1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the elect, exiles of the Dispersion throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Sermons
Sojourners of the DispersionAlexander Maclaren1 Peter 1:1
The Threefold Condition of a ChristianA. Maclaren 1 Peter 1:1
A Loving SalutationJ. J. S. Bird, B. A.1 Peter 1:1-2
Christ's Selection of PeterW. P. Faunce.1 Peter 1:1-2
Commissioned by ChristJames Stalker, D. D.1 Peter 1:1-2
Genuine Disciples of ChristHomilist1 Peter 1:1-2
God's People ScatteredN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:1-2
Grace and Peace, Their True OrderW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:1-2
Grace Continually from GodJ. Edwards.1 Peter 1:1-2
How a Man May Know His ElectionJ. Spencer.1 Peter 1:1-2
How May We Know the Election of OthersJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:1-2
IntroductionR. Finlayson 1 Peter 1:1, 2
Justification and SanctificationJ. H. Evans.1 Peter 1:1-2
Lessons from the Foreknowledge of GodN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:1-2
Multiplied GraceBp. Bowman.1 Peter 1:1-2
Multiplied Grace and PeaceN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:1-2
ObedienceAbp. Leighton.1 Peter 1:1-2
Of PeaceT. Watson.1 Peter 1:1-2
PersecutionJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:1-2
Sanctification NecessaryW. Jay.1 Peter 1:1-2
Sanctification, and by Whom WroughtC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 1:1-2
Sent by GodThree Great Lives, Frances E. Cooke.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Beauty of GraceT. Watson.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Beginnings of Grace SmallJ. J. Wray.1 Peter 1:1-2
The ElectJ. M. Chanter, M. A.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Introductory GreetingU. R. Thomas.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Plan of SalvationJ. C. Jones, D. D.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Several Names of St. PeterJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Spirit Counteracting the Evil Tendency in ManF. B. Meyer.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Spirit Purifying the HeartF. B. Meyer.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Sprinkled Blood of ChristN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:1-2
The Introductory GreetingU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 1:1-3
To the strangers scattered ['sojourners of the dispersion,' Revised Version] throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. "The dispersion" was unquestionably the designation of Jewish residents in Gentile countries (John 7:35; James 1:1). "Strangers" means temporary residents in a foreign country. But the question whether this letter is really addressed to Jewish Christians is not necessarily answered in the affirmative by this superscription. For it is quite possible that the Gentile Christians in the countries named may be intended by "the sojourners of the dispersion," the description properly belonging to the Jews being transferred to them as in a profounder sense true of them, just as many other terms applicable to them are transferred in other parts of the letter. This possibility seems to be raised to a very high probability, at least by many expressions in it which appear to imply that the persons addressed were Gentiles. Such, for instance, as 1 Peter 1:14, "the former lusts in your ignorance;" 1 Peter 2:10, "in time past were not a people;" 1 Peter 4:3, "The time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles." If, then, we may fairly take these words as addressed to all Christians, they bring before us the familiar but ever-neglected truth that, if Christians are faithful, to their calling and to their true affinities, they will cherish a sense of belonging to another order of things than that with which they are outwardly connected. The word here rendered "stranger," or, as in the Revised Version, "sojourner," implies both residence in a foreign land, and temporary residence; and if we add to it the remaining word, we have a threefold view of the condition of a Christian, as an alien, a passing visitant, an isolated man.

I. HE IS AN ALIEN. He does not belong to the polity, the order of things in which he lives. No people on earth should understand that metaphor better than Jews and Englishmen; both belonging to nations scattered over the whole world, and accustomed to cherish a keen, proud sense of belonging to another nationality than that under whose flag they may be living. These Jews of the dispersion wandered all over the Roman world; but wherever they went, among the cold storm-swept uplands of Cappadocia and Galatia, in the rude villages of Pontus, or the luxurious cities and busy seaports of Asia Minor, they felt the mystic tie which bound them to Jerusalem on her hills, and the temple gleaming on its rock. So Christians are here members of another nationality, and foreigners in time. St. Paul gives us the same idea under a slightly different metaphor when he bids the Philippians live as citizens of heaven. Philippi was a Roman "colony," that is, it was regarded a piece of Rome itself in Macedonia, governed by Roman law, not by provincial codes, having the names of its citizens enrolled among the Roman tribes. So we, if we are Christians, are colonists here; our mother country is beyond the stars. This is an honor and a privilege. Peter does not utter these words with a melancholy face and a sigh, as so many of us do whose hearts hanker after the world, and would fain have it for our own. The Jew, the Philippian colonist, the roving Englishman were and are proud of their nationality, and knew that it was a descent to be naturalized in their places of residence. Let us glory in our belonging to the city which hath the foundations, and not sorrow that we are strangers. We have ceased to belong to the present material order, because we have been taken up into the higher. We rise to be aliens to earth and the race of men whose hopes and views are limited by it, just as some peasant's son may be educated out of the narrow surroundings and torpid life of his native village, and come to feel that he has little in common with relatives and friends, because a wider horizon expands before his mental vision. So then a prime duty is to keep separate from the order of things in which we dwell, and to keep vivid the consciousness that we do not belong to it. Think of the tenacious individuality of the Jewish people, eagerly mingling in the commercial life of every nation, and often having a large share in its intellectual life, and yet keeping apart, as oil from water. If Christians would learn the lesson, it would be well for them and for the world! Think of Abraham pitching his tent outside the cities of Canaan, mingling on friendly terms with the people, compelling their respect, but yet refusing to enter, and "dwelling in tabernacles, because he looked for the city." Nowadays Christians seem to be trying how far into the city of the Canaanites they can go, and how handsome a house they can build themselves there. It is never well with the Church unless the world describes it, as Haman did the Jews, "a certain people, scattered abroad, and their lives are diverse from all people." It is never well with a Christian soul which does not hear ever sounding in conscience the voice which says, "Come ye out and be separate." The world has got into the Church, and the Church has struck up a friendship with the world; and never was there more need to press upon every Christian that, in the measure in which he belongs to Christ, he is an alien here, and that if he feels quite at home among material things, that is because he has lost his nationality, and has stooped to the degradation of being naturalized in his place of abode.

II. EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN BELONGS TO THE DISPERSION. Each human heart, even in the closest human love, has to live alone. But those who love Jesus Christ will often have to bear a peculiar solitude which comes from their necessary association with those who do not love him. The loneliness of outward solitude does not pain in comparison with the loneliness of enforced and uncongenial companionship. A Christian is least alone when alone, for then God comes to keep him company. He is most alone when pushed close against those who do not share his faith, for then all the holy thoughts which come to his soul in quiet, as birds will light on the grass, take flight and hide in the trees at the noise of tongues. The isolation is for high purposes. Leaven has to be diffused among the inert mass. Seed stored on a barn floor in heaps is of little use, and likely to rot. It is scattered that it may grow. Salt is rubbed into the meat which is to be preserved. Christians are spread abroad, as brands are carried from a fire, to carry light into dark corners. The same Providence which sent the Jews of the dispersion as missionaries throughout the Roman world, sends us to bear abroad the Name of Jesus. The more we are surrounded with uncongenial associates, the more imperative the duty, and the more hopeful the opportunity, of our witnessing for our King. We have to represent our country among strangers. Its honor is in our hands. We carry its flag. Wandering Englishmen of doubtful character make the name of England abominable, and men like Gordon and many an unknown missionary hero make it fragrant, in lands where they are the only known specimens of the race. Men judge of Christianity very largely by the specimens of it which they see. We are each sent among a circle of associates that they may learn what the gospel can do for men by what it has done for us. Are we such specimens as to inspire onlookers with a respect for the religion which has made us what we are?

III. CHRISTIANS ARE BUT PASSING VISITANTS. The colonists will be called to the mother-city. Native-born Australians think of coming to England as going home, though they have never touched our shores. The outlying posts which have been held for the king amid swarms of alien enemies will be relieved, and the garrisons welcomed to their true country. We too often speak and think of the transiency of this present and the coming of death, with sadness, or at the best with resignation. But if we rightly understood that our deepest affinities connect us with that other order into which death introduces us, and that repose from weary effort, congenial companionship instead of isolation, and all the sweet satisfaction and freedom of home, are death's gifts to the Christian son], we should think of our departure hence with hope. "Were the happiness of the next world as closely apprehended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to live." It becomes us to be "glad" when they say unto us, "Let us go into the house of the Lord." Two men may embark in one ship - the one full of good cheer as the ropes are loosened and the first turn of the screw begins to move her from the pier; the other sad because he leaves all that is familiar and dear. The one is going home from exile; the other is being borne into banishment in a strange land, whose speech he does not know, whose king he does not serve. Which shall I be when death comes? - A.M.







Peter.
1. Simeon or Simon: that he had at his circumcision.

2. Cephas, a stone: given him by Christ at his calling, to signify that He meant to make him a stout defender of the faith.

3. Peter: the Greek equivalent of the Syriac Cephas.Learn —

1. Christ's kindness to Peter in giving him a name to assure him of some grace which He would bestow on him. Though we cannot do this, yet it behoves us to give our children such names as may put them in mind of some good thing; either to imitate some good man or woman whose name they bear, or else to follow some good that the name puts them in mind of.

2. In that he puts his name to his Epistle, he shows his godliness. A man bold for truth may be blamed, but cannot be shamed. This condemns the vile practice of the wicked, who hide themselves in the dark. We must do nothing but that we dare put our hands to it, and our names.

(John Rogers.)

When you have been down on the shore in the summer time you have found on the beach a dull-hued pebble, rounded and beaten, with all the colour washed out of it. But you have brought it home and broken it open, and lo! the whole interior was full of purple amethysts and sparkling crystals, of which the rough exterior gave no sign. So does Christ see in many a dull and unattractive life the jewels that shall sparkle forever. In Nathaniel He found an Israelite without guile, in Mary of Magdala a noble woman, and in Peter a foundation rock.

