1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit…
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.