1 Peter 1:2
chosen by the foreknowledge of God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Sermons
The Elect of GodC. New 1 Peter 1:2
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
This is no mere Jewish title, for there are passages in the Epistle which forbid the idea that it was addressed exclusively to Jews (1 Peter 1:18; 1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 4:3, 4). It is the title of the universal Church and the individual believer. The verse is a summary of the most important and difficult points of Christian doctrine; hardly a word in it but is inexhaustible.

I. THE FACT OF DIVINE ELECTION STATED. Perhaps no greater mystery in Scripture, and none more perverted; but if it is revealed from heaven we need not be afraid of it; if it comes from God who would draw all men unto him, only by misunderstanding it can it repel them from him; if it be in this book, we cannot withhold it from ourselves without spiritual loss. What is the Divine election? It is used in Scripture in different connections - of election to an office (John 15:16); of election to certain privileges, as the Jews (Psalm 135:4); but in a large class of passages it clearly refers to the blessings of salvation (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4, 5, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). This is not election of a community, for it refers to matters necessarily personal; e.g. "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed;" "All that the Father giveth me must come to me, and him that," etc.; "sanctification of the Spirit;" "belief of the truth;" "sprinkling of the blood;" "conformed to his Son." It must be the Divine election of individuals to eternal salvation. There are certain serious prejudices to this doctrine - such as that it is opposed to the goodness and justice of God. But that prejudice is unwarranted if the doctrine be really here, for God cannot break the bounds of his nature, and these must harmonize in some way, though as yet we see not how. At the same time, notice that it is election to salvation, not to perdition; we are saved by the sovereign grace of God, we are lost because of our own sin ("Come, ye blessed of my Father! but it is only, Depart, ye cursed!"). Why does not grace save all? All we know is that it does not, and that "the Lord is righteous in all his ways," and what we know not now we shall know. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Another prejudice: It seems opposed to the freedom and responsibility of man. Certainly man is free; he is commanded-to repent and believe, and held responsible for not obeying, and is reasoned and pleaded with by God; and "How often would I, but ye would not!" We cannot harmonize that with election, yet they may both be true. If we make an objection in this to seeking salvation, it is not as we act in other matters; we know that our recovery from sickness is amongst what God has determined, yet we use means for recovery, and are hopeless otherwise; so, as though there were no foreordination to eternal life, we are responsible for employing the means to secure it. If we are lost, it will not be because of foreordination, but because in our freedom we failed to use the necessary means. Another prejudice is that the doctrine seems opposed to the universal offer of salvation. Salvation is offered to all; "God willeth not the death of a sinner;" all are commanded to believe, and are condemned for not believing. Then election is not out of harmony with that, and closes the door to the salvation of none. We may not see the harmony, but God's secret purposes cannot contradict his declared purposes.

II. CERTAIN PARTICULARS RESPECTING THIS DIVINE ELECTION. Father, Son, and Spirit - the whole Godhead, so to speak, combine to the redemption of a single soul.

1. The source of election . "The foreknowledge of God the Father." The word "to know" in Scripture is often used for "to know with favor" (Matthew 7:23; Romans 11:2; Romans 8:29). God knows, foreknows all, so that the idea of foreknowledge with favor is involved in the expression in these passages. So here; the same word as is translated "foreordained" in ver. 20 - the foreknowledge of purpose, favor, as in Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11. Our salvation is entirely on a Divine basis; we are not elect because of anything in ourselves; we choose him because he first chose us (Ephesians 1:4).

2. The working out of election: "The sanctification of the Spirit." Sanctification in the sense of separation, something that comes before "the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ;" separation to God, equivalent to the new birth; for only thus are we called out from the world, from its joys, and sorrows, and principles, and attitude towards God. This is the seal of election - the elect are the separated; the Spirit separates for God those whom God chooses for himself. And this separation is carried on to faith and every Christian grace, and final perfection in heaven.

3. The end of election: "Obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." "Obedience" here can hardly mean "submission to law;" it probably stands for the full expression, "the obedience of faith," as in Romans 1:8 (comp. with Romans 16:19; 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17). The passage, then, is a striking parallel to 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The end of election is faith, and the consequent application of the atoning blood. Because of what the sprinkling of that blood does for us: justifies (Romans 3:9); cleanses (1 John 1:7); seals to us the blessings of the covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25); heaven (Hebrews 10:19).

III. THE BENEFITS OF THE DIVINE ELECTION. "Grace and peace multiplied." The fact of election can only be stated because there is untold good in it. It is essentially the believer's doctrine. For such it is full of encouragement and support.

1. It assures us of the certainty of multiplied grace. If God chose us to all the blessings of perfect salvation, it is certain we shall have them. Nothing can be more sure than God's eternal purpose.

2. And this assurance produces perfect peace. None can be afraid who have (in the separation of the Spirit) the seal that they are divinely elected to grace multiplied without end. - C.N.







If ye call on the Father.
1. This condemns them that live wickedly and in their sins, and yet call God Father. They might as well say anything. If one should fight against the king and say he were a good subject; or say he is a man's servant, and yet doth nothing that he is bidden.

2. But dost thou unfeignedly desire to fear God —(1) In thy general calling as a Christian, to walk holily, righteously, and soberly? Fearest thou to offend God thyself, or to see Him dishonoured by others? Carest thou to please Him? Lovest thou to be in His presence? Dost thou conscionably hear His Word, and patiently bear His corrections?(2) In thy special calling art thou careful to glorify God, as a parent, child, master, servant, etc., not only in ceasing to do evil, but in doing good, yea, and labouring to do it well? Thou mayest comfortably and with good leave call God Father, and make account of Him so to be, which is the greatest privilege in the world.

(John Rogers.)

In saying "if ye call on the Father," the apostle did not mean for a moment to express any doubt; the "if" simply introduces a premise on which a conclusion is to be based, as when St. Paul wrote, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." There was no uncertainty as to whether the readers of the Epistle — Christianised Jews scattered abroad — were calling upon the Father, or more correctly, as to whether they were calling Him Father. That was just what they were doing, having learned to do so in their conversion to the Christian faith. They had always believed in a righteous, impartial Governor of the world — the God, namely, of Moses and the prophets, who was supremely the just One; and now, since their surrender to Jesus as their Master, and their acceptance of His Gospel, they had come to name this God, the Father. He whose throne was in the heavens, who hated iniquity and ruled with faultless justice, He was the Father. "And if He be," says the apostle, "pass, I pray you, the time of your earthly sojourning, in fear." A true word, a word spoken in utter sincerity, and representing what is fact, may yet prove very misleading — may convey or suggest something contrary to truth. If language be a vehicle of thought, it is far from being always an adequate or a safe vehicle. Now the word, "Father," we might anticipate, would speak alike to all. The relation which it designates is common enough. Yet how differently the word may affect different individuals, what different pictures it may conjure up before them! As to what it shall express to any of us, much will depend upon the kind of domestic experience we have had, upon the kind of home with which we are most familiar, in which our childhood and youth were spent. Oh, the world of grand and sweet meaning for you, in the word Father! What a solemn, noble, gracious sound it has! But here is another, upon whose ear it falls with no sound of music, in whose mind it is associated with harsh and tyrannical exercise of authority. It brings to his recollection a testy, passionate, wrath-provoking man, whose ways were hard to bear; or a man, cold, stern, austere, whose presence chilled and rather discomforted, or one who, while protecting and ministering, was uncertain in judgment — now weakly lenient, now unreasonably and unwholesomely strict. And St. Peter would seem to have apprehended that it might be thus with his readers, that in calling the Divine Governor, Father, they might scarcely be alive to all which the name implied; for he proceeds to indicate to them how it behoved them to be moved and affected by the sense of God's Fatherhood. "Since you worship as the Father, Him, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear." And it is very likely that this conclusion of his rather surprised and staggered them. "In fear!" they would exclaim, perhaps; "should he not have written, on the contrary, 'in comfort and peace,' 'in bright courage and hope'"? Yes, yes, most surely; but then, it should inspire you also with a great awe, and if it do not, the whole meaning of the word Father cannot have been grasped by you; for the true Father is not merely the gracious Protector, Succourer, Provider, but the constant, persistent, earnest, unsparing Educator, also, whose love deals closely and inexorably with each child of the family, in desire for his due training and his best development. Now, as may have been the case with the people whom St. Peter addressed, we perhaps, are possessed with too poor and low an idea of fatherliness, and, more or less blinded by that idea, need to be reminded of what he saw and sought to inculcate, namely, that the Fatherhood of the Almighty is a very solemn reality, and serves to render life very serious. There is, I think, a widespread tendency to repose in it as involving rather less demand upon us for moral care and earnestness, as allowing us to be rather less particular about the cultivation of righteousness, rather less anxious concerning our spiritual condition and quality. "Let us not be troubled greatly," they say to themselves — "let us not be troubled greatly if we are negligent and unfaithful, and do not amend or improve as we should; is not the Judge and Ruler the Father, and will He not therefore be gentle with us; may He not therefore, overlook much, and make things considerably pleasanter for us in the end than we deserve?" Are there not those who reason thus from the thought of God's Fatherhood? Yet did they consider and understand, the very thought in which they find relief, would rather set them trembling. For, see, what government is so close and penetrating as the government of a true father? Is there anything in existence to compare with it? How very much it takes cognisance of, to frown upon, and rebuke, which no other government notices! Parents will often punish severely, where the police would never interfere. The man whom the lad has to fear, when others show lenity, is his father, and because he is the father. A father's rule, again, a true father's rule, consists not merely in legislating and in punishing when laws are broken, but in studying to train toward obedience — to school and discipline, with the object of eliminating or checking what is wrong, and guiding and helping to the formation of right habits. He not only commands good conduct, and visits the opposite with his displeasure, but endeavours in every way, and by every means, to influence to goodness, and to educate the child on all sides, with whatever exercises and appliances may seem fitting, to the best of which he is capable. To this end, he watches over and pursues him. Do we not acknowledge, that to be at all careless about the training of our children, and their culture by us to better things, is to be unfatherly, and that the fondness which passes by a fault demanding correction, rather than draw forth tears and put to grief, is not true paternal love? If then there be a Divine Governor of mankind, all-holy and just, the principle and spirit of whose government is really paternal, is it not a profoundly serious thing for us men, in our state of confessed imperfection, with so much in us which as yet falls short of and is contrary to holiness? What hope can there be of rest or happiness, what hope of acquittal, for unrighteous souls, if God, the infinitely righteous, be the Father? Can He ever be content to tolerate them as they are, to leave them as they are, unvisited, unmeddled with? If He be indeed the Father, what chance can there be for one of us, of our not receiving according to our works? Do you not perceive the certainty, the inevitableness of due punishment upon the supposition of His Fatherhood? I think of the suffering that must yet be in store for such; for without suffering, how are these habits and sympathies of theirs to be worked out? and I know, methinks, that they will have to be worked out; that the great paternal love will not be able to refrain from them, or stay its hand until they are.