(W. P. Faunce.)

I. THE GREETER.

1. His name — Peter. The giving of that name leads us to recollect —

(1)What is recalled to him of his former life.

(2)What it tells of Christ's knowledge of his capacities and promise.

(3)What it indicates of his ideal.

2. His vocation — "an apostle."

(1)His dignity — authoritative messenger.

(2)His brotherhood — "an." No claim of supremacy.

(3)His Lord — "Jesus Christ." Sent by Him, to speak of Him, and to serve Him.

II. THOSE GREETED.

1. Who? Sojourners of the dispersion. Homeless through persecution.

2. Where? Scattered from under the shadows of the mountains of Galilee down to the shores of the Black Sea.

3. What? "Elect." Divinely chosen to perfection of character.

(1)To be made holy.

(2)To be made holy by the Spirit.

(3)To be made holy by the Spirit through obedience.

III. THE GREETING — "Grace and peace."

1. The highest conception of Greek and of Hebrew blessedness. Greek — grace; Hebrew — peace. Both combined.

(1)Grace, the attitude of Christ, the gift of Christ, the issue of the work of Christ.

(2)Peace — with God, with men, with conscience.

2. This multiplied indefinitely, not to say infinitely. They cannot have too much to exceed the apostle's desires for them.

(U. R. Thomas.)

An apostle of Jesus Christ
It makes a great difference whether we are going out, in a kind of social knight errantry, to live for humanity of our own motion, or whether we have met with Jesus Christ in secret, and go forth with His commission and promise at our back, and with His love and inspiration in our souls.

(James Stalker, D. D.)

Girolamo Savonarola was walking to Florence to become prior of a convent. When a few miles from the town he began to feel faint from want of food and rest, and sank wearily upon the ground. Then an unknown man appeared to the tired traveller, and walked with him. Savonarola believed it was a heavenly messenger, and took to his heart the stranger's parting words, "Remember that thou dost that for which thou hast been sent by God," and entered Florence ready to live in the midst of her unruly people, and work among them till his death. ("Three Great Lives," Frances E. Cooke.)

To the strangers scattered
1. Sundry of the Jews received our Saviour, and believed in Him, though the body of them did not. Those made a good progress in the cause of Christianity who were contented to undergo such dangers as might befall them in a strange land, only that they might keep faith and a good conscience.

2. The estate of the Church of God here on earth is under persecution. The world having power and wealth, is full of malice against the poor Church, so that were it not that God Almighty defends it, it could not endure. It is as a sheep among wolves, or a ship among the waves. Though God will exercise it to keep it front errors and corruptions, which it is subject to through much prosperity and peace; though it have need of some peace to gather itself, yet if it be long in peace it gathers mud as standing waters, rust as the ploughshare in the hedge, yea, settles itself on the lees, therefore God pours it out from vessel to vessel. The Church never shines so gloriously as either in or after persecution; then life, zeal, sincerity, heavenly-mindedness, and such like graces, appear in their true lustre. It follows —(1) That as we are not to conclude for a company, because they have so much peace, that therefore they are beloved of God; so must not we against any because they be few in number and outwardly despised.(2) That we are to prepare ourselves for persecution.(3) That it is lawful to fly in time of persecution.

(John Rogers.)

1. That God's children may be driven from their native dwelling, God doth not always build them a house in their own hind.

2. That the Church of God is not tied to any one place, neither to Rome nor to Jerusalem.

3. That the godly are thin set. It is rare to find true godly men, they dwell here and there.

4. That the Church hath not always an external glory to commend it.

5. That there may be a great inward beauty under a despised condition. These dispersed ones are glorious creatures, sanctified in their spirits, and shall have an immortal inheritance.

6. That there may be excellent order in appearing confusion. One might think the husbandmen spoiled their corn when they scatter it abroad on the ground; and yet we know it is better so than when it is in the barn all on a heap. So is it with the godly.

(N. Byfield.)

Homilist.
I. THEY ARE STRANGERS IN THE WORLD.

II. THEY ARE CHOSEN OF HEAVEN.

1. To the sanctification of the Spirit.

2. To obedience.

3. To a consecration to Christ.

III. THEY ARE PRAYED FOR BY THE BRETHREN.

1. For the favour of God.

2. For peace of soul.

(Homilist.)

Elect
? — Not with the judgment of certainty, because the heart of man is known to none but God, and a man may go far who yet may fall away; but with the judgment of charity, which hath degrees according to the fruits we see in them: if they only profess religion and be in the Church, we may hope, but it is a weak hope, where we see no fruits. Now when we see the fruits of faith, sanctification, and godliness in men, and that they show them not by fits, but constantly; not in some things, but in all; not in prosperity only, but in adversity, we may very boldly judge of them as the elect of God; and so does the apostle here, as appears by the next words, "Through sanctification of the Spirit."

