1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
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(2) Elect.—A true chosen people. This word marks them off from the rest of the Jewish settlers in those parts. It is an evasion of the difficulty to say that they were elect only in the mass, as a body. The election was individual and personal. God selected these particular Hebrews out of the whole number, and made them Christians; but what He elected them to is abundantly shown in the next words. For all their election they are not certain of salvation, and their title of “elect” implies no more than the fact that God has put them into the visible Church. (See Notes on 1Thessalonians 1:4, and 2Peter 1:10.)

According to the foreknowledge of God.—The origin of this election, the aim, and the means employed are now touched upon, and connected with the three Divine Persons respectively. (1) The origin. Their election is not accidental, nor yet something done on the spur of the moment, an afterthought of God. but “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”—i.e., in execution of His fore-arranged scheme. The word implies not simply a perception of the future, but the forming of a decision. (Comp. the same word in 1Peter 1:20, and in Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2.) Though the thought is common also to St. Paul, St. Peter was familiar with it before St. Paul’s conversion. (See Acts 2:23.) (2) The means. The preconcerted scheme of God embraced not only the choice of these particular persons for a blessing, but the lines on which the choice was to work itself out—“in a course of sanctification by the Spirit.” The words and the thought are identical with those of 2Thessalonians 2:13, but probably so far differ in exact meaning that there “the Spirit” is the spirit sanctified, here it is the Spirit which sanctifies. (Comp. also 1Thessalonians 4:7.) We see that even the blessing of “obedience and sprinkling”—much more that of glory hereafter—is unattainable except in the path of sanctification. (3) The end. That to which God had elected them was not in the first instance the participation of the joys of the post-resurrection life, but the benefits of redemption on this side of the grave. While other “sojourners of the Pontine dispersion” were allowed to remain in the disobedience which characterised the Jews, and trusting to the efficacy of membership in the covenant people, these had, in accordance with God’s plan, been admitted to “obedience”—i.e., the reception of the gospel facts and precepts (see Note on 2Thessalonians 1:8), and to the—

Sprinkling of the blood.—This important phrase must be compared with Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 12:24, which passages were, perhaps, suggested by it, unless, indeed, the idea had become the common property of the Church already. There is nothing in St. Paul’s writings to compare with it. As the people themselves are “sprinkled,” and not their houses, the reference cannot be to the Paschal sprinkling (Exodus 12:22), but, as in Hebrews, to the scene under Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:8, where, once for all, the old covenant was inaugurated by the sprinkling of the people. It was to that same scene that our Lord referred when He said of the Eucharistic cup, “This is My blood of the new covenant.” Thus, “elect unto the sprinkling of the blood,” seems to mean “selected for admission into the new covenant inaugurated by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood.” But whereas the old covenant was inaugurated by sprinkling the people collectively and once for all, the new is inaugurated anew and anew by individual application; so that the Eucharistic cup was not (according to the Quaker theory) to be drunk once for all by the Apostles then present as the representatives of the whole subsequent Church. Neither does this inauguration by sprinkling come but once for all in the individual’s lifetime, but as often as the covenant is broken by his sin he comes to renew it again. Doubtless the participation of the Holy Communion is the act of “sprinkling” here before St. Peter’s mind, it being the one act which betokens membership in the new covenant-people, the new Israel. Of course the application of blood in both covenants rests on the notion of a death-forfeit being remitted.

Of Jesus Christ.—He does not say “of the new testament,” but substitutes the name of the Victim in whose blood the covenant is inaugurated—Jesus. And who is this Jesus? The Christ! The Messiah! As though Israel at Sinai had been sprinkled with the blood of Moses. What a contrast between the other Jews of Pontus, with their Messianic expectations, and these “elect sojourners” sprinkled with Messiah’s blood!

Be multiplied.—This occurs again only in 2Peter 1:2; Jude 1:2. (Comp. Daniel 4:1.) It contains an exhortation to progress. There are some good things of which we cannot have too much.

1 Peter 1:2. Elect — Called out of the world, and from a state of ignorance and sin, guilt and depravity, weakness and wretchedness, by the word, the Spirit, and providence of God; and in consequence of obeying the call, by turning to God in true repentance, living faith, and new obedience, chosen — Or accepted of God. For all true believers, or genuine Christians, whose faith works by love, have continually the title of God’s elect in the New Testament. See notes on Romans 8:28; Romans 8:33; Ephesians 1:4-5. “Election,” says the Rev. J. Wesley, “in the Scripture sense, is God’s doing any thing that our merit or power has no part in. The true predestination, or fore-appointment of God, Isaiah , 1 st, He that believeth shall be saved from the guilt and power of sin. 2d, He that endureth to the end shall be saved eternally. 3d, They who receive the precious gift of faith, thereby become the sons of God; and being sons, they shall receive the Spirit of holiness, to walk as Christ also walked. Throughout every part of this appointment of God, promise and duty go hand in hand. All is free gift; and such is the gift, that the final issue depends on our future obedience to the heavenly call. But other predestination than this, either to life or death eternal, the Scripture knows not of. Moreover, it Isaiah , 1 st, Cruel respect of persons; an unjust regard of one, and an unjust disregard of another. It is mere creature partiality, and not infinite justice: 2d, It is not plain Scripture doctrine, (if true,) but, rather, inconsistent with the express written word, that speaks of God’s universal offers of grace; his invitations, promises, threatenings, being all general. 3d, We are bid to choose life, and reprehended for not doing 2:4th, It is inconsistent with a state of probation in those that must be saved or must be lost. 5th, It is of fatal consequence; all men being ready, on very slight grounds, to fancy themselves of the elect number. But the doctrine of predestination is entirely changed from what it formerly was. Now it implies neither faith, peace, nor purity. It is something that will do without them all. Faith is no longer, according to the modern predestinarian scheme, a divine evidence of things not seen, wrought in the soul by the immediate power of the Holy Ghost; not an evidence at all, but a mere notion. Neither is faith made any longer a means of holiness; but something that will do without it. Christ is no more a Saviour from sin; but a defence, a countenancer of it. He is no more a fountain of spiritual life in the souls of believers, but leaves his elect inwardly dry, and outwardly unfruitful; and is made little more than a refuge from the image of the heavenly; even from righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. According to the foreknowledge of God — That is, speaking after the manner of men; for, strictly speaking, there is no foreknowledge, any more than after-knowledge, with God; but all things are known to him as present from eternity to eternity.” As none but the truly penitent and believing have in Scripture the title of God’s elect, so such may be properly styled, elect according to the foreknowledge of God, because God knows beforehand from eternity who will turn to him in repentance and faith, and who will not; but, as Milton observes,

