Christ’s

resurrection is the means through which it was accomplished. Peter

alone of the New Testament writers uses the word here rendered “hath

begotten again” (ἀναγεννήσαςanagennaesasbegotten us again);

it occurs also in v. 23. But our Lord Himself, and His apostles James and Paul,

teach the same truth to similar words (see John 3:5; James 1:18; Titus 3:5). Some

commentators, as Luther, Bengel, etc., connect the words, “by the

resurrection,” etc., not with “hath begotten us again,” but with the word

lively” or “living” — a hope that liveth through the resurrection of Jesus

Christ. This connection is grammatically possible, and gives a good and

true meaning; it is THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS

CHRIST  which makes the Christian’s hope living and strong; but

the other explanation seems more natural, and is supported by such passages

as Romans 4:25 and ch.3:21 of this Epistle. The heavenly inheritance is

THE ULTIMATE END OF OUR REGENERATION; the hope of that

inheritance is THE PRESENT JOY OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE! 

 St. Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that when they were without Christ

they had no hope (Ephesians 2:12); but God according to His great mercy begat

us again into a new life, and one important aspect of that new life is hope,

the hope of ever-deepening fellowship with God now, of everlasting life with

God in heaven. That hope is living; it is “pervaded with life, carrying with it in

undying power THE CERTAINTY OF FULFILLMENT!   (Romans 5:5),

and making the heart joyful and happy.  It has life in itself, and gives life, and has

life as its object.  And it liveth, it doth not perish like the hopes of this world, but it

lives on in ever fuller joy till it reaches its consummation in heaven; even there

“hope abideth, forever in heaven there will be, it seems, a continual

progress from glory to glory, nearer and nearer to the throne. St. Peter is

the apostle of hope. He loves the epithet living, and the mention of hope.

 

It is GOD THE FATHER  he would have men praise. No vague, dim, unrelated,

Infinite essence and origin of all things do we worship, but THE FATHER OF

JESUS’ revealed to us in THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST!  (II Corinthians

4:6)  The bottom line is:  Let any inquiring lips ask multitudes above, in blessed

possession of the inheritance of heaven, by what right they hold those high and

priceless possessions; and, taking crowns of dignity and glory from their brows,

and CASTING THEM BEFORE THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN,

their adoring exclamation, is, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from

our sins in His blood,” (Revelation 1:5; 4:10)

 

It is God who fills His people’s hearts with the hope of that inheritance. He

enlightens the eyes of their understanding, that they may know “what is

 the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of HIS

INHERITANCE  in the saints” – “That in the dispensation of the

fullness of times He might gather into one all things in Christ, both

which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” (Ephesians

1:18, 10).

 

This hope of an inheritance from God is PERMANENT!  The blessedness

of that state  will not depend on anything that can decay!  Here our spiritual

blessings have some taint; but in heaven there will be activity without weariness,

love without coldness, hope without fear, purity without doubt, songs without

sighs, light without shade and “that fadeth not away.”

 

God has more than forgiven us!  In His mercy He has “BEGOTTEN

US AGAIN.” The heavenly inheritance is ours by right of birth,

THE NEW BIRTH!  He hath begotten us unto “A LIVELY HOPE!”

And it dieth not; worldly hopes perish and die; they mock us with a

deluding expectation, but they end in disappointment, and leave us sad and

hopeless. “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish:  and

the hope of unjust men perisheth (Proverbs 11:7), often while

they live, ALWAYS WHEN THEY DIE!. But “the righteous hath hope in

his death” (Ibid. ch.14:32); for his hope liveth even in death.  “Verily, verily,

I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall

hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear SHALL LIVE…….

Marvel not at this:  for the hour is coming, in the which all that are

in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that

have done good, unto THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE;  and they

 that have done evil, unto the RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION.” 

(see John 5:24-29)

 

Christs resurrection is the assurance of the believers justification.

 It settled the question with His foes as to who He was. He said He was the

Son of God; they said He made Himself equal with God, and they asked for

some sign by which they could know it, and He replied that they should have

the sign of the Prophet Jonas (Matthew 12:39-41).  He was declared to be the

Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:4).

 “God raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might

be in Him.” (v. 21)  (One other note:  God raising of Christ from the dead is a

commitment to the world that THERE WILL BE A FINAL JUDGMENT

DAY – “He hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world

in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He

hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from

the dead” – Acts 17:31 – CY - 2012)

 

4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not

away,” - The Christian’s hope maketh not ashamed. The inheritance is

sure; it is better than the inheritance promised to Abraham; for it is:

 

·         incorruptible. All things earthly have in themselves the seeds of decay

and death; but “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption”

(I Corinthians 15:54),  the redeemed of the Lord shall receive a

kingdom that cannot be moved, where “neither moth nor rust doth

corrupt.” (Matthew 6:20)

 

·         It is undefiled. The inheritance of Israel was defiled (Leviticus

18:27-28), but into the heavenly inheritance entereth not “anything

that defileth (Revelation 21:27).  Here the trail of the serpent is over

all things; men’s hearts, lives, conversation, bear the taint of evil;

the earth has been marred by the sin of man; there is no earthly beauty,

no earthly possession, free from blemish. The heavenly inheritance is

wholly pure; “the street of the city is pure gold, as it were transparent

glass” (Revelation 21:21); we repeat “nothing that defileth can enter

there.   (Ibid. v. 27).

 

·         It fadeth not away. “The grass withereth, the flower falleth away”

(Isaiah 40:7); it is not so in the “land that is very far off” (Ibid. ch. 33:17).

The crown reserved for its blessed inhabitants is an amaranth wreath

(compare ch. 5:4 - The Greek word there rendered “that fadeth not

away” ἀμαράντινον -  amaravtinoncompossed of amaranth, thus

unfading -  is not exactly the same with that so rendered here - ἀμάραντον

amaranton – unfading – a symbol of perpetuity.   Taken literally, the words

used here mean an amaranthine wreath — a wreath of amaranth flowers;

the general meaning remains the same, “unfading.” Peter is thinking, not

of a kingly crown, but of the wreaths worn on festive occasions or bestowed

on conquerors.).

 

THERE ARE NO TENDENCIES TO CORRUPTION THERE,  NO

POSSIBILITIES OF DEFILEMENT;  not even that fading which must pass

over the fairest things of earth - “reserved in heaven for you,” The many mansions

in our Father’s house have been kept from the beginning, and still are kept for

His elect (John 14:2);  Satan cannot rob them of it, as he robbed man of the earthly

paradise. Some of the Greek commentators find in the words, “in heaven,”

an argument against the millenarians. Some manuscripts read “for us,” but

the received reading is best supported. Peter passes from one person to

another, as Paul often does, sometimes addressing his readers directly,

sometimes including himself among them.

 

 

The Inheritance Reserved for the Heirs (v. 4)

 

The reference to the inheritance is especially appropriate, as following the

designation of Christians as “strangers of the dispersion,” homeless

wanderers in a foreign land. The prospect which made Abraham dwell in

tabernacles, and which shone before Israel during the weary years in the

desert, is held forth to them here. They have been “begotten... unto an

inheritance.” Regeneration points to and issues in the possession of it. If

children, they are heirs (Romans 8:17).  The new life from Christ makes them

“strangers,” throwing them out of harmony with the existing order, and it makes

them “heirs,” giving them a present possession and future heritage in the unseen.

 

·         THE SUBSTANCE OF THE INHERITANCE. No doubt the inheritance

is here represented as future, but not exclusively so. The next verse obviously

takes “salvation” as equivalent to the “inheritance “of this verse. The two

words represent the same reality in two different aspects — the one mainly

under the negative idea of deliverance from evil, healing from sickness,

safety from peril, though it does not altogether exclude the positive

element; the other, under the positive idea of a possession which enriches

spirit, heart, mind, and all tastes and faculties of a perfected humanity.

It is God that brings about both!   He Himself is become our Salvation.

He is our Portion, the only Heritage which enriches the soul. We are “heirs

            of God.” Both the inheritance and the salvation belong alike to the

present and the future. The one is represented here and now by an earnest,

or down payment; the other is begun today, though perfected in heaven.

The earnest is of’ the same nature as the inheritance. The partial salvation

of today is essentially the same as the complete salvation of eternity.

The faintest streak of morning twilight is the same light from the same sun

which at noon floods the sky.

 

·         THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INHERITANCE. If a chrysalis

could think of its butterfly state, it could only picture it as like or unlike its

present. So we can only paint the future with colors supplied by the

present. It is “INCORRUPTIBLE.”  All outward possessions

have the seeds of dissolution and decay in themselves, or can be

decomposed and destroyed by external forces. Perhaps Peter remembered

“where moth and rust do not corrupt” (Matthew 6:20).  Our true treasure,

which is truth, righteousness, a full influx of God Himself into our hearts,

 cannot decay. It is “undefiled.” Some spot of evil is on all beauty, some

flaw in every precious thing, some taint of imperfection or at best some limitation

which is a blemish on all that we have or love here. But this is whiter than the

driven snow, and purer than the sunlight which flashes on it. It fadeth not

away.” The sad stern law that it must droop and shed the glory of its petals

rules each fair flower which we gather, and some of them fade all the faster

because of the grasp of our hot hands. “But this is a flower which cannot

wither.” What of God we possess is not parted from its source, but lives

his life still, though it dwells in us. Therefore it is woven into an

amaranthine garland (v. 4), which makes the brow on which it is twined

immortal as itself.

 

·         THE RESERVATION OF THE INHERITANCE. It is — or rather it

has been from of old — laid up in the heavens. A remarkable expression,

evidently implying that future blessedness is more than “a state,” and that it

has objective elements which are already in existence in the heavens, even

while we who are one day to possess them are toiling and moiling here.

Our inheritance is a real something which is NOW IN EXISTENCE

and which is in so far separate from ourselves that we shall one day have

it as well as be it. The main idea is that of THE SECURITY OF THE

INHERITANCE!   The DIVINE HAND is working on that side of the veil

to keep the inheritance for the heirs, and on this, as the next verse tells us,

to keep the heirs for the inheritance.  Guarded by His hand, it is safe.

“Being in heaven, that calm abode of peace, where changes never come,

nor foes climb, nor thieves break through and steal,” it is safe.   Kept by

God,  and lodged in heaven, our riches cannot perish. He Himself is

our Portion. So if we have Him for our Treasure, and count His knowledge,

His love, His likeness, (“I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy

likeness”(Psalm 17:15) our heaven on earth and our heaven in heaven,

we shall not be without a sufficient allowance to live on as the earnest,

nor fail to be “satisfied,” when we pass into the higher life, with the wealth

which will pour into our souls in the full possession of God.

 

5 “Who are kept by the power of God” - The verb φρουρουμένους  

 phrouroumenoskept, as a military guard - is a military word. “The governor

under Areas the king kept [guarded] the city of the Damascenes with a

garrison” (II Corinthians 11:32); the peace of God shall keep (“guard”

Philippians 4:7) the hearts of those who trust in Him, — they are guarded by a

 heavenly host; “The angel of the Lord encampeth around them that fear

Him;” they are guarded by, or rather, according to the exact rendering,

IN THE POWER OF GOD -  His power is all around them; it is the

sphere in which they live and move; no harm can reach them in that

ALL EMBRACING SHELTER! -   “through faith” - Faith, the evidence

of things not seen  (Hebrews 11:1),  realizes the presence of the heavenly guard,

and gives courage and confidence to the Christian when assailed by temptations

and dangers; the servant of Elisha feared no more the hosts of Syria, when he

saw the mountain full of chariots and horses of fire round about his master (II Kings

6:17).  Faith is the instrument by means of which we grasp the Divine strength, so

that it is made perfect in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9) - “unto salvation

ready to be revealed in the last time.”  By “salvation” Peter means not merely

present deliverance from sin, BUT EVERLASTING LIFE, the joy of our Lord,

the deep, full blessedness of His elect in heaven. Eye hath not seen it yet, it hath

not entered into the heart of man (I Corinthians 2:9).  BUT IT IS READY

TO BE REVEALED!   The veil which now hides it from us will be

withdrawn in the last time, when the LAST PAGE OF THIS WORLD’S

HISTORY shall have been written, when the number of the elect shall

be accomplished, and THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD SHALL

HAVE THEN BEEN FULFILLED!  Then shall thine eyes see the King

in His beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah

33:17).

 

We have a double assurance:

 

o       God preserves our heritage for us!

o       God preserves us for our heritage!

 

·         WHAT WE ARE KEPT FOR. The “salvation ready to be revealed is

equivalent to the “inheritance” spoken of in v. 4. “Salvation” here is of

course used in its fullest meaning — complete and eternal deliverance

from all the ills that flesh is heir to, and all the sins that mar the

spirit, and complete and eternal possession of all the perfection

and blessedness possible to glorified humanity. That complete

flooding out of evil by the inrushing tide of glory is the goal alike of

regeneration (v. 3) and of the sedulous guardianship of God’s grace.