(John Rogers.)

St. Peter here tells you what you are — for what purpose you are such, and to how great privilege you may reach. "Elect," he says, "according to the foreknowledge of God."

I. WHAT DOES ELECT MEAN? The word is taken from the Old Testament, where it is applied not to one or two individuals, but to the Jewish nation. They were highly favoured, they were gathered from other nations; they had the law and the prophets and means which others had not. To the Christian Church it is now said, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." Again, the very title of this Epistle shows for whom it was meant. "Elect according to the fore knowledge of God." For what is the title? The general — in Greek, the catholic — Epistle of St. Peter. Now what does this mean but that it is not for a small number of Christians, nor yet for the Church of a particular district, like some of St. Paul's Epistles; but for the Church universal, all the members of which he calls "elect"? Again, observe the first verse: "To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus," etc. As to the greater part of the persons whom he addresses, St. Peter could have known nothing of their character or habits any more than we can tell how individuals are living in private in France or Ireland. How, then, could he pronounce upon their eternal salvation? But he means nothing of the sort. He knew that life was before them; that they had light, and knowledge, and grace, and opportunities not given to others; he knew that they had been gathered into the Christian fold, which was not the case with others. Upon all these grounds he calls them elect, and predestined to this before the foundation of the world. That which is true of the Church as a whole is true of its parts. Accordingly, St. Paul, addressing different parts of the Christian body, at different times, calls them in turn elect, chosen, called, saints, sanctified. He does not mean to say that all he calls saints were so in their practice, any more than those whom we call Christians are really such. But he means that they were designed by God to be truly saints upon earth and triumphing souls in heaven. Why, I would ask, do you send missions to the heathen if you have not something to enrich them with which they possess not? You are in the light: you are a chosen people. I say not as to the use of privileges, but as to their possession. A man may shut his eyes though the sun be beaming; a man may turn back from the brink of heaven. Nevertheless, the possession of such privileges proves you to be high in God's favour — His chosen people, for an exalted purpose.

II. And now WHAT DOES GOD, ACCORDING TO ST. PETER, TO HIS ELECT PEOPLE? How does He assure them of their election, and enable them to make their calling and election sure? He gives them His Spirit in their hearts: "through sanctification," it is said, "of the Spirit." It is affirmed in the following words, "that God hath elected you unto obedience." Surely to bear the fruits of the Spirit a man must have the Spirit. Therefore St. Paul writes, "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father," etc. Let me mention two reasons why it is necessary to believe that Christians are sanctified, or receive the Spirit in their childhood.

1. The first is that our children are all expected to serve God, to renounce the devil, keep the Commandments, and believe the faith. But they are not able to do it without the Spirit.

2. When God takes away any of your children from you in their early years you have a confident belief that they are saved.

3. And this conducts me very naturally to the third point: supposing people to grow up, and to have passed the unconscious time of childhood, what is the immediate object of their sanctification? The text informs us, "Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." The apostle is thought to allude here to the covenant God made with Israel, which was confirmed by the sprinkling of blood. Another meaning is, that the Spirit hath been given to us in order that we might obey and so be pardoned; in either case the result is the same, that without obeying Christ none shall be saved. Let me address these who think they shall be saved without obedience. It cannot be denied that this is a fearfully large number. Every man who puts off repentance thinks he can be saved without obedience; for if he keep putting it off, when does he hope to obey? Again, are there not persons who arrive at the same deceit in another way? who are not careful to inquire whether they keep the commandments of Christ, but only whether they feel in a particular manner?

(J. M. Chanter, M. A.)

I. ELECTION IN ITS SOURCE.

1. Election as an eternal act of the Divine mind is inaccessible to us; it is only in its effects that it comes within our mental cognisance.

2. This election is "according to the foreknowledge of God." God is the only and whole cause of every man's salvation.

3. The Supreme Being not only drew the plan, but continually emits a stream of energy to impel men into acquiescence with it. This energy is not physical but mental and spiritual, making man a willing co-worker with God in his own salvation.

II. ELECTION IN ITS MEANS.

1. Election first shows itself in a man's separation from the world which lieth in wickedness.

2. Election is indissolubly connected with holiness as the sphere in which it moves, the atmosphere in which it breathes.

3. The holiness of the believer is not a created finite thing, like that of the angel, but an active participation in the uncreated, infinite holiness of God in virtue of the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost.

III. ELECTION IS ITS END.

1. Election has for its object our obedience.(1) The obedience of which faith is the substance, the obedience we render God when we believingly receive the truths of the gospel.(2) The obedience which faith produces.

