1 Peter 1:2 MEANING

1 Peter 1:2
(2) Elect.--A true chosen people. This word marks them off from the rest of the Jewish settlers in those parts. It is an evasion of the difficulty to say that they were elect only in the mass, as a body. The election was individual and personal. God selected these particular Hebrews out of the whole number, and made them Christians; but what He elected them to is abundantly shown in the next words. For all their election they are not certain of salvation, and their title of "elect" implies no more than the fact that God has put them into the visible Church. (See Notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:4, and 2 Peter 1:10.)

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.

Verse 2. Elect. This word, in the Greek, is in the first verse; the Greek order is "to the elect sojourners of the dispersion." We begin already to notice coincidences with the teaching of St. Paul. St. Paul insists strongly on the doctrine of election; St. Peter holds it no less clearly. Holy Scripture constantly ascribes all that is good in us to the choice or election of God. The sacred writers do not enter into the many difficulties which lie around this central doctrine: they do not attempt to explain its relations to that other great truth, taught in Scripture and revealed in consciousness - the freedom of the human will; their statements of the two apparently conflicting doctrines balance, but do not explain, one another; they seem to recognize the fact that we are in the presence of an insoluble mystery; and they teach us by their silence that the proper attitude of the Christian, when brought face to face with mystery, is rest in the Lord, humble childlike confidence in his love and wisdom. According to the foreknowledge of God the Father. St. Peter sets in the forefront of his Epistle the mystery of the blessed Trinity and the Divine plan of human salvation. It is, however, a question whether the words just quoted should be taken, as in the Authorized Version, with "elect" or with "apostle." Many ancient authorities take the latter view. 'Thus we should have a description of St. Peter's apostleship, such as we often read at the opening of St Paul's Epistle. He was, like St. Paul, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God; he was chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame; like St. Paul, he had received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations (comp. Romans 1:1, 5). There is much to be said in favor of this connection. But, on the whole, the balance of the sentence, and the general usage of similar language in the New Testament, lead us to prefer the common view, and to regard St. Peter's words as a description of the origin, progress, and end of God's election. The origin is the grace of God the Father. He chose his elect before the foundation of the world. He predestinated them unto the adoption of children; and that according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:4, 5). It is interesting to note that the substantive "foreknowledge" (πρόγνωσις) occurs nowhere else in Holy Scripture except in St. Peter's Pentecostal speech (Acts 2:23). We mark the agreement of St. Peter and St. Paul (comp. Romans 8:29, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son;" comp. also Romans 11:2 and 2 Timothy 2:19). Election is "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;" but not simply, as the Arminians taught, ex praevisis meritis; for we cannot separate foreknowledge and predestination; the foreknowledge of an Almighty Creator must imply the exercise of choice and will; what he knoweth, that he also willeth; eligendos facit Deus (in the well-known words of St. Augustine), non invenit. Thus in ver. 20 "foreknown," the more exact rendering of the Revised Version must imply the "foreordained" of the old translation. But that foreknowledge is the foreknowledge of God the Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but our Father also. He careth for his children; we must trust in him. The potter makes one vessel for honor, another for dishonor; but he makes none for destruction. A veil of awful mystery hangs round the relations which exist between the Almighty and his creatures; but "God is Love." Through sanctification of the Spirit; rather, in, as in the Revised Version. We have the same words in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The word ἀγισμός, which St. Peter uses here, is almost peculiar to St. Paul; it occurs eight times in his Epistles; once in the Epistle to the Hebrews; but elsewhere only here in the New Testament. Like other verbals of the same form, it may have either an active or a passive meaning. Perhaps the former is the more suitable here. God's election places the Christian in the sphere of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit; he lives in the Spirit, he walks in the Spirit, he prays in the Holy Ghost; and the blessed Spirit sanctifieth the elect people of God: he worketh in them that holiness (ἁγιασμόν) without which they cannot see God (Hebrews 12:14); they have their fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, unto holiness (ἁγιασμόν, Romans 6:22). The fundamental idea of the Hebrew קָדושׁ, which is represented by the Greek word ἅγιος, seems to be, "separation, purity," though some connect it with חָדַשׁ, and regard it as meaning originally "fresh, new, young," and so "pure, shining, bright" (see Delitzsch, on Hebrews 2:11). By the word "spirit" we might, if we took the words apart from the context, understand the spirit of man, which is sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God; but the context shows that St. Peter is thinking of the work of the three blessed Persons of the Holy Trinity. Unto obedience. Obedience is the work of the Spirit; for the fruit of the Spirit is love, and "if a man love me, he will keep my words." Thus election has its origin in the foreknowledge of the Father; it is wrought out in the sanctifying influences of the Spirit as its sphere, and it issues in active obedience. Obedience is the sign and test of God's election: "By their fruits ye shall know them." The end of election is obedience first, then everlasting life. And sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The word ῤαντισμός, sprinkling, occurs also in Hebrews 12:24 (comp. also Hebrews 9:19). In both places there is an evident reference to the events related in Exodus 24:8, where we read that "Moses took the blood, arid sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you." We observe that in this place also ceremonial sanctification (Exodus 19:10) and the promise of obedience (Exodus 24:3) preceded the sprinkling of blood. "The blood of sprinkling" is called by the Lord himself the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24), the blood by which the covenant of grace was ratified and inaugurated. Moses sprinkled the blood of the old covenant once upon the people; the blood of the new covenant was shed once for all upon the cross; but it is ever fresh in its efficacy and power; still we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus; still, if we abide in him, we have our "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience;" still, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son is cleansing us from all sin." Those who are elect unto obedience are elect unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; the loving obedience of faith keeps them in the presence of the cross, within the cleansing range of the one all-sufficient sacrifice. Thus we have in this verse the concurrence of the three blessed Persons in the scheme of salvation - the choice of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the redeeming work of the Son. Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. St. Peter uses the familiar salutation of St. Paul; possibly he quotes it, for he was plainly familiar with St. Paul's Epistles - he refers to them expressly in 2 Peter 3:15, 16, and Sylvanus, the old companion of St. Paul, was now with him. He unites into one expression the Greek and Hebrew salutations, the χαίρειν of the Greeks under its Christian aspect of χάρις, the favor of God; and the שָׁלום of the Hebrews - the peace which is the fruit of grace, which is the blessed possession of those on whom the favor of God abideth. That grace and peace is granted to all the elect of God. St. Peter prays that it may be multiplied, that his readers may be blessed with an ever-increasing measure of that heavenly gift. He uses the same form of salutation in his Second Epistle. It is interesting to observe that the phrase, "Peace be multiplied unto you," occurs also in the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1), and in that of Darius (Daniel 6:25),both written in Babylon, the city from which St. Peter now sends the message of peace. The anarthrousness of these two verses is remarkable; in the original there is not one article in vers. 1, 2.