“Foreknowledge has no influence on their fault,

Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.”

Nor is there any inconsistency between the divine prescience and human liberty; both are true, according to the Scripture; and doubtless God can reconcile them, if we cannot. Macknight explains the clause thus: “The persons to whom the apostle wrote were with propriety said to be elected according to the foreknowledge of God, because, agreeably to the original purpose of God, discovered in the prophetical writings, Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately were made the visible church and people of God, and entitled to all the privileges of the people of God, by their believing the gospel,” namely, with a faith working by love to God and man: “God’s foreknowledge of all believers to be his people,” [that is, true, genuine believers, possessed of living, loving, and obedient faith; for only such are God’s people,] “was revealed in the covenant with Abraham. This the apostle mentions to show the Jews that the believing Gentiles were no intruders into the church of God. He determined, from the beginning, to make them his people. See Romans 11:2, where God is said to have foreknown the whole Jewish nation; and 1 Peter 1:20, where the sacrifice of Christ is said to be foreknown before the foundation of the world.” Through sanctification of the Spirit — Through the renewing and purifying influences of the Spirit on their souls; for sanctification implies an internal change wrought in the heart, the first part of which is termed regeneration, John 1:13, or a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; producing, 1st, Power over sin, 1 Peter 4:1-2; Romans 6.; over the world, 1 John 5:4; and the flesh, Romans 8:2. 2d, Devotedness to God and his service in heart and life. 3d, A continually increasing conformity to the divine image. Unto obedience — To engage and enable them to yield themselves up to all holy obedience; namely, both internal, to the great law of love toward God and man, with every holy disposition connected therewith; and external, to all God’s known commands. And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus — That is, through his atoning blood, which was typified by the sprinkling of the blood of sacrifices under the law, in allusion to which it is termed, (Hebrews 12:24,) the blood of sprinkling. This is the foundation of all the rest, for by this we are, 1st, Introduced into a state of justification and peace with God, being freed from a condemning conscience, put in possession of the Holy Spirit, and rendered capable of obeying, Hebrews 9:13-14; and hereby, 2d, Our obedience is rendered acceptable to God, which it would not be if it were not sprinkled with his blood, or recommended by his mediation. Grace unto you — The unmerited favour and love of God, with those influences of the Spirit, which are the effect thereof; and peace — All sorts of blessings; be multiplied — Possessed in great abundance.

1:1-9 This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are strangers in every city or country where they live, and are scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; and so to give glory to one God in three Persons, into whose name they had been baptized. Hope, in the world's phrase, refers only to an uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon sand, and the worldling's hopes of heaven are blind and groundless conjectures. But the hope of the sons of the living God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth, which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts, and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe Christ's excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now, we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had already received it.Elect - That is, "chosen." The meaning here is, that they were in fact chosen. The word does not refer to the purpose to choose, but to the fact that they were chosen or selected by God as His people. It is a word commonly applied to the people of God as being chosen out of the world, and called to be His. The use of the word does not determine whether God had a previous eternal purpose to choose them or not. That must be determined by something else than the mere use of the term. This word has reference to the act of selecting them, without throwing any light on the question why it was done. See Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:20; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12. Compare the notes at John 15:16. The meaning is, that God had, on some account, a preference for them above others as his people, and had chosen them from the midst of others to be heirs of salvation. The word should be properly understood as applied to the act of choosing them, not to the purpose to choose them; the fact of his selecting them to be his, not the doctrine that he would choose them; and is a word, therefore, which should be freely and gratefully used by all Christians, for it is a word in frequent use in the Bible, and there is nothing for which people should be more grateful than the fact that God has chosen them to salvation. Elsewhere we learn that the purpose to choose them was eternal, and that the reason of it was his own good pleasure. See the notes at Ephesians 1:4-5. We are here also informed that it was in accordance with "the foreknowledge of God the Father."