It is but the completion of the begun salvation of earth, as the full corn

in the ear which gladdens the golden harvest-time is of the tiny shoot

peeping above the furrows in bleak, windy March. It is “READY TO

BE REVEALED” says Peter. Possibly the meaning may

be that this “salvation” is conceived of as lying hidden beneath much sin

and imperfection in the hearts of Christians, as the full-spread beech-life

lies wrapped up in the brown cone that braves the winter. The ultimate

completed form of any germ may be said to lie ready to be revealed in its

earliest form, and so may the remotest glories of the perfect salvation of

the future be said to lie hid in the present, waiting for “the manifestation

(revelation; unveiling) of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).  But perhaps,

with more probability, we may regard this expression as in a general way

parallel to the reservation of the inheritance, and. as being a strong metaphor

intended to convey the certainty of our possession of it, if we on our parts

are faithful. Nor must we forget that Christ has gone “to prepare a place”

for us; His entrance into the heavens making heaven ready for us in mysterious

manner, and His abiding there making our entrance there possible. That other

order of things is close around us, enfolding this visible, touching it at every

point. The separation is thin and filmy, nothing solid, ONLY A VEIL!

 A touch of God’s hand on the curtain, and it runs back rattling on its rings,

and ALL THE GLORY BLAZES OUT!   All is ready — ready from

all eternity in the Divine counsels, made ready once for all in time by

Christ’s death and ascension, being made ready in our hearts day by day

by His gracious discipline and indwelling life. At last the veil wilt be done

away and THE SALVATION REVEALED!   What an apocalypse

that will be! If we open our hearts wide for the entrance of Christ’s healing

and upholding power, we shall be made ready to go in with Him to the feast

prepared for believing hearts from of old. (Marriage Supper of the Lamb –

see below – CY – 2012)  Trusting to His death and sharing His life, the

heirs will be kept for the inheritance, and the inheritance for the heirs.

 

         

 

 

6 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice,” -  Is the word “wherein” (ejn w~| - en o) to

be referred to the whole sentence, and to be understood of the Christian’s

present privileges and hopes? Or is it to be taken in a temporal sense with

the words immediately preceding it, “in the last time”? Authorities are

divided. Of those who take the latter view some regard “the last time”

as the object of the Christian’s joyful hope — he rejoices now in the hope

of the glory of God; others give the verb a quasi-future sense — “ wherein

ye will greatly rejoice.” But the former connection seems more natural; the

Christian rejoices in his present and future blessingsin the new birth,

in the hope of the heavenly inheritance, in the assured protection of God.

The verb (ἀγαλλιᾶσθεagalliastheto rejoice greatly; exult) is a strong

expression; it means “to exult, to leap for joy.” St. Peter may have had in his

thoughts the well-remembered sermon on the mount, where the same word

occurs (Matthew 5:12), and, as here, in connection with sorrows and persecutions.

It is used of our Lord Himself in Luke 10:21, of the Philippian jailer’s joy in his

newborn faith (Acts 16:34), as well as of the joy of the blessed in heaven

(Revelation 19:7). There is, therefore, nothing unsuitable in taking the verb in its

proper present signification; the Christian’s experience is often, like St. Paul’s,

“sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (II Corinthians 6:10).  Some commentators,

following St. Augustine, regard the verb as imperative - “though now for a

season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:”

The word rendered “for a season” (ὀλίγονoligonlittle; short; small)

may mean that the present suffering is but little compared with the future glory;

it may cover both meanings (compare II Corinthians 4:17, “Our light affliction,

 which is but for a moment”). Peter, like Paul, enforces the lesson that that light

affliction, which seems sometimes so heavy, is sent in love and wisdom; the words,

“if need be,” imply his belief that these trials were necessary for his readers’

salvation — they would work for them “a far more exceeding and eternal

 weight of glory.” The words, “ye are in heaviness,” represent the aorist

participle λυπηθέντες, - lupaethentes being sorrowful -  having been put

to grief; it refers to definite afflictions, known to Peter, which had been suffered

by those to whom he is writing. The words, “manifold temptations,” remind us

 of James 1:2.

 

True joy is a solid, grave thing; it dwells more in the heart than in the countenance;

whereas, on the contrary, base and false joys are but superficial, skin-deep (as we

say); they are all in the face.  And it is full of glory, glorified with a

foretaste of the glory that is to be revealed; for they who have that joy are

spoken of as even now receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of souls.

Peter was possibly quoting our Lord’s words to His persecuted people,

Rejoice and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:

for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew

5:12)  Through Christ we have the immunity from fear and an escape from

the miseries of self-will.  The will is never bowed into submission without

being softened in the furnace, and there is no real goodness but from a

submissive will. The props round which the heart twines its tendrils have to

be cut down, that it may fasten itself on the only true support. Only when

we have nothing else to lean on do we lean all our weight on Him.

 

 

·         THE JOY OF THE CHRISTIAN.

 

Ø      It is great. He rejoices in hope; he exults when the blessed hope lives

clear and bright in his heart; he strives to “hold fast the rejoicing of

the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6).

 

Ø      But that joy is often amid tears; for man is born to trouble

as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7); suffering is the lot of all men,

“every  man the plague of his own heart” (I Kings 8:38); and

Christians have their own peculiar trials: “we must through

much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).

Those to whom St. Peter wrote were suffering a great trial of

affliction: the apostle comforts them, bidding them look away, as far

as might be, from their earthly troubles to the joyful hope of

everlasting life.

 

Heaviness is said to be the proving of our faith.  That gives a new aspect to heaviness.

Heaviness is the time when we show what we are. (One of the Seven Principles of

Adversity by David M. Fryson is Adversity will make you bitter or better.  Also,

I have on my desk a saying given to me by Todd Burden on December 20, 1996,

which says Adversity is God’s own too, to shape the man by chipping away the

 fool. – CY – 2012)  Then we are being watched. Heaven and earth are gathered

around us then, God and Satan looking on, and the Divine honor and joy are at stake.

What a solemn, sublime moment that!

 

The unfolding of this mystery begins in Divine joys on earth. It is

possible to anticipate heaven, to receive now the salvation of our souls, and

heaviness may be the means to this. Then blessed heaviness! The storm may

bring us to the very shore of eternal bliss, and though as yet we cannot

land, its sacred chimes may be our music even now.

 

7 “That the trial of your faith,” – The words of v. 6, “if need be,” point to the

purpose and end of the temptations. St. Peter proceeds to develop his meaning.

The word rendered “trial” (δοκίμιον dokimiontrial - or δυκιμεῖον

dukimeion) means rather “test or proof;” it is explained by Dionysius of

Halicarnassus (‘Rhet.,’ I1) as that at which, when one looks, he is able to form a

judgment. Cremer says it is “not only the means of proof itself, e.g. the

touchstone, but also the trace of the metal left thereon. Hence here and in

James 1:3 τό δοκίμιον τῆς πίστεως – to dokimion taes pisteostrying

of your faith - is the result of the contact of faith with temptations, that in virtue

of which faith is recognized as genuine — the verification of faith.” Dr. Heft

(‘Notes on Select Readings’) prefers the reading to< do>kimon, which is given

by two of the better cursives. He says, “τὸ δοκίμιον is the instrument of trial,

not even the process of trial, much less the thing tried; while it is only the thing

tried that can be compared, as here, to gold refined in the fire.” Compare the

use of the cognate word δοκιμή - dokimaetestedness; proof -  in

 II Corinthians 2:9; Romans 5:4; Philippians 2:22 - “being much more precious

than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,” - rather, as in the

Revised Version, more precious than gold. Gold is the most precious of

metals, FAITH IS MORE PRECIOUS FAR; the proof of faith is more

momentous beyond all comparison than the proof of gold. Gold perishes;

but “Now abideth faith, hope, charity,” says the apostle (I Corinthians 13:13).

Gold is tried with fire; as by the purifying fire gold is purged of dross (Isaiah 1:25),

so by the refining fire of temptations the faithful are cleansed from pride and

self-reliance and the pollutions of sin -  “might be found unto praise and

honor and glory” - “Might be found” at the judgment, in the searching investigation

of the great day. -Praise; in words,  “Well  done, good and faithful servant”

(Matthew 25:21,23).  Honor in the distinctions granted to the faithful — the crown

of righteousness, the white robe, the palm. Glory; the glory which was Christ’s

before the world was,  which He giveth to His chosen (John 17:22) - at the

appearing of Jesus Christ:”-  rather, revelation. Now we see Him only by faith;

then His elect shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2) — the veil will be withdrawn

(see v. 5).

 

8 “Whom having not seen, ye love;” -  Some ancient manuscripts read

οὐκ εἰδότεςouk eidotes -  “although ye know him not:” but the reading

οὐκ ἰδόντες ouk idontesnot seen; not perceiving; - is best supported, and

gives the better sense. The Christians of Asia Minor had not seen the gracious

face of the Lord, as Peter had. But though they had never known Him after the

 flesh, THEY HAD KNOW HIM BY THE INNER KNOWLEDGE OF

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION  and, having learned to love Him, had

attained the blessing promised to those who had not seen, but yet had

believed. (John 20:29).  Peter may possibly be thinking of his well-remembered

interview with the risen Lord (Ibid. ch. 21:15-17). He has here the word

ἀγαπᾶνagapanlove - expressive of reverential love, which Christ had

used in His first two questions; not the word of warm human affection (φιλεῖν

phileintender affection ) which he himself had employed in his three answers –

“in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy

unspeakable and full of glory:”  The words, “in whom” (εἰς ὅνeis hon

literally, “on whom now not looking, but believing”), are to be taken with the

participles “seeing” and “believing,” not with “ye rejoice.” St. Peter insists

on the necessity and blessedness of faith as earnestly as St. Paul does, though

with him the antithesis is rather between faith and sight than between faith and

works. As a fact, Peter’s readers had never seen the Lord; now, though not

seeing Him with the outward eye, they realized His presence by faith, and in

that presence they rejoiced. The verb is that used in v. 6 — they rejoiced greatly,

they exulted, and that though they saw Him not. Human love needs the seen

presence of the beloved one to complete the fullness of its joy (II John 1:12);

but their joy was even amid afflictions unspeakable — like all our deepest

and holiest feelings, not to be expressed in words; and it was glorified by

the unseen presence of Christ. His chosen behold even now, as in a glass,

the glory of the Lord, and, beholding, are changed into the same image

from glory to glory  (II Corinthians 3:18).  Joy in the Lord is a foretaste

 of the joy of heaven, and is irradiated by glimpses OF THE GLORY

THAT SHALL BE REVEALED!   Others, as Huther and Alford, again

give to the verb ἀγαλλιᾶσθεagalliasthe -  ye rejoice -  a quasi-future

sense. The word  (ἀνεκλαλητός - aneklalaetos - unspeakable) is found

only here.

 

Thousands in every age since have cherished a passionate attachment to Jesus,

wholly unlike what is evoked by any one else. Time and distance seem to be

powerless to diminish it. It is no tepid affection; it is no idle sentiment. Those who

cherish it aver that it lies at the foundation of their lives. It rules, guides,

stimulates. It is the mother of heroisms and of patience. It sheds light on all

dark places. It mates and masters the fear of death. The stake and the

gibbet, the dungeon and the rack, are powerless to repel those whom it

attracts. It brings peace and hope, holiness and wisdom. It conquers the

soul, and makes it conqueror of sin, time, and the universe. And all this

passionate ardor of love which transforms the heart it enters is called out

by and lavished on a Man who died twenty centuries ago!  Confidence and love

have always been the bonds of union between men, which alone have made

human society better than a den of hyenas. They are the bonds which unite

us to God. Christ asks no more of us than that we should transfer to him the

emotions and affections which we have lavished on one another, and let the

tendrils cling and climb, and grow and bear fruit. From His cross, from His throne,

he asks of each, Lovest thou me?” Though our eyes have not seen Him, our

hearts need not falter in the answer, “Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee.”

(John 21:15).

 

9 “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

The present participle (κομιζόμενοιkomizomenoi - receiving) implies that

The believer realizes the deep blessing of salvation gradually while he is being

saved as one of τοὺς σωζόμενοι tous  sozomenoithe ones being saved –

(Acts 2:47).  Salvation is present as well as future. “By grace ye are saved

 through faith” (Ephesians 2:8); “According to His mercy he saved us”

(Titus 3:5). God’s elect receive it in various measures NOW,  in its

BLESSED FULNESS IT WILL BE MANIFESTED HEREAFTER!

 It is the end which faith ever holds in view, pressing towards it as the prize

of the high calling (Philippians 3:14).  IT IS SALVATION ESPECIALLY

OF SOULS!

 

In vs. 8-9, the language clearly co-ordinates “believing” and “receiving” as

contemporaneous. Both are regarded as continuous, not single acts, done

and done with, but as the standing characteristics of the Christian life. If

continuous, they will be progressive; faith will become stronger, and, as it

grows, salvation will be more fully possessed. For faith is receptivity, the

opening of the door, and its degree, the width of the opening, settles how

much “salvation” will enter. SALVATION IS PAST, PRESENT AND

FUTURE  — and in all epochs one in essence, however various in degree

and form. Here and now we may possess the beginning “of the end of our

 faith,” even the salvation of our souls, though the full salvation of body, soul,

and spirit has to be waited for till the coming of the Lord. Surely that present

salvation may well put into our hands a full cup of gladness. The consciousness of

forgiveness; the sense of friendship with Christ; the assurance that all the

sky is clear, and nowhere in the universe of things present or to come any

cloud that can ever break in storm on our heads; the growing possession of

holy desires, pure thoughts, and Christ-like character; the refining of the

nature; and the hopes full of immortality which spring from present

communion with Him, and conquer death, and pour a great light of

peacefulness into the grave; — surely these precious pearls, melted in the

draught which the hand of faith receives from Christ, may well make sad

hearts forget their misery, and rejoice as they drink, “with joy unspeakable

and full of glory.”

