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Day: September 2, 2012
My home and neighborhood got off relatively unscathed from Hurricane Isaac, but there were others not so blessed. Baptist relief workers are set up in our church providing food for a number of local folk who were flooded. And my sunday school teacher/deacon was flooded in until recently at his home. There are convoys of Red Cross vehicles about the roads as well. And we were at the far eastern edge of Isaac.
A reminder to count your blessings and remember those less fortunate….
1 Peter 1:13
From the greatness and excellency of grace he draws an exhortation, that it surely behoved them the more readily to receive the grace of God, as the more bountifully he bestowed it upon them. And we must notice the connection: he had said, that so elevated was the kingdom of Christ, to which the gospel calls us, that even angels in heaven desire to see it; what then ought to be done by us who are in the world? Doubtless, as long as we live on earth, so great is the distance between us and Christ, that in vain he invites us to himself. It is hence necessary for us to put off the image of Adam and to cast aside the whole world and all hinderances, that being thus set at liberty we may rise upwards to Christ. And he exhorted those to whom he wrote, to be prepared and sober, and to hope for the graces offered to them, and also to renounce the world and their former life, and to be conformed to the will of God.
Then the first part of the exhortation is, to gird up the loins of their mind and to direct their thoughts to the hope of the grace presented to them. In the second par, he prescribes the manner, that having their minds changed, they were to be formed after the image of God.
13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind It is a similitude taken from an ancient custom; for when they had long garments, they could not make a journey, nor conveniently do any work, without being girded up. Hence these expressions, to gird up one’s-self for a work or an undertaking. He then bids them to remove all impediments, that being set at liberty they might go on to God. Those who philosophize more refinedly about the loins, as though he commanded lusts to be restrained and checked, depart from the real meaning of the Apostle, for these words mean the same with those of Christ, “Let your loins be girded about, and burning lamps in your hands,” (Luk_12:35,) except that Peter doubles the metaphor by ascribing loins to the mind. And he intimates that our minds are held entangled by the passing cares of the world and by vain desires, so that they rise not upward to God. Whosoever, then, really wishes to have this hope, let him learn in the first place to disentangle himself from the world, and gird up his mind that it may not turn aside to vain affections. And for the same purpose he enjoins sobriety, which immediately follows; for he commends not temperance only in eating and drinking, but rather spiritual sobriety, when all our thoughts and affections are so kept as not to be inebriated with the allurements of this world. For since even the least taste of them stealthily draws us away from God, when one plunges himself into these, he must necessarily become sleepy and stupid, and he forgets God and the things of God.
Hope to the end, or, Perfectly hope. He intimates that those who let their minds loose on vanity, did not really and sincerely hope for the grace of God; for though they had some hope, yet as they vacillated and were tossed to and fro in the world, there was no solidity in their hope. Then he says, for the grace which will be brought to you, in order that they might be more prompt to receive it. God ought to be sought, though far off; but he comes of his own will to meet us. How great, then, must be our ingratitude if we neglect the grace that is thus set before us! This amplification, then, is especially intended to stimulate our hope.
What he adds, At the revelation of Jesus Christ, may be explained in two ways: that the doctrine of the Gospel reveals Christ to us; and that, as we see him as yet only through a mirror and enigmatically, a full revelation is deferred to the last day. The first meaning is approved by Erasmus, nor do I reject it. The second seems, however, to be more suitable to the passage. For the object of Peter was to call us away beyond the world; for this purpose the fittest thing was the recollection of Christ’s coming. For when we direct our eyes to this event, this world becomes crucified to us, and we to the world. Besides, according to this meaning, Peter used the expression shortly before. Nor is it a new thing for the apostles to employ the preposition ἐν in the sense of εἰς. Thus, then, I explain the passage, — “You have no need to make a long journey that you may attain the grace of God; for God anticipates you; inasmuch as he brings it to you.” But as the fruition of it will not be until Christ appears from heaven, in whom is hid the salvation of the godly, there is need, in the meantime, of hope; for the grace of Christ is now offered to us in vain, except we patiently wait until the coming of Christ.
Cambridge Bible: 1 Pet Plumptre
13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind] The words were in any case a natural figure for prompt readiness for activity, but, coming from one who had been a personal disciple of the Lord Jesus, we cannot fail to trace in them an echo of His words as recorded in Luk_12:35, possibly also, looking to the many instances of parallelism with St Paul’s Epistles, of those which we find in Eph_6:14. The sequence of thought is that the prospect of the coming glories should be a motive to unflagging activity during men’s sojourn upon earth.
be sober, and hope to the end] The verb for “be sober” expresses a sobriety of the Nazarite type. It meets us in 1Th_5:6, 1Th_5:8, and in this Epistle, chaps. 4:7, 5:8. The marginal reading perfectly, as though he said “hope with a hope that lacks nothing of completeness,” answers better to the meaning of the adverb than the phrase in the English Version.
the grace that is to be brought unto you] Literally, as the Greek participle is in the present tense and has no gerundial force, the grace which is being brought unto you. The communication is thought of as continuous, and finding its sphere of action in every successive revelation of Jesus Christ from that of the soul’s first consciousness of His presence, as in Gal_1:16, through those which accompany the stages of spiritual growth, as in 2Co_12:1, to that of the final Advent. The use of the phrase in verse 7 gives, perhaps, a somewhat emphatic prominence to the last thought.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind. St. 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 (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. St. Peter alludes, doubtless, to the Lord’s exhortation, “Let your loins be girded about;” perhaps also the solemn words of Joh_21:18, “signifying by what death he should glorify God,” were present to his thoughts. The loins of your mind. St. 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.” Διάνοια, translated “mind,” is the reflective faculty. The Christian must reflect, and that with intense exertion of thought, 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), as well as with all his heart and soul. Be sober. 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. And hope to the end; rather, perfectly, with a full, unwavering, constant hope. It is better to take the adverb τελείως with the verb “hope” than with νήφοντες, “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,” Jas_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 St. Paul (Gal_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 a future sense, and to understand the revelation of Jesus Christ only of his final coming in glory.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:13
Wherefore — Seeing that the prophets ministered unto you in these high Gospel privileges which they did not themselves fully share in, though “searching” into them, and seeing that even angels “desire to look into” them, how earnest you ought to be and watchful in respect to them!
gird up … loins — referring to Christ’s own words, Luk_12:35; an image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the passover with the loose outer robe girded up about the waist with a girdle, as ready for a journey. Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and warriors (all of whom are types of the Christians), so gird themselves up, both to shorten the garment so as not to impede motion, and to gird up the body itself so as to be braced for action. The believer is to have his mind (mental powers) collected and always ready for Christ’s coming. “Gather in the strength of your spirit” [Hensler]. Sobriety, that is, spiritual self-restraint, lest one be overcome by the allurements of the world and of sense, and patient hopeful waiting for Christ’s revelation, are the true ways of “girding up the loins of the mind.”
to the end — rather, “perfectly,” so that there may be nothing deficient in your hope, no casting away of your confidence. Still, there may be an allusion to the “end” mentioned in 1Pe_1:9. Hope so perfectly (Greek, “teleios”) as to reach unto the end (telos) of your faith and hope, namely, “the grace that is being brought unto you in (so the Greek) the revelation of Christ.” As grace shall then be perfected, so you ought to hope perfectly. “Hope” is repeated from 1Pe_1:3. The two appearances are but different stages of the ONE great revelation of Christ, comprising the New Testament from the beginning to the end.
1 Peter 1:14
14As obedient children He first intimates that we are called by the Lord to the privilege and honor of adoption through the Gospel; and, secondly, that we are adopted for this end, that he might have us as his obedient children. For though obedience does not make us children, as the gift of adoption is gratuitous, yet it distinguishes children from aliens. How far, indeed, this obedience extends, Peter shews, when he forbids God’s children to conform to or to comply with the desires of this world, and when he exhorts them, on the contrary, to conform to the will of God. The sum of the whole law, and of all that God requires of us, is this, that his image should shine forth in us, so that we should not be degenerate children. But this cannot be except we be renewed and put off the image of old Adam.
Hence we learn what Christians ought to propose to themselves as an object throughout life, that is, to resemble God in holiness and purity. But as all the thoughts and feelings of our flesh are in opposition to God, and the whole bent of our mind is enmity to him, hence Peter begins with the renunciation of the world; and certainly, whenever the Scripture speaks of the renewal of God’s image in us, it begins here, that the old man with his lusts is to be destroyed.