(S. A. Tipple.)

"Walk during the time of your sojourning here in fear." How does that comport with the preceding glowing exhortation to "perfect hope"? How does it fit in with the triumphant words in the earlier part of the chapter about "joy unspeakable and full of glory"? Does it not come like a douche of cold water on such thoughts? Peter thinks they can co-exist; and, more singular still, that the same object can excite both. Nay! there is no perfect hope which does not blend with it this fear; and joy itself lacks dignity and nobleness unless it is sobered and elevated by an infusion of it.

I. HERE WE HAVE, FIRST, A FATHERLY JUDGMENT. Mark the meaning and the limits of the fatherly and filial relation which is laid at the foundation of the exhortation of my text. "If ye call on the Father" — he is speaking distinctly and exclusively to Christian people. Much has been said in recent days, and said in many aspects nobly, and with good results upon the theological thinking of our generation, about the Fatherhood of God. But, we are never to forget that that one word covers in the Bible two entirely distinct thoughts. In one aspect, God is the Father of the spirits of all flesh by their derivation of life from Him. But in another "to as many as believed on Him to them gave He power to become sons of God." And it is on the latter Fatherhood and sonship that the apostle builds the exhortation of my text. Well, then, further, the apostle here desires to guard us against another of the errors which are very common in this generation. The revolt against the sterner and graver side of Christian truth has largely found footing in a mistaken idea of the implications and bearing of that thought that God is our Father. That relationship has been thought to swallow up all others, and men have been unwilling to entertain the ideas of a righteous Governor, a supreme Law giver, a retributive Judge. And Peter brings the two ideas into juxtaposition, seeing no contradiction between them, but rather that the one necessarily involves the other. Is it not so in your own homes? Does your fatherhood swallow up your obligation to estimate the moral worth of your child, and to proportion your conduct accordingly? The judicial aspect is essential to the perfection of Fatherhood; and every family on earth mirrors the fact to those that have eyes to see. Mark, still further, the emphatic characteristics of this paternal judgment which are set forth in my text. It is "without respect of persons." Peter is going back on his old experience in that unique word. Do you remember when it was that the scales fell from his eyes, and he said, "I perceive that God is no respecter of persons"? It was in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea. Note, further, that this paternal judgment which comes on the child because he is a child, is a present one. "Who judgeth," not "who wilt judge." Ah! day by day, moment by moment, deed by deed, we are coming under the judicial light of God's eye, and the judicial force of His hand. "The history of the world is the judgment of the world," so the lives of individual Christians do record and bear the results of a present judgment of the present Father. Then mark, still further, what the thing judged by this present impartial Fatherly judgment is "According to his work." The text does not say "works," but "work" — that is, each man's life considered as a living whole; the main drift and dominant purpose, rather than the isolated single acts, are taken into view. Now, from all this, there just comes the one point that I want to urge upon our hearts and consciences — viz., that Christian people are to expect, today and hereafter, the incidence of a Father's judgment. The Jews came to Jesus Christ once and said, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?" His answer made the same remarkable use of the singular instead of the plural to which I have drawn attention as occurring in this text — "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." Yes! And if we, in any real sense, are doing that one work of God — viz., believing on Jesus Christ — our faith will be a productive mother of work which He will look upon and accept as an odour of a sweet smell, "well-pleasing unto God." There is a paternal judgment; and the works which pass it are works done from the root and on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.

II. WE HAVE HERE A SON'S FEAR. Now, fear is, I suppose, best explained as being the shrinking anticipation of evil. But, as the Old Testament has taught us, there is a higher and a lower form of that apprehension. In the higher it is sublimed into lowly reverence and awe, which fears nothing so much as being alienated from God. And that is the fear that my text would insist upon. The evil which a Christian man, the son of the Father, and the subject of His judgment, has most to apprehend — indeed, the only evil which he has really to apprehend — is that he may be tempted to do wrong. So this fear has in it no torment, but it has in it blessedness and purity and strength. It is perfectly compatible with all these other emotions of which the lower form of fear is the opposite; perfectly compatible with confidence, with hope, with joy — nay I rather, without this wholesome and restraining dread of incurring the displeasure of a loving Father, these exuberant and buoyant graces lose their chiefest security. The fear which my text enjoins is the armed guard, so to speak, that watches over these fair virgins of hope and joy and confidence that beautify the Christian life. If you wish your hope to be bright, fear; if you wish your joy to be solid, fear; if you want your confidence in God to be unshaken, cherish utter distrust of yourself, and fear. Fear only that you may depart from Him in whom our hope, and our joy, and our confidence, have their roots. That fear is the only guarantee for our security. The man that distrusts himself and knows his danger, and clings to his refuge is safe. This son's fear is the source of courage. The man whose whole apprehension of evil is dread of sin is bold as a lion in view of all other dangers.