 

10 “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched

diligently,” -  rather, prophets inquired and searched. There is no article, and

the verbs are aorist.  Peter illustrates THE GLORY AND GREATNESS OF

OUR SALVATION (mark how he loves to repeat the word) by showing that it

was the subject of the searching STUDY OF PROPHETS and of THE

CONTEMPLATION OF ANGELS.   Peter was a diligent student of the

prophetic books, and constantly quotes them, both in his Epistles and in his

speeches recorded in the Acts. Here he gives us a very remarkable glimpse into

the conditions of the prophetic consciousness. The SCHEME OF OUR

SALVATION was in some way revealed to the prophets; the mode of the

revelation, whether by vision or otherwise, is not made known to us. Every point

of contact between the infinite and the finite is enveloped in mystery; we can only

know the fact — there was such a revelation. That salvation was so magnificent a

prospect that it concentrated upon itself the rapt attention and deepest interest of

those to whom the promise was revealed. Prophets inquired and searched

diligently. The revelation was real, but it was not complete, not distinct in

its details. God revealed so much of the coming salvation as was sufficient

to support His servants in their trials, and to quicken their faith in THE

MESSIAH.  Prophets searched diligently, as miners seeking treasure; they

prayed, and thought, and meditated, and exercised all their intellectual

energies in the effort to comprehend the revelation which had been

vouchsafed to them. Daniel was a remarkable example of this searching

(Daniel 7:16; 9:2-3). The revelation came to the prophet from God; the

prophet received it, but could not comprehend it in all its depth and height

— he searched diligently.

 

“Thoughts beyond their thoughts

To those high bards were given.”

(‘Christian Year.’)

 

(Compare the song of Zacharias, Luke 1:68-79) -“who prophesied of the grace

that should come unto you:”  He defines the prophets, of whom he speaks as

those who prophesied of the favor of God manifested in the redemption of

mankind through His blessed Son. “GRACE AND TRUTH CAME BY

JESUS CHRIST!”  (John 1:17).  Paul loved to dwell on the grace of God; so

did St. Peter.

 

11 “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which

was in them did signify,” -  or, as the Revised Version, did point unto.

The Authorized Version neglects the preposition εἰς - eisunto.  The apostle

says that the Spirit of Christ dwelt in the prophets. The words πνεῦμα Ξριστοῦ -

pneuma ChristouSpirit of Christ - cannot mean the Spirit which bears witness

of Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (see Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6).

He is not only sent from the Father by the Son, but He proceedeth from the Father

and the Son. This important statement involves also the pre-existence and the

Divinity of Christ (compare John 8:56, 58; I Corinthians 10:4; Jude 5, in the best-

supported reading). The prophets felt within them the working of the Spirit

(II Peter 1:20-21).  They knew that the mysterious voice which filled their

souls was His voice. Its utterances were not always clear; they were sometimes

obscure and mystical, but the heart of the prophets was stirred to the utmost;

they sought with earnest prayer and devout thought into the purposes of God

announced in the revelation.  Especially they asked, as the apostles asked the

Lord on the Mount of Olives, “When shall these things be, and what shall be

the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)  At what

time would the Messiah be revealed?  What would be the distinctive character,

 the marks, the signs, of that time? - “when it testified beforehand the

sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” - rather, the sufferings

for Christ (destined for Christ), and the glories after these. Compare Peter’s speech

(Acts 3:18), “Those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all His

prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” So Paul, in his

speech before King Agrippa (Acts 26:22, 23), asserts that he had said

“none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should

come: that Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should

rise from the dead.” The doctrine of a suffering Messiah was a stumbling

block to the Jews. The apostles could not understand it till after the

Savior’s resurrection; Peter himself had recoiled from it with horror, and

had been rebuked by the Lord (Matthew 16:22-23); now, taught by the

Spirit, he understands the fore-shadowings of the sufferings of Christ, which

the Spirit of Christ had testified to the prophets. The Lord Himself had

expounded, on the day of His resurrection, the things concerning Himself,

beginning at Moses and all the prophets: “Ought not Christ,” He said, “to

have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26).

 

The sufferings of Christ involved taking our nature that He should suffer; as

Son of man He accepted the human lot. But there were pains and griefs

peculiar to Himself; He was the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with

grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

 

  • Christ suffered mentally.  These were many and sore, and only partially

comprehensible by us. They arose from the contact of the Holy One with

sin and sinners; the misunderstanding of His character and mission even by

His own beloved and trained disciples; His rejection by His countrymen,

who should have been foremost in welcoming Him. They arose from the

unique burden which he bore for us, the unique sacrifice which with tears

and blood He presented as our High Priest.

 

  • Christ suffered physically.  Jesus shared throughout His humiliation the

sinless infirmities of those whose lot He accepted with the view of securing

their salvation. But the reference in this and similar passages is unquestionably

to those pathetic and awful experiences which our Savior deigned to

undergo during the last hours of His life, when his form was bruised

and pierced, when His blood was shed for us.

 

12 “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us

they did minister the things,” - It was revealed to them, whether in

answer to their search as in the case of Daniel, or as part of the original

revelation made to them, that the vision was for many days (Daniel

10:14). Compare Peter’s quotations from the prophetic Scriptures in

Acts 2:17, 31; 3:24. The best manuscripts read here, “unto you.” The

prophets, doubtless, like Abraham, rejoiced to see the day of Christ; they

saw it by faith, and were glad (John 8:56); but they saw it in the far

distance (Hebrews 11:13); they desired to see and hear what the apostles

saw and heard, but the time was not yet (see Matthew 13:16-17). They did

 minister the things; i.e. they were made the instruments of revealing them;

they presented them to the devout for their spiritual food and support - 

“which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel

unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;” –  rather, which were

 now reported to you through them that preached the gospel unto you (literally,

evangelized you) by the Holy Ghost. St. Peter claims for those who evangelized

Asia Minor (St. Paul and his companions) the same authority which was possessed

by the ancient prophets; they preached as fulfilled the great truths which the

prophets foretold as future. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets; the same

Spirit worked and preached through the apostles; nay, He dwelt in them in

fuller measure, for He had been sent down from heaven on the great Day of

Pentecost, and it was by His aid that the apostles and evangelists preached –

“which things the angels desire to look into.”  The salvation which God’s elect

receive is so full of glory and mysterious beauty, that not only did the prophets

of old search diligently, BUT EVEN ANGELS (there is no article) DESIRE

TO LOOK INTO IT.  The verb παρακύψαιparakupsai - means “to stoop

sideways;” it is used of persons standing outside a place who stoop in order

to look in. “The παρά - para - of the verb, indicates that the angels stand

outside the work of redemption, inasmuch as it is not for them, but for man

(compare Hebrews 2:16).  The same verb occurs in James 1:25; John 20:5, 11;

Luke 24:12, in which last place it is used of Peter himself, when he

stooped to look into the empty sepulcher on the morning of the Lord’s

resurrection. Paul has a similar thought in Ephesians 3:10, “To the

intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might

be known by the Church THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD!”  The

attitude of the golden cherubim, whose wings covered the mercy-seat and

whose faces were toward it (Exodus 25:20), seems to imply the same rapt,

reverent attention.  (Compare Isaiah 6:1-3)

 

There were angels in the heavens when there where shepherds in the fields, and

not only Wise Men from the East but “bright, harnessed” seraphs came as pilgrims

to Bethlehem at Christ’s birth. There were angels in the tomb while weeping women

stood without at His death. Prophets heralded His coming; evangelists told that He

had come; and both were taught by the Spirit, whose chief office in the past and in

the present is to take of the things of Christ, and to show them to us. Thus

round Him move all ages; to Him turn all eyes; of Him speaks all revelation;

for MAN’S SALVATION IS THE CROWNING WORK OF GOD, and

Christ effects man’s salvation. Note, then, in this grand utterance four sets of

persons, all concerned in that great work:

 

o       Prophet heralds

o       Answering choirs of Evangelists

o       The gazing angels

 

And it was the “Spirit of Christ” which dwelt in the prophets, and which they ever

called “the Spirit of the Lord.” From the beginning the Word was God  (John 1);

the  manifested Jehovah of the old covenant is the Jesus Christ of the new. He is the

Lord and Sender of that Spirit which spoke through all the prophets; He is the

Medium of all revelation, the Self-manifestation of God from eternity. It is

Christ who binds all the ages into one, filling the past, the present, and the

future. It is Christ who binds all worlds and beings into one, revealing and

ruling for angels and men. It is Christ who is the Theme and the Inspiration

of all prophets and all teachers. To Him cherubim and seraphim turn with

eager gaze. The goodly fellowship of prophets speak of Him; of Him speak

the great company who publish the Word. Let us, too, yield to the

attraction of the cross, which binds all things in heaven and earth in golden

unity. Let us gaze on those wonders of Divine pity and righteousness and

love which have given to heaven a new conception of God. Let us open

our spirits to that Spirit of Christ whose dwelling in our hearts shall set us

free from sin and death. Let us cleave to that message which, in the history

of His incarnation, death, and royal glories, brings to our hearts the good

news that sheds light over all the darkest places of our human experience,

and endows us with full salvation.

 

The Deep Interest Taken in That Hope and Joy (vs. 10-12)

 

·         By the prophets. Christians are often apathetic: they do not realize the

exceeding glory and grandeur of the joy that is set before them; their hearts

are dull and cold. It was not so with the prophets. They saw not what the

apostles saw; but the Spirit of Christ was in them; it testified of the

sufferings of Christ and His after-glories. They inquired and searched

diligently by prayer and devout thought, like Habakkuk (Habakkuk

2:1) and the psalmist (Psalm 85:8); or sometimes by study and reading,

like Daniel (Daniel 9:2). We should imitate them; we should search the

Scriptures, (Jesus said, “Search the scriptures for in them ye

think ye have life and they are they which testify of me”  (John

5:39).  We should meditate and watch and pray. We should every day

fix our hearts in devout contemplation on the sufferings of Christ;

we should lift up our souls to behold in thankful adoration the glories of the

risen, ascended Lord. Very sacred and precious must be the mysteries of

our salvation which attracted the concentrated attention of those holy

men.  They saw the facts of our Lord’s life and death afar off; we have

received the gospel from eye-witnesses speaking by the power of the Holy

Ghost sent down from heaven. That Holy Ghost, the Comforter, once sent

By Christ from the Father (John 15:26), abides forever with the faithful; He

will guide us into all truth (John 16:13); if we search for it like the

prophets, He will lead us nearer and nearer to the Savior.

 

·         By the angels. But higher intelligences than the prophets are interested

in the scheme of our salvation. The blessed angels long to look into these

things, and that with rapt fixed attention. The mystery of godliness,

manifest in the flesh, was seen of angels (I Timothy 3:16). They watched

the great facts in the history of redemption; they delight to contemplate the

progress of the gospel now. They watch with intensest interest the great

truggle between good and evil in the world, and as each ransomed soul,

drawn by the power of the cross, turns to God, there is joy in the

 presence of the angels of God” (Luke 15:10).  How strange that men,

for whom the Lord Jesus died, SHOULD BE SO COLD AND

LISTLESS while angels, of whom he took not hold as he taketh hold of the

seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16, Revised Version), look so eagerly into the

GREAT TRUTHS OF OUR REDEMPTION!   They are our fellow-servants

(Revelation 22:9); we shall be their fellow-students, if we take example from

them, and study with love and awe and reverence THE LIFE, THE

DEATH, THE RESURRECTION OF HIM WHO LOVED US EVEN

UNTO DEATH!

 

In these verses the interest in salvation is represented as extending through the past

ages of time and through the whole universe of God.  To benevolent minds no

employment could be more congenial than to convey, upon Divine authority, declarations

of God’s favor, promises of Divine mercy, to the sinful and pitiable sons of men.

The unfallen angels, who, not having sinned, need for themselves no salvation, are

nevertheless students of the Divine plan for the recovery of sinful men. Yet that

gospel is for the hearers of the Word — FOR MEN OF EVERY RANK AND

EVERY CHARACTER.. And surely it deserves and demands that those

who may most benefit by it should give it their most reverent and grateful

attention. If the gifted and the holy find a sacred joy in pondering the provisions

of God’s love and mercy, how urgently does it become the sinful and the helpless

to give heed to tidings which offer to them a gracious pardon, a spiritual

cleansing,  and a deathless life!

 

 

SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST THE SUBJECT OF OLD

TESTAMENT PREPARATION (vs. 10-12)

 

The work of the prophets was not so much for their own day and dispensation as for

our day; they knew there was a deeper meaning in what they were impelled to say

than they were conscious of intending; it was clear to them that they, centuries

beforehand, were really working for New Testament times. That is, Christianity is no

modern invention; it is not a step in the upward movement of the race dating back to

Jesus of Nazareth, and now to be left behind as the race advances beyond it.

