The Gospel the Foreordained Purpose of God.
SUMMARY.--The Salutation. The Glorious Hope in Christ. It a Strength in Trial. The Prophets Looking Forward Earnestly to Its Revelation. Even the Angels Desiring to Look into the Mystery. A Godly Life Becometh Those Who Have Such a Hope.
1, 2. Peter, an apostle. The first letter of Peter opens as do the other apostolic letters. Peter claims no superiority. The New Testament knows nothing of his succession to Christ as the first of the Popes. To the elect sojourners (Revision). He does not address Jews generally but Jewish Christians primarily, though in portions of the letter he seems to embrace Gentile Christians also. Dispersion. The Jewish race outside of Judea. In Pontus. The letter is directed to the churches in five provinces of the Roman empire which Paul had evangelized, all lying in a group south of the Euxine Sea and east of the Caspian. See map of Paul's travels. 2. According to the foreknowledge of God. Their election and salvation was in accordance with God's predetermined purpose to save men through the gospel, and hence, according to foreknowledge. In sanctification of the spirit. The means by which they become elect are pointed out. They were separated from the world by the gospel, the word of the Spirit, a sanctification which signifies "a setting apart to holy uses." They were thus separated unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. In obeying this they were "baptized into the death of Christ" (Rom. 6:1-4), and their sins were pardoned. The sanctification in this case precedes obedience and pardon.
3-5. Blessed be the God. The ground of special thanksgiving is that the Father, out of his overflowing mercy, hath begotten us. Has caused us to be born again as his children. Unto a lively hope. As children we have a glorious hope of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus. 4. To an inheritance. The hope is not merely of eternal existence, but we become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. An inheritance incorruptible. It can never decay. Undefiled. It is sinless and eternal. 5. Who are kept by the power of God. The inheritance is reserved for those who are kept safe by God's power, through faith, so that they endure to the end.
6-9. Wherein. In this glorious hope you rejoice. Though now for a season. This implies that a persecution was in progress, or threatened. Manifold temptations. Trials which put faith and patience to the test. 7. That the trial of your faith. These persecutions try their faith as gold is tried by the fire, and the faith that stands the test, more precious than gold, will bear fruit unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing. "The present afflictions work out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 8. Whom. Jesus Christ. Ye love. Though not having seen Christ, they knew him by faith. Ye rejoice. Because they believe upon him whom they have not seen they are filled with the unspeakable joy of a glorious hope. 9. The end of your faith. The object of the gospel, "the faith," and of their faith was salvation.
10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired. This passage implies that the prophets used words and symbols, at the dictation of the Spirit, of which they did not comprehend the full meaning. They spoke of Christ and salvation, and then diligently inquired what the Spirit of Christ in them did signify by these words. 11. When it testified . . . the sufferings. They spoke of the sufferings of Christ (see Isaiah, chapter 53) but could not understand these predictions any better than the Jews of Christ's time. See Luke 24:25, 26. 12. Unto whom it was revealed. The prophets were, however, taught that the subject matter of their predictions related to a future time, not to their own. They did minister the things. The things which were fulfilled by the gospel preached . . . unto you. Paul and his companions, who preached under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Which things the angels desire to look into. The profound mysteries of the gospel were subjects of earnest inquiry to the angels, an indication that like the prophets they could not understand until the mystery was revealed.
13-16. Gird up the loins of your mind. A figure drawn from the custom of girding the loins when about to start on a journey. So the Christian must prepare himself as on a journey. Be sober. Let there be sobriety of spirit. Hope to the end. Never let the glow of your hope cease until the great consummation, when Christ comes. 14. As obedient children. An invariable characteristic of all Christians. The divisions between God's children and the children of this world turns on obedience to God. Not fashioning yourselves. The spirit of obedience would cause them to turn away from their former sinful life when in ignorance of the gospel. 15. But as he which hath called you. God the Father, to whom the calling is assigned in the Scriptures. Obedient children will seek to please and to be like their father. Our Father is holy, and the duty rests upon us of seeking holy lives. 16. Because it is written. Lev. 11:44, and 19:2. We must not only submit to God's commands but seek to imitate his holiness.
17-21. If ye call on the Father. In prayer and worship. All call upon him who pray. Who without respect of persons. He judges us and all men according to the deeds, not station or race. Hence, those who seek his blessings and promises should show a reverential fear. That is the first reason given for being "holy." Of your sojourning. The whole life is a period of sojourning on the earth. 18. Ye were not redeemed. Gold or earthly wealth could never have wrought our redemption. From your vain conversation. Vain and profitless manner of life. Handed down from your fathers. This was true of Jewish Christians, but still more true of the heathen who had been converted. 19. But with the precious blood. The New Testament writers with one accord refer to Christ as "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." See John 1:29; Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22; Heb. 9:14. 20. Who verily was foreordained. See John 1:29. Christ was the center of God's plans of salvation from the beginning. But was manifest. Though Christ was God's plan from the beginning he was only manifested in these last times. In that period, the end of the Jewish age and near the end of the temple and of the Jewish nation. For you. Christ was manifested for the sake of his people, who have become his people by faith. 21. That your faith and hope might be in God. Faith, with Peter as well as Paul, is essential to salvation. The salvation is of God, not of ourselves, and is made ours by faith.
22-25. Seeing ye have purified your souls. The Greek verb rendered "purified," occurs seven times in the New Testament. In four of these, John 11:55; Acts 21:24, 26; and 24:18, it refers to ceremonial purification. In the other three it refers to moral purification; the cleansing of the life from its sins. That seems to be the sense here. It refers not only to the forgiveness of sins but to the pure life that should follow. This purification is obtained in obeying the truth. That is, by obedience to the gospel. Through the Spirit. The Spirit is inseparable from the gospel. The gospel dispensation is that of the Spirit. See Acts 15:8, 9. Unto unfeigned love of the brethren. The Spirit of Christ in our hearts is the spirit of brotherly love. See that ye love. How can one profess to follow Christ unless he loves those for whom Christ died? With a pure heart. With a sincere heart. 23. Being born again. At conversion. See John 3:1-6. Not of corruptible seed. A birth always implies a moving cause. In this birth the new life is planted by incorruptible seed, even by the word of God. See also Acts 10:36, and James 1:18. The gospel preached and lodged in the heart, "the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16) is the power that moves the soul to a new life. Which liveth. God's word is living and eternal. It has life in it and hence communicates life. See Heb. 4:12. 24. All flesh is as grass (Isa. 40:6). God's word lives forever, but the flesh is as evanescent as the grass. The fleshly life, like the grass, is soon felled by death, but a birth from the living and eternal word is a birth to eternal life. 25. The word of the Lord endureth forever. Like its author it is eternal and never loses its power. This is the word. That word was the gospel, the very gospel preached to them by Paul and his fellow ministers.