2. But notwithstanding all our efforts, aided even by Divine grace, bitter experience reminds us that we often stumble, and sometimes fall. Is there any provision for our manifold imperfections? Yes, there is the "sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" — to secure forgiveness for the sins we daily commit despite our aspirations after holiness, and to wash away the pollution cleaving to us, notwithstanding our endeavours after a higher Christian life.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

If any man would know whether the sun shineth or not, let him go no further, but look upon the ground and the objects around him, to see the reflection of the sunbeams from thence, and not upon the body of the sun, which will but the more dazzle his sight. The pattern is known by the picture, the cause by the effect; let no man, then, soar aloft to know whether he be elected or not, but let him gather the knowledge of his election from the effectualness of his calling and sanctification of his life spent in obedience to the revealed will of Heaven.

(J. Spencer.)

According to the foreknowledge of God
1. To fear God and forsake sin, and not to dally with disobedience (Hebrews 4:13).

2. To trust upon God in all estates, seeing there is nothing but He knows and hath considered of it long since.

3. It should inflame us to piety, seeing no good can be done; but He will know it, though it be done never so secretly (Psalm 139:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 9).

4. It should quicken us to the meditation and care of our assurance of our eternal salvation. God hath delighted Himself to foresee it from eternity, and shall not we foremeditate of our own glory?

5. Paul useth this as a reason why we should help and encourage Christians, and do all the good we can for them. For their names are in the book of life (Philippians 4:3, etc.).

6. When we are to choose men for any calling we should learn of God to know before, and those we see to be wicked we should never elect: custom, riches, friends, intreaty, kindred, etc., should never prevail with us.

7. It shows us how we should love one another. No time should wear out our affection; God is not wearied with love, though He set His affections upon us before the beginning of the world.

8. This doctrine of God's eternal knowledge is terrible for wicked men.

(N. Byfield.)

Through sanctification of the Spirit
Sanctification begins in regeneration and is carried on in two ways — by vivication and by mortification; that is, by giving life to that which is good, and by sending death to that which is evil in the man. Now this work, though we commonly speak of it as being the work of the Spirit, is quite as much the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification is a work in us, not a work for us. It is a work in us, and there are two agents: one is the worker who works this sanctification effectually — that is the Spirit; and the other agent, the efficacious means by which the Spirit works this sanctification, is Jesus Christ and His most precious blood. Suppose, to put it as plainly as we can, there is a garment which needs to be washed. Here is a person to wash it, and there is a bath in which it is to be washed — the person is the Holy Spirit, but the bath is the precious blood of Christ. It is strictly correct to speak of the person cleansing as being the sanctifier; it is quite as accurate to speak of that which is in the bath and which makes it clean as being the sanctifier too. To repeat my illustration: here is a garment which is black: a fuller, in order to make it white, uses nitre and soap, both the fuller and the soap are cleansers; so both the Holy Spirit and the atonement of Christ are sanctifiers. While the Spirit of God is said in Scripture to be the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agent which must not be forgotten. "Sanctify them," said Christ, "through Thy truth. Thy word is truth." The Spirit of God brings to our minds the commands and precepts and doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. Do not say of such-an-such an error, "Oh, it is a mere matter of opinion." If it be a mere matter of opinion today it will be a matter of practice tomorrow. As every grain of truth is a grain of diamond dust, prize it all. The agent, then, is the Spirit of God working through the truth. There is no being sanctified by the law; the Spirit does not use legal precepts to sanctify us; there is no purification by mere dictates of morality, the Spirit of God does not use them. The Spirit of God finds us lepers, and to make us clean He dips the hyssop of faith in the precious blood, and sprinkles it upon us and we are clean. There is a mysterious efficacy in the blood of Christ, not merely to make satisfaction for sin but to work the death of sin. Just as the Spirit only works through the truth, so the blood of Christ only works through faith. Our faith lays hold on the precious atonement of Christ. It sees Jesus suffering on the tree, and it says, "I vow revenge against the sins which nailed Him there"; and thus His precious blood works in us a detestation of all, and the Spirit through the truth, working by faith, applies the precious blood of sprinkling, and we are made clean, and are accepted in the Beloved.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Justification was never intended as a substitute for sanctification.

(J. H. Evans.)

Suppose you had a son — you forbad him to enter a place of contagion on pain of losing all you could leave him. He goes, and is seized with the infection. He is guilty, for he has transgressed your command; but he is also diseased. Do you not perceive that your forgiving him does not heal him? He wants not only the father's pardon but the physician's aid. In vain is he freed from the forfeiture of his estate,, if he be left under the force of the disorder.

(W. Jay.)

Germs of disease may be constantly breeding in an infected house; but, so long as the disinfecting fluid is well sprinkled on the floors and pendent sheets, they are killed off as soon as they are formed. So sin, though present in the heart, may be choked off, so as to be almost unperceived, because the Holy Ghost is ever at work acting as a disinfectant; but, so soon as His grace is withdrawn, sin regains its old deadly sway, and breathes forth its pestilential poison. It is of the utmost importance, then, to keep in with the Holy Ghost.

(F. B. Meyer.)