Christianity dates from the beginning, ITS BASIS IS A DIVINE WORK (Yea –

even before the creation of the world!  Revelation 13:8 – CY – 2012),  of

preparation carried on through all the ages that were before it, and “when

the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians

4:4).  Our text, however, does not take us further than this — that salvation was

The subject of Old Testament preparation. It is no heresy of the modern

Church; it did not originate with Paul; it is not an idea of Jesus; it dates

back through all the Old Testament that the world’s redemption should

spring from a Savior suffering and then glorified. (Revelation 13:8; 17:8)

 

·         Old Testament events were but steps leading up to it. Promised in

Eden, again to Noah, again with additions to Abraham and to Isaac and

to Jacob, etc. Prepared for in the work of Moses, in the calling out and

training of Israel, to the choice of their land, in their being made the

depositary of Divine truth, in the lives of David, Solomon, and the

prophets, in the scattering of the Jews, in their connection with Roman

power and Greek literature; all these were but, like the Baptist, preparing

the way of the Lord.

 

·         Old Testament prophecies were but the heralds of salvation through

Christ. Whatever the origin of sacrifice by blood, it goes back to the first

family; and since they were accepted by God — and it would be strange

indeed for man to anticipate this great method of salvation — we regard

them as pre-figures of THE SACRIFICE OF THE LAMB OF GOD!

 Later on they were developed in the elaborate Jewish ritual — atonement,

high priest; mediation, entrance into the holiest, sprinkling of blood, etc. In

the psalmists and prophets there is a yet further development of this — the

nature, the date, the birthplace, the character, the work, the death, the

resurrection, the universal reign of the Messiah, ARE DRAWN IN

OUTLINE so that “beginning at Moses and all the prophets,”

(Luke 24:27)   SALVATION IN CHRIST, therefore, is the termination

of a wondrous system promoted from the beginning, and was, after being

worked out, “the mystery which from the beginning hath been hid

 in God according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ

Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:9,11)  (AND TO THINK THAT WE

ARE THE “BENEFICIARIES! – Certainly, “Worthy is the Lamb

that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and

strength, and honor and glory and blessing…….Blessing, and

honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the

throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” – Revelation 5:12-13

I recommend Agnes Dei on You Tube – CY – 2012)

 

 

   Salvation Through Christ is the Subject of Angelic Research (v. 12)

 

 “Which things the angels desire to look into.” This is another evidence of the

sublimity of the salvation offered in this book. The word is a graphic one, descriptive

of the idea of bending down and fixing an intense, searching gaze on something, as

when John stooped down and looked into the sepulcher; Peter may have been

thinking of that.  (My two year old grandson, when outside, is often bending over

and looking at something and asking “What is this?”  O, that we had the

curiosity of a two year old, when it comes to spiritual matters, ESPECIALLY

WHEN IT COMES TO ONE’S OWN SOUL!  - CY – 2012)

 

·         The angels have vast privileges, yet they seem to envy the knowledge

granted to us. They have all the blessings of a sinless state in God’s

presence, but they look down on THE MYSTERIES OF GRACE revealed

to us, as though coveting the revelation.

 

·         The angels have great acquaintance with God, yet apparently they

discern the greatest revelation of Him here. They are familiar with nature

and heaven, but

 

“God in the person of His Son

Hath all His mightiest works outdone.”

 

“To the principalities and powers in heavenly places may be known by the

Church the manifold wisdom of God.” (Ephesians 3:10)  God plans to unite

the heavenly beings with the earthly beings in “One” according to (Ibid. ch. 1:10)

 

·         The angels have wonderful faculties of insight, yet there is more here

than they can fathom. Such is the fullness of the gospel that they are still

far from comprehending it.  (WHY THEN DOES MAN TAKE IT SO

LIGHTLY? – CY – 2012)

 

13 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,” -  Peter sums up in

the word “wherefore” all the blessings, privileges, and hopes which he has

enumerated; on these he founds his exhortations. Gird up. The word

ἀναζωσάμενοι anazosamenoi - literally, girding up, tucking up long

garments by the help of a girdle”) occurs in no other place of the New Testament.

But the same metaphor, expressed in similar words, is common. Peter alludes,

doubtless, to the Lord’s exhortation, “Let your loins be girded about”

(Luke 12:35); perhaps also the solemn words of John 21:18, “signifying by what

death he should glorify God,” were present to his thoughts. The loins of

your mind. Peter often explains a metaphor by adding a genitive or

adjective; so “milk of the Word; .... hidden man of the heart;” amaranthine

wreath of glory” (ch. 2:2; 3:4; here – v. 4)).  Διάνοια Dianoia - translated

“mind,” is the reflective faculty. The Christian must reflect, and that with

intense exertion of thought, (compare the close scrutiny which angels look

upon salvation – v. 12) - on the glory of his hopes, on the greatness of his

 responsibilities; he must seek to love God with all his mind  -

ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ - holae tae dianoia), as well as with all his heart and soul -

(Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30) -  “be sober,” -  He does not say,

“Denounce pleasures! despise pleasures! abstain from and abjure pleasures!” but,

“Be sober!” Not only in food and drink, but in the various enjoyments and pursuits

of life, it behooves the follower of Jesus to practice moderation, self-restraint, and

prudence.  “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions

unto them for whom nothing is prepared”  (Nehemiah 8:10).  The Christian

must be sober in his use of the gifts of God; he must be sober also in his habits of

thought; he should preserve a calm, collected temper. Christian enthusiasm should be

thoughtful, not excited and disorderly (compare II Thessalonians 2:2; 3:11-12) –

“Girding up the loins,” and “being sober” are difficult to distinguish. But the

 former enjoins determined effort, the bracing up of all one’s powers, or, as we

say, “pulling one’s self together.” Travelers, servants, soldiers, have to tighten

their belts and confine loose robes. A slackly braced mind has not force enough

to cherish a perfect hope. There are many difficulties in its way, and vigorous

effort is needed to concentrate the mind and heart on the truth which warrants it.

All Christian virtue needs determined effort. Earthly hopes will not be

vigorous unless the intrusive present is shut out by resolute effort, and the

attention kept fixed on the future. The completeness of Christian hope depends

on rigid self control!  “Be sober” means “keep a tight hand on all desires

and tastes, especially on animal passions and appetites.” Our hopes are

 regulated by our DESIRES!   We have a limited amount to expend, and if

we bestow it on things of time and sense, we shall have none to spare for the

unseen. If we pour the precious ointment on the heads of earthly loves,

there  will be none with which to anoint our true Lover and King -

“and hope to the end” -  rather, perfectly, with a full, unwavering, constant hope.

It is better to take the adverb τελείως teleios -  with the verb ἐλπίσατε –-

elipisate - hope  - than with νήφοντεςnaephontes -  be perfectly sober –

“for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of

Jesus Christ;” - The Christian’s hope must be directed to, set towards (ἐπί

with accusative), the continual growth in grace (“He giveth more grace,”

James 4:6). That grace is being brought now, being borne in upon the soul in the

present revelation of Jesus Christ. “It pleased God,” says Paul (Galatians 1:16),

“to reveal his Son in me.” So now the Lord manifests Himself to those who

walk in the path of loving obedience. Each gift of grace kindles the hope of a

nearer manifestation, a fuller revelation; grace is continually brought, till at length

the full unspeakable gift of grace is realized at THE GLORIOUS

REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST AT HIS SECOND ADVENT!

This seems better than to give the present participle φερομένην-

pheromenaenbrought - a future sense, and to understand the revelation of

Jesus Christ only of His final coming in glory.

 

We have a very unusual designation for that object, namely, grace.”

Usually the future blessings are called glory, and in common religious

language, “grace and “glory” are contrasted, as belonging to earth and

heaven. Here clearly “grace” means the whole sum of the blessings to be

bestowed in another life, and is equivalent to the “salvation ready to be

revealed” spoken of in v.5. The unusual expression teaches us

that the glories of our ultimate exaltation in all their splendor are purely

gratuitous and the product of the undeserved love and liberality of our

God. The whole Christian career from first to last owes all it enjoys,

possesses, or hopes to “grace.” The substantial identity of the Christian

character here and there is also implied. Glory is but grace perfected; grace

is incipient glory. The gift is one here and there, only the measure varies.

What is a spark now, almost smothered sometimes under green wood,

flames out ruddy and triumphant then.

 

That ultimate grace IS ON ITS WAY TO US!   It is “being brought!”

The same word is used to describe the onward-moving rush of the mighty wind

of Pentecost (Acts 2:2).  It is as if some strong angel-choir had already begun

their flight with this great gift in their hands, and were hasting with all the power

of their majestic pinions to this small island in the deep. (See Fantastic Trip

on the Internet – CY – 2012).  The light from fixed stars may take centuries to

reach us, but is speeding through space all the while. So that “great far-off

DIVINE EVENT” is coming steadily nearer, as if some star, at first a point in

the distance, should take motion towards us and at last pour all its splendor

on our eyes. A solemn but invigorating thought, fitted to brighten hope and

kindle desire that “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

(Romans 13:11)  Grace is God’s free gift!  There is a priceless power in God

Himself discharging our liabilities by the atonement of His own blood, and thus

saving the unthankful and evil, the outcast and lost, for nothing.  There is evident

stress on the words, “to you.” The expression seems to look back to vs. 10-12.

Divine truths were in their dawning in the Old Testament, but they are

brought to light in the New. Compared with what has to be revealed, it is

darkness; for that which is the expression of God’s boundless love, and the

full reward of the atonement, will need enlarged capacities for its

perception AND ALL ETERNITY FOR ITS RECEPTION,  but compared

with what was revealed before New Testament times, it is brightness. It  is

continuous and increasing with the revelation of Jesus Christ!  IT IS A

PROLONGED, UNCEASING AND EVER-ENLARGING BESTOWMENT!

 

Some things, like corn on the surface of the earth, are easily gathered, but for

gold and gems we must dig.  Some of us have so little of God’s grace because

we have NO SYSTEMATIC, LEISURELY, DELIBERATE, PRAYERFUL

STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES!  We think only a star is in question when

there is a whole galaxy to be discerned!

 

Hope may exist in all degrees from a tremulous “perhaps” up to “I am sure.”

Usually it is less than certainty. It is possible for a Christian to have this perfect

Hope.  God’s fixed and faithful Word gives us CERTAINTY OF THE

FUTURE! Nor need our own sin or, weakness dash our confidence, for

His promises are made to the sinful and weak.. Not to hope is

UNBELIEF!  Some good people say “I hope” in such tremulous melancholy

tones that it sounds liker “I FEAR.” Joyous confidence becomes those who

have God to lean on. “I am persuaded” (II Timothy 1:12), “we know,”

(I John 2:3; 3:2,14,19,24; 4:6,13; 5:2,15, 18-20) are the words with

which Paul and John heralded their hopes; and we should be bold to use

the same. It is blessedness to hope perfectly. So we escape the alternations

which, like the hot and the shivering fits of ague, rack others, and the

bitterness of disappointment when some gleaming vision collapses, and,

instead of the rainbow-hued bubble, we are left with a drop of dirty water.

He who lives by earthly hopes is in danger of dying by earthly

disappointments!

 

14 “As obedient children,” -  rather, children of obedience (compare Ephesians

2:2-3; 5:8; also II Peter 2:14; II Thessalonians 2:3; Luke 16:8).  This mode

of expression is to be traced to the more lively imagination of the Orientals,

by which the most intimate connection (derivation from and dependence

on) — even when the reference is to what is not material — is viewed

under the image of the relation of son or child to parent. Hence ‘children

of disobedience’ are those who belong to disobedience as a child to his

mother — disobedience having become their nature, their predominant

disposition”-  “not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts

in your ignorance:” The remarkable word συσχηματιζόμενοι

sunschaematizomenoifashioning; conforming - seems to be an

echo of Romans12:2, the only other place where it occurs. It implies that

men who live in sensual lusts take up the likeness of those lusts into

themselves, and are made, not as man was at first, after the likeness of

God, but after the likeness of those lusts of the flesh which are not of the

Father, but are of the world  (I John 2:15-17).  The word “ignorance” is to

be taken closely with “lusts” — “the former lusts which were in the time of

your ignorance.” It seems to imply that Peter is addressing Gentiles as well

as Jews; for, though ignorance is attributed to the Jews (Acts 3:17; Romans 10:3;

I Timothy 1:13), it was ignorance, not of the moral law, as here, but of the

PERSON AND OFFICE OF CHRIST!   The Jews had the oracles of God;

they knew His will (Romans 2:17; 3:2; compare also Ephesians 4:18 and Acts

17:30).

 

15 “But as He which hath called you is holy,” - rather, after the pattern of

the Holy One who called you. The calling is the fulfillment of the election:,

“Whom He did predestinate, them He also called” (Romans 8:30).  The

Christian’s effort must be to fashion himself, by God’s grace, after the likeness

of God. not according to the former lusts (compare Matthew 5:45, 48; also

Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24 - “so be ye holy in all manner of

conversation;” - In the whole course of your daily life, in all its details, as you

move hither and thither among men, take the holiness of God for your

pattern: “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).  (For the word

 ἀναστροφή - anastrophaeconversation; behavior) compare Galatians

1:13; Ephesians 4:22; I Timothy 4:12; Hebrews 13:7.)