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father - The Father is regarded, in the Scriptures, as the Author of the plan of salvation, and as having chosen His people to life, and given them to His Son to redeem and save, John 6:37, John 6:65; John 17:2, John 17:6,John 17:11. It is affirmed here that the fact that they were elect was in some sense in accordance with the "foreknowledge of God." On the meaning of the phrase, see the notes at Romans 8:29. The passage does not affirm that the thing which God "foreknew," and which was the reason of their being chosen, was, that they would of themselves be disposed to embrace the offer of salvation. The foreknowledge referred to might have been of many other things as constituting the reason which operated in the case; and it is not proper to assume that it could have been of this alone. It may mean that God foreknew all the events which would ever occur, and that He saw reasons why they should be selected rather than others; or that He foreknew all that could be made to bear on their salvation; or that He foreknew all that He would himself do to secure their salvation; or that He foreknew them as having been designated by his own eternal counsels; or that He foreknew all that could be accomplished by their instrumentality; or that He saw that they would believe; but it should not be assumed that the word means necessarily any one of these things.

The simple fact here affirmed, which no one can deny, is, that there was foreknowledge in the case on the part of God. It was not the result of Ignorance or of blind chance that they were selected. But if foreknown, must it not be certain? How could a thing which is foreknown be contingent or doubtful? The essential idea here is, that the original choice was on the part of God, and not on their part, and that this choice was founded on what He before knew to be best. He undoubtedly saw good and sufficient reasons why the choice should fall on them. I do not know that the reasons why he did it are revealed, or that they could be fully comprehended by us if they were. I am quite certain that it is not stated that it is because they would be more disposed of themselves to embrace the Saviour than others; for the Scriptures abundantly teach, what every regenerated person feels to be true, that the fact that we are disposed to embrace the Saviour is to be traced to a divine influence on our hearts, and not to ourselves. See John 6:65; Romans 9:16; Titus 3:5; Psalm 110:2-3.

Through sanctification of the Spirit - The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The Greek is, "by (ἐν en) sanctification of the Spirit;" that is, it was by this influence or agency. The election that was purposed by the Father was carried into effect by the agency of the Spirit in making them holy. The word rendered "sanctification" (ἁγιασμός hagiasmos) is not used here in its usual and technical sense to denote "the progressive holiness of believers," but in its more primitive and usual sense of "holiness." Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:30. It means here the being made holy; and the idea is, that we become in fact the chosen or elect of God by a work of the Spirit on our hearts making us holy; that is, renewing us in the divine image. We are chosen by the Father, but it is necessary that the heart should be renewed and made holy by a work of grace, in order that we may actually become His chosen people. Though we are sinners, He proposes to save us; but we are not saved in our sins, nor can we regard ourselves as the children of God until we have evidence that we are born again. The purpose of God to save us found us unholy, and we become in fact His friends by being renewed in the temper of our mind. A man has reason to think that he is one of the elect of God, just so far as he has evidence that he has been renewed by the Holy Spirit, and so far as he has holiness of heart and life, and no further.

Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ - This expresses the design for which they had been chosen by the Father, and renewed by the Spirit. It was that they might obey God, and lead holy lives. On the phrase "unto obedience," see the notes at Romans 1:5. The phrase "unto sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," means to cleansing from sin, or to holiness, since it was by the sprinkling of that blood that they were to be made holy. See it explained in the notes at Hebrews 9:18-23; Hebrews 12:24.

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied - See the notes at Romans 1:7. The phrase "be multiplied" means, "may it abound," or "may it be conferred abundantly on you." From this verse we may learn that they who are chosen should be holy. Just in proportion as they have evidence that God has chosen them at all, they have evidence that He has chosen them to be holy; and, in fact, all the evidence which any man can have that he is among the elect, is that he is practically a holy man, and desires to become more and more so. No man can penetrate the secret counsels of the Almighty. No one can go up to heaven, and inspect the Book of Life to see if his name be there. No one should presume that his name is there without evidence. No one should depend on dreams, or raptures, or visions, as proof that his name is there. No one should expect a new revelation declaring to him that he is among the elect. All the proof which any man can have that he is among the chosen of God, is to be found in the evidences of personal piety; and any man who is willing to be a true Christian may have all that evidence in his own case. If anyone, then, wishes to settle the question whether he is among the elect or not, the way is plain. Let him become a true Christian, and the whole matter is determined, for that is all the proof which anyone has that he is chosen to salvation. Until a man is willing to do that, he should not complain of the doctrine of election. If he is not willing to become a Christian and to be saved, assuredly he should not complain that those who are think that they have evidence that they are the chosen of God.

2. foreknowledge—foreordaining love (1Pe 1:20), inseparable from God's foreknowledge, the origin from which, and pattern according to which, election takes place. Ac 2:23, and Ro 11:2, prove "foreknowledge" to be foreordination. God's foreknowledge is not the perception of any ground of action out of Himself; still in it liberty is comprehended, and all absolute constraint debarred [Anselm in Steiger]. For so the Son of God was "foreknown" (so the Greek for "foreordained," 1Pe 1:20) to be the sacrificial Lamb, not against, or without His will, but His will rested in the will of the Father; this includes self-conscious action; nay, even cheerful acquiescense. The Hebrew and Greek "know" include approval and acknowledging as one's own. The Hebrew marks the oneness of loving and choosing, by having one word for both, bachar (Greek, "hairetizo," Septuagint). Peter descends from the eternal "election" of God through the new birth, to the believer's "sanctification," that from this he might again raise them through the consideration of their new birth to a "living hope" of the heavenly "inheritance" [Heidegger]. The divine three are introduced in their respective functions in redemption.

through—Greek, "in"; the element in which we are elected. The "election" of God realized and manifested itself "IN" their sanctification. Believers are "sanctified through the offering of Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10). "Thou must believe and know that thou art holy; not, however, through thine own piety, but through the blood of Christ" [Luther]. This is the true sanctification of the Spirit, to obey the Gospel, to trust in Christ [Bullinger].