In your ignorance The time of ignorance he calls that before they were called into the faith of Christ. We hence learn that unbelief is the fountain of all evils. For he does not use the word ignorance, as we commonly do; for that Platonic dogma is false, that ignorance alone is the cause of sin. But yet, how much soever conscience may reprove the unbelieving, nevertheless they go astray as the blind in darkness, because they know not the right way, and they are without the true light. According to this meaning, Paul says, “Ye henceforth walk not as the Gentiles, in the vanity of their mind, who have the mind darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them.” (Eph_4:17.)
Where the knowledge of God is not, there darkness, error, vanity, destitution of light and life, prevail. These things, however, do not render it impossible that the ungodly should be conscious of doing wrong when they sin, and know that their judge is in heaven, and feel an executioner within them. In short, as the kingdom of God is a kingdom of light, all who are alienated from him must necessarily be blind and go astray in a labyrinth.
We are in the meantime reminded, that we are for this end illuminated as to the knowledge of God, that we may no longer be carried away by roving lusts. Hence, as much progress any one has made in newness of life, so much progress has he made in the knowledge of God.
Here a question arises, — Since he addressed the Jews, who were acquainted with the law, and were brought up in the worship of the only true God, why did he charge them with ignorance and blindness, as though they were heathens? To this I answer, that it hence appears how profitless is all knowledge without Christ. When Paul exposed the vain boasting of those who wished to be wise apart from Christ, he justly said in one short sentence, that they did not hold the head. (Col_2:19.) Such were the Jews; being otherwise imbued with numberless corruptions, they had a veil over the eyes, so that they did not see Christ in the Law. The doctrine in which they had been taught was indeed a true light; but they were blind in the midst of light, as long as the Sun of Righteousness was hid to them. But if Peter declares that the literal disciples even of the Law were in darkness like the heathens, as long as they were ignorant of Christ, the only true wisdom of God, with how much greater care it behoves us to strive for the knowledge of him!
Cambridge Bible 1Pet Plumptre
14. as obedient children] Literally, children of obedience. The phrase is more or less a Hebraism, like “children of wrath,” Eph_2:3, or the more closely parallel “children of disobedience” in Eph_5:6. The “cursed children,” literally, children of a curse, of 2Pe_2:14, furnishes another example of the Hebrew feeling which looks on the relation of sonship as a parable symbolizing the inheritance of character or status.
not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts] The word is the same as that used by St Paul in Rom_12:2, where the English Version gives “conformed.” The words “in your ignorance” are in the Greek more closely connected with “lusts,” the former lusts that were in your ignorance. We trace an echo of the feeling expressed by St Peter in Act_3:17, and again by St Paul in Act_17:30, that the whole life of men, whether Jews or Gentiles, before the revelation of Christ, was a time of ignorance, to be judged as such. The former was at least likely to remember, as he wrote, his Master’s words as to “the servant who knew not his lord’s will” (Luk_12:48), and who was therefore to be “beaten with few stripes.” It does not follow, as some have thought, that he is thinking here, chiefly or exclusively, of those who had been heathens. The words were in their breadth and fulness as true of Jew and Gentile alike as were St Paul’s in Rom_11:32.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:14
From sobriety of spirit and endurance of hope Peter passes to obedience, holiness, and reverential fear.
As — marking their present actual character as “born again” (1Pe_1:3, 1Pe_1:22).
obedient children — Greek, “children of obedience”: children to whom obedience is their characteristic and ruling nature, as a child is of the same nature as the mother and father. Contrast Eph_5:6, “the children of disobedience.” Compare 1Pe_1:17, “obeying the Father” whose “children” ye are. Having the obedience of faith (compare 1Pe_1:22) and so of practice (compare 1Pe_1:16, 1Pe_1:18). “Faith is the highest obedience, because discharged to the highest command” [Luther].
fashioning — The outward fashion (Greek, “schema”) is fleeting, and merely on the surface. The “form,” or conformation in the New Testament, is something deeper and more perfect and essential.
the former lusts in — which were characteristic of your state of ignorance of God: true of both Jews and Gentiles. The sanctification is first described negatively (1Pe_1:14, “not fashioning yourselves,” etc.; the putting off the old man, even in the outward fashion, as well as in the inward conformation), then positively (1Pe_1:15, putting on the new man, compare Eph_4:22, Eph_4:24). “Lusts” flow from the original birth-sin (inherited from our first parents, who by self-willed desire brought sin into the world), the lust which, ever since man has been alienated from God, seeks to fill up with earthly things the emptiness of his being; the manifold forms which the mother-lust assumes are called in the plural lusts. In the regenerate, as far as the new man is concerned, which constitutes his truest self, “sin” no longer exists; but in the flesh or old man it does. Hence arises the conflict, uninterruptedly maintained through life, wherein the new man in the main prevails, and at last completely. But the natural man knows only the combat of his lusts with one another, or with the law, without power to conquer them.
As obedient children; rather, children of obedience (comp. Eph_2:2, Eph_2:3; Eph_5:8; also 2Pe_2:14; 2Th_2:3; Luk_16:8). Winer says (‘Grammar,’ 3. 34.; ‘Romans,’ 2), “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 seems to be an echo of Born. 12:2, 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. 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 St. Peter is addressing Gentiles as well as Jews; top, though ignorance is attributed to the Jews (Act_3:17; Rom_10:3; 1Ti_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 (Rom_2:17; Rom_3:2; comp. also Eph_4:18 and Act_17:30).
1 Peter 1:15
15He who hath called you is holy He reasons from the end for which we are called. God sets us apart as a peculiar people for himself; then we ought to be free from all pollutions. And he quotes a sentence which had been often repeated by Moses. For as the people of Israel were on every side surrounded by heathens, from whom they might have easily adopted the worst examples and innumerable corruptions, the Lord frequently recalled them to himself, as though he had said, “Ye have to do with me, ye are mine; then abstain from the pollutions of the Gentiles.” We are too ready to look to men, so as to follow their common way of living. Thus it happens, that some lead others in troops to all kinds of evil, until the Lord by his calling separates them.
In bidding us to be holy like himself, the proportion is not that of equals; but we ought to advance in this direction as far as our condition will bear. And as even the most perfect are always very far from coming up to the mark, we ought daily to strive more and more. And we ought to remember that we are not only told what our duty is, but that God also adds, “I am he who sanctify you.”
It is added, In all manner of conversation, or, in your whole conduct. There is then no part of our life which is not to be redolent with this good odour of holiness. For we see that in the smallest things and almost insignificant, the Lord accustomed his people to the practice of holiness, in order that they might exercise a more diligent care as to themselves.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:15
Literally, “But (rather) after the pattern of Him who hath called you (whose characteristic is that He is) holy, be (Greek, ‘become’) ye yourselves also holy.” God is our grand model. God’s calling is a frequently urged motive in Peter’s Epistles. Every one that begets, begets an offspring resembling himself [Epiphanius]. “Let the acts of the offspring indicate similarity to the Father” [Augustine].
conversation — deportment, course of life: one’s way of going about, as distinguished from one’s internal nature, to which it must outwardly correspond. Christians are already holy unto God by consecration; they must be so also in their outward walk and behavior in all respects. The outward must correspond to the inward man.
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.” The Christian’s effort must be to fashion himself, by God’s grace, after the likeness of God. not according to the former lusts (comp. Mat_5:45, Mat_5:48; also Col_3:10; Eph_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.” (For the word conversation” (ἀναστροφή), comp. Gal_1:13; Eph_4:22; 1Ti_4:12; Heb_13:7.)
1 Peter 1:15
As he which hath called you is holy (κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον)
As of the A. V. is according to, or after the pattern of; and holy is to be taken as a personal name; the which hath called being added for definition, and in order to strengthen the exhortation. Render, therefore, after the pattern of the Holy One who called you. So, nearly, Rev., in margin. A similar construction occurs 2Pe_2:1 : the Lord that bought them.
A favorite word with Peter; used eight times in the two epistles. From ἀνά, up, and στρέφω, to turn. The process of development in the meaning of the word is interesting. 1. A turning upside down. 2. A turning about or wheeling. 3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth there about one’s business; and so, 4, one’s mode of life or conduct. This is precisely the idea in the word conversation (Lat., conversare, to turn round) which was used when the A. V. was made, as the common term for general deportment or behavior, and was, therefore, a correct rendering of ἀναστροφή. So Latimer (“Sermons”): “We are not bound to follow the conversations or doings of the saints.” And Shakspeare, 2 Hen. IV., v., 5:
“But all are banished till their conversation Appear more wise and modest to the world.”
Our later limitation of the meaning to the interchange of talk makes it expedient to change the rendering, as Rev., to manner of living.
Jmaieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:16
Scripture is the true source of all authority in questions of doctrine and practice.