 

16 “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” - literally,

according to the best manuscripts, YE SHALL BE HOLY— future for

imperative. The words occur five times in the Book of Leviticus – ch.11:44-45;

19:2; 20:7, and 26.   God had called the Israelites to be His peculiar people,

a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6). He has called us

Christians to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

a peculiar people” (ch.2:9). GOD IS HOLY,  awful in holiness; in His

sight “the heavens are not clean.” (A profound experience in my life

occurred in July- 2012 when I had the opportunity to visit The Creation

Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky – the highlight was the planetarium –

that presentation is a good perspective on the heavens and God relationship –

CY – 2012)  We who are His must STRIVE TO BE HOLY separated

from all that is impure, CONSECRATED TO HIS SERVICE!

 

Christianity is a mold and the end of all the grand manifestations of Divine love

and power is just this — TO MAKE MEN LIKE GOD!  A holy Godlike

character is the crown of all religion and the highest purpose of all

revelation. That model is comprehensive, so as to include the whole spectrum

of conduct.  The commonest things may be done in imitation of the holy God.

The plan of the poorest kitchen garden cannot be made without celestial

observations. In our pettiest affairs we can bring the mightiest principles to bear.

Indeed, the only way to make life great is to apply great principles to small

duties; and every deed of the humblest career may be glorified by not only

being done as unto God, but in being done like His own acts, of which love

is the motive and righteousness the characteristic.

 

  • OUR BUSINESS IS TO FOCUS ON COPYING THE PATTERN. 

 

Ø      We ourselves are to be the artificers of our own holy characters.

God gives His grace, and implants His Spirit, which transforms; but

all these Divine powers, how numerous and strong they may be, do

not reach their end without our own strenuous effort. They are

the tools put into our hands to fashion the fabric of a holy life; but we

must use them, and put our strength into the use of them, or the fabric

will not be built.  God makes no man holy by magic, without the man’s

own hard work.  “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on

your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves

in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus

Christ unto eternal life.”  (Jude 1:20-21)

 

Ø      The process is slow. We fashion ourselves by repeated efforts and

gradually build up a character like His. Emotion may be quickly excited,

but making character is always slow work. It cannot be struck out at a

blow as dimes are struck, but has to be patiently elaborated like some

delicately chased golden cup. Actions often repeated make habits,

and habits make character. It is formed slowly, as the sedimentary

rocks are laid down at the bottom of the sea, by an unseen process

lasting for long eons. More than “forty and six years is this temple

 in building.”  (John 2:20)

 

Ø      It is accompanied by a painful destructive process. The character

already formed after another model has to be recast. Formerly they

had been molded according to their own “lusts.” Each man’s own

desires had shaped him. He did as he liked best. That is sin.

That is human nature — not in absolute exclusion of sense of law and

duty. Yet still, on the whole, SELF-WILL MOLDS MEN’S LIVES.

 Negatively, then, the false tendency of pleasing self must be thwarted.

The character already formed must be fought against and subdued.

The old man has to be put off. The old metal has to be thrown into

the melting-pot, and to be run into a new mold. And that cannot be

done without self-denial and pain, to which the bodily tortures

of crucifixion are compared by Paul – “They that are Christ’s

have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

(Galatians 5:24). Tears and blood are shed with less pain than

accompanies tearing off this worser self. It is like tearing the very

skin from the quivering flesh. But, hard as it is, IT HAS TO BE

DONE if we are ever to be holy as HE IS HOLY!

 

Ø      The command is made blessed by the motive which enforces it.

“He has called us” (v. 15).  Then, if He has called us to holiness,

we may be quite sure that we shall not aim at it in vain. (John 1:12)

The thought that we are working in the line of the Divine purposes,

and obeying a Divine call, inspires a hope which mightily strengthens

us for the task, and goes far to fulfill itself. God’s commands are

promises. If he has called us to be holy, certainly, if we try

to obey Him, we shall be so. He never summons to tasks which He

does not give power to perform. He has called, and that makes it

certain that He will perfect that which concerneth us (Psalm

138:8).  Therefore we may set ourselves with good heart to the

glorious task of copying the DIVINE HOLINESS,  assured that

to do so is not presumption, but simple obedience, and that, however

slow may appear our progress upwards to the shining, snowy summit,

it is verily His will that we shall one day stand there, and be satisfied,

when we awake, in His likeness.  (Psalm 17:15)

 

17 “And if ye call on the Father,” -  “If” does not imply doubt; it

introduces an hypothesis which, being taken for granted, involves a duty.

Apparently there is here a reference to the Lord’s Prayer, as in II Timothy 4:18.

You call on God as your Father; then pass your time in fear (compare Malachi 1:6,

“If I be a Father, where is mine honor?”). He called you first; now ye call

on Him. The translation of the Revised Version is more exact than the Authorized

Version, “If ye call on him as Father” - “who without respect of persons

judgeth according to every man’s work,” -  The adverb ἀπροσωπολήπτως

aprosopolaeptosrendered “without respect of persons,” occurs nowhere else

in the New Testament; but the thought is familiar. Peter himself had said, when he

was sent to receive Cornelius into the Church, “Of a truth I perceive that God is

no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). The disciples of the Pharisees had said the

same of our Lord (Matthew 22:16; compare also Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6;

James 2:1-4). The Lord said “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed

 all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).   But the Father is “Fens judicii,” for the Son

judges as His Delegate; as it was through the Son that the Father made the worlds.

He judges according to every man’s work, regarding, not distinctions of rank, or

wealth, or nationality, BUT ONLY THE CHARACTER OF THE WORK!

 Observe that the word (ἔργονergon - work) is in the singular number, as

(πρᾶξιν praxindeed) -  in Matthew 16:27. God judges according to every

man’s work as a whole, according to the whole scope and meaning of his life as

issuing from the one governing principle, whether faith or selfishness -  “pass the

time of your sojourning here in fear:” The verb here, ἀναστράφητε

anastraphaetepass; busy oneself - corresponds with the noun ἀναστροφή -

 anastrophae conversation - of v.15; both might be rendered by

conduct (noun or verb) — “in all your conduct” in v.15; and here,

“conduct yourselves.” The word “sojourning” reminds us of v. 1 of this

chapter and of ch. 2:11, in which last place we have the corresponding Greek word.

We are sojourners here, life is short; (I learned in the study of Joshua that as sinful

as we are, it is good that it is so short!  Our real home is in heaven! – CY –

2012) but the character of that short life determines our eternal condition; therefore

Live in fear. John says, “Perfect love casteth out fear;” but there is no

contradiction, as some have said, between the two holy apostles; for the

fear which cannot coexist with perfect love (it may in various measures

coexist with imperfect love) is slavish fear, selfish fear of death and

punishment. The fear which Peter and Paul (Philippians 2:12) commend is

holy fear — the fear of a son for a loving father, the fear of displeasing God

before whom we walk, God who gave His blessed Son to die for us, God who

will judge us at the last. This fear is not cowardice.  Our Lord said Be not

afraid  of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they

can do.   Fear him,” (Luke 12:4), They who fear God need fear nothing

else!

 

Men have often been so penetrated with the conviction that God is

Judge as to forget that He is Father. The danger now is that they should be

so occupied with the thought that He is Father as to forget that He is Judge.

 

It is God who judgeth, not who will judge; and that judgment is of each man’s work

as a whole, not of his works, but of his work. There is a perpetual present judgment

going on.  God has an estimate of each man’s course, solemnly approves or

disapproves, and shapes His dealings with each accordingly. The very fact

of this Fatherhood, so far from being inconsistent with this continual

judgment, makes it the more certain. He is not so indifferent to his children

as to let their deeds pass unnoticed, and, if need be, unchastised. We have

had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence”

(Hebrews 12:9-10).  Our Father in heaven knows and loves us better than they.

Therefore He judges from a loftier point of view. Standing higher, He looks deeper,

and corrects for a nobler purpose — “THAT WE SHOULD BE PARTAKERS

OF HIS HOLINESS”  (Ibid. v. 10).  To the Christian God’s judgments are a

sign of His love. So we should rejoice in and long for them. Do we wish to be

separated from our sin, to be drawn nearer to Him? Then let us be glad that

“the Lord will judge His people,” (Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14,

Hebrews 10:30) and while in penitent consciousness of our sins we pray

with the psalmist, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!”

(Psalm 143:2), let us also cry with him, “Judge me, O Lord; try my reins

and my heart!”  (Ibid. ch. 26:2) -  Abundance of Scripture teaching insists

on the fact that there is a future judgment for Christians as for others. “We must

ALL APPEAR  before the judgment-seat of Christ” (II Corinthians 5:10).

True, “in the course of justice NONE OF US WOULD SEE

SALVATION.” But though we are saved, not according to works of

righteousness which we have done, it is also true that our place in heaven,

though not our entrance into heaven, is determined by the law of recompense,

and that, in a very real sense, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he

also reap” (Galatians 6:7).  A saved man’s whole position will be affected by

his past. His place will be in proportion to his Christian character, though not

deserved nor won by it. Let us ponder, then, the solemn words, almost the

last which come to us from the enthroned Christ, “Behold, I come quickly;

and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall

be.”  (Revelation 22:12)

 

Godly fear is opposite of irreverence.   There is a dread of offending that

Divine holiness. He who thus fears, fears to sin more than anything else,

and fears God so much that HE FEARS NOTHING BESIDES.  The

opposite of that is PRESUMPTUOUS SELF-CONFIDENCE, like Peter’s

own earlier disposition, which led him into so many painful and humbling

situations. “A wise man feareth and departeth from evil” (Proverbs

14:16).  The fear enjoined here is, primarily, then, a reverential regard to the

holy Father who is our Judge, and, secondarily and consequently, a quick

sensitiveness of conscience, which knows our own weakness, and, above

all else, dreads falling into sin. Such sensitive scrupulousness may seem to

be over-anxiety, but it is wisdom; and, though it brings some pains, it is

blessedness. This is no world for unwary walking. There are too many

enemies seeking admission to the citadel for it to be safe to dispense with

rigid watchfulness at the gates. Our Father is our Judge, therefore let us

fear to sin, and fear our own weakness. Our Judge is our Father, therefore

let us not be afraid of Him, but court His pure eyes and perfect judgment.

Such fear which has in it no torment, and is the ally of love, is not the

ultimate form of our emotions towards God. It is appropriate only to “the

time of our sojourning here.” The Christian soul in this world is as a

foreigner in a strange land. Its true affinities are in heaven; and its present

surroundings are ever seeking to make it “forget the imperial palace” which

is its home. So CONSTANT VIGILENCE IS NEEDED!   But when we

reach our own land we can dwell safely, having neither locks nor bars. The

walls may be pulled down, and flower-gardens laid out where they stood.

“SALVATION WILL GOD APPOINT FOR WALLS AND BULWARKS”

(Isaiah 26:1). Here and now is the place for loins girt and lamps burning. There

and then we can walk with flowing robes, for no stain will come on them from the

golden pavements, and need not carefully tend a flickering light, for ETERNAL

DAY IS THERE!

 

18 “Forasmuch as ye know” -  literally, knowing, considering - “that ye were

not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,” - The order

in the original gives more emphasis: “That not with corruptible things,

silver and gold, were ye redeemed.” Alford notes here that the diminutives

(ἀργυρίῳχρυσίῳ - argurio ae chrusiosilver and gold) stand generally

(not always) for the coined or wrought metal. The word ἐλυτρώθητεelutrothaete

“ye were ransomed,” seems to point back to the great saying of our Lord, “The Son

 of man came… to give His life a ransom for many” -  (λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν

lutron anti pollon – ransom for many –Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; compare

I  Timothy 2:6). Doubtless no human language CAN ADEQUATELY

EXPRESS THE MYSTERY OF THE ATONEMENT.  That stupendous fact

TRANSCENDS HUMAN WISDOM  and cannot be exactly defined in

human words. But the Lord Himself describes it as A RANSOM -  “a ransom

 for many,” given in their stead. Reverence keeps us from pressing the

illustration in all its details. It may be that the correspondence between the

atonement and the redemption of a slave from an earthly master is not

exact in all points. But the illustration comes from the Lord Himself,

WHO IS THE TRUTH!  So, it must be true as far as human language permits,

as far as human reason can comprehend. It teaches, as plainly as words can

express, THE DOCTRINE OF VICARIOUS SATISFACTION.   He gave

His life, not only IN BEHALF OF US but also INSTEAD OF US  - A

RANSOM FOR OUR SINS!   Compare the use of the word ἀγοράζειν

agorazein -  bought –“Ye are bought with a price;” - (I Corinthians 6:20),

and “The Lord that bought them;” - (II Peter 2:1), also ἐξαγοράζειν

exagorazeinhath redeemed - “Christ hath redeemed us  from the

 curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) - “from your vain conversation

received by tradition from your fathers;” - literally, out of your vain

manner of life or conduct. The word here rendered “ vain” is used of

idolatry in Acts 14:15, and also the corresponding verb in Romans 1:21.

