1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.
21. by him—Compare "the faith which is by Him," Ac 3:16. Through Christ: His Spirit, obtained for us in His resurrection and ascension, enabling us to believe. This verse excludes all who do not "by Him believe in God," and includes all of every age and clime that do. Literally, "are believers in God." "To believe IN (Greek, 'eis') God" expresses an internal trust: "by believing to love God, going INTO Him, and cleaving to Him, incorporated into His members. By this faith the ungodly is justified, so that thenceforth faith itself begins to work by love" [P. Lombard]. To believe ON (Greek, "epi," or dative case) God expresses the confidence, which grounds itself on God, reposing on Him. "Faith IN (Greek, 'en') His blood" (Ro 3:25) implies that His blood is the element IN which faith has its proper and abiding place. Compare with this verse, Ac 20:21, "Repentance toward (Greek, 'eis,' 'into,' turning towards and going into) God and faith toward (Greek, 'eis,' 'into') Christ": where, as there is but one article to both repentance and faith, the two are inseparably joined as together forming one truth; where "repentance" is, there "faith" is; when one knows God the Father spiritually, then he must know the Son by whom alone we can come to the Father. In Christ we have life: if we have not the doctrine of Christ, we have not God. The only living way to God is through Christ and His sacrifice.
that raised him—The raising of Jesus by God is the special ground of our "believing": (1) because by it God declared openly His acceptance of Him as our righteous substitute; (2) because by it and His glorification He received power, namely, the Holy Spirit, to impart to His elect "faith": the same power enabling us to believe as raised Him from the dead. Our faith must not only be IN Christ, but BY and THROUGH Christ. "Since in Christ's resurrection and consequent dominion our safety is grounded, there 'faith' and 'hope' find their stay" [Calvin].
that your faith and hope might be in God—the object and effect of God's raising Christ. He states what was the actual result and fact, not an exhortation, except indirectly. Your faith flows from His resurrection; your hope from God's having "given Him glory" (compare 1Pe 1:11, "glories"). Remember God's having raised and glorified Jesus as the anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces. Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and hoped in God. Compare 1Pe 1:3, 7-9, 13, on hope in connection with faith; love is introduced in 1Pe 1:22.