Be ye … for I am — It is I with whom ye have to do. Ye are mine. Therefore abstain from Gentile pollutions. We are too prone to have respect unto men [Calvin]. As I am the fountain of holiness, being holy in My essence, be ye therefore zealous to be partakers of holiness, that ye may be as I also am [Didymus]. God is essentially holy: the creature is holy in so far as it is sanctified by God. God, in giving the command, is willing to give also the power to obey it, namely, through the sanctifying of the Spirit (1Pe_1:2).
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. God had called the Israelites to be his peculiar people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exo_19:5, Exo_19:6). He has called us Christians to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1Pe_2:9). He is holy, awful in holiness; in his sight “the heavens are not clean.” We who are his must strive to be holy, separated from all that is impure, consecrated to his service.
1 Peter 1:16
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy – Lev_11:44. This command was addressed at first to the Israelites, but it is with equal propriety addressed to Christians, as the professed people of God. The foundation of the command is, that they professed to be his people, and that as his people they ought to be like their God. Compare Mic_4:5. It is a great truth, that people everywhere will imitate the God whom they worship. They will form their character in accordance with his. They will regard what he does as right. They will attempt to rise no higher in virtue than the God whom they adore, and they will practice freely what he is supposed to do or approve. Hence, by knowing what are the characteristics of the gods which are worshipped by any people, we may form a correct estimate of the character of the people themselves; and, hence, as the God who is the object of the Christian’s worship is perfectly holy, the character of His worshipers should also be holy. And hence, also, we may see that the tendency of true religion is to make people pure. As the worship of the impure gods of the pagan moulds the character of the worshippers into their image, so the worship of Yahweh moulds the character of His professed friends into His image, and they become like him.
1 Peter 1:17
17And if ye call on the Father They are said here to call on God the Father, who professed themselves to be his children, as Moses says, that the name of Jacob was called on Ephraim and Manasseh, that they might be counted his children. (Gen_48:16.) According to this meaning also, we say in French reclamer But he had a regard to what he had said before, “as obedient children.” And from the character of the Father himself, he shews what sort of obedience ought to be rendered. He judges, he says, without looking on the person, that is, no outward mask is of any account with him, as the case is with men, but he sees the heart, (1Sa_16:7;) and his eyes look on faithfulness. (Jer_5:3.) This also is what Paul means when he says that God’s judgment is according to truth, (Rom_2:2;) for he there inveighs against hypocrites, who think that they deceive God by a vain pretense. The meaning is, that we by no means discharge our duty towards God, when we obey him only in appearance; for he is not a mortal man, whom the outward appearance pleases, but he reads what we are inwardly in our hearts. He not only prescribes laws for our feet and hands, but he also requires what is just and right as to the mind and spirit.
By saying, According to every man’s work, he does not refer to merit or to reward; for Peter does not speak here of the merits of works, nor of the cause of salvation, but he only reminds us, that there will be no looking to the person before the tribunal of God, but that what will be regarded will be the real sincerity of the heart. In this place faith also is included in the work. It hence appears evident how foolish and puerile is the inference that is drawn, — “God is such that he judges every one of us by the integrity of his conscience, not by the outward appearance; then we obtain salvation by works.”
The fear that is mentioned, stands opposed to heedless security, such as is wont to creep in, when there is a hope of deceiving with impunity. For, as God’s eyes are such that they penetrate into the hidden recesses of the heart, we ought to walk with him carefully and not negligently. He calls the present life a sojourning, not in the sense in which he called the Jews to whom he was writing sojourners, at the beginning of the Epistle, but because all the godly are in this world pilgrims. (Heb_11:13.)
Cambridge Bible 1Pet Plumptre
17. And if ye call on the Father …] Better, as the Greek noun has no article, if ye call upon a Father, i.e. if you worship not an arbitrary Judge, but one of whom Fatherhood is the essential character. The sequel shews that this attribute of Fatherhood is not thought of as excluding the idea of judgment, but gives assurance that the judgment will be one of perfect equity.
who without respect of persons] We note the prominence of this thought, derived originally from the impression by our Lord’s words and acts (Mat_22:16), as presenting a coincidence (1) with the Apostle’s own words in Act_10:34; and (2) as in other instances, with the teaching of St James (2:1-4).
pass the time of your sojourning here in fear] The verb for “pass” is that from which is derived the noun for “conversation” or “conduct.” The connexion of thought may be indicated, in the English as in the Greek, by rendering conduct yourselves during the time of your sojourning. The latter word connects itself with the “strangers” of verse 1, and yet more with the “strangers and sojourners” of ch. 2:11. The “fear” which is urged upon them, is not the terror of slaves, but the reverential awe of sons, even the true fear of the Lord which is “the beginning of wisdom.” (Psa_111:10; Pro_1:7.) Comp. also Luk_12:4, Luk_12:5.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:17
if ye call on — that is, “seeing that ye call on,” for all the regenerate pray as children of God, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Mat_6:9; Luk_11:2).
the Father — rather, “Call upon as Father Him who without acceptance of persons (Act_10:34; Rom_2:11; Jam_2:1, not accepting the Jew above the Gentile, 2Ch_19:7; Luk_20:21; properly said of a judge not biased in judgment by respect of persons) judgeth,” etc. The Father judgeth by His Son, His Representative, exercising His delegated authority (Joh_5:22). This marks the harmonious and complete unity of the Trinity.
work — Each man’s work is one complete whole, whether good or bad. The particular works of each are manifestations of the general character of his lifework, whether it was of faith and love whereby alone we can please God and escape condemnation.
pass — Greek, “conduct yourselves during.”
sojourning — The outward state of the Jews in their dispersion is an emblem of the sojourner-like state of all believers in this world, away from our true Fatherland.
fear — reverential, not slavish. He who is your Father, is also your Judge – a thought which may well inspire reverential fear. Theophylact observes, A double fear is mentioned in Scripture: (1) elementary, causing one to become serious; (2) perfective: the latter is here the motive by which Peter urges them as sons of God to be obedient. Fear is not here opposed to assurance, but to carnal security: fear producing vigilant caution lest we offend God and backslide. “Fear and hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from falling away from hope” [Bengel]. Though love has no fear IN it, yet in our present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear going ALONG WITH It as a subordinate principle. This fear drowns all other fears. The believer fears God, and so has none else to fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness and folly. The martyrs’ more than mere human courage flowed from this.
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 2Ti_4:18. You call on God as your Father; then pass your time in fear (comp. Ma 2Ti_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, rendered “without respect of persons,” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; but the thought is familiar. St. 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” (Act_10:34). The disciples of the Pharisees had said the same of our Lord (Mat_22:16; comp. also Rom_2:11; Gal_2:6; Jas_2:1-4). The Lord said (Joh_5:22), “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.” But the Father is “Fens judicii,” as Didymus says (quoted by Alford), “judicante Filio, Pater est qu;. judicat,” 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 “work” (ἔργον) is in the singular number, as πρᾶξιν in Mat_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. So Bengel, “Unius hominis unum est opus, bouum malumve.” Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. The verb here, ἀναστράφητε, corresponds with the noun ἀναστροφή (“conversation”) of Mat_16:15; both might be rendered (as Dean Plumptre suggests) by “conduct” (noun or verb)—”in all your conduct” in Mat_16:15; and here, “conduct yourselves.” The word “sojourning” reminds us of Mat_16:1 of this chapter and of 1Pe_2:11, in which last place we have the corresponding Greek word. We are sojourners here, life is short; but the character of that short life determines our eternal condition; therefore live in fear. St. 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 is slavish fear, selfish fear of death and punishment. The fear which St. Peter and St. Paul (Php_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 (Luk_12:4), “Be not afraid of them that kill the body.… Fear him,” etc. They who fear God need fear nothing else but God.
1 Peter 1:17
And if ye call on the Father – That is, if you are true Christians, or truly pious – piety being represented in the Scriptures as calling on God, or as the worship of God. Compare Act_9:11; Gen_4:26; 1Ki_18:24; Psa_116:17; 2Ki_5:11; 1Ch_16:8; Joe_2:32; Rom_10:13; Zep_3:9; 1Co_1:2; Act_2:21. The word “Father” here is used evidently not to denote the Father in contradistinction to the Son, but as referring to God as the Father of the universe. See 1Pe_1:14 – “As obedient children.” God is often spoken of as the Father of the intelligent beings whom he has made. Christians worship Him as a Father – as one having all the feelings of a kind and tender parent toward them. Compare Psa_103:13, following.
Who without respect of persons – Impartiality. One who is not influenced in His treatment of people by a regard to rank, wealth, beauty, or any external distinction. See the Act_10:34 note, and Rom_2:11 note.