Peter seems to be thinking mainly of Gentile Christians; he would scarcely

describe the sinful conversation of Israelites as “handed down from your

fathers” (Revised Version) without some qualification. Habits are transmitted

from fathers to children and habitual custom is made an excuse for many

shortcomings.

 

19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish

and without spot:”- rather, as in the Revised Version, but with precious blood,

 as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, (even the blood) of Christ.

Precious, as opposed to the “corruptible things” of v.18; it is precious,

because it is THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!  Christ’s holy body saw

not corruption; gold and silver must perish at last; the precious blood IN ITS

VIRTUE AND EFFICIACY ABIDETH EVERMORE!  The blood of

Christ is compared with that of a lamb. The lambs and other animals offered as

sacrifices were to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5; “it shall be perfect

to be accepted” - Leviticus 22:19-21);  Christ was without sin, pure, harmless,

undefiled and separate from sinners – Hebrews 7:26.  The blood of animals

could never take away sin; yet it is written, “The life of the flesh is in the

blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement

for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul”

(Leviticus 17:11). That blood prefigured THE  PRECIOUS BLOOD OF

CHRIST which cleanseth from all sin. The sacrifices of the Law directed

the faith of the pious Israelite to the ONE GREAT SACRIFICE,  the

Propitiation for the sins of the whole world (Romans 3:25).  Probably Peter

derived the comparison from the well-remembered words of the Baptist, reported

by his brother Andrew,  “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the

sins of the whole world!” (John 1:29).  The reference may be to the Paschal lamb

(“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” I Corinthians 5:7) — the

blood of that lamb cannot, indeed, be regarded as a ransom from Egyptian

bondage, but it saved the Israelites from the destroying angel — or to any

sacrificial lamb. The apostle seems to be passing from the idea of ransom

or price to that of expiation. The verb “ye were redeemed,” the silver and

gold, direct the thoughts to price; the blood and the lamb, to expiation. The

two ideas are closely connected; the two illustrations combined give a

fuller view of the blessed meaning of the Savior’s death than either of them

alone could do.

 

Love and thankfulness, joy and confidence, are its fruits of our salvation.

Nonetheless, certainly will the adequate sense of Christ’s great sacrifice in its

costliness and its purpose lead to our passing the time of our sojourning

here in fear. The gospel of redemption is not meant to produce carelessness,

or a light estimate of the holiness of God or of the heinousness of sin, but

to make conscience more sensitive, and to lead to anxious scrupulousness in

avoiding all conduct which would be condemned by the judgment of God.

 

The implication that all godless life is slavery lies in the very word

“redemption.” If we consider how sin masters a man, fetters his will, and

binds him with iron chains of habit, which hold him in spite of conscience,

and in mockery of resolutions and efforts, we can understand the deep

truth in our Lord’s paradoxical words, “He that committeth sin is the slave

of sin” (John 8:34).  Do a wrong thing, and it is your master, as you will soon

discover if you try to efface its consequences and to break away from its dominion.

(Unfortunately, many illegal and recreational drugs of today are examples of

slavery to sin.  To use drugs in this way is a sin! – witchcraft” -(farmakei>a, -

far-mak-i’-ah; from (farmakeu>v); medication (“pharmacy” – to use drugs),

i.e. (by extension) magic (literal or figurative): -  sorcery, witchcraft. Galatians 5:20 –

CY – 2012)  But besides this implication that all sin is slavery, which lies in the idea

of redemption, we have here, secondly, the thought that ALL SIN IS EMPTY

AND PROFITLESS.

 

There is a whole world of meaning in that epithet “vain” (v. 18).  It is the

condensation into one little monosyllable of THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL

GENERATIONS!   ALL SIN IS EMPTY!   As one of the Hebrew words for it

literally means, it is a missing of the mark. SIN IS ALWAYS A BLUNDER!  

no man gets the good which he expected by his sin, or, if he does, he gets something

else which spoils it. “It is as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he

eateth; but he awaketh, and is faint” (Isaiah 29:8).  Sin is vain, FOR IT

YIELDS NO RESULTS CORRESPONDENT TO THE NATURE OF

A MAN, and so DOES NOT SATISFY HIM!   It produces none corresponding

to his obligations, and so in the eyes of God, or what is the same thing, in reality, A

GODLESS LIFE IS A WASTED AND BARREN LIFE,  however full of fruit

it may appear. IT PRODUCES NOTHING THAT ABIDES.   ALL ARE

ANIHILATED BY THE JUDGMENT OF GOD, and survive only in

remorse and pain. THE DEVIL ALWAYS PLAYS WITH LOADED

DICE!   A godless life is a vain life. “The man who lives it sows much and

 brings home little,” and “the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief

and of desperate sorrow” (Isaiah 17:11). 

 

This vain life is the fatal gift from generation to generation. (The interest that

we are accumulating on the National Debt  in America, [as I write the 2012

Republican National Convention is coming to a close],  is nothing compared

to the compounded interest on both national and individual sin which

we are paying for in America today, and which sin we are passing on

to our children, just like the National Debt referred to above CY –

2012).  A twofold application of the fact that it is transmitted from father to

son may be made. This GODLESS COURSE OF LIFE  has no higher

source  and sanction than MEN’S NOTIONS!   It is a poor miserable account

for a responsible being to give of his moral conduct and judgments to say, “My father

did so and thought so before me.” In that view this clause exposes the hollowness

and weakness of the foundation on which many a godless life is unthinkingly

and almost mechanically built. Or the apostle’s purpose may rather be to

signalize the strength of evil derived from that solemn fact of its

transmission from parent to child. “Heredity” is a new word to express an

old truth. A man’s ancestors live again in him. Moral qualities descend as

plainly as physical peculiarities. And besides the strain in the blood which

affects the moral nature, example and habit tell in the same direction. Thus

the evil becomes generic and wraps the whole race in its folds. Hence, too,

the need for a new power acting from without if men are to be redeemed

from it. (Remember John 1:12).  There must be a new beginning from an

untainted source if the bitter waters are to be healed. He who is to redeem

the race must come from outside the race, and yet must work within it and

AND THAT IS  JUST EXACTLY WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID!

 

Peter  employs his favorite epithet in speaking of the blood of Christ. It is

“PRECIOUS.” What a profound sense of the worth of that wondrous sacrifice

lies in that one simple word, more eloquent and full of feeling than a crowd

of superlatives! Our Lord’s death is evidently regarded here as sacrificial.

The “lamb without blemish and without spot” distinctly refers to the

requirement of the Mosaic Law in reference to the sacrifice. It is not

merely the sinless purity of our Savior’s life, but that purity as fitting Him

to be the Sacrifice for the world’s sin, which comes into view here. We

cannot do justice to the thought unless we recognize the sacrificial

character of Christ’s death as the teaching of this passage. At the same

time, we have to remember that redemption here is regarded as deliverance

from the love and practice of evil rather than from its guilt and punishment.

But while this is true, these two aspects of redemption are inseparable.

Christ redeems us from the love and practice of evil by redeeming us from

its guilt and punishment.   The sense of guilt and the fearful looking for of judgment

bind men to sin, and the only way to wean them from it begins with the assurance

of pardon and the removal of the burden of guilt. Unless we have a gospel

of atonement to preach, we have no gospel of deliverance from the bondage of sin.

Christ makes us free because He dies for us, and in ONE SHEDDING OF

HIS BLOOD AT ONCE ANNIHILATES GUILT and BRINGS PARDON

AND THE REMOVAL OF THE BURDEN OF GUILT!  (Hebrews 7:27;

10:26) - That death, too, is the one means for so influencing men’s

hearts that they shall no longer love evil, but delight to do His will, and by

love and fellowship grow like their Lord. Sin’s reign has its fortress in OUR

WILL AND AFFECTIONS, and Christ’s death believed and trusted changes

the set and current of these, casts out the usurper, and enthrones Jesus as our

rightful Lord. Again, Christ’s death procures for us THE DIVINE SPIRIT

 who dwells in our hearts, and by His presence “makes us free from the

 law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).  So by setting us in new relations to

the Divine Law, by taking away the sense of guilt, by bringing to bear a new

motive, by PROCURING A SPIRIT TO GIVE A NEW LIFE, THE

SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF THE SINLESS CHRIST REDEEMS

US FROM THE POWER OF SIN!

 

The Apostle urges us to  “Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”

(v. 17).  The consciousness of our redemption and the fact of our redemption

should lead, not to easy confidence or indifference, but to reverential awe

and dread of receiving the grace of God in vain”  (II Corinthians 6:1).

The more clearly the purpose of our redemption to be our complete

emancipation from all sin be seen, and the more profoundly we value the

tremendous price at which God has thought it worth while to buy us

back for His own, the more we shall dread every sin. Surely no motive can so

powerfully commend the solemn comprehensive command, “Be ye holy as

I am holy,” or so strongly impel to that wholesome fear without which it

can never be obeyed, as the contemplation of the precious blood shed for

our sakes. That awful sacrifice is in vain so far as we are concerned, the

blood of Jesus has poured out for naught, unless it has not only availed to

still our fears and bring us pardon, but also to “cleanse us from all sin,” and

make us love and do righteousness. We are redeemed from sin by the

blood of Christ, that we may be the lambs of His flock without blemish and

without spot, like the Shepherd-Lamb.

 

20 “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world,” -

rather, as in the Revised Version, who was foreknown indeed; literally, who

hath been foreknown. But the foreknowledge of God implies the exercise

of His will, therefore the “foreordained” of the Authorized Version, though

not here an exact translation, is true in doctrine. Peter had asserted the same

great truth in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:23; compare also

ch.3:18 and 4:28). He had heard the words, “before the foundation of the

 world,” again and again from the lips of Christ; he may possibly have read

them in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:4). The incarnation, death,

and resurrection of Christ were not the result of a change of purpose to meet

unforeseen circumstances; they were foreseen and foreordained in the

eternal counsels of God (Revelation 13:8; 17:8).  Those counsels are

wholly above the range of our understanding; we cannot see through the

veil of mystery which surrounds them; we cannot fathom the awful necessities

which they imply -“but was manifest in these last times for you,”- in the

Revised Version, with the best manuscripts, was manifested at the end of

the times for your sake. The aorist (φανερωθέντοςphanerothentos

made manifest) marks the Incarnation as an event which took place in time;

the purpose of God was eternal, before all time. For the phrase, “(ἐπ ἐσχάτου

τών χρόνωνep eschatou ton chronon - at the end of the times), compare

the reading of the most ancient manuscripts in Hebrews 1:2 (ἐπ ἐσχάτου τῶν

ἡμερῶν τούτωνep eschatou ton haemeron touton -  at the end of

these days); also in Jude 1:18 (ἐπ ἐσχάτου χρόνουep eschatou chronou

this is the last time).  John says (ἐσχάτη ὥραeschatae hora - “the last hour) –

(I John 2:18); THE LAST PERIOD IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF GOD’S

DEALINGS WITH MANKIND  is the time which intervenes between

THE FIRST  and THE SECOND ADVENTS OF CHRIST!

 

21 “Who by Him do believe in God,” -  or, according to two of the

most ancient manuscripts, who through Him are faithful towards God.

Through Himself, not only through His incarnation and atoning death, but

through His grace and abiding presence. He was manifested for your sake

who through Him are faithful; for all the faithful, whether Jews or Gentiles;

“for your glory,” Paul says (I Corinthians 2:7). The thought shows

the greatness of God’s love for His elect. The eternal Son was manifested

for their sake; it gives an additional stimulus for Christian effort - “that

raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory;” -  Peter returns to the

“after-glories,” which he had mentioned in v. 11. The death of Christ is

the atonement for sin; His resurrection and ascension are the grounds of

 our confidence and hope. They throw back a halo of Divine glory upon the

awful cross; they bring out the beauty and the dignity of the atoning

sacrifice; they show THAT IT IS ACCEPTED (Isaiah 53:11); THAT THE

WORK OF OUR REDEMPTION IS COMPLETE!  The Resurrection held

a very prominent place in the preaching of Peter, and, indeed, of all the apostles

(Acts 2:32-36; 3:15; 4:10; Romans 1:4; “And with great power gave the

apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:  and great grace

was upon them all.”  Acts 4:33) -“that your faith and hope might be in God.”

 rather, so that your faith and hope are in God — directed towards God

(εἰς Θεόν - eis Theon).  The resurrection and the glory of  Christ not only inspire

the Christian with confidence in God, but they also give his  faith the character

of hope; they fill it with hope. Christ had promised that where WHERE HE IS

THERE SHOULD HIS SERVANT BE.  (John 12:26;14:3).  He

had prayed that those whom the Father had given Him should be with Him

where He is, to behold His glory (Ibid. ch. 17:24).   He is in heaven, on the

right hand of God.  (Hebrews 1:3,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; I Peter 3:22)

Thus the Christian’s faith assumes the attitude of hope; he hopes to be

where Christ is, TO SEE HIM AS HE IS (I John 3:2);  to be made

 like unto Him. This is “the hope of glory” for which we offer our

thanksgiving. St. Peter is the apostle of hope.

 

22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls” - literally, having purified.

