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Bible Commentaries

Grant's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 1

Verses 1-25

Peter writes with apostolic authority and though it is directly to the dispersed Jewish Christians (strangers both because Jews among Gentiles, and because Christians separated from Jewish relatives), yet we who are Gentile believers may well recognize, that much of this is just as applicable to ourselves. We too are pilgrims and strangers, not at home on earth.

The areas spoken of in v.1 are all in present-day Turkey, for Asia at that time was Asia minor, on the western end of Turkey.

Precious it is in their trying strangership to be told of being elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. God, in perfect knowledge beforehand of all the facts concerning all that would ever transpire, had chosen them. Nothing had been left unconsidered in regard to this election, and therefore the child of God may be at perfect rest in regard to the whole matter. He himself may not understand it thoroughly, but God does.

Sanctification of the Spirit is next noted here. It speaks of the internal work of the Spirit of God in souls, by which they are set apart from the world. And it is this that leads to the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The obedience of Jesus Christ is subjection of heart to the One who Himself has exemplified perfect, willing obedience is His pathway on earth. As He delighted to do Lord's will, so we too are called to such devoted obedience. But the sprinkling of blood is a vital matter here too, for His own sacrifice alone could bring us into such a relationship with God as His willing servants: the question of our sins and disobedience must be met by this one precious provision.

And he desires grace and peace to be multiplied toward them; grace to elevate them above the trials they endured; peace to preserve them from the anxiety of their trials.

Now Peter takes great delight (as does Paul inEphesians 3:1-21; Ephesians 3:1-21) in the preciousness of the revelation of the glory of God the Father in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This blessed Name is that by which God is now revealed, as He was not in the Old Testament. And by His abundant mercy He had begotten them again unto a living hope. Israel had been begotten first as a nation; now individuals had been born again: mercy had met them where they were, and in that place awakened in their souls a living hope, for the Lord Jesus had been raised from the dead.

He Himself in resurrection is therefore the pledge of their own inheritance, Incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. This is in contrast to Israel's earthly inheritance, which had already been corrupted, defiled, now a mere shadow of what it had been. Now they had what was perfectly secure, reserved in heaven for them, a contrast to former earthly aspirations. If, as we see in verse 4, the inheritance is reserved for believers, in verse 5 they too are kept for the inheritance by nothing less than the power of God. On their part, faith was that which depended upon God's power, in view of salvation, that is, being saved totally out of this world at the coming of the Lord, a final, complete salvation now on the verge of being revealed, and of course that which will introduce them into their heavenly inheritance.

In this the children of God greatly rejoice, that is, the assured prospect of matchless blessing In view, and this in spite of the fact that for a brief time first, God sees a need of their being in heaviness through many trials. How good to see here that deep sorrow might yet be accompanied by great joy, a Joy that is known only by faith in what God has revealed. Not that the sorrow is minimized for it is said to be the grief of many trials of various kinds; but It is transcended by the certainty and blessedness of that salvation, which is near.

More than this, the very trial of faith is in God's account much more precious than the refining process of gold, that which is of so great value to men, and endurable but which God says perishes. But though the trial may be as severe as fire, yet it will pass, while the precious results of it will not only remain, but "be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." This is surely the result d, but that which gives Him praise and honor and glory will certainly fill our own hearts with exultant joy. At Christ's manifestation in glory this too will be manifested in Its splendor.

Yet even now He Himself is so, made known to us that we love Him in spite of not having seen Him; and faith in Himself so transcends the lack of present sight, that we now rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. This is of course miraculous, with joy so full that it cannot be expressed. What a compensation, indeed! And there is no reason that we may not have the same abounding joy, no matter what trials may face us.

For it is as true of us as of them, ""receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of souls," a salvation infinitely higher than any salvation Israel ever enjoyed from the bondage of enemies, for this was merely of their bodies, temporal and temporary.

As to the salvation of souls, not even prophets in the Old Testament could say they were saved: they wrote in advance about such a salvation, by the power of the Spirit of God; but enquired and searched diligently as to what was the full meaning of their own writings, and the salvation that was to be revealed the grace that was to come to believers in the present age. Though they too, by grace through faith, will be in heaven, and on the ground of the sacrifice of Christ; yet they did not then know the salvation of their souls because Christ had not yet died to accomplish salvation this is a truth that could not have been taught before His death.

They searched their own writings then, in desire to learn what this salvation was; and to what time it referred, when the Spirit of Christ in them spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and the resulting glory. For instance, Isaiah the prophet must have greatly puzzled led over his own writing Of his chapter 53. He could never have conceived this in his own mind Indeed, even the disciples who compared with the Lord Jesus during His ministry on earth, though they admired and adored Him, yet did not believe Him when He spoke plainly, on various occasions, of His approaching death Find resurrection. Peter denied it emphatically, for which the Lord administered a solemn rebuke. Matthew 16:21-23. But it was revealed by God to the prophets that the things of which they wrote were futures not to be accomplished in their time For instance, Daniel 9:24-26; Daniel 9:24-26 is explicit that from the time of the commandment given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, there would be sixty-nine "heptads," that is, 69 weeks of years (483 years) until Messiah came, and after that time He would be "cut off." That time of course came precisely as it was prophesied, and those things once ministered by Old Testament prophets were then reported by apostles and New Testament prophets who had been eye witnesses of the death and resurrection of Christ. Moreover there was Divine power given to their preaching by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, the same Spirit who had energized the words of the prophets, There things too are of such tremendous importance that angels desire to look into them. How much more should we, who have a vital, personal interest in this great salvation, as angels do not!

"Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind." In view of so great and precious a revelation, let our minds be all attention, no loose ends, but with undivided concern for knowing this salvation in its fulness. ""Be sober," that is, having wise discretion, no light, flippant outlook as we serve a rejected but glorified Lord. "And hope to the end." It is not a questionable hope, for it is positively stated that grace is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ; but it is maintaining a fresh, real anticipation of this undimmed in the heart, no allowing of it to become a mere doctrine put on the shelf for possible future use. It is not the coming of Christ for His saints that is here spoken of, but His revelation in glory later, when His grace will be displayed marvelously in His own.

"As children of obedience," those who by new birth have obtained that precious character, let them act according to such character, with an obedience of willing, devoted affection. This involves refusing to conform to their former lusts, which were the result of ignorance. And ignorance is not merely misunderstanding, but ignoring of what may be known. The child of God knows there is no happiness in this, and he himself has that which infinitely transcends its Precious then It is to walk in the sphere of his new birth.

And because the Father who has called us is holy, this same character is to be seen In all His children In every department of life. Even the Old Testament (Leviticus 11:44) had said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy;" not "because the law requires it." If true then, how much more so for those who know the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ! This is loving conformity to a Person, not demanded conformity to a law; and it involves the love of what is good, the abhorrence of evil.

In verse 17 the Father's government seen, not government as Judge of the whole earthy but as a Father in own house. Precious it is that believers call on Him as Father, a Father who is perfectly fair and impartial in discerning end judging of the character of every work. He does not deal with us as with the world, for it is an absolute fact that in this regard believers "shall not come into Judgment" (John 5:24); but He deals as a Father with His children and He will certainly not allow evil in His own household. Therefore we should pass the time of sojourning here in fear, not the fear of eternal judgment, but in Healthy fear of God, a sober, serious respect for His absolute authority and His supreme dignity, which is not by any means set aside because He is a Weather of abounding goodness and of grace.The government of the Father (v.17) Is based upon perfectly established relationships, of which they had definite knowledge. There is no suggestion of their trying to establish themselves in some kind of position of blessing from God; but because they knew they were redeemed, therefore they are exhorted to as such. Nor was it a temporary redemption, such as under law, where silver (Exodus 30:11-16) and gold (Numbers 31:50) were said to make atonement. These may be considered imperishable metals, but God calls them corruptible. On the other hand, "the precious blood of Christ" has a value eternally precious in the eyes of God, and by this we are redeemed. That work of redemption too is absolute perfection because of who has accomplished it, Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot,--no internal or external imperfection, the fulfilment of the Passover lamb of Exodus 12:1-51.

Nor was this a matter conceived after men had fallen into sin: indeed He was foreordained before the foundation of the world as this blessed sacrifice. The contemplation of this gives the calmness of eternal rest to the soul, for the God who purposed this we know as our own God. But what God had purposed in ages past has only now been manifest to us in the Person and work of His beloved Son. Marvelous manifestation indeed!

It is only normal and right that by Him we should trust this living God, who has both given his Son, and has raised Him up from the dead, giving the supreme glory to Him who deserves it. For He is the very manifestation of' the heart of God, and by Him faith and hope in God are brought into fullest reality. Faith is present confidence of heart in His faithfulness. Hope is the precious expectation of future glory in His presence.

Verse 22 begins a new division of the book. We have already seen the Father's gracious and wise government of His children. Now we see various new relationships in which the New Testament believer is placed, in contrast to what Israel had known in the Old Testament. And first is that with other believers (the brethren). The exhortation here is based upon the fact that we have purified our souls through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren. Though it is true that by new birth God himself has wrought this work of purifying yet it is just as true that believers have willingly done this in their obeying the truth through the power of the Spirit of God works in conjunction with our obedience. This no doubt has more then one end in view, but at least one of these is "unfeigned love of the brethren." God has Himself decreed this. Therefore it is only becoming that we 'love one another with a pure heart fervently." A pure heart involves motives that are genuine and without mixture; but "fervently" is added, implying a positive warmth and sincerity that leaves nothing to be merely taken for granted.

For this is consistent with "being born again." Peter does not question this matter, but speaks of it as rightly true of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel boasted in their natural lineage. but this was corruptible seed. New birth is of incorruptible seed, the word of God, that which is instinct with life, pure, vital, end eternal, abiding forever. Of course God is the source of it. yet the believer obeys it in the very fact of being born again by it: he is a child of obedience.

"All flesh" is seen in contrast to the Word of God: it is as grass, springs up and withers away: its flower is beautiful for a brief moment: so man's best characteristics shine out like a meteor, to be as quickly extinguished. Israel's glory has been set aside, and with it that of all mankind, but the word of God endures eternally.

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.