Judgeth according to every man’s work – He judges each one according to his character; or to what he has done, Rev_22:12. See the notes at 2Co_5:10. The meaning is: “You worship a God who will judge every person according to his real character, and you should therefore lead such lives as he can approve.”
Pass the time of your sojourning – “Of your temporary residence on earth. This is not your permanent home, but you are strangers and sojourners.” See the notes at Heb_11:13.
In fear – See the Phi_2:12 note; Heb_12:28 note. With true reverence or veneration for God and His law. Religion is often represented as the reverent fear of God, Deu_6:2, Deu_6:13, Deu_6:24; Pro_1:7; Pro_3:13; Pro_14:26-27, et saepe al.
1 Peter 1:18
18Forasmuch as ye know, or, knowing. Here is another reason, drawn from the price of our redemption, which ought always to be remembered when our salvation is spoken of. For to him who repudiates or despises the grace of the gospel, not only his own salvation is worthless, but also the blood of Christ, by which God has manifested its value. But we know how dreadfully sacrilegious it is to regard as common the blood of the Son of God. There is hence nothing which ought so much to stimulate us to the practice of holiness, as the memory of this price of our redemption.
Silver and gold For the sake of amplifying he mentions these things in contrast, so that we may know that the whole world, and all things deemed precious by men, are nothing to the excellency and value of this price.
But he says that they had been redeemed from their vain conversation, in order that we might know that the whole life of man, until he is converted to Christ, is a ruinous labyrinth of wanderings. He also intimates, that it is not through our merits that we are restored to the right way, but because it is God’s will that the price, offered for our salvation, should be effectual in our behalf. Then the blood of Christ is not only the pledge of our salvation, but also the cause of our calling.
Moreover, Peter warns us to beware lest our unbelief should render this price void or of no effect. As Paul boasts that he worshipped God with a pure conscience from his forefathers, (2Ti_1:3,) and as he also commends to Timothy for his imitation the piety of his grandmother Lois, and of his mother Eunice, (2Ti_1:5,) and as Christ also said of the Jews that they knew whom they worshipped (Joh_4:22,) it may seem strange that Peter should assert that the Jews of his time learnt nothing from their fathers but mere vanity. To this I answer, that Christ, when he declared that the way or the knowledge of true religion belonged to the Jews, referred to the law and the commandments of God rather than to the people; for the temple had not to no purpose been built at Jerusalem, nor was God worshipped there according to the fancies of men, but according to what was prescribed in the Law; he, therefore, said that the Jews were not going astray while observing the Law. As to Paul’s forefathers, and as to Lois, Eunice, and similar cases, there is no doubt but that God ever had at least a small remnant among that people, in whom sincere piety continued, while the body of the people had become wholly corrupt, and had plunged themselves into all kinds of errors. Innumerable superstitions were followed, hypocrisy prevailed, the hope of salvation was built on the merest trifles; they were not only imbued with false opinions, but also fascinated with the grossest dotages; and they who had been scattered to various parts of the world, were implicated in still greater corruptions. In short, the greater part of that nation had either wholly fallen away from true religion, or had much degenerated. When, therefore, Peter condemned the doctrine of the fathers, he viewed it as unconnected with Christ, who is the soul and the truth of the Law.
But we hence learn, that as soon as men depart from Christ, they go fatally astray. In vain is pretended in this case the authority of the Fathers or an ancient custom. For the Prophet Ezekiel cried to the Jews, “Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers.”(Eze_20:18.)
This ought also to be no less attended to by us in the present day; for, in order that the redemption of Christ may be effectual and useful to us, we must renounce our former life, though derived from the teaching and practice of our fathers. Thrice foolish, then, are the Papists, who think that the name of Fathers is a sufficient defense for all their superstitions, so that they boldly reject whatever is brought forward from the Word of God.
Cambridge Bible 1Pet Plumptre
18. as ye know that ye were not redeemed …] The idea of a ransom as a price paid for liberation from captivity or death, suggests the contrast between the silver and gold which were paid commonly for human ransoms, and the price which Christ had paid. In the word itself we have an echo of our Lord’s teaching in Mat_20:28, Mar_10:45. In this instance, it will be noted, stress is laid on the fact that the liberation effected by the ransom is not from the penalty of an evil life, but from the evil life itself.
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers] Better, as before, vain conduct. It has been somewhat rashly inferred from these words that the Apostle is speaking mainly, if not exclusively, of the converts from heathenism who were to be found in the Asiatic Churches. His own words, however, in Act_15:10, yet more the condemnation passed by our Lord on the traditions of the elders (Mat_15:2-6, Mar_7:3-13), and St Paul’s reference to his living after the traditions of the fathers (Gal_1:14), are surely enough to warrant the conclusion that he is speaking here of the degenerate Judaism of those whom he addresses, rather than turning to a different class of readers, or, at the least, that his words include the former.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
1 Peter 1:18
Another motive to reverential, vigilant fear (1Pe_1:17) of displeasing God, the consideration of the costly price of our redemption from sin. Observe, it is we who are bought by the blood of Christ, not heaven. The blood of Christ is not in Scripture said to buy heaven for us: heaven is the “inheritance” (1Pe_1:4) given to us as sons, by the promise of God.
corruptible — Compare 1Pe_1:7, “gold that perisheth,” 1Pe_1:23.
silver and gold — Greek, “or.” Compare Peter’s own words, Act_3:6 : an undesigned coincidence.
redeemed — Gold and silver being liable to corruption themselves, can free no one from spiritual and bodily death; they are therefore of too little value. Contrast 1Pe_1:19, Christ’s “precious blood.” The Israelites were ransomed with half a shekel each, which went towards purchasing the lamb for the daily sacrifice (Exo_30:12-16; compare Num_3:44-51). But the Lamb who redeems the spiritual Israelites does so “without money or price.” Devoted by sin to the justice of God, the Church of the first-born is redeemed from sin and the curse with Christ’s precious blood (Mat_20:28; 1Ti_2:6; Tit_2:14; Rev_5:9). In all these passages there is the idea of substitution, the giving of one for another by way of a ransom or equivalent. Man is “sold under sin” as a slave; shut up under condemnation and the curse. The ransom was, therefore, paid to the righteously incensed Judge, and was accepted as a vicarious satisfaction for our sin by God, inasmuch as it was His own love as well as righteousness which appointed it. An Israelite sold as a bond-servant for debt might be redeemed by one of his brethren. As, therefore, we could not redeem ourselves, Christ assumed our nature in order to become our nearest of kin and brother, and so our God or Redeemer. Holiness is the natural fruit of redemption “from our vain conversation”; for He by whom we are redeemed is also He for whom we are redeemed. “Without the righteous abolition of the curse, either there could be found no deliverance, or, what is impossible, the grace and righteousness of God must have come in collision” [Steiger]; but now, Christ having borne the curse of our sin, frees from it those who are made God’s children by His Spirit.
vain — self-deceiving, unreal, and unprofitable: promising good which it does not perform. Compare as to the Gentiles, Act_14:15; Rom_1:21; Eph_4:17; as to human philosophers, 1Co_3:20; as to the disobedient Jews, Jer_4:14.
conversation — course of life. To know what our sin is we must know what it cost.
received by tradition from your fathers — The Jews’ traditions. “Human piety is a vain blasphemy, and the greatest sin that a man can commit” [Luther]. There is only one Father to be imitated, 1Pe_1:17; compare Mat_23:9, the same antithesis [Bengel].
1 Peter 1:19
19As of a lamb He means by this similitude, that we have in Christ whatever had been shadowed forth by the ancient sacrifices, though he especially alludes to the Paschal lamb. But let us hence learn what benefit the reading of the Law brings us in this respect; for, though the rite of sacrificing is abolished, yet it assists our faith not a little, to compare the reality with the type, so that we may seek in the former what the latter contains. Moses ordered a whole or perfect lamb, without blemish, to be chosen for the Passover. The same thing is often repeated as to the sacrifices, as in Lev_23:0; in Num_28:0; and in other places. Peter, by applying this to Christ, teaches us that he was a suitable victim, and approved by God, for he was perfect, without any blemish; had he had any defect in him, he could not have been rightly offered to God, nor could he pacify his wrath.