The verb ἁγνίζω - hagnizoto purify - is used of ceremonial purification

in John 11:55, and in Acts 21:24, 26; 24:18.   Both James and John, in their Epistles,

give it the spiritual sense in which Peter uses it here (James 4:8; I John 3:3). In this

sense it implies consecration to God’s service, and an inward cleansing of the

heart from all that defiles — from sensual desires, from hypocrisy, from selfishness.

The tense shows that this inward purification must precede the love to which

the apostle exhorts us; there can be no true love in AN UNCLEAN HEART!

-  “in obeying the truth through the Spirit” - literally, in the obedience of the truth.

Obedience is the condition of purification. God’s people are elect unto obedience

and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. While they walk in the path of

obedience  they are walking in the light, the light of truth, the light of God’s presence,

and then the blood of Jesus Christ is cleansing them from all sin (I John 1:7).

The genitive (τῆς ἀληθείαςtaes alaetheiasof the truth) seems to be objective,

“obedience  to the truth,” rather than obedience wrought by the truth. The truth is

God’s truth  (God is “ABUNDANT IN TRUTH”- Exodus 34:6),  the truth

revealed in His Holy Word. So the Lord Himself said, “Sanctify them through

thy truth; thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). The words, “through the Spirit,”

are not found in the best manuscripts; they may be a gloss, but a true one -“unto

unfeigned love of the brethren,” - Peter had not forgotten the new commandment,

“That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another”

(John 13:34).  The word rendered “love of the brethren” (φιλαδελφία

philadelphis ) is scarcely found except in Christian writings. Peter uses it again in his

Second Epistle (II Peter 1:7), and also Paul (Romans 12:10; I  Thessalonians 4:9).

It must be unfeigned, without hypocrisy, not in word, but in deed and in truth

(I John 3:18). Our hearts must be purified in the obedience of the truth before

that unfeigned love can dwell in them (compare I Timothy 1:5, which is an exact

parallel) - “see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”

Literally, love one another from the heart. The word “pure” is omitted in

two of the most ancient manuscripts; it may be a gloss, but it is most true

and suitable. Christian love must be from the heart, true and pure. The

word rendered “fervently” (ἐκτενῶςektenosstrained; stretched) means,

literally, “intensely,” with all the energies strained to the utmost. It is interesting to

observe that the only other place where the adverb occurs is in Acts 12:5

(according to the reading of the most ancient manuscripts), where it is used of

the prayer offered up by the church, for Peter himself, when he was in jail.

 

23 “Being born again,” -  rather, having been begotten again. Peter repeats the

verb used already in v. 3. It is the highest argument for brotherly love; the children

 of  the one Father are all brethren; they should “LOVE AS BRETHREN!”

 (ch.3:8) - “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,

which liveth and abideth for ever.” The word used here (σπόρος - sporas

seed) means, properly, “sowing;” but, like σπόρος use in Luke 8:11, it stands

also for the seed; and here the epithets “corruptible” and “incorruptible”

 seem to necessitate this second meaning. In the passage quoted from Luke, the

seed (σπόρος) is identified with the Word. “The seed is the Word of God.”

Here there seems to be a distinction. God’s elect are begotten again of incorruptible

seed through the Word. The use of different prepositions, ἐκ and διά apparently

implies a difference between the seed and the Word. In the conversation with

Nicodemus the Lord had said, “Except a man be born of water and of the

Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).  And he

continues, “That which is born of the flesh [ἐκ τῆς σαρκόςek taes

sarkos of, or out of the flesh] which seems to correspond with the ἐκ σπορᾶς

φθαρτοῦ - ek sporas phthartouout of corruptible seed - of Peter] is flesh;

and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;” where the Greek words, τὸ

γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος – to gegnnaemenon ek tou Pneumatos

that which is begotten of the Spirit - correspond very nearly with

ἀναγεγεννημένοι ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτουanagegennaemenoi ek sporas

aphthartou - “those who are begotten again of incorruptible seed.” Then the

incorruptible seed is the Holy Spirit of God, THE SOURCE OF ALL

 SPIRITUAL LIFE,  it is the Spirit that  beareth witness with our spirit that

we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16); “To be spiritually minded is life

 and peace” (Ibid. v. 6).   Compare I John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God

( γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ - ho gegennaemenos ek tou Theouout of

God has been begotten) doth not commit sin: for His seed (σπέρμα

spermaseed – note this time it is a different word for seed –  His seed abideth

 in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God” – the seed signifies

the principle of spiritual life as imparted to the believer, which abides in him without

the possibility of removal or extinction; the child of God remains eternally related

to Christ, he who lives in sin has never become so related, he has not the principle

of life in him.  This meaning suits the context and the general tenor of the Epistle –

Excerpted from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words –

CY – 2012). There is a different explanation of this last passage: “God’s seed,

 that is, His children, abide in Him.” But on the whole, it seems to be parallel

with this verse, and to teach the same doctrine, that THE FIRST GIFT OF

THE SPIRIT IS THE GERM OF SPIRITUAL LIFE, and that that precious

germ, abiding in the true children of God, lives and energizes “till we come…

unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”

(Ephesians 4:13). But if the Holy Spirit of God is, in the deepest sense, the Seed of

the new birth, the Word is the instrument. God’s elect are begotten again through

the Word, the Word preached, heard, read, pronounced in holy baptism. The

Word preached by Peter on the great Day of Pentecost was the means

by which three thousand souls were led to be baptized in the Name of Jesus

Christ for the remission of sins, and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

(compare James 1:18, “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of

truth”). Again, the Word preached derives its power from the personal

Word, from Him who is the Word of God. “All things were made through

him” (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2); and as the first creation was through

Him, SO IS THE NEW CREATION!   He is “the Beginning of the

 creation of God” (Revelation 3:14); for He is our Life, the life hidden in the

heart. He is the Word of life: “He that hath the Son hath life” (I John 5:12);

“Through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians

2:18). It is through THE LORD JESUS CHIRST that we receive

the grace of the new birth. The words, “which liveth and abideth,” may be

connected with the Divine Name: “God, who liveth and abideth;” or, as in

our version, with “the Word.” The last connection seems most suitable

here (compare v..25, “The Word of the Lord abideth for ever;” and

Hebrews 4:12, The Word of God is quick and powerful”). The most

ancient manuscripts omit the words, “forever.”

 

24 “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of

grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:”

Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8, in illustration of his assertion that the Word of

God abideth forever. The quotation is from the Septuagint.  Peter follows

that version in omitting part of v. 7; but he slightly varies the words, writing

(according to the most ancient manuscripts), “all the glory thereof,” instead

of “all the glory of man;” and in the next verse, “the Word of the Lord,

instead of “the Word of our God.” The first variation shows an acquaintance

with the original Hebrew. James refers to the same passage from Isaiah in

James 1:10, 11.  (A personal note to verify the truth of this passage in the

Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries – In the Late 1950’s I remember

sitting on the ground {between the house and the barn in Somerset, KY}

and reading these words from Psalm 103:15:16 – “As for man, his days are

as grass:  as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  For the wind

passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know

it no more.” As I contemplated this passage over a half-century ago,

I thought I understood the truths then, but through God’s grace, I SURE

DO NOW!  The alfalfa that I saw growing in the field is no more!  In

fact, it is now under asphalt known as part of the Somerset-Pulaski

County Airport.  I was young then.  Now I am within a week of being

69 years old.  This past spring, my two year old grandson and I

would pick flowers for his mother, they would last a day or two as

cut-flowers, then she would have to throw them out.  Live is short.

Once again, in the study of the Book of Judges I learned that since

man is so sinful, it is good that this life is so short.  This is why we need

the ETERNAL GOD so that life will have meaning!  - CY – 2012)

 

25 “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word

which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  In this verse, both in the

quotation and in the apostle’s comment, the Greek equivalent for “word” is

not λόγος,– logos – word -  as in v. 23, but ῤῆμαrhaemaword;

an utterance, the word uttered, more concrete than λόγος; yet in Hebrews 11:3,

it seems to be used as equivalent to λόγος, and the variation here may possibly be

owing to the quotation. Compare the transition from λόγος in v. 36 to ῤῆμα in

v. 37 in Peter’s speech recorded in Acts 10:36-37. The Revised Version renders

the last half of the verse, And this is the Word of good tidings which was

preached unto you; literally, This is the Word which was preached as good

tidings. Here Peter recognizes the gospel which had been preached in

Asia Minor as the Word of the Lord which abideth for ever.  Paul and

his companions were the missionaries from whom those provinces had

heard the Word of God.  Peter gives his formal testimony to the teaching

of  Paul, as he had already done at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-9).

 

 

Practical Exhortations (vs. 13-25)

 

  • THE NECESSITY OF EARNEST EFFORT TO PROGRESS IN

HOLINESS.  Christians are pilgrims and strangers; they must not loiter

on their way, they must press toward the mark. The journey is long and

laborious; they must gather up their robes, for there are many miry places,

there is much pollution in the world, and “blessed are they that have not

defiled their garments; they shall walk with the Lord in white” (Revelation

3:4).  They must gird them up round their loins lest they hang down and

impede their progress. They must lay aside the sin which doth so easily

beset them (Hebrews 12:1), and keep their affections and desires closely

girt in, that they become not loose and hinder them. They must not allow

their mind to be listless and apathetic; they must keep their thoughts active,

fixed on their journey and on its end.

 

Ø      To do this they must be sober. Excess of meat and drink weighs

down the soul and sinks it into a deadly lethargy. The intemperate

use of any of this world’s good things or enjoyments interferes with

spiritual exertion, and lowers the tone of the spirit. The Christian

must be temperate in all things (I Corinthians 9:25), in all his habits

and modes of thought; he must be calm, quiet, thoughtful, zealous

but collected, full of high enthusiasm but wise and free from

excitement.

 

Ø      And they must hope, and that perfectly. Hope urges the traveler

onward; he heeds not the discomforts of the way while the hope

of the joy that is set before him is fresh and bright in his heart.

The Christian’s hope is sometimes mixed with doubts and fears;

but this, the psalmist says, is mine own infirmity” (Psalm 77:10).

He must lift up his eyes to the hills whence cometh his help

(Ibid. ch.121:1); for the grace which is the object of his hope

(grace, says Leighton, “is glory begun, and glory is grace

 completed”) is being brought to him. Grace comes from God;

(Bro. John Christian, a former pastor, said “Grace is GOD’S

RICHES AT CHRIST’S EXPENSE! – CY – 2012) - it is His

free favor; He gave the first gift of grace; He giveth more grace”

(James 4:6).   It is His bounty, not deserved by any merits of ours!

That grace is being brought now; as men gird up their loins and

hasten towards it, it is brought nearer to them; when the prodigal

arose and came, his father, while he was yet a great way off, ran

and came to meet him. So God’s grace is being brought in

continually increasing measure as the Lord Jesus Christ reveals

Himself in nearer vision to the believing soul; it will be brought

in perfect glory when His saints shall see Him as He is in His

kingdom.  (I John 3:2)

 

  • TO PROGRESS IN HOLINESS, OLD LUSTS MUST BE

FORSAKEN!  The assured hope of salvation will urge the

Christian to follow after holiness: “He that hath this hope in him

purifieth himself.” (Ibid.)  Holiness is separation from all that defileth.

Christians must, as obedient children, forsake the world, the flesh,

and the devil (also drugs, illicit sex, vulgarity, alcohol, pornographic

entertainment, etc. – CY – 2012); they must not fashion themselves

after the likeness of the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,

and the pride of life (Ibid. ch. 2:15-17); for the image of Christ

cannot be traced upon the soul that bears the impress of these evil

things. The heathen had the excuse of ignorance; we Christians have

the light; let us beware lest any of us incur the awful condemnation

of those who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are

evil (John 3:19-20).

 

Ø      The pattern is set before us.  It is THE ALL HOLY GOD

HIMSELF!   Christ left us “an example, that ye should

follow His steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found

in His mouth:  Who when He was reviled, reviled not

again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but

committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously”

(ch. 2:21-23).  The essence of religion consists in the

imitation of Him we worship. The gods of the heathen were

represented as actuated by human passions and stained with

hateful sins; their character must have reacted upon their

ignorant worshippers; their worship was degrading. Our God

is the most Holy One, awful in holiness.  He has not called us

unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7);

He has set us apart for Himself, that we should be holy to Him.

“Holiness unto the Lord” was inscribed upon the miter of the

high priest (Exodus 28:36); it should be written in the

hearts of Christians, who are a holy priesthood, dedicated to

the service of God. Holiness lies in the imitation of God. “Be ye

followers [literally, ‘imitators’] of God as dear children,” says the

apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:1).   It is the high pattern for the Christian,

very high indeed above us, but yet set before us by God Himself.

We must make it our constant effort, by the promised help of His

Holy Spirit, to become “partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews

12:10); we should follow after holiness in all things, in all the

circumstances of our lives, in all manner of conversation. If we

earnestly desire it with a strong sustained longing, with

hunger and thirst, then we know — for we have  His gracious

word — WE SHALL BE FILLED!  (Matthew 5:6)

 

  • EXHORTATION TO HOLY FEAR.

 

Ø      The first reason: THE JUDGMENT.  Peter, the apostle of hope,

dwells much on the deep and hidden joy which is vouchsafed to

the faithful Christian. Paul, the apostle of faith, again and again

urges upon us the same duty, the same privilege, of joy in the Lord.