sanctification—the Spirit's setting apart of the saint as consecrated to God. The execution of God's choice (Ga 1:4). God the Father gives us salvation by gratuitous election; the Son earns it by His blood-shedding; the Holy Spirit applies the merit of the Son to the soul by the Gospel word [Calvin]. Compare Nu 6:24-26, the Old Testament triple blessing.

unto obedience—the result or end aimed at by God as respects us, the obedience which consists in faith, and that which flows from faith; "obeying the truth through the Spirit" (1Pe 1:22). Ro 1:5, "obedience to the faith," and obedience the fruit of faith.

sprinkling, &c.—not in justification through the atonement once for all, which is expressed in the previous clauses, but (as the order proves) the daily being sprinkled by Christ's blood, and so cleansed from all sin, which is the privilege of one already justified and "walking in the light."

Grace—the source of "peace."

be multiplied—still further than already. Da 4:1, "Ye have now peace and grace, but still not in perfection; therefore, ye must go on increasing until the old Adam be dead" [Luther].

By elect he means, either:

1. Singled out of the world, and separated unto God in their effectual calling, as 1 Corinthians 1:1; those that are said to be called, 1 Corinthians 1:26, are said to be chosen, 1 Corinthians 1:27,28; and so the word seems to be taken, Jam 2:5: or:

2. Chosen to salvation, and the means of it, in God’s eternal decree, Ephesians 1:4 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

According to the foreknowledge; either:

1. The Divine preordination, or decree of election, as the word is taken, 1 Peter 1:20, and then we may take elect in the first sense; men are chosen out of the world, or called in time, according as they were chosen from eternity, Romans 8:30: or:

2. Foreknowledge here is as much as approbation or love, Matthew 7:25 Romans 11:2; and so signifies the free favour and good will of God, which is the fountain from whence the decree of election proceeds; and then we are to take elect in the latter sense, and so elect according to the foreknowledge of God, is, eternally designed unto life, according to, or out of, that free grace and love God did from eternity bear to them, which was the only motive he had for his choosing them: or, (which comes to the same), by foreknowledge we may understand election itself, as it is in God; and by election, the same, as terminated in the creature, and executed in effectual calling.

Of God the Father; this doth not exclude the Son or Spirit from their interest in and concurrence to the Divine decree, but only notes the order of working among the three Persons in the affair of man’s salvation; election is ascribed to the Father, reconciliation to the Son, and sanctification to the Spirit.

Through sanctification: sanctification seems to be taken in a large sense, for the whole change of our spiritual state, both as to real grace in regeneration, and relative in justification; so that God may then be said to sanctify us, when in our effectual calling he justifies us from our sins, and renews us unto obedience: so it is taken, Hebrews 10:10.

Of the Spirit; this is to be understood rather of the Spirit of God, the efficient of sanctification, than the spirit or soul of man, the subject of it.

Unto obedience; either:

1. The obedience of Christ to God; and then the sense is, elect, or ordained to be, by the sanctification of the Spirit, made partakers of the benefits of Christ’s obedience: or:

2. The obedience of believers to Christ, and that either in their believing, faith being a giving obedience to the great command of the gospel, John 6:29, and particularly called obedience, Romans 1:5; and then the sense runs thus, elect unto faith, which was to be wrought in you by the sanctification of the Spirit: or else in the exercise of holiness, which is the fruit of faith; and then it signifies the same as Ephesians 1:4, chosen, that you might be made, by the sanctification of the Spirit, holy and unblamable, and might accordingly demean yourselves.

And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; an allusion to the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifices under the law, Hebrews 9:13,14,20-22 Heb 12:24; it signifies the application of the blood of Christ for the purging of the conscience, (which was typified by those legal sprinklings), especially from the guilt of sin; which sprinkling, or application of the blood of Christ to our consciences, is performed on our part by faith, on God’s part by his Spirit working that faith in us (as well as enabling us unto obedience) in our effectual calling, as likewise by God’s imputing Christ’s righteousness to us; and so the sense of the whole is: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, to be by the sanctification of the Spirit brought into the participation of all the benefits of Christ’s redemption; the sum of which consists in the renovation of your natures unto gospel obedience, and the justification of your persons.

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied; there being several kinds of grace, 1 Peter 4:10, and several kinds of peace, outward and inward, he wisheth them all kinds of each; and there being several degrees and measures of both, he prays for an increase of these degrees in them, and so a multiplication of all good, both temporal and spiritual, to them.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,.... Not to any office, as to that of bishops or presbyters; for though the apostle writes to some of them under this character, 1 Peter 5:1 yet not all; nor were they so called, as a nation, for they were persons scattered about in several countries; nor as a church, for they are not wrote to as such; nor does this character merely design their effectual calling; though as that is a fruit and evidence of election, it is sometimes so styled, and the saints called by grace are said to be chosen; John 15:19 but it intends the eternal election of those persons both to grace and glory; which the apostle knew of, not by divine revelation, or any particular discovery made to him; but he concluded it in a judgment of charity, they being all under a profession of faith in Christ, and he having reason to believe that the greater part of them were truly partakers of that faith which demonstrated them to be the elect of God: the cause, spring, and source of their election was, "the foreknowledge of God the Father": to whom election is commonly ascribed, agreeably to the order of the divine Persons in the Trinity, and their distinct parts in the economy of salvation, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit: and by this his "foreknowledge" is meant, not his eternal, universal, and infallible knowledge, and which is infinite, and reaches to all things and persons, present, future, or possible, for this has for its objects persons whom God never predestinated and chose: though certain it is that he knows and foreknows all whom he does predestinate and choose; nor does it intend the mere decree of election, or God's eternal purpose and resolution to choose, but the spring and source of that act of his: and much less does it mean a bare prescience of men, and choice of them, upon a foresight of faith, holiness, good works, and perseverance therein; for these are all, when genuine, the fruits and effects of election, which are included in it, and secured and brought about by it; but the sovereign grace, good will, and pleasure of God, or the everlasting love of God the Father, which is the cause of, and has given birth to the act of election, is meant by foreknowledge, joined with affection, delight, and approbation; knowledge, and foreknowledge, as ascribed to the divine Being, often signify such things; see Psalm 1:6 Romans 11:1 and such a knowledge God the Father had of the persons of the elect from all eternity; and which is the ground and foundation of his choosing them to grace and glory, and not anything in them, or done by them, or anything out of himself; no other reason can be given of it than his own grace, his pure love, and sovereign good will and pleasure: the means follow, through which they were chosen,