If you take a heavy book and hold it at arm's length, the pull of the law of gravitation will soon draw it downwards; but if some friend will pour down that arm a constant stream of electricity the flow of the electric current will set you free from the effect of the downward pull. It will still be there, though you will have become almost unconscious of it. Thus it will be when we are filled by the Spirit of God; the downward tendency may be in us yet, but it will be more than counteracted by the habit of that new life, in which the power of the living Saviour is ever at work, through the grace of the Holy Ghost.

(F. B. Meyer.)

Unto obedience
When obedience to God is expressed by the simple absolute name of obedience, it teacheth us that to Him alone belongs unlimited obedience, all obedience by all creatures. It is the shame and misery of man that he hath departed from this obedience; but grace, renewing the hearts of believers, changeth their natures and so their names, and makes them "children of obedience." This obedience consists in receiving Christ as our Redeemer, Lord, and King. There is an entire rendering up of the whole man to his obedience. "By obedience" sanctification is here intimated. It signifies then both habitual and active obedience, renovation of heart, and conformity to the Divine will. This obedience, though imperfect, is universal in three ways — in the subject, in the object, in the duration, the whole man is subjected to the whole law, and that constantly and perseveringly. The first universality is the cause of the other. Because it is not in the tongue alone or in the hand, but has its roots in the heart, therefore it doth not wither as the grass or flower lying on the surface of the earth, but it flourishes because rooted. And it embraces the whole law, because it arises from a reverence it has for the Lawgiver Himself; reverence, I say, but tempered with love. Hence it accounts no law nor command little or of small value which is from God, because He is great, and highly esteemed by the pious heart; no command hard, though contrary to the flesh, because all things are easy to love. That this three-fold perfection of obedience is not a picture drawn by fancy is evident in David (Psalm 119), where he subjects himself to the whole law; his feet (ver. 105), his mouth (ver. 13), his heart (ver. 11), the whole tenour of his life (ver. 24). He subjects himself to the whole law (ver. 6), and he professes his constancy therein (vers. 16 and 33).

(Abp. Leighton.)

Sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ
1. There was blood in Christ; He took the true nature of His brethren that He might serve and satisfy God in the same nature that had offended.

2. This blood was shed. If you ask, who shed it? I answer, Judas by selling it; the priests by advising it; the people by consenting to it; Pilate by decreeing it; the soldiers by effecting it; Christ Himself by permitting it, and after presenting it to God (Hebrews 9:14), our sins, that chiefly caused it.

3. It is not enough that the blood of Christ be shed unless it be applied also, which the word "sprinkling" notes.

4. This effusion of blood was solemnly pre figured or foretold by the sacrifices of the law. For this word "sprinkled" is a metaphor borrowed from the legal sprinkling, which shows us two things.(1) The great account that God and good men make of it in that it was so solemnly and anciently typed out.(2) That the ceremonies of that Law are now abolished, seeing we have the true sprinkling of the blood.

5. That our estate in Christ is better now than our estate in Adam was. That Christ's righteousness imputed to us is better then that righteousness was, inherent in Adam. Now for the world to come; heaven is better than paradise.

6. We can never discern our comfort in the blood of Christ till we be sanctified in spirit, and set upon the reducing of our lives unto the obedience of Christ. Justification and sanctification are inseparable.

(N. Byfield.)

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied
I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE ADDRESSED.

1. They are sojourners.

2. They have one common sympathy. Scattered in dwelling, but one in heart.

II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE REDEEMED.

1. Elected by the Father.

2. Salvation by Christ.

3. Sanctification by the Spirit.

III. THE AFFECTIONATE DESIRE. He does not seek their restoration, nor their temporal welfare, nor their immunity from suffering or persecution, but grace and peace.

1. Grace is help. It is easy to bear trials and pains if strength is given.

2. Peace is tranquillity. It overshadows all our difficulties, and sheds a halo of light upon our course.

(J. J. S. Bird, B. A.)

What should we do that grace and peace might be multiplied?

1. Be sure his true grace, else it will never increase.

2. Thou must increase in meekness and humility (James 4:8; Psalm 36:6, 11).

3. If thou wouldst have thy grace and peace increase, thou must be constant in the use of all the ordinances of God. As thou measureth to God in the means, so will God measure to thee in the success: thou must be much in hearing.

4. Thou must not perplex thy heart with the cares of this life, but in all things go to God by prayer, and cast all thy care upon Him (Philippians 4:6, 7).

5. Thou must be resolved upon it to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously and religiously and soberly in this present world, else thou canst never meet with true peace.This likewise may be comfortable to a poor Christian, and that two ways.

1. First, If he consider that grace is not given all at once but by degrees, and therefore he must not be discouraged, though he have many wants.

2. Secondly, If he consider the bountifulness of God to all that seek grace and peace, it may be had in abundance.

(N. Byfield.)