Cambridge Bible 1 Pet Plumptre
19. but with the precious blood of Christ] The order of the Greek, and the absence of the article before “blood,” somewhat modify the meaning. Better, with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, [even that] of Christ. That blood, the life which it represented, poured out upon the cross, took its place among the things that were not corruptible, and is contrasted accordingly with the “silver” and the “gold.” With the exception of the substitution of the “blood which is the life” for the life itself, the thought is identical with that of the two passages (Mat_20:28, Mar_10:45) already referred to. The minds of the disciples had been directed to the “blood” thus understood, as connected with remission of sins, in what we know as the words of institution at the Last Supper (Mat_26:28, Mar_14:24, Luk_22:20). In the blood being that of a “lamb,” we trace the impression made on the mind of the Apostle by the words which the Baptist had spoken in the hearing of St John (Joh_1:29), and which are reproduced with so much vividness in the Apocalypse (Rev_5:6, Rev_5:12). The question meets us, and is not easy to answer, To what special sacrifice ordained in the law of Moses do they refer? The epithet “without blemish” seems to point to the Paschal lamb (Exo_12:5), but neither of the adjectives which St Peter uses is found in the LXX. version in connexion with the Passover. As connected with the deliverance of Israel both from the angel of death and from their bondage in Egypt, the blood so shed might well come to be thought of as the instrument of redemption. Had a lamb been sacrificed on the day of Atonement, that would have seemed the natural type of the death of Christ, but there the victim was a goat (Lev_16:7); the daily morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb (Exo_29:38) fails as being unconnected with any special act of redeeming love. On the whole, perhaps, it is best to think of the comparison, suggested originally by the Baptist’s words, as pointing to the fact that whatever typical significance had attached to the lamb in any part of the complex ritual of the law had now been realised in Christ.
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 1Pe_1:18; 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 efficacy 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 (Exo_12:5; Le Exo_22:19, Exo_22:20, Exo_22:21); Christ was without sin, pure, harmless, undefiled. 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” (Le 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. Probably St. Peter derived the comparison from the well-remembered words of the Baptist, reported by his brother Andrew, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The reference may be to the Paschal lamb (“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” 1Co_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.
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ – On the use of the word blood, and the reason why the efficacy of the atonement is said to be in the blood, see the notes at Rom_3:25. The word “precious” (τίμιος timios) is a word which would be applied to that which is worth much; which is costly. Compare for the use of the noun (τιμή timē) in this sense, Mat_27:6, “The price of blood;” Act_4:34; Act_5:2-3; Act_7:16. See also for the use of the adjective, (τίμιος timios,) Rev_17:4, “gold and precious stones” Rev_18:12, “vessels of most precious wood.” Rev_21:11, “a stone most precious.” The meaning here is, that the blood of Christ had a value above silver and gold; it was worth more, to wit:
(1) In itself – being a more valuable thing – and,
(2) In effecting our redemption. It accomplished what silver and gold could not do. The universe had nothing more valuable to offer, of which we can conceive, than the blood of the Son of God.
As of a lamb – That is, of Christ regarded as a lamb offered for sacrifice. See the notes at Joh_1:29.
Without blemish and without spot – Such a lamb only was allowed to be offered in sacrifice, Lev_22:20-24; Mal_1:8. This was required:
(1) Because it was proper that man should offer that which was regarded as perfect in its kind; and,
(2) Because only that would be a proper symbol of the great sacrifice which was to be made by the Son of God. The idea was thus kept up from age to age that he, of whom all these victims were the emblems, would be perfectly pure.
1 Peter 1:20
20Who verily was foreordained He again by a comparison amplifies the grace of God, with which he had peculiarly favored the men of that age. For it was not a common or a small favor that God deferred the manifestation of Christ to that time, when yet he had ordained him in his eternal council for the salvation of the world. At the same time, however, he reminds us, that it was not a new or a sudden thing as to God that Christ appeared as a Savior; and this is what ought especially to be known. For, in addition to this, that novelty is always suspicious, what would be the stability of our faith, if we believed that a remedy for mankind had suddenly occurred at length to God after some thousands of years? In short, we cannot confidently recumb on Christ, except we are convinced that eternal salvation is in him, and always has been in him. Besides, Peter addressed the Jews, who had heard that he had already been long ago promised; and though they understood nothing true or clear or certain respecting his power and office, yet there remained among them a persuasion, that a Redeemer had been promised by God to the fathers.
It may yet be asked, As Adam did not fall before the creation of the world, how was it that Christ had been appointed the Redeemer? for a remedy is posterior to the disease. My reply is, that this is to be referred to God’s foreknowledge; for doubtless God, before he created man, foresaw that he would not stand long in his integrity. Hence he ordained, according to his wonderful wisdom and goodness, that Christ should be the Redeemer, to deliver the lost race of man from ruin. For herein shines forth more fully the unspeakable goodness of God, that he anticipated our disease by the remedy of his grace, and provided a restoration to life before the first man had fallen into death. If the reader wishes for more on this subject, he may find it in my Institutes.
But was manifest, or manifested. Included in these words, as I think, is not only the personal appearance of Christ, but also the proclamation of the Gospel. For, by the coming of Christ, God executed what he had decreed; and what he had obscurely indicated to the fathers is now clearly and plainly made known to us by the Gospel. He says that this was done in these last times, meaning the same as when Paul says, “In the fullness of time,” (Gal_4:4;) for it was the mature season and the full time which God in his counsel had appointed.
For you He does not exclude the fathers, to whom the promise had not been useless; but as God has favored us more than them, he intimates that the greater the amplitude of grace towards us, the more reverence and ardor and care are required of us.
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world; rather, as in the Revised Version, who was foreknown indeed; literally, who hath been fore known. 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. St. Peter had asserted the same great truth in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Act_2:23; comp. also Act_3:18 and Act_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 (Eph_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. 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; rather, as in the Revised Version, with the best manuscripts, was manifested at the end of the times for your sake. The aorist (φανερωθέντος) marks the Incarnation as an event which took place in time; the purpose of God was eternal, before all time. For the phrase, “at the end of the times” (ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τών χρόνων), compare the reading of the most ancient manuscripts in Heb_1:1 (ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων, “at the end of these days”); also in Jud_1:8 (ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου χρόνου). “This is the last time,” St. John says; or, rather, “the last hour (ἐσχάτη ὥρα)” (1Jn_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.
1 Peter 1:20
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world – That is, it was foreordained, or predetermined, that he should be the great stoning Sacrifice for sin. On the meaning of the word “foreordained,” (προγινώσκω proginōskō,) see Rom_8:29. The word is rendered which knew, Act_26:5; foreknew and foreknow, Rom_8:29; Rom_11:2; foreordained, 1Pe_1:20; and know before, 2Pe_2:17. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The sense is, that the plan was formed, and the arrangements made for the atonement, before the world was created.
Before the foundation of the world – That is, from eternity. It was before man was formed; before the earth was made; before any of the material universe was brought into being; before the angels were created. Compare the Mat_25:34 note; Joh_17:24 note; Eph_1:4 note.
But was manifest – Was revealed. See the notes at 1Ti_3:16.
In these last times – In this, the last dispensation of things on the earth. See the notes at Heb_1:2.
For you – For your benefit or advantage. See the notes at 1Pe_1:12. It follows from what is said in this verse:
(1) That the atonement was not an afterthought on the part of God. It entered into his plan when he made the world, and was revolved in his purposes from eternity.
(2) It was not a device to supply a defect in the system; that is, it was not adopted because the system did not work well, or because God had been disappointed. It was arranged before man was created, and when none but God could know whether he would stand or fall.
(3) The creation of the earth must have had some reference to this plan of redemption, and that plan must have been regarded as in itself so glorious, and so desirable, that it was deemed best to bring the world into existence that the plan might be developed, though it would involve the certainty that the race would fall, and that many would perish. It was, on the whole, more wise and benevolent that the race should be created with a certainty that they would apostatize, than it would be that the race should not he created, and the plan of salvation be unknown to distant worlds. See the notes at 1Pe_1:12.
1 Peter 1:21
21Who believe The manifestation of Christ refers not to all indiscriminately, but belongs to those only on whom he by the Gospel shines. But we must notice the words, Who by him believe in God: here is shortly expressed what faith is. For, since God is incomprehensible, faith could never reach to him, except it had an immediate regard to Christ. Nay, there are two reasons why faith could not be in God, except Christ intervened as a Mediator: first, the greatness of the divine glory must be taken to the account, and at the same time the littleness of our capacity. Our acuteness is doubtless very far from being capable of ascending so high as to comprehend God. Hence all knowledge of God without Christ is a vast abyss which immediately swallows up all our thoughts. A clear proof of this we have, not only in the Turks and the Jews, who in the place of God worship their own dreams, but also in the Papists. Common is that axiom of the schools, that God is the object of faith. Thus of hidden majesty, Christ being overlooked, they largely and refinedly speculate; but with what success? They entangle themselves in astounding dotages, so that there is no end to their wanderings. For faith, as they think, is nothing else but an imaginative speculation. Let us, therefore, remember, that Christ is not in vain called the image of the invisible God, (Col_1:15;) but this name is given to him for this reason, because God cannot be known except in him.