through sanctification of the Spirit; as in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The ends to which the saints are chosen are,

unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; by "obedience" is meant either the obedience of elect men to Christ, which lies in obeying the truth of the Gospel, called the obedience of faith; and so is the same with the "belief of the truth", which goes along in election with the sanctification of the Spirit, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and in submission to Gospel ordinances, and doing all good works in the name, faith, and strength of Christ; and which also are fruits and effects, and so not causes of divine predestination; see Ephesians 2:10 and also follow upon the sanctification of the Spirit; or else the obedience of Christ is intended; and so the Arabic version renders it, "unto the obedience of Jesus Christ"; which lay in his performing the precepts of the law, and bearing the penalty of it, death; and by which the chosen seed are justified, or made righteous in the sight of God, and have a title to eternal life and glory, and are safe from wrath to come; and to the enjoyment of this grace, they are chosen of God the Father; and between these two, predestination and justification, there is a close and inseparable connection; so that they that are interested in the one, are in the other; see Romans 8:30, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; does not denote a small quantity of it, for it was shed and poured out in great abundance; but is said in allusion to the sprinkling of the blood of the passover lamb. Exodus 12:22 or to the sprinkling of the blood on the book of the covenant, and on the people at Mount Sinai, Exodus 24:8 or to other sprinklings of blood in their legal sacrifices: the application of the blood of Christ to the heart, by the Spirit of God, for cleansing, pardon, and justification, is meant; which affords true, solid, conscience peace and joy now, and entitles to eternal happiness and glory; all which are secured by electing grace. The salutation of these persons follows:

grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied; which is much the same that is used by the Apostle Paul in all his epistles; see Gill on Romans 1:7, only Peter adds the word "multiplied"; which makes it more express, and the sense more clear: he means an enlarged view of interest in the love of God, an increase of grace out of the fulness of it in Christ, and of Gospel light, and of the several gifts of the Spirit; and also of all prosperity outward and inward, of a conscience peace through the blood of Christ, which passeth all understanding, and a more established and well grounded hope of enjoying eternal peace hereafter. The phrase is Jewish, and is used in their salutations in this form, , "let your peace be multiplied" (t),

(t) T. Hieros. Masser Sheni, fol. 56. 3. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 11. 2.

{1} Elect according to the {a} foreknowledge of God the Father, through {b} sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

(1) Peter purposing to speak of the duties of a Christian life, reasons first of the principles and beginnings of all Christian actions, rising far higher than nature, and carrying us also far above the same. For he shows that we who are otherwise by nature sinners, were through the free mercy of God the Father first chosen from everlasting: then according to that everlasting decree. We were by a certain second creation made his sons in Christ his only begotten, by whose Spirit we are inwardly changed and by whose blood we are also reconciled. To the end, that as Christ himself rose again from the dead, we also might be received into that same heavenly and everlasting glory.

(a) Or, according to the purpose of God, who never alters nor changes the same.

(b) That being set apart from the rest of this wicked world, through the working of the Holy Spirit, they should be consecrated to God; Eph 1:5

1 Peter 1:2. The three clauses κατὰ …, ἐν …, and εἰς … qualify ἐκλεκτοῖς and perhaps also ἀπόστολος (as Oecumenius) Peter himself is elect and shares their privileges but had no need to magnify his office, as had St. Paul. Yet see Acts 15:7 ff.

