According to the foreknowledge of God.--The origin of this election, the aim, and the means employed are now touched upon, and connected with the three Divine Persons respectively. (1) The origin. Their election is not accidental, nor yet something done on the spur of the moment, an afterthought of God. but "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father"--i.e., in execution of His fore-arranged scheme. The word implies not simply a perception of the future, but the forming of a decision. (Comp. the same word in 1 Peter 1:20, and in Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2.) Though the thought is common also to St. Paul, St. Peter was familiar with it before St. Paul's conversion. (See Acts 2:23.) (2) The means. The preconcerted scheme of God embraced not only the choice of these particular persons for a blessing, but the lines on which the choice was to work itself out--"in a course of sanctification by the Spirit." The words and the thought are identical with those of 2 Thessalonians 2:13, but probably so far differ in exact meaning that there "the Spirit" is the spirit sanctified, here it is the Spirit which sanctifies. (Comp. also 1 Thessalonians 4:7.) We see that even the blessing of "obedience and sprinkling"--much more that of glory hereafter--is unattainable except in the path of sanctification. (3) The end. That to which God had elected them was not in the first instance the participation of the joys of the post-resurrection life, but the benefits of redemption on this side of the grave. While other "sojourners of the Pontine dispersion" were allowed to remain in the disobedience which characterised the Jews, and trusting to the efficacy of membership in the covenant people, these had, in accordance with God's plan, been admitted to "obedience"--i.e., the reception of the gospel facts and precepts (see Note on 2 Thessalonians 1:8), and to the--
Sprinkling of the blood.--This important phrase must be compared with Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 12:24, which passages were, perhaps, suggested by it, unless, indeed, the idea had become the common property of the Church already. There is nothing in St. Paul's writings to compare with it. As the people themselves are "sprinkled," and not their houses, the reference cannot be to the Paschal sprinkling (Exodus 12:22), but, as in Hebrews, to the scene under Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:8, where, once for all, the old covenant was inaugurated by the sprinkling of the people. It was to that same scene that our Lord referred when He said of the Eucharistic cup, "This is My blood of the new covenant." Thus, "elect unto the sprinkling of the blood," seems to mean "selected for admission into the new covenant inaugurated by the sprinkling of Christ's blood." But whereas the old covenant was inaugurated by sprinkling the people collectively and once for all, the new is inaugurated anew and anew by individual application; so that the Eucharistic cup was not (according to the Quaker theory) to be drunk once for all by the Apostles then present as the representatives of the whole subsequent Church. Neither does this inauguration by sprinkling come but once for all in the individual's lifetime, but as often as the covenant is broken by his sin he comes to renew it again. Doubtless the participation of the Holy Communion is the act of "sprinkling" here before St. Peter's mind, it being the one act which betokens membership in the new covenant-people, the new Israel. Of course the application of blood in both covenants rests on the notion of a death-forfeit being remitted.
Of Jesus Christ.--He does not say "of the new testament," but substitutes the name of the Victim in whose blood the covenant is inaugurated--Jesus. And who is this Jesus? The Christ! The Messiah! As though Israel at Sinai had been sprinkled with the blood of Moses. What a contrast between the other Jews of Pontus, with their Messianic expectations, and these "elect sojourners" sprinkled with Messiah's blood!
Be multiplied.--This occurs again only in 2 Peter 1:2; Jude 1:2. (Comp. Daniel 4:1.) It contains an exhortation to progress. There are some good things of which we cannot have too much.
through sanctification of the Spirit; as in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The ends to which the saints are chosen are,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; by "obedience" is meant either the obedience of elect men to Christ, which lies in obeying the truth of the Gospel, called the obedience of faith; and so is the same with the "belief of the truth", which goes along in election with the sanctification of the Spirit, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and in submission to Gospel ordinances, and doing all good works in the name, faith, and strength of Christ; and which also are fruits and effects, and so not causes of divine predestination; see Ephesians 2:10 and also follow upon the sanctification of the Spirit; or else the obedience of Christ is intended; and so the Arabic version renders it, "unto the obedience of Jesus Christ"; which lay in his performing the precepts of the law, and bearing the penalty of it, death; and by which the chosen seed are justified, or made righteous in the sight of God, and have a title to eternal life and glory, and are safe from wrath to come; and to the enjoyment of this grace, they are chosen of God the Father; and between these two, predestination and justification, there is a close and inseparable connection; so that they that are interested in the one, are in the other; see Romans 8:30, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; does not denote a small quantity of it, for it was shed and poured out in great abundance; but is said in allusion to the sprinkling of the blood of the passover lamb. Exodus 12:22 or to the sprinkling of the blood on the book of the covenant, and on the people at Mount Sinai, Exodus 24:8 or to other sprinklings of blood in their legal sacrifices: the application of the blood of Christ to the heart, by the Spirit of God, for cleansing, pardon, and justification, is meant; which affords true, solid, conscience peace and joy now, and entitles to eternal happiness and glory; all which are secured by electing grace. The salutation of these persons follows:
grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied; which is much the same that is used by the Apostle Paul in all his epistles; see Gill on Romans 1:7, only Peter adds the word "multiplied"; which makes it more express, and the sense more clear: he means an enlarged view of interest in the love of God, an increase of grace out of the fulness of it in Christ, and of Gospel light, and of the several gifts of the Spirit; and also of all prosperity outward and inward, of a conscience peace through the blood of Christ, which passeth all understanding, and a more established and well grounded hope of enjoying eternal peace hereafter. The phrase is Jewish, and is used in their salutations in this form, , "let your peace be multiplied" (t),
(t) T. Hieros. Masser Sheni, fol. 56. 3. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 11. 2.