III. Lastly, HERE IS THE HOMECOMING, WHICH WILL FINISH THE FEAR. "The time of your sojourning," says Peter. That thought runs through the letter. It is addressed "to the strangers scattered abroad," and in the next chapter he exhorts Christian people, as "strangers and pilgrims," to "abstain from fleshly lusts." Here he puts a term to this dread — "the time of your sojourning." Travellers in foreign lands have to light their fires at night to keep off the lions, and to set their guard to detect the stealthy approach of the foe, You and I, whilst we travel in this earthly pilgrimage, have to be on our guard, lest we should be betrayed. But we are going home. And when the child gets to the Father's house it does not fear any more dangers, nor need bolts and bars, nor guards and sentries. Why did God give us this capacity of anticipating, and shrinking from, future evil? Was it only meant that its red light should be a danger signal in reference to fleeting worldly evils? Is there not a far worse possibility before us all? Let me press on you this one question: Have you ever, in all the wide range which your fears of a future have taken, extended it so far as to face this question, "What will become of me when I come into contact with God the Judge and His righteous tribunal?" You will come in contact with it. Let your fear travel so far, and let it lead you to the one Refuge.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Judgeth according to every man's work
Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.
There is a verse in the Psalms which might not unfitly stand as a text for this whole Epistle of St. Peter. It is at the end of the 111th Psalm, in which David had been giving most high praise to God for His distinguishing mercy towards His own chosen people. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do thereafter: the praise of it endureth forever." As much as to say, that, great as the mercies are, which God has provided for His elect people, they are not such as ought for a moment to set us free from that godly fear, that religious and awful sense of God's unspeakable presence, which is the beginning, the crown, of all spiritual wisdom. It must be joined indeed with love, but we must never expect to turn it entirely into such love as we feel towards those who are dear to us here among men. In a word, the love and fear of God will grow up together in a religious and thoughtful heart; as we come to know more of Him as the greatest and best of fathers. Such is the Psalmist's account of the fear of God: and lest any person, having an eye to the infinite blessings of the gospel of Christ, made known to us but unknown to him, should imagine that this description of God's fear is now as it were out of date, I wish all Christians would observe how earnestly the very same lesson is taught in the New Testament also. Our Lord forewarns us whom we shall fear; Him, namely, who is able to cast both body and soul into hell. And observe, He speaks thus, not to those who were still at a distance from Him, but to His own chosen apostles and followers, to those whom in the same discourse He calls His friends and His little flock. Surely this one text is enough to do away with all presumptuous notions of any persons ever becoming so good, or so high in God's favour, as to do without the fear of God. It is true, St. John says, "Perfect love casteth out fear," but what fear? surely not religious reverence of the ever-present Almighty Father. St. Peter was in some measure afraid, lest the Christians to whom he was writing should so dwell on favours received, be so entirely taken up with the comfortable promises of the gospel, as to forget the fear of God, and the plain duty of keeping the commandments. As if he had said, It is our privilege to call God, Our Father which art in heaven. Christ Himself in His own prayer has authorised the faithful to do it. Here the irreligious pride of some men might presently come in, and tempt them to imagine that God is partial to them; that He favours them above others, and therefore they may take liberties; He will not be so strict in requiring an account how they have kept His laws. But St. Peter teaches us just the contrary: even as the last of the prophets, Malachi, had taught before, looking forward by the Spirit to a time when men, having greater privileges than ever, would be in danger of abusing them more than ever. "If I be a Father, where is Mine honour?" How can you call the great God of heaven and earth by a name which brings Him so very near you, and not feel an awful kind of thrill, a sense of His presence in your very heart? More especially, when you add that which he takes notice of in the next place: that this our heavenly Father is one who "without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work." This was in a great degree a discovery of God's nature and character made by the Gospel. Before the coming of our Lord and Saviour, neither Jew nor Gentile looked on the God of heaven as being impartial, and judging without respect of persons. As for the Gentiles, "They thought wickedly, that God was even such an one as themselves." Again, even God's own people, the Jews, were generally apt more or less to mistake the nature and meaning of the great favour which God Almighty had shown them for so many ages. They kept continually saying within themselves, "We have Abraham to our Father"; in such a manner as if they were sure of especial consideration to be had of them on that account merely; as if they might be looser in their conduct than other men. When, therefore, both Jew and Gentile were to be called into one great family in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the things most necessary to be taught was, "God is no respecter of persons," etc. This St. Peter had taught long ago to the Jews, when, by especial direction of the Holy Ghost, he had to convert and baptize Cornelius and his household; and now again he repeats the same instruction to the converted Gentiles themselves, lest they should abuse their own privileges, and fancy they were entitled to favour at the hands of the most holy God, merely for being on His side. Nor may we imagine that the apostle spoke to the men of those times only; the Christians of all times are in danger of the same kind of error: we are all too apt to indulge the childish imagination, that our own case has something particular in it: that God Almighty therefore, just and terrible as He is, will surely make exceptions in our favour. The reward, then, of those who shall receive God's blessing at last will be strictly in proportion, not to their deservings, but to their sincerity and steadiness in working. "They will be justified," as St. Paul says, "by faith, without works of any law"; yet, in another sense, they are justified by the works of the gospel law, not by faith only. God graciously accepts, not their bare nominal good meaning, but their good meaning proved by their works. And there is no respect of persons on this plan: because the faith meant is not a strong emotion; but it is the steady devotion of the heart to do the will of God our Saviour, and not our own will. Therefore, let us fear — for we have indeed great reason — lest, so much depending on our own works, those works be found at the last day to be nothing at all, or next to nothing. This consideration of itself is surely terrible enough; but there is one thing yet remaining, which makes it yet more alarming to the conscience: and it is that which St. Peter sets before us by his use of the word "sojourning" in this passage. "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." As much as to say, "Pass your time in fear, not knowing how short it may be." The churchyards around us are fast filling; it may be our own turn next; and how far have we advanced, by the aid of God's Spirit, in that difficult work of putting off the mind of this world, and putting on the mind of Christ?

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times. ")

Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear
Before the word "fear" there are several reasons given for its exercise. We call God Father. He who applies such a name to God must fear if he thinks what this involves on his part. Especially when it is remembered that while He is a Father He is also a Judge strictly righteous and impartial. Succeeding it is another ground. We are redeemed. And our redemption has been effected by the most costly sacrifice — the blood of Christ. Those who believe that cannot but feel a peculiar obligation lying upon them. They must be Christ's in heart and soul and action. And they cannot but fear lest they should belie such a marvellous consecration.

I. THE SPHERE AND OPERATION OF CHRISTIAN FEAR. There are some to whom the importance attached to fear in this place and elsewhere seems in contradiction to the teaching of the Apostle John, who speaks of fear as being cast out by perfect love. But it is to be observed that it is perfect love to which this prerogative is assigned. But with imperfect love fear has an important sphere of action. It affords stimulus to imperfect love and pushes it on to perfection. Those whom the apostle exhorts to fear are the same whom he has exhorted to hope to the end. They are men to whom Christ is precious, who love Him and rejoice in Him with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Fear existing along with such elements cannot even burden. It balances, sobers, solemnises, deepens, intensifies. But it is often urged that the actions which are stimulated by fear have no moral worth, that fear is but a form of selfishness, and that therefore no fruit produced by it, however well it may look to the eye, can be truly acceptable to God. This has a very specious look. It appears a particularly fine, exalted, spiritual doctrine. And it really is so in its main features. It is true; but it is only a half truth, and half truths are often the most dangerous of errors. What is the other half of the truth? Although fear in itself and by itself cannot produce truly good or spiritually right action, it yet performs a vital function in keeping the soul awake. Fear rings the alarm bell and rouses the conscience. It blows the trumpet of warning. It creates pause and opportunity for all better and nobler things to make themselves heard. It allows a man to become aware of the realities, and when he is once placed in contact with them the best things begin. Everything depends on being made earnest, sensitive, lifted into a sense of the eternal verities. The highest principles, righteousness and love, are often in the best of men forgetful and fickle. They are ensnared, oppressed, and bewildered many a time, and need the keen influence of fear to bring them to themselves again.

II. FEAR IN RELATION TO THE FATHER THAT JUDGETH. Fear is obviously far from being the main feeling towards God as a Father. Confidence and love are especially the feelings called out by the Fatherhood of God. But God says, "If I be a Father, where is My fear?" God claims fear as a Father — reverence, no doubt, mainly — honour, awe in the realising of His infinitude; but something more than these, something else. For God as a Father judgeth. Did He not judge and condemn all sin He could be no true Father. Love must hate sin and show its hatred. Father is no weak, soft, indulgent word. It means love, and because it means love it means right, and undying opposition to evil, The Father judgeth without respect of persons. There is no other Father than the Father who judgeth. If I believe in a Father that judges, that will certainly rouse me up — it will waken my slumbering energies, it will cause me to look well to the state of my heart and life; but the word Father will always keep the thought of judgment from overwhelming me.

III. IN ORDER TO HAVE A TRUE CHRISTIAN FEAR WE MUST PLACE TOGETHER JUDGMENT BY WORKS AND REDEMPTION BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. The thought of judgment to come is essential to the depth and the reality of life. Without this everything is left in chaos. Conscience is not satisfied, nor is reason. But what reason and conscience demand cannot but awaken fear. This fear is deepened and yet transformed by the thought of redemption. Redemption seems at first wholly opposed to judgment by works, far more than even the Fatherhood of God does. For what does the Scripture mean by redemption through the blood of Christ? It means that the Son of God took our place and bore us on His heart in living and dying; it means that the sacrifice of Christ is that moral vindication of law and right, that tribute to the holiness of God which God accepts as sufficient amends and reparation. By faith man falls in with this Divine arrangement, identifies himself with it and is reconciled to God. And this faith that accepts and trusts and frees from condemnation, also works by love. Salvation by faith and judgment by works are therefore no contradiction. It is judgment by faith taken in its flower and fruit. But do we not see how fear awakes in the view of such a wonderful redemption? There is something akin to fear raised in the soul by the sight of sublimity. The wide expanse of the sky filled with sun shine or peopled with worlds raises an awe sublime, but often weighing heavily on the soul. Vast fervent love indeed banishes fear. It is the one thing that does this. And yet such a love as this — so holy, so mysterious, so resolute, so devoted — love coming from such a height, and going down into such depths, cannot but awaken a certain awe. We are overawed by the brilliancy of the light. "We fear the Lord and His goodness." And then when a man thinks of being redeemed by such a sacrifice, when he tries to realise at what a cost redemption has been effected, does not a certain fear come over him lest he should prove miserably unworthy of it all? But let not this fear in view of redemption be deemed inconsistent with the joy and freedom which belong to the gospel. It is precisely the man who has that realising sense of redemption which makes him afraid of not proving worthy of it, who has also joy. These two, fear and joy, grow out of the same root of redemption. The more joy in Christ any man has, the more will he be afraid of not conforming sufficiently to Christ.

(J. Leckie, D. D.)

Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.
If these words were not known for certain to be the words of Holy Scripture they would appear to many very severe, very unfit to win souls to God. "What!" it would be said, "are people to fear always? all people, those who are farthest advanced in true religion and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost? What, then, is to become of the natural cheerfulness of youth; of the enjoyments inseparable from even health and spirits, kind relations and friends; what of the testimony of a good conscience? All this and more is said by different sorts of persons against those who, following God's own method, would make them serious in the true scriptural way; by teaching them, and encouraging them in the true reverence. It may be of use to us if we consider what those tempers are which are most apt to make men impatient of being told to "pass the time of their sojourning here in fear." There is a certain time of life in which we are almost all of us, more or less, partakers of this pagan error of disliking all that is really serious, all that would impress us thoroughly with the fear and dread of Almighty God. When youth and strength are high, before we have tasted of our Father's severer discipline, we shrink from the sadder lessons of Scripture and the Church: we say to ourselves, "Surely this world, so full of enjoyment, can never have been meant merely as a place for the exercise of hard and severe penitence." If, then, any young person happen now to be listening to me, let me beseech him to be aware of this danger: to watch in himself that spirit of confidence and gaiety which, under pretence of mere youthful cheerfulness, would lead him to make light of God's most holy commandments. Let us only recollect ourselves, how it is with us at our prayers. Are we not too much inclined to say them over without seriously bringing before our minds the awful presence of Him to whom we pray? This too is one of the reasons why outward religion, the religion of the body, is of so very great consequence; viz., that it helps very much to keep and improve in our hearts the true and wholesome fear of God. Because in truth not only does nature teach us to express our feelings in such postures, but also these very bodies of ours, so fearfully and wonderfully made, are of purpose so framed as to have an influence in their turn on our souls. Soldiers, we know, in all armies, are made to march erect, and to be firm and straight in all their bodily movements; not merely for the appearance' sake, but because the very attitude, in some unaccountable way, tends to make them bolder and firmer in mind; and in like manner there is no question, that kneeling and other humble gestures in devotion, practised not for form's sake, but in obedience to the Church, and in the fear of God, would cherish and improve that very fear in our hearts. Bishop Wilson has said, speaking of small instances of self-denial, "Say not, It is a trifle, and not fit to offer in sacrifice to God." And the same may be said of small occasions of nourishing the remembrance of Him; of short prayers frequently through the day, of turning every event and accident of life, not openly, but as much as may be in secret, into an opportunity for devout prayer and recollection.

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times.)

I. THE FEAR HERE RECOMMENDED is a holy self-suspicion and fear of offending God, which may not only consist with assured hope of salvation, and with faith, and love, and spiritual joy, but is their inseparable companion, as all Divine graces are linked together. And, as they dwell together, they grow or decrease together. The more a Christian believes, and loves, and rejoices in the love of God, the more unwilling surely he is to displease Him, and if in danger of displeasing Him, the more afraid is he of it; and, on the other side, this fear being the true principle of a wary and holy conversation, fleeing sin and the occasions of sin and temptations to it, is as a watch or guard that keeps out the enemies of the soul, and so preserves its inward peace, keeps the assurance of faith and hope unmolested, and that joy which they cause unimpaired, and the intercourse of love betwixt the soul and her beloved uninterrupted. Certainly a good man is sometimes driven to wonder at his own frailty and inconstancy. What strange differences will be betwixt him and himself! How high and how delightful at some times are his thoughts of God, and the glory of the life to come; and yet how easily at another time base temptations will bemire him, or, at the least, molest and vex him! And this keeps him in a continual fear, and that fear in continual vigilance and circumspection. When he looks up to God, and considers the truth of His promises, and the sufficiency of His grace and protection, and the almighty strength of His Redeemer, these things fill his soul with confidence and assurance; but when he turns his eye downward again upon himself, and finds so much remaining corruption within, and so many temptations and dangers and adversaries without, this forces him not only to fear, but to despair of himself; and it should do so, that his trust in God may be purer and more entire. This fear is not cowardice. It does not debase, but it elevates the mind; for it drowns all lower fears, and begets true fortitude to encounter all dangers, for the sake of a good conscience and the obeying of God. From this fear have sprung all the generous resolutions and patient sufferings of the saints and martyrs. Because they durst not sin against God, therefore they durst be imprisoned, and impoverished, and tortured, and die for Him.

II. THE REASON they have here to persuade to this fear is twofold.

1. Their relation to God us their Father and their Judge. But as He is the best Father, so consider that He is withal the greatest and most just Judge. There is here the sovereignty of this Judge, the universality of His judgment, and the equity of it. "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." You are encompassed with enemies and snares; how can you be secure in the midst of them? Perfect peace and security are reserved for you at home, and that is the end of your fear.

III. THE TERM OR CONTINUANCE OF THIS FEAR. It continues all the time of this sojourning life; it dies not before us: we and it shall expire together. "Blessed is he that feareth always," says Solomon; in secret and in society, in his own house and in God's. We must hear the Word with fear, and preach it with fear, afraid to miscarry in our intentions and manners. "Serve the Lord with fear," yea, in times of inward comfort and joy, "rejoice with trembling"; not only when a man feels most his own weakness, but when he finds himself strongest. None are so high advanced in grace here below as to be out of need of this grace; but when their sojourning shall be done, and they are come home to their Father's house above, then no more fearing. No entrance for dangers there, and therefore no fear.

(Abp. Leighton.)

Essex Remembrancer.
I. THE NATURE OF TEE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE.

1. His past condition. Whence has the pilgrim come? From the city of destruction.

2. His present state. He is a sojourner.

3. His future destination.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE SHOULD BE SPENT. In fear."

1. A fear of reverence. Contrast the Divine majesty with our meanness.

2. A fear of caution.

3. A fear of anxiety. It is better to err on the side of timidity than presumption.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

I. Awe of the redeemed TOWARDS THE REDEEMING GOD. "If ye call on Him as Father." Not simply appeal to Him, but acknowledge His relationship to you, admit His claims on you.

II. Awe of the redeemed BECAUSE OF THEIR RECOLLECTION OF THE EVIL FROM WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN REDEEMED.

1. A consciousness of being redeemed.

2. A consciousness of being redeemed from a habit of life that was evil.

3. A consciousness of being redeemed from an evil habit of life that was inherited.

III. Awe of the redeemed BECAUSE OF THE COST BY WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN REDEEMED.

1. This cost in contrast with the wealth of this world.

2. This cost as revealed in Jesus Christ.

3. This cost as known to the infinite heart of the Eternal God.

4. This cost as approved by God.

5. This cost as incurred for man's sake.

IV. Awe of the redeemed BECAUSE OF THE DESTINY TO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN REDEEMED. Faith and hope in God. God the impregnable fortress, the enduring home.

(U. R. Thomas.)

I. First, I would remind you of THE AWFUL NATURE OF THAT "FATHER" ON WHOM YOU PROFESS TO CALL.

1. Engaging, indeed, is the title under which your religion addresses you. But that God, that Father, to whom you must one day go, is a Being so pure that even the heavens are tainted in His sight.

2. It is not only your appearance before Him on that distant day that makes your sojourning on earth so fearful; for every hour of your existence here this incomprehensible and unseen Being is about your path. No retirement by night is so dark but His eye can penetrate it; no walk by day so intricate but He can follow it; no secret of the soul so hidden but He can see it.

II. To the nature of that heavenly Father, into whose inheritance we are invited, the text directs us to add THE JUDGMENT TO WHICH WE SHALL ONE DAY BE SUMMONED.

III. The third argument which the apostle uses for religious fear is drawn from THE MEANS ADOPTED THROUGH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST FOR THE EVERLASTING SALVATION OF OUR SOULS.

IV. THE NATURE OF THE WORLD IN WHICH WE DWELL, AND THE WEAKNESS OF THE HUMAN HEART. All the warnings that are given us, all the hopes that are held out to us, remind us of the danger of the state in which we dwell. The world, by professing to he Christian, is more dangerous; because it has lost the appearance of enmity, and has greater power over us by its failures. Look into your own heart, and, remembering yourself as a being designed for immortality, think on its wanderings, its coldness, its impurity, its inconstancy, and say if anything was ever so poor, so frail, so blind, so unprepared to meet its God!

(G. Mathew, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE FEAR WHICH IS HERE ENJOINED. Fear is a passion implanted in our nature to deter us from what is hurtful, and to guard us against danger. To lose the favour of the Almighty here, and be eternally deprived of His presence hereafter, are evils the most formidable to man. And while fear imprints these so deeply on the mind as to produce an anxious dread of incurring His displeasure, and a serious concern to gain His approbation, it becomes that religious regulating principle which is here enjoined. There is a natural fear of God impressed upon the minds of all. He has infused His fear into our minds, that, by this rational awe, He might deter us from those practices to which our corrupt nature too much inclines us, and, by the sword of justice, overrule our affections, too refractory to be otherwise reclaimed. It may be observed, farther, that the rational fear before us is equally remote from that excess of fear which gives rise to superstition, and that unwarranted defect of it from which profane levity proceeds. It is a sober cheerfulness, a manly seriousness, which become the servants of God. This demands no melancholy abstraction from the world; it condemns the indulgence of no innocent delight. But calm and temperate enjoyment is the utmost that is assigned to man. And hence religion wisely recommends a spirit cheerful but composed, equally remote from the humiliating depression of fear and the exulting levity of joy. The propriety of fear as a regulating principle, not only religion, but the nature of our present state, the business here assigned us, the instability of all things round, and the awful concerns of futurity, concur to establish and enforce.