κατὰ πρόγνωσιν.… The noun occurs only in Acts 2:23 (speech of St.Peter) in reference to the slaying of Christ τῇ ὡρισμένῃ βουλῇ καὶ προγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ, cf. 1 Peter 1:20. The use of nouns instead of verbs is characteristic of this Epistle. The same idea is expressed more elaborately by St. Paul in Romans 8:29 (q.v.). Cf. Origen, Philocalia, 15. Oecumenius infers that the Apostle is thus the equal of the prophets, especially Jeremiah (v. Jeremiah 1:5).—ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος, subjective genitive like θεοῦ, being elect they are within the sphere of the proper work of the Holy Spirit. The context excludes the rendering hallowing of the (human) spirit. Peter uses the stereotyped phrase; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (which corresponds exactly to the whole context) εἵλατο ὑμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς (κατὰ πρ. θ. π.) … ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας (εἰς ὑπ.).—εἰς ὑπακοὴνΙ. Χριστοῦ, the goal or purpose of their election. Obedience is a technical term: sc. to God; cf. 1 Peter 1:14, where it is contrasted with the ignorant disobedience of their past lives (1 Peter 1:22). As Christians, they obeyed God and not men (Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29); God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him (Acts 5:32). Compare the Pauline obedience of faith. This obedience implies a change of mind in Jew and in Gentile, which is effected by the sprinkling of blood of Jesus Christ. They are now cleansed from sin, which is disobedience in Jew or Gentile. Jesus Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, sprinkles those whom God selected with His own blood, as Moses sprinkled the children of Israel who had promised obedience with the blood of oxen (Exodus 24:7 f.; cf. Hebrews 9:19). But references to other sprinklings of the O.T., unconnected with obedience, must not be excluded. The word ῥαντισμός is appropriated, for example, to the water in which the ashes of the heifer were dissolved (Numbers 19); and a less obvious explanation is supported by Barnabas, “that by the remission of sins we might be purified, that is in the sprinkling of His blood for it stands writte.… by His bruise we were healed (Isaiah 53:5)”. Indeed the best commentary is supplied by the Epistle to the Hebrews in which evidence of the O.T. is reviewed and the conclusion drawn that according to the law everything is cleansed by blood. All the types were summed up in the fulfilment (see especially Hebrews 9.) whether they related to the Covenant or to the Worship. So in Hebrews 12:24 the blood of Abel the first martyr is drawn into the composite picture of typical blood sheddings. It would be possible to take ὑπακοήν with Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, and to render either that ye might obey Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Corinthians 10:5) being sprinkled with His blood or that ye might obey as He obeyed even unto death (cf. Hebrews 5:8; Php 2:8). χάριςπληθυνθείη· This full formula is found also in 2 Peter and Jude. For precedent see Dan. 3:31. Its use here is not merely a convention peculiar to the Petrine school; grace and peace are multiplied to match the growth of hostility with which the Christians addressed are confronted, lest the word of Jesus be fulfilled διὰ τὸ πληθυνθῆναι τὴν ἀνομίαν ψυγήσεται ἡ ἀγάπη τῶν πολλῶν (Matthew 24:12); cf. Romans 5:20 f. In the Pastoral Epistles ἔλεος (cf. 1 Peter 1:3) is inserted between χ. and εἰρ., so 2 John 1:3. From Galatians 6:16 it appears that ἔλεος stood originally in the place which χάρις usurped (as distinctively Christian and reminiscent of the familar χαίρειν); so that the source will be Numbers 6:24-26. κύριοςἐλεήσαι σεκαὶ δῴη σοι εἰρήνην.

2. elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father] The word “elect” or chosen belongs, as already stated, to 1 Peter 1:1, but the English sufficiently represents the meaning of the Greek. The word and the thought that the disciples of Christ are what they are by the election or choice of God, characterises the whole teaching of the New Testament. Here there is the personal interest of noting that the word is prominent in the Gospel of St Mark, which we have seen reason to connect closely with St Peter’s influence, and in that portion of our Lord’s discourses recorded in it (Mark 13:20; Mark 13:22; Mark 13:27), to which the wars and tumults of Palestine must at this time have been drawing attention. Comp. also the prominence of the thought and of the verbs for “choosing” in John 13:18; John 15:16; John 15:19. The “elect” had, like the “saints” (Acts 9:13), become almost a synonyme for Christians (2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1). And this choice is referred to the “foreknowledge” of God. The word hovers between the meaning of a mere prevision of the future, and the higher sense in which “knowing” means “loving” and “approving,” as in 1 Corinthians 8:3, Galatians 4:9, and probably Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2. The noun occurs in the New Testament only here and in St Peter’s speech in Acts 2:23, and is so far evidence of continuity of character and thought. In what way the thought of man’s freedom to will was reconcileable with that of God’s electing purpose the writers of the New Testament did not care to discuss. They felt, we may believe, instinctively, half unconsciously, that the problem was insoluble, and were content to accept the two beliefs, which cannot logically be reconciled. In the words “the foreknowledge of God the Father,” we find, perhaps, the secret of their acceptance of this aspect of the Divine Government. The choice and the knowledge were not those of an arbitrary sovereign will, capricious as are the sovereigns of earth, in its favours and antipathies, seeking only to manifest its power, but of a Father whose tender mercies were over all His works, and who sought to manifest His love to all His children. From that stand-point the “choice” of some to special blessings was compatible with perfect equity to all. It should be noticed that in Romans 8:29 we have “foreknowledge” as a step in the Divine order prior to predestination, but it may well be questioned whether either Apostle had present to his thoughts the logical solution presented by the Arminian theory, that God, foreseeing the characters of men as they would have been, if not predestined, then predestined them accordingly. On that theory the question may well be asked, What made them such as God thus foreknew? The difficulty is but thrown further back, and it is wiser to accept the conclusion that the problem is insoluble, and that the language of Scripture issues in the antinomy of apparently contradictory propositions.

through sanctification of the Spirit] The word for “sanctification,” for which, perhaps, consecration would be a better equivalent, is used eight times by St Paul, once in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:14), here, and not elsewhere in the New Testament. Grammatically the words admit of the interpretation which sees in them the sanctification of the human spirit (genitive of the object), but the juxtaposition of the word Spirit with that of the Father and with Christ, is decisive in favour of the explanation which sees in the construction the genitive of the subject, or of the agent, and finds in the sanctification wrought by the Spirit the region in which the foreknowledge of God finds its completion.

unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ] The clause is co-ordinate with that which precedes it, pointing to the end of the election as that points to the sphere in which it worked and the means by which it was to be accomplished. In “obedience” we have the active human side of the result, in the “sprinkling” the Divine side of pardon and acceptance. The word for “sprinkling” is found elsewhere only in Hebrews 12:24, where, as in this place, it refers definitely to the narrative of Exodus 24:8. Moses had sprinkled Israel according to the flesh with the blood of oxen, as being “the blood of the covenant,” that by contact with which they were brought within the covenant of which he was the mediator (Galatians 3:19). In like manner, in St Peter’s words, believers in Christ are brought within the new covenant by the mystical, spiritual sprinkling on their souls and spirits of the blood of Jesus, and for that sprinkling God had chosen them with a purpose supremely wise to which no time-limits could be assigned. The same thought, it may be noted, is expressed in St John’s words, that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied] The combination of “grace” and “peace” may be noted as a probable instance of St Peter’s adopting the very phraseology of St Paul, as he found it in the letters with which 2 Peter 3:16 (assuming the genuineness of that Epistle) shews him to have been acquainted. In “peace” we have the old Hebrew formula of salutation (Matthew 10:12-13): in “grace” (χάρις) probably the substitution of the more definite Christian thought for the “joy” or “greeting” (χαίρειν) which, as in Acts 15:23, James 1:1, was the customary opening formula of Greek epistles. The addition of “be multiplied” is peculiar to the two Epistles of St Peter (2 Peter 1:2), and to the Epistle of St Jude (1 Peter 1:2), which presents so many points of contact with the second of those two.

1 Peter 1:2. Κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, according to the foreknowledge) This depends upon elect. Foreknowledge is also praised (referred to), 1 Peter 1:20. It includes also good-will and love.—Θεοῦ, of God) The mystery of the Trinity, and the economy of our salvation, are intimated in this verse, and indeed these constitute the sum of the Epistle.[1]—Πατρὸς, Father) even our Father.—ἐν ἁγιασμῷ Πνεύματος, in sanctification of the Spirit) 2 Thessalonians 2:13, note.—εἰς ὑπακοὴν, to obedience) That obedience is meant which is rendered through faith; 1 Peter 1:22, note. St Paul undoubtedly joins together, in the passage quoted above, sanctification of the Spirit and faith. Observe also the particles, κατὰ, ἐν, εἰς; by means of which the bearing of the three cardinal benefits upon election, and their mutual order, is indicated. Comp. Apocalypse Revelation 1:4-6.—καὶ ῥαντισμὸν, and sprinkling) The obedient are sprinkled to the remission of their sins: 1 John 1:7. But here the sprinkling is passive, by means of which the sprinkling is obediently received. On the subject of obedience, see again 1 Peter 1:14; on the blood of sprinkling, 1 Peter 1:19.—πληθυνθείη, be multiplied) to a further extent. The same word occurs, 2 Peter 1:2. So Daniel 6:25, εἰρήνη ὑμῖν πληθυνθείη, peace be multiplied unto you.

[1] He treats of the Father in verses 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23; of Christ, in verses 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 1:19, 1 Peter 2:3; of the Spirit, in verses 1 Peter 2:11-12; 1Pe 2:22.—V. G.