But both apostles bid us fear God; “pass the time of your sojourning

here in fear”(v. 17);  “work out your own salvation with fear and

trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Then faith and hope and joy are

not inconsistent with fear. Nay, there can be no true faith and hope

and joy without fear; for God’s grace, out of which flow faith and

hope and joy, produces also holy fear; without reverence and godly

fear we cannot serve Him acceptably (Hebrews 12:28). True religion

implies A DEEP SENSE OF GOD’S PRESENCE and that

presence, realized by faith, must inspire a solemn awe into the heart

to which it is granted. He who lives very near to God, as

Abraham did, must feel, as Abraham did, that it is a solemn thing

FOR ONE WHO IS BUT DUST AND ASHES to speak unto

THE LORD (Genesis 18:27).  Flesh and blood, conscious of

unworthiness, must have something of that awful dread which

led  Peter himself once to say, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful

man, O Lord!”  (Luke 5:8).  The first petition in the prayer which
the Lord
Himself hath taught us, the prayer which Peter apparently

had in his thoughts when he wrote these verses, is, “Hallowed be

thy Name” (Matthew 6:9).  Our approach to the throne of grace

must be made with deep and solemn reverence. The very seraphim

covered their faces when they chanted, “Holy, holy, holy, is the

Lord” (Isaiah 6:2-3); and we sinful men must learn reverence

from the blessed angels when we draw near to God. We call Him

our Father; that precious name tells us of His love, but it reminds

us also of the honor due to such a Father. We are but sojourners

here; this life, with all its cares and excitements, will soon be gone.

Be not over-anxious; fear not earthly troubles and trials; think of

the end, the judgment which is coming, and live in the holy fear

of God. He judgeth according to every man’s work” (v.17).

Is our work so thorough that we have no need to fear? God’s

holiest servants feel their unworthiness the most; they are

conscious, not only of many great sins in the past, but of much

frailty and inconstancy always. There are strange inconsistencies

and vacillations and falterings, even in the holiest lives. The sense

of weakness keeps God’s people in the holy fear of God, and that

fear makes them vigilant and circumspect. They think often of the

judgment; they think of themselves standing before the throne.

They have hope, a blessed hope through their Lord’s atoning

blood; but that hope must be mingled with fear even in saints.

“My flesh trembleth for fear of thee,” said the psalmist, “and

I am afraid of thy judgments.” (Psalm 119:120)

 

Ø      The second reason: THE GREAT PRICE WITH WHICH WE

ARE BOUGHT.   There is another reason, higher and holier, for

godly fear — the ransom given for our souls. The fear of

judgment may have much of selfishness in it; the thought of Christ’s

exceeding great love is the high Christian motive. If a dear friend had

given his silver and gold to redeem us from shame and punishment,

we should regard him with reverent gratitude, and fear to displease

him. But Christ gave Himself; He shed His precious blood. The

sacrifice was exceeding precious; the sacred Victim was without

blemish and without spot, and foreordained before the foundation

of the world.  (vs.19-20).  These thoughts ought to fill us with holy fear

when we gaze upon the cross. The cross, as it reveals the blessed love

of Christ, throws an awful light on the guilt of sin and on its

tremendous consequences. Then there is need of fear. Indeed,

“perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18), but

 

o       our love, alas! is not perfect, and imperfect love must be more

or less accompanied with fear. And

 

o       the fear which love casteth out is that servile fear which

simply dreads the punishment, heeding neither the

guilt of sin nor the love of Christ. The Christian fears to

offend God, who spared not His own Son; he fears to

dishonor the cross of Christ; he fears to grieve the Holy Spirit

of God.  “This fear is not cowardice; it doth not debase, but

elevates the mind; for it drowns all lower fears, and begets true

fortitude and courage to encounter all dangers for the sake of a

good conscience and the obeying of God. The righteous is as

bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). He dares do anything but

offend God; and to dare to do that is THE GREATEST

FOLLY, WEAKNESS AND BASENESS IN THE

WORLD!   From this fear have sprung all the generous

resolutions and patient sufferings of the saints and martyrs of

God; because they durst not sin against Him, therefore they

durst be imprisoned, and impoverished, and tortured, and

die for Him. Thus our Saviour says, “Fear not them that

 kill the body; but fear him which, after he hath killed,

 hath power to cast into hell.”  (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:

4-5)

 

Ø      Consider further from what we were redeemed. Out of (ejk ek

out of ) our former vain conversation. We were bought out of our

old unconverted life, and that by no less a ransom than the

precious blood of Jesus Christ! He who bought us will give us

power to escape out of that old life (“But as many as received

Him, to them, gave He power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe.” John 1:12); He will strengthen

us with all might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians

3:16); then let us fear to look back upon Sodom, to return to our

sins and carelessness. It may be the traditional, the conventional

mode of life; we are tempted to do as others do, to go with

the multitude. But that blood was shed to redeem us out of the

worldly life:  LET US FEAR!

 

Ø      Consider the purpose of that redemption. That our faith and hope

might be in God. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS FORE-

ORDAINED FROM ALL ETERNITY!  (Revelation 13:8; 17:8) –

Christ was manifested in due time, and that, the apostle says, “for you,

who by Him do believe in God” (vs. 20-21).  All this was for us,

if we believe. God provided for our salvation before the world was.

He then determined to give up His own Son for us all. This thought,

almost too great to take into our minds, gives us some insight into the

momentous importance of that salvation, THE EXCEEDING

VALUE OF OUR SOULS!  Again, Christ was manifested for us;

God raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; and it was

all for us.  Christ’s manifestation, His death, His resurrection, His

ascension, IT WAS ALL FOR SINFUL MAN,  that our faith and

hope might be in God. We are not worthy, we feel; we are utterly

unworthy of this unutterable love, this tremendous sacrifice. But He

loved us so, He counted it not too great a price. Then let us fear to

offend Him who loved us so deeply; let us fear to miss the salvation

for which so great a price was paid; let us fear lest, a promise being

left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem TO COME

SHORT OF IT!  (Hebrews 4:1) - Then “pass the time of your

sojourning here in fear” (v.17).  When that time is past, and God’s

elect are sojourners no more, but at home in the many mansions

 of the Father’s house, there will be no more room for fear; for they

shall have everlasting rest, and perpetual peace will shine upon them.

 

  • EXHORTATION TO BROTHERLY LOVE.

 

Ø      Charity (LOVE) is the end of the commandment. (I Timothy 1:5.)

Peter is the apostle of hope; but, like Paul the apostle of faith, he joins

With John, the apostle of love in his earnest exhortations to follow after

charity. He presses that high duly upon us in words of intense

earnestness.  He knows how hard it is for our selfish hearts to love as

Christians ought to love — he knows how essential it is for our salvation,

for our happiness, for the happiness of others, that we should

exercise that heavenly grace. He calls it philadelphia, brotherly love —

a word which, except as the name of one of the seven Churches of Asia,

we find only in Peter’s writings (here and II Peter 1:7) and Paul (Romans

12:10; I Thessalonians 4:9) and in Hebrews 13:1. The Lord Jesus had

said, “All ye are brethren;” (Matthew 23:8) the holy apostles

remembered His words.

 

o       That brotherly love which is the badge and test of Christ’s true

disciples must be unfeigned. Paul uses the same word (Romans

12:9, ojnupo>kritov onupokritostranslated without

dissimulation).  The world, in its ordinary forms of courtesy,

COUNTERFEITS THE GRACE OF CHARITY;  the

Christian must learn to love, not in word or in tongue, but in

deed and in truth. And that we can learn only of the Lord

Jesus Christ, the one Teacher of all true disciples, through

 the help of the Holy Spirit of God!

 

o       It must be “out of a pure heart.” The word “pure” is

Somewhat doubtful here; but Paul certainly has it in the parallel

passage (I Timothy 1:5). Christian love must issue from the

heart, and that heart must be pure. Alas! impure, unholy

passions often usurp the sacred name of love; but these are

only forms of selfishness; there is love on the tongue;

there is only lust, loathsome and wicked, in the heart.

True love is a very beautiful and holy thing; it springs only

out of a pure heart.

 

o       It must, be fervent and intense. For it must be like the love

of Christ: As I have loved you” (John 13:34).  His love

was unto death; (Ibid. v.1);  John tells us that the

measure of our love should be the same: We ought to lay

 down our lives for the brethren” (I John 3:16). How very

far we are from this height of self-sacrificing love! It should

be the aim of our holiest ambition.

 

Ø      From whence that charity must spring.

 

o       From a purified, a consecrated soul. Christian love is a

product of spiritual religion; the soul must be consecrated to

God’s service, that is to love the brethren with a pure heart,

fervently. And the consecrated life moves in the path of holy

obedience, obedience to the truth. The truth makes God’s

people free — free from the bonds of sin, free from the

entanglements of sensual lusts, free from selfishness. While

they walk in truth they walk in obedience, seeking to obey

God in all things, not only in their outward lives, but by

bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience

of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).  While they walk in truth

they are walking in the light, and then the blood of Jesus

Christ is cleansing them from all sin (I John 1:7).  Only by

the grace of God the Holy Ghost can they thus purity

 their souls.

 

o       A consecrated life implies a new birth. Peter returns to

the doctrine of the new birth, because it is that new birth

which makes us children of God and brethren one of

 another. Here is the Christian’s highest privilege:

“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed

upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”

(I John 3:1).  We are begotten again of incorruptible

seed. That incorruptible seed abideth in the faithful child of

God, who hath been made partaker of the Holy Ghost, and

hath not received the grace of God in vain. He doth not grieve

the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30);  he doth not by willful

resistance quench the Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19).  

“He that is born of God sinneth not” (I John 3:9; 5:18).

So far as the seed of the new life abideth in him, that life

dieth not; it lives and energizes, for it is the life of Christ.

“Not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).  And

that new life must show itself in love, in love unfeigned, pure,

and fervent. For “he that loveth not, knoweth not God;”

(I John 4:8); but “every one that loveth is born of God,

 and knoweth God.”  (Ibid. v.7)

 

o       That new birth is through the Word. The Word of God

liveth; it is quick and powerful; it is the cause of life. “Man

doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that

 proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). 

God said once, “Let there be light; and there was light”

(Genesis 1:3).  God hath said, “Except a man be born of

water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom

of God” (John 3:5); and men are born of water and of the Spirit,

and do enter into the kingdom of God. Whatever virtues the

sacraments possess come through the Word of God. And when,

alas! men have forgotten their regeneration, when they have

neglected to stir up the grace of God, and it has well-nigh died

out of their souls, it is the Word of God that stirs them

again into life. “This my son was dead, and is alive

 again” (Luke 15:24).  For the Word is not merely the letter;

the Word liveth; the Word, in the deepest sense, is the voice

of God speaking through those letters and syllables, speaking

to the hearts of men.  And it is by His Son that God hath

in these last days spoken unto us (Hebrews 1:2).  HE IS

THE WORD OF GOD, THE WORD MADE FLESH.

(John 1:1;14).  He calls us by His Spirit: “Awake thou

that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall

 give thee light.” He is the Life of the world, the

Resurrection and the Life (Ibid.11:25); when He speaks the

word of power, then dead souls “hear the voice of the

Son of God, and they that hear shall live”  (Ibid. 5:25).

 

Ø      Charity abideth. The seed whereof we are born again is incorruptible;

and the Word of God, which is the instrument of our new birth, abideth

for ever; therefore charity, the love of the brethren, which springs out

of our common birth into the family of God, never faileth (I Corinthians

13:8).  It is the flower of the Christian life, bright and beautiful and

fragrant, It fadeth not like the flowers of this world. “All flesh is

grass,” said the prophet (Isaiah 40:6), and the holy apostle repeats

his words. “The grass withereth (v. 24), generations of men come

and go; one after another, like the leaves of each successive year, they

perish and decay. And if some men are conspicuous among the

multitude, distinguished by rank, or riches, or learning, or great deeds

and triumphs and successes, all these glories are no more abiding than

the beauty of a flower. The rare flower, delicate or gorgeous, shines

in its brightness above the common weeds; but it has no more

permanence, no longer lease of life; it droops and fades and

 falleth away. So is it with that human life which seems most brilliant,

most glorious. “The rich man also died, and was buried” (Luke

16:22).  The dust of Caesar is no better than the dust of Lazarus; both

mingle with the earth from which they came. “Ashes to ashes,

 dust to dust,” is said over the grave of kings and of beggars.

“But the Word of the Lord abideth forever.” That Word is the

instrument of our new birth.  Therefore, if only we abide in Him

who is the Word of God, who hath the words of eternal life, and

by His apostles has declared them unto us; if we abide in Him as

faithful branches abiding in the vine (John 15), then we can never

perish, none can pluck us out of His hand (John 10:28); for

“He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God

 by Him” (Hebrews 7:25).  And that Word is the gospel, the glad

tidings which we have heard. Let us welcome it as good tidings of

great joy, let us treasure it in our hearts; it will bring forth fruit —

the fair fruit of holy deeds, “the white flower of a blameless life,”

fruit that dieth not, a flower that falleth not away.

 

 

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