II. IN WHAT MANNER IT SHOULD INFLUENCE OUR CONDUCT IN THE PILGRIMAGE OF LIFE. To engage us to depart from evil and to keep the commandments is the direct tendency of religious fear. Calling forth our vigilance and circumspection, it will admonish us of latent dangers, and lead us to a faithful discharge of every duty and a serious preparation for eternity. Its influence will be habitual and steady. In every state, and at all times, the serious impression will be felt, by producing in our lives a constant fear of God, a virtuous deportment in the world, and a holy reverence for ourselves. Let us first consider its influence on our religious duties. To form right notions of the Deity, cherish suitable affections, and express these by acts of religious worship and a holy life, form the chief parts of piety. But not to the more immediate acts of public and private devotion will this influence be confined; it will extend to every act of religious obedience, and to everything sacred. It will form the constant temper of the true Christian, and direct the habitual tenor of this life. Nor is this destructive to human enjoyment. The restraints it imposes are curbs on vice; but real pleasure they extend and improve. It is rational enjoyment which they prescribe, in place of momentary bliss.

III. MOTIVES TO ENGAGE ALL TO LIVE HERE IN FEAR.

1. The nature of our present state and our future prospects calls upon us thus to fear. Can we rest in security where all is changing? Can we not be apprehensive where all things cause alarm? We stand on the brink of a precipice, from which the slightest breath may drive us headlong. Is this a place, is this a time, to swell in fancied security, riot in unlawful pleasure, and indulge in unbridled joy?

2. By living in fear we will escape unnumbered evils. From thoughtless inattention fatal dangers arise — fatal not only to our worldly prosperity, but to the far more important concerns of the soul.

3. It will promote the rational enjoyment of life. Always to tremble destroys felicity, but cautious fear improves and extends it. To the man that feareth always, no accident happens unexpected; no good gives immoderate joy, nor no evil unnecessary alarm.

4. It will demonstrate our attachment to Jesus, and lead to the fulfilment of the vows you solemnly came under at the table of your Lord.

5. It leads to happiness eternal. The time is at hand when fear shall no more disquiet.

(D. Malcolm, LL. D.)

There is a fear towards God that might be denominated the fear of terror. It is the affection of one who is afraid of Him. There is in it the alarm of selfishness. It is at all times connected with a view of one's own personal suffering; and the dire imagery of pain, and perhaps irreversible wretchedness, is perhaps that which chiefly gives dismay and disturbance to his soul. It carries in it no homage to the sacredness of the Divinity, yet is aggravated by a sense of that sacredness; because then God, regarded as a God of unappeasable jealousy, is deemed to be intolerant of all evil; and the guilt-stricken soul, in looking up to the holiness of the Lawgiver, looks forward to its own destruction in that everlasting hell where the transgressors of the law find their doom. Now it is obvious that, while haunted by a fear of this sort, there can be no free or willing or generous obedience. There might be a service of drudgery, but not a service of delight; such obedience as is extorted from a slave by the whip of his overseer, but not a free-will offering of love or of loyalty. It is reserved for the gospel of Jesus Christ to do away this terror from the heart of man, and yet to leave untarnished the holiness of God. It is the atonement that was made by Him which resolves this mystery, providing at once for the deliverance of the sinner and for the dignity of the Sovereign. But while this view of God in Christ extinguishes one fear — the fear of terror — it awakens another and an altogether distinct fear — the fear of reverence. God is no longer regarded as the enemy of the sinner; but in thy Cross of the Redeemer, where this enmity was slain, there is full demonstration of a moral nature that is in utter repugnancy to sin. Now that we have entered into reconciliation, we hear not the upbraidings of the Lawgiver for the despite which in former days we have done unto His will. But the office of the gospel is to regenerate as well as reconcile; and every disciple who embraces it is met with the saying, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." Such is the wide difference between these two affections; and, corresponding to this, there is a difference equally wide between the legal and the evangelical dispensations. Under the former economy, the alternative to do this and live is, that if you fail in doing this you will perish everlastingly. Now let this be the great stimulus to the performance of virtue, and then think of the spirit and of the inward character wherewith they are impregnated. It is, in fact, a character of the most intense selfishness. It is the fear of terror which goads him on to all his obedience, and compels him to act religiously. For such a religion as this it is not needed that he should have any capacity of moral principle. It is enough if he have the capacity of animal pain. He is driven along, not by the feelings of his spiritual, but by those of his sentient nature. Now it is not so with the economy of the gospel. The gate of heaven is thrown open at the outset to its disciples, and they are invited with confident step to walk towards it. God holds Himself forth not as a Judge who reckons, but as a Father who is reconciled to them.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

1. Our life is a sojourning on earth.

2. This sojourning hath a time.

3. This time must be passed.

4. This passage must be in fear.

5. This fear must be of a Father.

6. He is so a Father, that He is our Judge.

(Bp. Hall.)

Not redeemed with corruptible things
Essex Remembrancer.
I. CONSIDER, WITH GRATEFUL EMOTION, THE MERCIFUL AND IMPORTANT FACT OF MAN'S REDEMPTION.

1. On all hands it is acknowledged that redemption implies the pardon of sin, but the dominion of sin must also be subdued.

2. Are you redeemed from a vain conversation, from a useless form of religion, from an unspiritual profession of faith in the gospel, from trifling and unprofitable behaviour, from the course of this world?

II. CONSIDER THE UTTER INADEQUACY OF HUMAN MEANS TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS GREAT REDEMPTION.

III. THE EFFICACIOUS MEANS WHEREBY THIS GREAT REDEMPTION HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. Learn —

1. The necessity of faith.

2. Beware of entertaining unscriptural views of redemption.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

I. IT IS A REDEMPTION FROM BAD CHARACTER.

1. Sin is a worthless life. A vain conversation.

2. It is a worthless life transmitted.

II. IT IS A REDEMPTION BY A COSTLY SACRIFICE.

1. By the sacrifice of a life.

2. By the sacrifice of a most perfect life.

III. IT IS A REDEMPTION ORDAINED BEFORE ALL TIME.

1. Unsought.

2. Unmerited.

3. Absolutely free.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

spiritual bondage: — The reasons hereof may be these:

1. God hath no need of any of these things, and they are His already (Psalm 24:1; Psalm 50:10).

2. Our soul is an immortal and incorruptible thing, a creature that hath a beginning, but never shall have end.

3. Sin is a transgression against an Infinite God, and so deserveth an infinite punishment.

4. Many times even for a trespass committed against men, these things will not be taken for a recompense.

5. These often, when God sends some bodily judgment, are unable to do men any pleasure, nor can at all pacify God.

6. These cannot redeem a man's bodily life and save it from death, nor can they prolong a man's life an hour beyond his appointed time; much less can they redeem his soul.

7. These cannot purchase wit, learning, eloquence for those that want them, much less sanctification and grace.

(John Rogers.)

Vain conversation received by tradition
I. DIVERS SORTS OF EVILS HAVE BROKEN INTO THE LIFE OF MAN BY THE TRADITIONS OF FATHERS, as —

1. Gross errors in opinion.

2. Divers superstitions in their life, as were the traditions of the Pharisees.

3. Children learn divers sins only, or chiefly from their parents.

II. If any ask WHY THE TRADITIONS OF PARENTS SHOULD BE SO INFECTIOUS.

1. Because they are cast into the natures of the children in the youngest years, and so are the more infectious because they were first seasoned with them.

2. Because of the affection children bear to their parents, and their opinion of their sufficiency.

3. Because they are continually conversant with them, and so see no other or no better precepts or examples.

III. The use may be for INSTRUCTION, BOTH TO PARENTS AND CHILDREN.

1. Parents should be humbled under the consideration of the misery they bring upon their children, both by propagation and tradition.

2. Children should also learn from hence(1) Not to rest wholly upon the tradition of parents, anal to know it is not a sufficient rule to warrant their actions.(2) What good is commended especially of the good fathers, those we should embrace, and the rather for their sakes.

3. Shall not this evidently confute their gross folly, that so much urge the traditions of the fathers?

4. Are men so zealous for the tradition of their fathers of the flesh; and shall not we be much more zealous for the traditions of God Himself delivered in His Word? His counsels are all perfect; there can be no defect in them; and further, no parents can afford us such acceptation, or reward for obedience.

(N. Byfield.)