Verse 2. Elect. This word, in the Greek, is in the first verse; the Greek order is "to the elect sojourners of the dispersion." We begin already to notice coincidences with the teaching of St. Paul. St. Paul insists strongly on the doctrine of election; St. Peter holds it no less clearly. Holy Scripture constantly ascribes all that is good in us to the choice or election of God. The sacred writers do not enter into the many difficulties which lie around this central doctrine: they do not attempt to explain its relations to that other great truth, taught in Scripture and revealed in consciousness - the freedom of the human will; their statements of the two apparently conflicting doctrines balance, but do not explain, one another; they seem to recognize the fact that we are in the presence of an insoluble mystery; and they teach us by their silence that the proper attitude of the Christian, when brought face to face with mystery, is rest in the Lord, humble childlike confidence in his love and wisdom. According to the foreknowledge of God the Father. St. Peter sets in the forefront of his Epistle the mystery of the blessed Trinity and the Divine plan of human salvation. It is, however, a question whether the words just quoted should be taken, as in the Authorized Version, with "elect" or with "apostle." Many ancient authorities take the latter view. 'Thus we should have a description of St. Peter's apostleship, such as we often read at the opening of St Paul's Epistle. He was, like St. Paul, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God; he was chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame; like St. Paul, he had received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations (comp. Romans 1:1, 5). There is much to be said in favor of this connection. But, on the whole, the balance of the sentence, and the general usage of similar language in the New Testament, lead us to prefer the common view, and to regard St. Peter's words as a description of the origin, progress, and end of God's election. The origin is the grace of God the Father. He chose his elect before the foundation of the world. He predestinated them unto the adoption of children; and that according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:4, 5). It is interesting to note that the substantive "foreknowledge" (πρόγνωσις) occurs nowhere else in Holy Scripture except in St. Peter's Pentecostal speech (Acts 2:23). We mark the agreement of St. Peter and St. Paul (comp. Romans 8:29, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son;" comp. also Romans 11:2 and 2 Timothy 2:19). Election is "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;" but not simply, as the Arminians taught, ex praevisis meritis; for we cannot separate foreknowledge and predestination; the foreknowledge of an Almighty Creator must imply the exercise of choice and will; what he knoweth, that he also willeth; eligendos facit Deus (in the well-known words of St. Augustine), non invenit. Thus in ver. 20 "foreknown," the more exact rendering of the Revised Version must imply the "foreordained" of the old translation. But that foreknowledge is the foreknowledge of God the Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but our Father also. He careth for his children; we must trust in him. The potter makes one vessel for honor, another for dishonor; but he makes none for destruction. A veil of awful mystery hangs round the relations which exist between the Almighty and his creatures; but "God is Love." Through sanctification of the Spirit; rather, in, as in the Revised Version. We have the same words in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The word ἀγισμός, which St. Peter uses here, is almost peculiar to St. Paul; it occurs eight times in his Epistles; once in the Epistle to the Hebrews; but elsewhere only here in the New Testament. Like other verbals of the same form, it may have either an active or a passive meaning. Perhaps the former is the more suitable here. God's election places the Christian in the sphere of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit; he lives in the Spirit, he walks in the Spirit, he prays in the Holy Ghost; and the blessed Spirit sanctifieth the elect people of God: he worketh in them that holiness (ἁγιασμόν) without which they cannot see God (Hebrews 12:14); they have their fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, unto holiness (ἁγιασμόν, Romans 6:22). The fundamental idea of the Hebrew קָדושׁ, which is represented by the Greek word ἅγιος, seems to be, "separation, purity," though some connect it with חָדַשׁ, and regard it as meaning originally "fresh, new, young," and so "pure, shining, bright" (see Delitzsch, on Hebrews 2:11). By the word "spirit" we might, if we took the words apart from the context, understand the spirit of man, which is sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God; but the context shows that St. Peter is thinking of the work of the three blessed Persons of the Holy Trinity. Unto obedience. Obedience is the work of the Spirit; for the fruit of the Spirit is love, and "if a man love me, he will keep my words." Thus election has its origin in the foreknowledge of the Father; it is wrought out in the sanctifying influences of the Spirit as its sphere, and it issues in active obedience. Obedience is the sign and test of God's election: "By their fruits ye shall know them." The end of election is obedience first, then everlasting life. And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The word ῤαντισμός, sprinkling, occurs also in Hebrews 12:24 (comp. also Hebrews 9:19). In both places there is an evident reference to the events related in Exodus 24:8, where we read that "Moses took the blood, arid sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you." We observe that in this place also ceremonial sanctification (Exodus 19:10) and the promise of obedience (Exodus 24:3) preceded the sprinkling of blood. "The blood of sprinkling" is called by the Lord himself the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24), the blood by which the covenant of grace was ratified and inaugurated. Moses sprinkled the blood of the old covenant once upon the people; the blood of the new covenant was shed once for all upon the cross; but it is ever fresh in its efficacy and power; still we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus; still, if we abide in him, we have our "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience;" still, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son is cleansing us from all sin." Those who are elect unto obedience are elect unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; the loving obedience of faith keeps them in the presence of the cross, within the cleansing range of the one all-sufficient sacrifice. Thus we have in this verse the concurrence of the three blessed Persons in the scheme of salvation - the choice of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the redeeming work of the Son. Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. St. Peter uses the familiar salutation of St. Paul; possibly he quotes it, for he was plainly familiar with St. Paul's Epistles - he refers to them expressly in 2 Peter 3:15, 16, and Sylvanus, the old companion of St. Paul, was now with him. He unites into one expression the Greek and Hebrew salutations, the χαίρειν of the Greeks under its Christian aspect of χάρις, the favor of God; and the שָׁלום of the Hebrews - the peace which is the fruit of grace, which is the blessed possession of those on whom the favor of God abideth. That grace and peace is granted to all the elect of God. St. Peter prays that it may be multiplied, that his readers may be blessed with an ever-increasing measure of that heavenly gift. He uses the same form of salutation in his Second Epistle. It is interesting to observe that the phrase, "Peace be multiplied unto you," occurs also in the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1), and in that of Darius (Daniel 6:25),both written in Babylon, the city from which St. Peter now sends the message of peace. The anarthrousness of these two verses is remarkable; in the original there is not one article in vers. 1, 2. 1 Peter 1:2According to (κατὰ)

In virtue of; in accordance with.

Foreknowledge (πρόγνωσιν)

Only here and Acts 2:23, in Peter's sermon at Pentecost. He is distinguishing there between foreknowledge and determinate counsel.

The Father

Implying that the relation contemplated by the divine foreknowledge is a new relation of sonship.

In sanctification (ἐν ἁγιασμῷ)

Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The spiritual state in which the being elected to salvation is realized. The word is peculiarly Pauline, occurring eight times in Paul's epistles, and besides only here and Hebrews 12:14.

Unto obedience (εἰς)

Note the three prepositions: according to (κατά) the foreknowledge; in (ἐν) sanctification; unto (εἰς) obedience. The ground, sphere, and end of spiritual sanctification.

Sprinkling (ῥαντισμὸν)

Here in a passive sense - the being sprinkled. Properly, the ritualistic act of sprinkling blood or water. See Numbers 19:19, Numbers 19:21. Compare Hebrews 9:13; Hebrews 12:24 :; Numbers 19:9, Numbers 19:13, where the water in which were the ashes of the red heifer is called ὕδωρ ῥαντισμοῦ, water of sprinkling (Septuagint), which the A. V. and Rev. Old Testament render water of separation. The word and its kindred verb occur only in Hebrews and Peter.

Jesus Christ

The foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ the Son. The Father foreknowing, the Son atoning, the Spirit applying the Son's work in sanctifying. "The mystery of the Trinity and the economy of our salvation are intimated in this verse" (Bengel).


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