The second reason is, that as faith unites us to God, we shun and dread every access to him, except a Mediator comes who can deliver us from fear. For sin, which reigns in us, renders us hateful to God and him to us. Hence, as soon as mention is made of God, we must necessarily be filled with dread; and if we approach him, his justice is like fire, which will wholly consume us.
It is hence evident that we cannot believe in God except through Christ, in whom God in a manner makes himself little, that he might accommodate himself to our comprehension; and it is Christ alone who can tranquillize consciences, so that we may dare to come in confidence to God.
That raised him up from the dead He adds, that Christ had been raised up from the dead, in order that their faith and hope, by which they were supported, might have a firm foundation. And hereby again is confuted the gloss respecting universal and indiscriminate faith in God; for had there been no resurrection of Christ, still God would remain in heaven. But Peter says that he would not have been believed in, except Christ had risen. It is then evident, that faith is something else than to behold the naked majesty of God. And rightly does Peter speak in this manner; for it belongs to faith to penetrate into heaven, that it may find the Father there: how could it do so, except it had Christ as a leader?
“By him,” says Paul, “we have confidence of access.”(Eph_3:12.)
It is said also, in Heb_4:16, that relying on our high priest, we can come with confidence to the throne of grace. Hope is the anchor of the soul, which enter into the inner part of the sanctuary; but not without Christ going before. (Heb_6:19.) Faith is our victory against the world, (1Jo_5:4) and what is it that makes it victorious, except that Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, has us under his guardianship and protection?
As, then, our salvation depends on the resurrection of Christ and his supreme power, faith and hope find here what can support them. For, except he had by rising again triumphed over death, and held now the highest sovereignty, to protect us by his power, what would become of us, exposed to so great a power as that of our enemies, and to such violent attacks? Let us, therefore, learn to what mark we ought to direct our aim, so that we may really believe in God.
Cambridge Bible 1 Pet Plumptre
21. who by him do believe in God …] Literally, who through him are faithful (or believing) towards God; the adjective expressing a permanent attribute of character rather than the mere act which would be expressed by the participle in Greek, and the present indicative in English.
that raised him up from the dead …] The prominence given to the Resurrection as the ground of Faith and Hope is eminently characteristic of St Peter (Act_2:32-36, Act_3:15, Act_4:10). The redemptive act was completed in the shedding of the “precious blood,” but the Resurrection and the “glory” of the Ascension were the foundation of man’s confidence that the work had been completed. The “in God” expresses the Credo in Deum rather than Credo Deo; faith and hope were to find their object in God, be directed towards Him.
1 Peter 1:22
22Seeing ye have purified your souls, or, Purifying your souls. Erasmus badly renders the words, “Who have purified,” etc. For Peter does not declare what they had done, but reminds them of what they ought to do. The participle is indeed in the past tense, but it may be rendered as a gerund, “By purifying, etc. ” The meaning is, that their souls would not be capable of receiving grace until they were purified, and by this our uncleanness is proved. But that he might not seem to ascribe to us the power of purifying our souls, he immediately adds, through the Spirit; as though he had said, “Your souls are to be purified, but as ye cannot do this, offer them to God, that he may take away your filth by his Spirit.” He only mentions souls, though they needed to be cleansed also from the defilements of the flesh, as Paul bids the Corinthians, (2Co_7:1;) but as the principal uncleanness is within, and necessarily draws with it that which is outward, Peter was satisfied with mentioning only the former, as though he had said, that not outward actions only ought to be corrected, but the very hearts ought to be thoroughly reformed.
He afterwards points out the manner, for purity of soul consists in obedience to God. Truth is to be taken for the rule which God prescribes to us in the Gospel. Nor does he speak only of works, but rather faith holds here the primacy. Hence Paul specially teaches us in the first and last chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that faith is that by which we obey God; and Peter in Acts, Act_15:9, bestows on it this eulogy, that God by it purifies the heart.
Unto love of the brethren, or, Unto brotherly love. He briefly reminds us what God especially requires in our life, and the mark to which all our endeavors should be directed. So Paul in Eph_1:4 the Epistle to the Ephesians, when speaking of the perfection of the faithful, makes it to consist in love. And this is what we ought the more carefully to notice, because the world makes its own sanctity to consist of the veriest trifles, and almost overlooks this the chief thing. We see how the Papists weary themselves beyond measure with thousand invented superstitions: in the meantime, the last thing is that love which God especially commends. This, then, is the reason why Peter calls our attention to it, when speaking of a life rightly formed.
He had before spoken of the mortification of the flesh, and of our conformity with the will of God; but he now reminds us of what God would have us to cultivate through life, that is, mutual love towards one another; for by that we testify also that we love God; and by this evidence God proves who they are who really love him.
He calls it unfeigned, (ἀνυπόκριτον), as Paul calls faith in 1Ti_1:5; for nothing is more difficult than to love our neighbors in sincerity. For the love of ourselves rules, which is full of hypocrisy; and besides, every one measures his love, which he shews to others, by his own advantage, and not by the rule of doing good. He adds, fervently; for the more slothful we are by nature, the more ought every one to stimulate himself to fervor and earnestness, and that not only once, but more and more daily.
Cambridge Bible 1 Pet Plumptre
22. Seeing ye have purified your souls] It may be noted that the use of the Greek verb “purify,” in this spiritual sense, is peculiar to St Peter, and to his friends St James (4:8) and St John (1Jn_3:3). In Joh_11:55, Act_21:24, Act_21:26, Act_21:24:18, it is found in its ceremonial significance. In Act_15:9 and Tit_2:14, the Greek verb is different. The purity implied is prominently, as commonly with the cognate adjective, freedom from sensual lust, but includes within its range freedom from all forms of selfishness. The instrument by which, or the region in which, this work of purification is to be accomplished, is found in “obedience to the truth;” the Truth standing here for the sum and substance of the revelation of God in Christ.
unto unfeigned love of the brethren] The Greek noun which answers to the last four words is, in its wide range of meaning, almost, if not altogether, a coinage of Christian thought. The names of Ptolemy Philadelphus (= the lover of his brother) and of the city of Philadelphia (Rev_3:7) had probably given a wide currency to the adjective. St Paul uses it in Rom_12:10, 1Th_4:9, St Peter here and in 2Pe_1:7. The general bearing of the passage runs parallel to St Paul’s “the end of the commandment is charity (better, love) out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned” (1Ti_1:5).
love one another with a pure heart fervently] The better MSS. omit “pure” which may have been inserted from a reminiscence of 1Ti_1:5. The adverb is strictly “intensely” rather than “fervently.” It is noticeable that the only other passage in which it meets us in the New Testament is in Act_12:5, where it, or the cognate adjective, is used of the prayer offered by the Church for St Peter.
Seeing ye have purified your souls; literally, having purified. The verb ἁγνίζω is used of ceremonial purification in Joh_11:55, and in Act_21:24, Act_21:26; Act_24:18. St. James and St. John, in their Epistles, give it the spiritual sense in which St. Peter uses it here (Jas_4:8; 1Jn_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 (1Jn_1:7). The genitive (τῆς ἀληθείας) seems to be objective, “obedience to the truth,” rather than obedience wrought by the truth. The truth is God’s truth, the truth revealed in his Holy Word. So the Lord himself said, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth” (Joh_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. St. Peter had not forgotten the new commandment, “That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The word rendered “love of the brethren” (φιλαδελφία) is scarcely found except in Christian writings. St. Peter uses it again in his Second Epistle (2Pe_1:7), and also St. Paul (Rom_12:10; 1Th_4:9). It must be unfeigned, without hypocrisy, not in word, but in deed and in truth (1Jn_3:18). Our hearts must be purified in the obedience of the truth before that unfeigned love can dwell in them. 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 he from the heart, true and pure. The word rendered “fervently” (ἐκτενῶς) 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 Act_12:5 (according to the reading of the most ancient manuscripts), where it is used of the prayer offered up for St. Peter himself.
1 Peter 1:22
Seeing ye have purified your souls – Greek, “Having purified your souls.” The apostles were never afraid of referring to human agency as having an important part in saving the soul Compare 1Co_4:15. No one is made pure without personal intention or effort – any more than one becomes accomplished or learned without personal exertion. One of the leading effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit is to excite us to make efforts for our own salvation; and there is no true piety which is not the fair result of culture, as really as the learning of a Person, or the harvest of the farmer. The amount of effort which we make “in purifying our souls” is usually also the measure of our attainments in religion. No one can expect to have any true piety beyond the amount of effort which he makes to be conformed to God, any more than one can expect wealth, or fame, or learning, without exertion.