The mind of man, the guide and source of his actions, while it is estranged from God, is nothing but a forge of vanities. St. Paul speaks this of the Gentiles, that they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, their great naturalists and philosophers not excepted. And thus the Lord complains by Isaiah of the extreme folly of His people (Isaiah 44:20), and by Jeremiah, that their hearts are lodges of vain thoughts (Jeremiah 4:14), and these are the true cause of a vain conversation. The whole course of a man's life out of Christ is nothing but a continual trading in vanity, running a circle of toil and labour, and reaping no profit at all. Now, since all a man's endeavours aim at his satisfaction and contentment, that conversation which gives him nothing of that, but removes him further from it, is justly called vain conversation. Let the voluptuous person say upon his death bed what pleasure or profit doth then abide with him of all his former sinful delights. Let him tell if there remain anything of them all, but that which he would gladly not have to remain, the sting of an accusing conscience, which is as lasting as the delight of sin was short and vanishing. Let the covetous and ambitious declare freely, even those of them who have prospered most in their pursuits of riches and honour, what ease all their possessions or titles do then help them to, whether their pains are the less because their chests are full, or their houses stately, or a multitude of friends and servants waiting on them with hat and knee. And if all these things cannot ease the body, how much less can they quiet the mind! It is a lamentable thing to be deluded a whole lifetime with a false dream. Would it not grieve any labouring man to work hard all the day, and have no wages to look for at night? It is a greater loss to wear out our whole life, and in the evening of our days find nothing but anguish and vexation. Let us then think this, that so much of our life as is spent in the ways of sin is all lost, fruitless, and vain conversation. And as the apostle says here, you are redeemed from this conversation, this imports it to be a servile slavish condition, as the other word, vain, expresses it to be fruitless. And this is the madness of a sinner, that he fancies liberty in that which is the basest thraldom; as those poor frantic persons that are lying ragged and bound in chains imagine that they are kings, and that their irons are chains of gold, their rags robes, and their filthy lodge a palace.

(Abp. Leighton.)

The precious blood of Christ
I. WHAT PRECEDED IT. Blood of lambs, bulls, and goats, without number, and through all ages. Types most costly. Prophecies grand and minute.

II. THE PRODIGIES WHICH ATTENDED THE SHEDDING OF THIS BLOOD. On previous occasions, when sacrifices had been offered, there were tokens of God's favourable notice — Abel, Noah, Abraham, Gideon, etc. But when was it heard that the sun was clothed as in sackcloth, that the rocks were rent, the earth shaken, etc.

III. WHERE IT WAS PRESENTED (Hebrews 9:7, 12). The very life laid down was taken up, and is lived on again in heaven in circumstances of the highest glory and honour.

IV. WHAT IT PREVENTS. Condemnation, wrath, curse. This blood will ward off all harm from those who trust it. Will not suffer Satan or death to destroy any who are sheltered beneath it.

V. WHAT IT PROCURES.

1. For man generally.

(1)All temporal blessings.

(2)The offer of salvation.

2. For believers — redemption, even the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7).

VI. WHAT IT PRODUCES. The blood of Christ is omnipotent. It prevails over guilt, fear and care. It casts down pride, casts out the reigning power of sin, and introduces happiness, holiness, humility, and hope.

VII. WHAT IT WILL PERPETUATE, AND SECURE FOREVER TO ALL BELIEVERS. Abidance before the throne of God, union with the redeemed of all ages, service in the heavenly temple, the absence of sorrow, death, and sin.

(J. Cox.)

1. Worlds in which there is no evil and no danger of evil arising would not be supplied with means of prevention or of cure; but in our planet we have remedies for almost all the ills which flesh is heir to, and there are laws of compensation which show that the God of love does not impose want and destitution willingly. Here, then, where even the juice of the seawort is a cordial, and "its ashes feed the spark of life," where the nightshade stops the painful vibration of the nerves, and brings sweet sleep upon eyelids which have become stiff in unseasonable wakefulness; here, where crowding insects cleanse and scavenge our earth and her firmament, and where everything has its use; here we have for the removal of sin the precious blood of Christ.

2. A ruler who never punishes his rebellious subjects, and who so pardons as to reproach his own government and laws, will spread evil by his so-called goodness, and will be cruel in his apparent kindness. The problem to be solved is, How can God be just, and yet the Saviour of the sinner? The solution of this problem is found in the precious blood of Christ.

3. Christ, according to the Scriptures, is the Word made flesh. The blood of Christ is the blood of the flesh in which God was manifest. All blood is precious — precious the blood of Abel, the blood of the persecuted prophets, etc., but there is no blood so precious as the blood of Christ.

4. Among the many things which we value, there is nothing which we so prize as the offerings of disinterested love: these surpass in interest, if not in value, the products of our labour and the blessings which we inherit as a birthright, or which reach us through the ordinary channels of Divine providence, and of our political and social institutions. Now "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The blood of Christ is a double illustration of disinterested love: for while the Son gives Himself for us, the Father gives the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

5. How marvellous in their variety and character are the effects of the blood of Christ! It brings Jehovah forth from His secret place with the light of love in His countenance, it arrests the course of the law in its pursuit of the sinner, it magnifies the law, it restores access to God, it cleanses, justifies, and redeems unto God. Never was blood like this.

6. There are different standards by which we value precious things. Some things are valuable because of their utility, and other things because of their singularity and rarity and beauty, but how few things are beautiful and rare and useful! Precious stones are beautiful and rare, but their utility is small; and the precious metals are valuable as currency, but not comparable to iron or even to coal. When, however, rarity is combined with utility, and an important service is to be rendered by one being or by one thing, how precious that being or thing becomes! The one medicine, a specific for some dire disease, the one means of escape in the hour of peril, the forlorn hope of an army, the only son of a widowed mother, are examples. And in this position stands the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, but the blood of Christ alone.

7. Alas! many of our precious things deteriorate. Time, that devours all things, mars and breaks our choicest treasures. Business fails, commerce is arrested, empires decline, the very Church of Christ becomes corrupt; but among the things which are incorruptible and undefiled is the precious blood of Christ.

8. Often have we heard men say, "Lo I here is the panacea! and lo! there!" But where is the remedy for all disease, and where the universal medicine? The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. It removes the guilty smart from the conscience, and it relieves memory of its heaviest burden, and takes from imagination all its horrible creations.

(S. Martin.)

Probably it is the most momentous fact about us that we have been redeemed. It is much to have been created. It is much to be endowed with life in a world so full of marvellous possibilities as ours. It is much to have a soul, which can call up the past, or interrogate the present, or anticipate and prepare for the future. But it is more that we have been redeemed. Redeemed, as Israel from the bondage of Egypt; or as a slave, by his goel, from captivity to some rich creditor; or as the captive of some hideous vice emancipated from its thrall.

I. THE COST OF OUR REDEMPTION HAS BEEN IMMENSE.

1. Negatively. "Not with corruptible things, as silver and gold." A moneyed man, who has been accustomed to look on his wealth as the key to every treasure-chest, is sometimes startled to find how little it can really do. God could have given suns of gold, and stars of silver, constellations of bodies glowing with precious metals, but none of these would have been sufficient to free one soul from the curse or penalty of sin, or to change it into a loyal and loving subject of His reign. The Creator must give not things, but life — not His gifts, but Himself, ere He could redeem.

2. Positively. "But with the precious blood of Christ." The blood is the life. Life is man's supreme possession, and his supreme gift. And, in addition, when blood is mentioned with the laying down of life, there is the further thought of intense suffering, of violence, etc. The blood of Jesus was precious, because of the dignity of His nature, and because of His perfect character. Without blemish, that is, without personal sin. Without spot, that is, not defiled by contact with sinners. And thus it was adequate for the work of cleansing away the terrible aggregate of sin.

II. THE OBJECT OF OUR REDEMPTION. "From your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers." It is our ransom price, the purchase money of our entire being to be Christ's. The purchaser of any slave regarded him as his chattel, his goods. His word and will were absolute law. Such are the rights which our glorious Master has over us. Who, then, of us can live as we have been wont, following after vanity, treading in the footsteps of our fore fathers, content to do as others before us? New claims have come in. Our Redeemer is Lord.

III. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE REDEEMED. "Who by Him do believe in God."

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

I. ESTIMATE IT IN ITS ADAPTATION TO ALL THE WANTS OF MAN, AND ITS ANSWERABLENESS TO ALL THE PROPERTIES OF GOD.

II. ESTIMATE THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THIS BLOOD BY ITS INTRINSIC MERIT.

1. The first circumstance prominent in this description of our Saviour's sacrifice, is that it is a direct oblation to God.

2. And this oblation of Himself to God contained an ample recognition of the authority of God's law, and of His right to punish transgressors.

3. Another circumstance prominent in the description of the Saviour's sacrifice is the intelligence and voluntariness of the victim.

4. Another circumstance — one which we believe was prefigured by the sacrifices under the law, and one which substantiates the sacrifice of Christ to have been a proper sacrifice — is that He was an unblemished victim.

III. Compute the value of this precious blood WITH REFERENCE TO THE PERSONAL VALUE OF THE SAVIOUR.

IV. CONSIDER THE VALUE ATTACHED TO THIS BLOOD BY THE FATHER.

1. We might illustrate this by many tokens and testimonies of His complacency towards His Son, before His sufferings and death.

2. Consider as another illustration of the preciousness of Christ's blood, either in life or death, to the Father, the personal compensation He awarded to Him for His sufferings.

V. And need I remind you of the IMMENSE GOOD THIS BLOOD IS THE MEANS OF PROCURING TO MANKIND, to say nothing of the lower orders of the creation, as a further illustration of this subject.