While this beautiful introductory salutation, "Grace unto you, and peace," is a formula common to all the apostles, it is also an exact theological definition, rightly dividing the word of truth. The right thing is put fore most here. The living root lies in the ground below, and the fruit-bearing branches tower above it. It is grace first, and peace following it. When God and man meet it is pardon first, and then a mutual confidence. When He in the Mediator dispenses freely His favour, you in the Mediator draw near without dread. He manifests Himself a forgiving Father, and that very thing infuses into your heart the spirit of a trusting child. "May grace and peace be multiplied." In the Old. Testament (Isaiah 48:18) there is a promise that His people's peace "shall be like a river" — gaining affluents from either side as it flows, and at the last opening out into "a righteousness like the waves of the sea."

(W. Arnot.)

1. The connection, grace and peace. The way to have peace is to have grace; grace is the breeder of peace.

2. The order; first grace, then peace. Grace is the elder sister.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY GRACE? The infusion of a new and holy principle into the heart, whereby it is changed from what it was, and is made after God's own heart.

II. THE AUTHOR OR EFFICIENT OF GRACE; namely, the Spirit of God, who is therefore called the Spirit of grace. The Spirit is the fountain from whence crystal streams of grace flow.

1. Universally; "the God of peace sanctify you wholly." The Spirit of God infuseth grace into all the faculties of the soul; though grace be wrought but in part, yet in every part; in the understanding light, in the conscience tenderness, in the will consent, in the affections harmony; therefore grace is compared to leaven, because it swells itself in the whole soul, and makes the conversation to rise as high as heaven.

2. The Spirit of God works grace progressively, He carries it on from one degree to another.

III. WHY IS THE WORK OF HOLINESS IN THE HEART CALLED GRACE?

1. Because it has a super-eminency above nature. It is of Divine extraction (James 3:17). By reason we live the life of men, by grace we live the life of God.

2. It is called grace because it is a work of free grace; every link in the golden chain of our salvation is wrought and enamelled with free grace.

IV. THE COGENCY AND NECESSITY OF GRACE. It is most needful, because it fits us for communion with God. Alexander being presented with a rich cabinet of king Darius, he reserved it to put Homer's works in, as being of great value. The heart is a spiritual cabinet into which the jewel of grace should be put.

1. Grace hath a soul-quickening excellency in it: "the just shall live by faith." Men void of grace are dead.

2. Grace hath a soul enriching excellency: "ye are enriched in all knowledge." As the sun enricheth the world with its golden beams, so doth knowledge enrich the mind.

3. Grace hath a soul-adorning excellency (1 Peter 3:4, 5). A soul decked with grace is as the dove covered with silver wings and golden feathers.

4. Grace hath a soul. cleansing excellency. Grace lays the soul a-whitening, it takes out the leopard spots, and turns the cypress into an azure beauty. Grace is of a celestial nature; though it doth not wholly remove sin, it doth subdue it; though it doth not keep sin out, it keeps it under; though sin in a gracious soul doth not die perfectly, yet it dies daily. Grace makes the heart a spiritual temple, which hath this inscription upon it, "Holiness to the Lord."

5. Grace hath a soul-strengthening excellency, it enables a man to do that which exceeds the power of nature. Grace teacheth to mortify our sins, to love our enemies, to prefer the glory of Christ before our own lives.

6. Grace hath a soul-raising excellency; it is a Divine sparkle that ascends; when the heart is Divinely touched with the loadstone of the Spirit, it is drawn up to God. Grace raiseth a man above others; he lives in the altitudes, while others creep on the earth and are almost buried in it; a Christian by the wings of grace flies aloft; the saints "mount up as eagles." A believer is a citizen of heaven.

7. Grace hath a perfuming excellency; it makes us a sweet odour to God. Hence grace is compared to those spices which are most fragrant (Song of Solomon 4:13).

8. Grace hath a soul-ennobling excellency; grace makes us vessels of honour, it sets us above princes and nobles. The saints are called kings and priests for their dignity, and jewels for their value.

9. Grace hath a soul-securing excellency, it brings safety along with it. Xerxes, the Persian, when he destroyed all the temples in Greece, caused the temple of Diana to be preserved for its beautiful structure; that soul which hath the beauty of holiness shining in it shall be preserved for the glory of the structure; God will not suffer His own temple to be destroyed.

10. Grace hath a heart-establishing excellency; "it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace." Before the infusion of grace, the heart is like a ship without a ballast; it wavers and tosseth, being ready to overturn. A gracious heart cleaves to God, and let whatever changes come, the soul is settled as a ship at anchor.

11. Grace hath a preparatory excellency in it; it prepares and fits for glory. First you cleanse the vessel, and then pour in wine. God doth first cleanse us by His grace, and then pour in the wine of glory; the silver link of grace draws the golden link of glory after it: indeed, grace differs little from glory; grace is glory in the bud, and glory is grace in the flower. In short, glory is nothing else but grace commencing and taking its degrees.

12. Grace hath an abiding excellency; temporal things are for a season, but grace hath eternity stamped upon it. Other riches take wings and fly from us; grace takes wings and flies with us to heaven. Let us try whether our grace be true; there is something looks like grace which is not. saith the devil hath a counterfeit chain to all the graces, and he would deceive us with it.Lapidaries have ways to try their precious stones; let us try our grace by a Scripture touchstone: the painted Christian shall have a painted paradise.