In obeying the truth – That is, your yielding to the requirements of truth, and to its fair influence on your minds, has been the means of your becoming pure. The truth here referred to is, undoubtedly, that which is revealed in the gospel – the great system of truth respecting the redemption of the world.
Through the Spirit – By the agency of the Holy Spirit. It is his office to apply truth to the mind; and however precious the truth may be, and however adapted to secure certain results on the soul, it will never produce those effects without the influences of the Holy Spirit. Compare Tit_3:5-6; the notes at Joh_3:5.
Unto unfeigned love of the brethren – The effect of the influence of the Holy Spirit in applying the truth has been to produce sincere love to all who are true Christians. Compare the Joh_13:34 note; 1Th_4:9 note. See also 1Jo_3:14-18.
See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently – Compare the Heb_13:1 note; Joh_13:34-35 notes; Eph_5:2 note. The phrase “with a pure heart fervently,” means:
(1) That it should be genuine love proceeding from a heart in which there is no guile or hypocrisy; and,
(2) That it should be intense affection, (ἐκτενῶς ektenōs;) not cold and formal, but ardent and strong.
If there is any reason why we should love true Christians at all, there is the same reason why our attachment to them should be intense. This verse establishes the following points:
(1) That truth was at the foundation of their piety. They had none of which this was not the proper basis; and in which the foundation was not as broad as the superstructure. There is no religion in the world which is not the fair developement of truth; which the truth is not suited to produce.
(2) They became Christians as the result of obeying the truth; or by yielding to its fair influence on the soul. Their own minds complied with its claims; their own hearts yielded; there was the exercise of their own volitions. This expresses a doctrine of great importance:
(a) There is always the exercise of the powers of the mind in true religion; always a yielding to truth; always a voluntary reception of it into the soul.
(b) Religion is always of the nature of obedience. It consists in yielding to what is true and right; in laying aside the feelings of opposition, and in allowing the mind to follow where truth and duty lead.
(c) This would always take place when the truth is presented to the mind, if there were no voluntary resistance. If all people were ready to yield to the truth, they would become Christians. The only reason why all people do not love and serve God is that they refuse to yield to what they know to be true and right.
(3) The agency by which this was accomplished was that of the Holy Spirit. Truth is adapted in itself to a certain end or result, as seed is adapted to produce a harvest. But it will no more of itself produce its appropriate effects on the soul, than seed will produce a harvest without rains, and dews, and suns. In all cases, therefore, the proper effect of truth on the soul is to be traced to the influence of the Holy Spirit, as the germination of the seed in the earth is to the foreign cause that acts on it. No man was ever converted by the mere effect of truth without the agency of the Holy Spirit, any more than seed germinates when laid upon a hard rock.
(4) The effect of this influence of the Holy Spirit in applying the truth is to produce love to all who are Christians. Love to Christian brethren springs up in the soul of everyone who is truly converted: and this love is just as certain evidence that the seed of truth has germinated in the soul, as the green and delicate blade that peeps up through the earth is evidence that the seed sown has been quickened into life. Compare the 1Th_4:9 note; 1Jo_3:14 note. We may learn hence:
(a) That truth is of inestimable value. It is as valuable as religion itself, for all the religion in the world is the result of it.
(b) Error and falsehood are mischievous and evil in the same degree. There is no true religion which is the fair result of error; and all the pretended religion that is sustained by error is worthless.
(c) If a system of religion, or a religious measure or doctrine, cannot be defended by truth, it should be at once abandoned. Compare the notes at Job_13:7.
(d) We should avoid the places where error is taught. Pro_19:27, “cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”
(e) We should place ourselves under the teachings of truth, for there is truth enough in the world to occupy all our time and attention; and it is only by truth that our minds can be benefitted.
1 Peter 1:23
23Being born again Here is another reason for an exhortation, — that since they were new men and born again of God, it behoved them to form a life worthy of God and of their spiritual regeneration. And this seems to be connected with a verse in 1Pe_2:2 respecting the milk of the word, which they were to seek, that their way of living might correspond with their birth. It may, however, be extended wider, so as to be connected also with what has gone before; for Peter collected together those things which may lead us to an upright and a holy life.
The object, then, of Peter was to teach us that we cannot be Christians without regeneration; for the Gospel is not preached, that it may be only heard by us, but that it may, as a seed of immortal life, altogether reform our hearts. Moreover, the corruptible seed is set in opposition to God’s word, in order that the faithful might know that they ought to renounce their former nature, and that it might be more evident how much is the difference between the children of Adam who are born only into the world, and the children of God who are renewed into a heavenly life.
But as the construction of the Greek text is doubtful, we may read, “the living word of God,” as well as, “the word of the living God.” As, however, the latter reading is less forced, I prefer it; though it must be observed, that the term is applied to God owing to the character of the passage. For, as in Heb_4:12, because God sees all things, and nothing is hid from him, the apostle argues that the word of God penetrates into the inmost marrow, so as to discern thoughts and feelings; so, when Peter in this place calls him the living God, who abides for ever, he refers to the word, in which the perpetuity of God shines forth as in a living mirror.
Cambridge Bible 1 Pet Plumptre
23. being born again] Better, having been begotten again, the verb being the same as that in verse 3. The “corruptible seed” is that which is the cause of man’s natural birth, and the preposition which St Peter uses exactly expresses this thought of an originating cause. In the second clause, on the other hand, he uses the preposition which distinctly expresses instrumentality. The “word of God” is that through which God, the author of the new life, calls that life into being.
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever] The Greek order of the words leaves it doubtful whether the two predicates belong to “the word,” or to “God,” but the sequence of thought is decisive in favour of connecting them with the former. They are used to shew that the word of God, which is the seed of the new birth, is, as has been said, incorruptible. They prepare the way for the emphatic reiteration in verse 25, that the “word of the Lord” endureth for ever, the same word being used in the Greek as for the “abideth” of this verse.
It is obvious that the word of God is more here than any written book, more than any oral teaching of the Gospel, however mighty that teaching might be in its effects. If we cannot say that St Peter uses the term LOGOS with precisely the same significance as St John (Joh_1:1, Joh_1:14), it is yet clear that he thinks of it as a divine, eternal, creative power, working in and on the soul of man. It was “the word of the Lord” which had thus come to the prophets of old, of which the Psalmist had spoken as “a lamp unto his feet,” and “a light unto his path” (Psa_119:105). St Peter’s use of the term stands on the same level as that of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who speaks of “the word of God” as “quick and powerful … a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb_4:12, Heb_4:13). It is, i.e., nothing less than God manifested as speaking to the soul of man, a manifestation of which either the preached or the written word may be the instrument, but which may work independently of both, and is not to be identified with either.
Being born again; rather, having been begotten again. St. Peter repeats the verb used already in 1Pe_1:3. It is the highest argument for brotherly love; the children of the one Father are all brethren; they should “love as brethren” (1Pe_3:8). Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. The word used here (σπορά) means, properly, “sowing;” but, like σπόρος (Luk_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 St. 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.” And he continues, “That which is born of the flesh [ἐκ τῆς σαρκός, which seems to correspond with the ἐκ σπορᾶς φθαρτοῦ of St. Peter] is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;” where the Greek words, τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος, “that which is begotten of the Spirit,” correspond very nearly with ἀναγεγεννημένοι ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτου, “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;” “To be spiritually minded is life.” Comp. 1Jn_3:9, “Whosoever is born of God (ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ) cloth not commit sin: for his seed (σπέρμα) abideth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God”). 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” (Eph_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 St. 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 (comp. Jas_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 L 3; Heb_1:2); and as the first creation was through him, so is the new creation. He is “the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev_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” (1Jn_5:12); “Through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph_2:18). It is through the Lord Jesus Christ 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 (comp. verse 25, “The Word of the Lord abideth for ever;” and Heb_4:12, “The Word of God is quick and powerful’). The most ancient manuscripts omit the words, “forever.”