VI. By way of application, let us see WHETHER THIS BLOOD BE NOT PRECIOUS TO EVERY RIGHTLY AFFECTED HUMAN HEART. Mark its efficacy and power over every class of sinners, who are resting upon its sovereign influence through the power of the Holy Spirit. "To you He is precious."

(W. M. Bunting.)

The blood of Christ is precious —

I. When viewed in connection with THE FATHER'S PURPOSE AND THE FATHER'S LOVE.

II. When viewed in connection with THE PERSON OF CHRIST.

III. When viewed in ITS BEARING UPON MAN.

(A. C. Price.)

I. Consider WHAT LIGHT IS SHED UPON THE INSTANCE OF CHRIST SHEDDING HIS BLOOD FOR US BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MANY ILLUSTRIOUS SAINTS AND HEROES "IN THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS," WHO IN ALL LANDS AND AGES HAVE LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOE THE SAKE OF THEIR COUNTRY, OR ON BEHALF OF TRUTH, OF SCIENCE, AND RELIGION. Would the blood in any single instance have had the slightest moral or meritorious value apart from the character of the person, apart from the fidelity, the endurance, the self-sacrifice of the person? True, there are senses in which we say, "The blood of a living thing is the life thereof," senses in which we say, with the great Harvey, "the blood is the fountain of life, the first to live, and the last to die, and the primary seat of the animal soul." But then, do we not always, in deeper senses, distinguish between the blood and the life; do we not feel always that the blood which can be seen is but the outward sign and symbol of the inward life which cannot be seen; do we not feel that though the blood is the seat, the centre, the channel of the life, the life itself is as superior to the blood as the mind is to the brain which is its centre, or the soul to the body which is its shell or form? Equally so, when we speak of a man shedding his blood on the altar of his country or his religion, we think not of the form or the sign, but of that which is beneath and within; the extent to which the sufferer manfully endured, the degree to which he spared not himself, the spirit in which for the truth, or the cause, or the monarch, or the land, or the Lord he loved, he willingly, resolutely gave the whole force of his moral nature, the whole wealth of his heart, his character, and his soul. In like manner we should think of the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth us from all sin, not as deriving its worth or its efficacy from anything that was outward or physical or material, not as being vested in the blood itself as blood. Should we not rather a thousand times say the preciousness of the blood of Christ was in the inward and personal, the spiritual and Divine life which dwelt and throbbed in that blood?

II. IN THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WAS REGARDED AS BUT A SYMBOL OF, OR BUT ANOTHER NAME FOR, THE LOVE OF CHRIST. "What is the blood of Christ?" asked Livingstone of his own solitary soul in the last months of his African wanderings. "It is Himself. It is the inherent and everlasting mercy of God made apparent to human eyes and ears. The everlasting love was disclosed by our Lord's life and death. It showed that God forgives, because He loves to forgive." Does not St. Paul tell us that love is the highest virtue and grace of man? Does not St. John tell us that the very essence of the name and nature of God is love? Well, then, did the early Christians reason when they declared that the blood is but the symbol of that which is the most precious, perfect, and potent force in the whole universe — whether it be affirmed of either God or man — love, unspeakable, all blessed, eternal love.

(J. T. Stannard.)

The precious blood of Christ is useful to God's people in a thousand ways. After all, the real preciousness of a thing in the time of trial, must depend upon its usefulness. You have heard the story of the man in the desert, who stumbled, when near to die, upon a bag, and opened it, hoping that it might be the wallet of some passerby, and he found in it nothing but pearls! If they had been crusts of bread, how much more precious would they have been! This may not be according to political economy, but it is according to common sense.

I. The precious blood of Christ has a REDEEMING POWER. It redeems from the law. Our law is fulfilled, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.

II. The value of the blood lies much in its ATONING EFFICACY. We are told in Leviticus, that "it is the blood which maketh an atonement for the soul." God never forgave sin apart from blood under the law. Christ, therefore, came and was punished in the place and stead of all His people. There is none other plan by which sinners can be made at one with God, except by Jesus' precious blood.

III. The precious blood of Jesus Christ has A CLEANSING POWER (1 John 1:7).

IV. A fourth property of the blood of Christ is ITS PRESERVING POWER. Did not God see the blood before you and I saw it, and was not that the reason why He spared our forfeited lives when, like barren fig trees, we brought forth no fruit for Him? "When I see the blood I will pass over you."

V. The blood of Christ is precious because of its PLEADING PREVALENCE (Hebrews 12:24). When I cannot pray as I would, how sweet to remember that the blood prays!

VI. Christ's blood is precious because of its MELTING INFLUENCE on the human heart. Come for repentance, if you cannot come repenting.

VII. The same blood that melts has A GRACIOUS POWER TO PACIFY.

VIII. ITS SANCTIFYING INFLUENCE (Hebrews 9:14).

IX. ITS POWER TO GIVE ENTRANCE. I am persuaded some of us do not come near to God, because we forget the blood. If you try to have fellowship with God in your graces, your experiences, your believings, you will fail; but if you try to come near to God as you stand in Christ Jesus, you will have courage to come; and on the other hand, God will run to meet you when He sees you in the face of His anointed.

X. ITS CONFIRMING POWER. The promises are yea and amen, for no other reason than this, because Christ Jesus died and rose again.

XI. ITS INVIGORATING POWER. "My blood is drink indeed." Oh, whenever your spirit faints, this wine shall comfort you; when your griefs are many, drink and forget your misery. O precious blood, how many are thy uses! May I prove them all!

XII. The blood has AN OVERCOMING POWER. It is written in the Revelation, "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb." How could they do otherwise?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Studies For The Pulpit.
I. IT IS PRECIOUS, BECAUSE THE BLOOD OF GOD'S ANOINTED.

II. IT IS PRECIOUS, FOR IT SATISFIED THE JUSTICE OF GOD WHEN NOTHING ELSE COULD.

III. IT IS PRECIOUS, FOR IT IS PLEADED BEFORE GOD FOR THE PARDON AND THE SANCTIFICATION OF SOULS.

IV. IT IS PRECIOUS, AS APPLIED TO THE CONSCIENCE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR JUSTIFICATION.

V. IT IS PRECIOUS BLOOD, AS APPLIED TO THE SOUL FOR SANCTIFICATION.

VI. IT IS PRECIOUS, BECAUSE BY IT WE OVERCOME SIN AND HELL. VII. IT IS PRECIOUS BLOOD, BECAUSE IT WILL BE THE BELIEVER'S THEME IN HEAVEN. Application:

1. Which is most precious to you, gold and silver, and the precious things of this world, or the precious blood of Christ?

2. Have you ever felt the preciousness of this blood?

3. Remember, there is no advantage to be gained from this precious blood without an application of it to your soul.

4. Remember, that its value and virtue is just what it always was.

5. Be sure never to trample this precious blood under your feet, for its consequences will be most tremendous (Hebrews 10:29, 30).

(Studies For The Pulpit.)

Homilist.
These words lead us to look at soul redemption in three aspects —

I. As an ACCOMPLISHED FACT. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things," etc.

II. As UNATTAINABLE BY WORLDLY WEALTH. "Not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold."

III. As EFFECTED ONLY BY CHRIST. "But with the precious blood of Christ."

(Homilist.)

Precious blood indeed! who can estimate its value! the more it is known the higher it rises in the estimation of those who are acquainted with it. And yet it is neglected and despised by the generality of mankind. Trifles light as air are preferred before it.

I. WHY IS IT PRECIOUS?

1. Consider whose blood it is. "The blood of Christ," the blood of our elder Brother, of a Friend, of a Prophet, Priest, and King — the blood of our incarnate God (Acts 20:28).

2. Regard it as the evidence of infinite love. For whom was it shed? The Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself. "He was wounded for our transgressions" (Isaiah 53:5). As the apostle argues (Romans 5:6-10).

3. Yet more precious will it appear if we notice the miseries from which it frees us — and the unspeakable blessings it has purchased for us. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 6). "They who were sometimes far off are brought nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). "Having made peace through the blood of His Cross" (Colossians 1:20). "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:20-26; 1 John 2:1, 2; Hebrews 9:11-18). Can a man realise these blessings and live in the habitual enjoyment of them; and bear in mind the price paid to procure them, and not feel the preciousness of the blood of Christ?

4. It is precious as affording an all-prevailing plea in our petitions at the throne of grace — and an universal antidote to the temptations of Satan and unbelief.

5. The efficacy of this blood enhances its preciousness. "Jesus by His one oblation of Himself once offered has made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Who can comprehend the value of such a ransom!

6. The perpetuity of blessedness which it ensures. Whom it blesses it blesses forever. Jesus by His own offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).

II. TO WHOM THIS BLOOD IS PRECIOUS. Would to God that I could say it is so to all! but alas! this is not the case. Neither is it true of the many. The great majority "count the blood of the covenant wherewith they are sanctified an unholy thing" (Hebrews 10:29). And will you not commemorate the shedding of that blood?

(R. Simpson, M. A.)