1. The truth of grace is seen by a displacency and antipathy against sin: "I hate every false way."

2. Grace is known by the growth of it, growth evidenceth life.

3. True grace will make us willing to suffer for Christ. Grace is like gold, it will abide the "fiery trial."Lessons:

1. If we would be enriched with this jewel of grace, let us take pains for it; we are bid to make a hue and cry after knowledge, and to search for it as a man that searcheth for a vein of gold. Our salvation cost Christ blood, it will cost us sweat.

2. Let us go to God for grace; He is called "the God of all grace." We could lose grace of ourselves, but we cannot find it of ourselves.

3. If you would have grace, engage the prayers of others in your behalf. He is like to be rich who hath several stocks going; he is in the way of spiritual thriving who hath several stocks of prayer going for him.

(T. Watson.)

Trace back any river to its source, and you will find its beginnings small. A little moisture oozing through the sand or dripping out of some unknown rock, a gentle gush from some far-away mountain's foot, are the beginning of many a broad river, in whose waters tall merchantmen may anchor and gallant fleets may ride. For it widens and gets deeper till it mingles with the ocean. So is the beginning of a Christian's or a nation's grace. It is first a tiny stream, then it swells into a river, then a sea. There is life and progression towards an ultimate perfection when God finds the beginning of grace in any man.

(J. J. Wray.)

As grace is at first from God, so it is continually from Him, and is maintained by Him, as much as light in the atmosphere is all day long from the sun, as well as at first dawning, or at sun rising.

(J. Edwards.)

I have in my garden a tree that I have very carefully cultivated. It is not difficult for me to conceive that that tree may be perfect — that there is not a root nor a branch wanting; its foliage and fruitage are perfect; it is yielding fruit; but next summer I expect a little more than it has borne this year. The fruit may be no better than it was last year; it was perfect then, and is perfect now, but there is more of it, because, in the meantime, the tree has grown. So with your Christian experience.

(Bp. Bowman.)

I. WHAT ARE THE SEVERAL SPECIES OR KINDS OF PEACE?

1. There is an external peace, and that is —

(1)Economical, peace in a family.

(2)Political, peace in the State.

(3)Ecclesiastical, peace in the Church.A spiritual peace, which is twofold — peace above us, or peace with God, and peace within us, or peace with conscience. This is superlative; other peace may be lasting, but this is everlasting.

II. WHENCE COMES THIS PEACE? This peace hath the whole Trinity for its author.

1. God the Father is the "God of peace" (Philippians 4:9).

2. God the Son is the purchaser of peace (Colossians 1:20). Christ purchased our peace upon hard terms.

3. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit clears up the work of grace in the heart, from whence ariseth peace.

III. WHETHER MAY SUCH AS ARE DESTITUTE OF GRACE HAVE PEACE? NO. Peace flows from sanctification, but they being unregenerate, have nothing to do with peace: "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." They may have a truce, but no peace.

IV. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A FALSE PEACE?

1. A false peace hath much confidence in it, but this confidence is conceit.

2. False peace separates those things which God hath joined together: God joins holiness and peace, but he who hath a false peace separates these two. He lays claim to peace, but banisheth holiness.

3. False peace is not willing to be tried; a sign they are bad wares which will not endure the light; a sign a man hath stolen goods, when he will not have his house searched. A false peace cannot endure to be tried by the Word. The Word speaks of a humbling and refining work upon the soul before peace; false peace cannot endure to hear of this; the least trouble will shake this peace, it will end in despair.

V. HOW SHALL WE KNOW THAT OURS IS A TRUE PEACE?

1. True peace flows from union with Christ. We must first be ingrafted into Christ, before we can receive peace from Him.

2. True peace flows from subjection to Christ; where Christ gives peace, there He sets up His government in the heart.

3. True peace is after trouble. Many say they have peace, but is this peace before a storm, or after it? True peace is after trouble.

VI. WHETHER HAVE ALL SANCTIFIED PERSONS THIS PEACE? They have a title to it; they have the ground of it; grace is the seed of peace, and it will in time turn to peace, as the blossoms of a tree to fruit, milk to cream.

VII. BUT WHY HAVE NOT ALL BELIEVERS THE FULL ENJOYMENT AND POSSESSION OF PEACE? WHY IS NOT THIS FLOWER OF PEACE FULLY RIPE AND BLOWN?

1. Through the fury of temptation.

2. Through mistake and misapprehension about sin.

3. Through remissness in duty.

VIII. WHAT SHALL WE DO TO ATTAIN THIS BLESSED PEACE?

1. Ask it of God.

2. Make war with sin.

3. Go to Christ's blood for peace.

4. Walk closely with God.Walk very holily: God's Spirit is first a refiner before a comforter.

(T. Watson.)

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