1 Peter 1:24
24For all flesh He aptly quotes the passage from Isaiah to prove both clauses; that is, to make it evident how fading and miserable is the first birth of man, and how great is the grace of the new birth. For as the Prophet there speaks of the restoration of the Church, to prepare the way for it, he reduces men to nothing lest they should flatter themselves. I know that the words are wrongly turned by some to another sense; for some explain them of the Assyrians, as though the Prophet said, that there was no reason for the Jews to fear so much from flesh, which is like a fading flower. Others think that the vain confidence which the Jews reposed in human aids, is reproved. But the Prophet himself disproves both these views, by adding, that the people were as grass; for he expressly condemns the Jews for vanity, to whom he promised restoration in the name of the Lord. This, then, is what I have already said, that until their own emptiness has been shewn to men, they are not prepared to receive the grace of God. In short, such is the meaning of the Prophet: as exile was to the Jews like death, he promised them a new consolation, even that God would send prophets with a command of this kind. The Lord, he says, will yet say, “Comfort ye my people;” and that in the desert and the waste, the prophetic voice would yet be heard, in order that a way might be prepared for the Lord. (Isa_40:6.)
And as the obstinate pride which filled them, must have been necessarily purged from their minds, in order that an access might be open for God, the Prophet added what Peter relates here respecting the vanishing glory of the flesh. What is man? he says — grass; what is the glory of man? the flower of the grass. For as it was difficult to believe that man, in whom so much excellency appears, is like grass, the Prophet made a kind of concession, as though he had said, “Be it, indeed, that flesh has some glory; but lest that should dazzle your eyes, know that the flower soon withers.” He afterwards shews how suddenly everything that seems beautiful in men vanishes, even through the blowing of the Spirit of God; and by this he intimates, that man seems to be something until he comes to God, but that his whole brightness is as nothing in his presence; that, in a word, his glory is in this world, and has no place in the heavenly kingdom.
The grass withereth, or, has withered. Many think that this refers only to the outward man; but they are mistaken; for we must consider the comparison between God’s word and man. For if he meant only the body and what belongs to the present life, he ought to have said, in the second place, that the soul was far more excellent. But what he sets in opposition to the grass and its flower, is the word of God. It then follows, that in man nothing but vanity is found. Therefore, when Isaiah spoke of flesh and its glory, he meant the whole man, such as he is in himself; for what he ascribed as peculiar to God’s word, he denied to man. In short, the Prophet speaks of the same thing as Christ does in Joh_3:3, that man is wholly alienated from the kingdom of God, that he is nothing but an earthly, fading, and empty creature, until he is born again.
Cambridge Bible 1Pet Plumptre
24. For all flesh is as grass] The words have a two-fold interest: (1) as a quotation from the portion of Isaiah’s prophecy (40:6-8) with which the Apostle must have been familiar in connexion with the ministry of the Baptist, and (2) as presenting another coincidence with the thoughts and language of the Epistle of St James (1:10, 11), itself, in all probability, an echo of that prophecy. The passage is quoted almost verbally from the LXX. translation, the words “of man” taking the place of the “thereof” of the Hebrew. In “the word (rhêma) of the Lord” we have a different term from the Logos of verse 23. It has, perhaps, a slightly more concrete significance and may thus be thought of as pointing more specifically to the spoken message of the Gospel. It is doubtful, however, looking to the use of the word in Heb_1:3, Heb_1:6:5, Heb_1:11:3; Eph_6:17, whether any such distinction was intended, and it is more probable that St Peter thought of the two terms as equivalents, using the word rhêma here, because he found it in the LXX.
This “word of God,” abiding for ever, was the subject of the Gospel message, but is not necessarily identified with it. It was proclaimed to men by the heralds of glad tidings even as Christ had proclaimed it.
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. St. Peter quotes Isa_40:6-8, in illustration of his assertion that the Word of God abideth forever. The quotation is from the Septuagint. St. Peter follows that version in omitting part of Isa_40:7; 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. St. James refers to the same passage from Isaiah in Jas_1:10, Jas_1:11.
1 Peter 1:25
25But the word of God The Prophet does not shew what the word of God is in itself, but what we ought to think of it; for since man is vanity in himself, it remains that he ought to seek life elsewhere. Hence Peter ascribes power and efficacy to God’s word, according to the authority of the Prophet, so that it can confer on us what is real, solid, and eternal. For this was what the Prophet had in view, that there is no permanent life but in God, and that this is communicated to us by the word. However fading, then, is the nature of man, yet he is made eternal by the word; for he is re-moulded and becomes a new creature.
This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you, or, which has been declared to you. He first reminds us, that when the word of God is mentioned, we are very foolish if we imagine it to be remote from us in the air or in heaven; for we ought to know that it has been revealed to us by the Lord. What, then, is this word of the Lord, which gives us life? Even the Law, the Prophets, the Gospel. Those who wander beyond these limits of revelation, find nothing but the impostures of Satan and his dotages, and not the word of the Lord. We ought the more carefully to notice this, because impious and Luciferian men, craftily allowing to God’s word its own honor, at the same time attempt to draw us away from the Scriptures, as that unprincipled man, Agrippa, who highly extols the eternity of God’s word, and yet treats with scurrility the Prophets, and thus indirectly laughs to scorn the Word of God.
In short, as I have already reminded you, no mention is here made of the word which lies hid in the bosom of God, but of that which has proceeded from his mouth, and has come to us. So again it ought to be borne in mind, that God designed by the Apostles and Prophets to speak to us, and their mouths is the mouth of the only true God.
Then, when Peter says, Which has been announced, or declared, to you, he intimates that the word is not to be sought elsewhere than in the Gospel preached to us; and truly we know not the way of eternal life otherwise than by faith. But there can be no faith, except we know that the word is destined for us.
To the same purpose is what Moses said to the people, “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven, etc.; nigh is the word, in thy mouth and in thy heart.”(Deu_30:12.) That these words agree with what Peter says, Paul shews Rom_10:6, where he teaches us that it was the word of faith which he preached.
There is here, besides, no common eulogy on preaching; for Peter declares that what is preached is the life-giving word. God alone is indeed he who regenerates us; but for that purpose he employs the ministry of men; and on this account Paul glories that the Corinthians had been spiritually begotten by him. (1Co_4:15.) It is indeed certain that those who plant and those who water, are nothing; but whenever God is pleased to bless their labor, he makes their doctrine efficacious by the power of his Spirit; and the voice which is in itself mortal, is made an instrument to communicate eternal life.
1 Peter 1:25
But the word of the Lord – In Isaiah Isa_40:8 “the word of our God.” The sense is not materially varied.
Endureth forever – Is unmoved, fixed, permanent. Amidst all the revolutions on earth, the fading glories of natural objects, and the wasting strength of man, his truth remains unaffected. Its beauty never fades; its power is never enfeebled. The gospel system is as lovely now as it was when it was first revealed to man, and it has as much power to save as it had when first applied to a human heart. We see the grass wither at the coming on of autumn; we see the flower of the field decay; we see man, though confident in his strength, and rejoicing in the rigor of his frame, cut down in an instant; we see cities decline, and kingdoms lose their power: but the word of God is the same now that it was at first, and, amidst all the changes which may ever occur on the earth, that will remain the same.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you – That is, this gospel is the “word” which was referred to by Isaiah in the passage which has been quoted. In view, then, of the affecting truth stated in the close of this chapter, 1Pe_1:24-25 let us learn habitually to reflect on our feebleness and frailty. “We all do fade as a leaf,” Isa_64:6. Our glory is like the flower of the field. Our beauty fades, and our strength disappears, as easily as the beauty and vigor of the flower that grows up in the morning, and that in the evening is cut down, Psa_90:6. The rose that blossoms on the cheek of youth may wither as soon as any other rose; the brightness of the eye may become dim, as readily as the beauty of a field covered with flowers; the darkness of death may come over the brow of manliness and intelligence, as readily as night settles down on the landscape and our robes of adorning may be laid aside, as soon as beauty fades in a meadow full of flowers before the scythe of the mower.
There is not an object of natural beauty on which we pride ourselves that will not decay; and soon all our pride and pomp will be laid low in the tomb. It is sad to look on a beautiful lily, a rose, a magnolia, and to think how soon all that beauty will disappear. It is more sad to look on a rosy cheek, a bright eye, a lovely form, an expressive brow, an open, serene, intelligent countenance, and to think how soon all that beauty and brilliancy will fade away. But amidst these changes which beauty undergoes, and the desolations which disease and death spread over the world, it is cheering to think that all is not so. There is that which does not change, which never loses its beauty. “The word of the Lord” abides. His cheering promises, his assurances that there is a brighter and better world, remain amidst all these changes the same. The traits which are drawn on the character by the religion of Christ, more lovely by far than the most delicate coloring of the lily, remain forever. There they abide, augmenting in loveliness, when the rose fades from the cheek; when the brilliancy departs from the eye; when the body moulders away in the sepulchre. The beauty of religion is the only permanent beauty in the earth; and he that has that need not regret that that which in this mortal frame charms the eye shall fade away like the flower of the field.