Yonder ermine, flung so carelessly over the proud beauty's shoulder, cost terrible battles with polar ice and hurricane. All choicest things are reckoned the dearest. So is it, too, in heaven's inventories. The universe of God has never witnessed aught to be reckoned in comparison with the redemption of a guilty world. That mighty ransom no such contemptible things as silver and gold could procure. Only by one price could the church of God be redeemed from hell, and that the precious blood of the Lamb without blemish or spot, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

A little boy about ten years old was once bidden by his father to go and do some work in the field. He went as he was told, but took little pains about it, and made very slow progress in his task. By and by his father called him to him very kindly, and said, "Willy, can you tell me how much you have cost me since you were born?" The father waited a while, and then said that he reckoned he had "cost him a hundred pounds." The lad opened his eyes and wondered at the expense he had been. He seemed to see the hundred sovereigns all glittering before him, and in his heart determined to repay his father by doing all he could to please him. The reproof sank deeper into his heart than a hundred stripes, When I read the story it occurred to me, "What have I cost my Saviour?" Then I remembered the words, "Ye are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

(G. Everard.)

In an Italian hospital was a severely wounded soldier. A lady visitor spoke to him, dressed his wounds, smoothed his pillow, and made him all right for the day. When leaving she took a bouquet of flowers, and laid it beside his head. The soldier, with his pale face and eyes full of tears, looked up, and said: "That is too much kindness." She was a lady with a true Italian heart, and looking back to the soldier, she quietly replied, "No, not too much for one drop of Italian blood." Shall we not freely own that the consecration of all our powers of body and spirit is not too much to give in return for the shedding of our Emmanuel's blood on our behalf?

But why should so vast a price be required? Is man worth the cost? A man may be bought in parts of the world for the value of an ox. It was not man simply, but man in a certain relation, that had to be redeemed. See one who has been all his days a drunken, idle, worthless fellow. All appropriate to him the epithet "worthless" — worth nothing. But that man commits a crime for which he is sentenced to be hanged, or to be imprisoned for life. Go and try to buy him now. Redeem him and make him your servant. Let the richest man in Cambridge offer every shilling he possesses for that worthless man, and his offer would be wholly vain. Why? Because now there is not only the man to be considered, but the law. It needs a very great price to redeem one man from the curse of the law of England; but Christ came to redeem all men from the curse of the Divine law.

(William Robinson.)

A lamb without blemish and without spot
1. This sets out His love so much the more, that being innocent, would suffer for us wicked wretches.

2. This teaches us to imitate Him, and in all things to be innocent as He was.

3. In that Christ being so innocent, was yet willing to suffer and offer His blood, let Us imitate Him in this also; let us be patient in bearing troubles and persecution; we must suffer for His cause (though causelessly) cheerfully and willingly. We must also suffer patiently.

(John Rogers.)

As one flaw or vein in the marble fatally damages the sculptor's work; as one speck in the lens of a microscope or telescope destroys its use and demands a recasting; as one leak would inevitably submerge the noblest vessel that ever rode file waters; so one leak in the Mighty Ark of Mercy would have been fatal to His qualifications as a ransom for the guilty.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

Foreordained before the foundation of the world.
I. THE DIVINE FOREORDINATION OF THE SACRIFICE.

1. "Who verily was foreordained." The literal word here is "foreknown." Before the world was God concentrated His thoughts upon His Son, not only in His personal, but also in His official capacity as the future Redeemer of mankind.

2. "Who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world." Before it in time. This affords a due to the occupation of the Divine Mind before the creative fiat first broke on the silence of immensity.

3. "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." A correspondence therefore obtains between time and eternity, between the manifestation in history and the prearrangement in the unfathomable abysses of the Divine Mind. Foreordination implies a plan, a plan of the world and a plan of salvation. The idea of redemption, of the Son as a propitiation for sin, seems to be the first and most important thought of God. It was not an after thought, but the ruling thought, and around it all other thoughts were systematically arranged. Creation is to redemption what the scaffolding is to the temple; when the latter will be finished, the former will be consigned to the flames.

II. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THE SACRIFICE.

III. THE EFFICIENCY OF THE SACRIFICE.

1. The efficiency of the sacrifice is to be seen in the fact that it satisfied Divine justice, for the text informs us that "God raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory." The exact bearing of the atonement on the Divine nature is a mystery we cannot fully explain. But whatever hindrances to our salvation there were, arising out of the essential and governmental righteousness of God, they were all removed by the death of the Cross.

2. The second proof of the efficiency, and therefore of the sufficiency, of the ransom is — that it actually delivers men from their "vain conversation received by tradition from the fathers." Three interpretations have been given of this phrase, but whichever interpretation we take we find the sacrifice of Christ equally efficacious. One interpretation is, that Christ's death has redeemed men from the oppressive sway of religious traditionalism. A second interpretation is, that by "vain conversation received by tradition from the fathers" we are to understand the combined power of habit and example in fashioning the course of men's lives. A further interpretation has been suggested, namely, that by "vain conversation received by tradition from the fathers" we are to understand original sin, the innate depravity communicated from generation to generation according to the law of heredity. And it must be conceded that this form of corruption is the most difficult of all to be rooted out of our nature. But, thanks be to God, the blood of Christ can wash out the dye; and we look confidently forward to the day when we shall have been actually redeemed from evil in every shape and form, when we shall be clean without and white within, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

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

I. THE PURPOSE FOREKNOWN; but it is well rendered foreordained, for this knowing is decreeing, and there is little profit in distinguishing them. We say usually that where there is little wisdom there is much chance, and, amongst men, some are far more foresighted than others; yet the wisest and most provident men, wanting skill to design all things aright and power to act as they contrive, meet with many unexpected casualties and frequent disappointments in their undertakings. But with God, where both wisdom and power are infinite, there can be neither any chance nor resistance from without nor any imperfection at all in the contrivance of things within Himself that can give cause to add, or abate, or alter any thing in the frame of His purposes. The model of the whole world and of all the course of time was with Him one and the same from all eternity, and whatsoever is brought to pass is exactly answerable to that pattern. Before man had made himself miserable, yea, before either he or the world was made, this thought of boundless love was in the bosom of God, to send His Son forth from thence, to bring fallen man out of misery and restore him to happiness, and to do this, not only by taking on his nature, but the curse, to shift it off from us that were sunk under it, and to bear it Himself, and by bearing it to take it away.

II. THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS PURPOSE. "Was manifest in these last times for you." He was manifested by His incarnation, manifested in the flesh, and manifested by His marvellous works and doctrine, by His sufferings and death, resurrection and ascension, by the sending down of the Holy Ghost according to His promise, and by the preaching of the gospel.

III. THE APPLICATION OF THIS MANIFESTATION. "For you." The apostle represents these things to those he writes to particularly for their use. Therefore he applies it to them, but without prejudice to the believers who went before or of those who were to follow in after ages. He who is here said to be foreordained before the foundation of the world is therefore called "A Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And as the virtue of His death looks backward to all preceding ages, whose faith and sacrifices looked forward to it, so the same death is of force and perpetual value to the end of the world.

(Abp. Leighton.)

For you, who by Him do believe in God
For —

1. The Father dwelleth in the light that none can attain unto. How, then, shall we come to Him of ourselves, we being so poor and weak, and He of so infinite majesty? As in the summer we cannot directly look upon the sun shining in his full strength, but may view it in a pail of water, so must we see the Father in the Son, who is the image of the Father and the ingraven form of His person.

2. God is infinitely just, and we extremely wicked; He a consuming fire, and we stubble. How, then, can we come to Him, believe in Him, or take comfort, but only in and by the Lord Jesus our Mediator?

(John Rogers.)

That raised Him up from the dead
The apostle presents Christ under three grand aspects.

I. AS RAISED FROM THE DEAD BY THE POWER OF GOD THE FATHER. The resurrection of Christ is a fundamental article of our religion.

1. The resurrection of Christ was necessary. The graves of earthly princes are the end of their glory, the termination of all their conquests; the grave of Christ becomes the scene of His divinest achievement.

2. The resurrection of Christ is established, as a fact, on the surest basis. Divine wisdom seems to have taken particular care to guard it against all reasonable grounds of suspicion and doubt.

3. The resurrection of Christ was the acknowledged work of a Divine power.

II. AS GLORIFIED BY THE FATHER SUBSEQUENTLY TO HIS RESURRECTION.

1. The resurrection imparted to Him the glory of a Divine nature in the conviction of mortals.(1) This it effected by removing the disgrace which death attached to Him, in the professed character of a Divine deliverer, and attesting Him to be the Prince of Life.(2) The resurrection gave Him this glory also by putting the stamp of the Divine approbation on all His assertions.

2. He was glorified with the investment of sovereign power in the nature in which He rose from the dead. This is what is called His mediatorial glory.

III. AS THE GROUND AND OCCASION OF A LIVELY FAITH AND HOPE IN US TOWARDS GOD. "That your faith and hope might be in God."

1. In His willingness to save sinners for His Son's sake.

2. Our faith and hope are in God, through Christ, in relation to the possession of a future and blessed state in reserve for believers after death.

3. Our faith and hope are in God, through Jesus Christ, in relation to the restoration of our bodies at the last day from the gloom and dishonour of the grave.

(J. Leifchild.)

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