1:1-9 This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are strangers in every city or country where they live, and are scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; and so to give glory to one God in three Persons, into whose name they had been baptized. Hope, in the world's phrase, refers only to an uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon sand, and the worldling's hopes of heaven are blind and groundless conjectures. But the hope of the sons of the living God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth, which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts, and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe Christ's excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now, we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had already received it.Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,.... Not to any office, as to that of bishops or presbyters; for though the apostle writes to some of them under this character, 1 Peter 5:1 yet not all; nor were they so called, as a nation, for they were persons scattered about in several countries; nor as a church, for they are not wrote to as such; nor does this character merely design their effectual calling; though as that is a fruit and evidence of election, it is sometimes so styled, and the saints called by grace are said to be chosen; John 15:19 but it intends the eternal election of those persons both to grace and glory; which the apostle knew of, not by divine revelation, or any particular discovery made to him; but he concluded it in a judgment of charity, they being all under a profession of faith in Christ, and he having reason to believe that the greater part of them were truly partakers of that faith which demonstrated them to be the elect of God: the cause, spring, and source of their election was, "the foreknowledge of God the Father": to whom election is commonly ascribed, agreeably to the order of the divine Persons in the Trinity, and their distinct parts in the economy of salvation, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit: and by this his "foreknowledge" is meant, not his eternal, universal, and infallible knowledge, and which is infinite, and reaches to all things and persons, present, future, or possible, for this has for its objects persons whom God never predestinated and chose: though certain it is that he knows and foreknows all whom he does predestinate and choose; nor does it intend the mere decree of election, or God's eternal purpose and resolution to choose, but the spring and source of that act of his: and much less does it mean a bare prescience of men, and choice of them, upon a foresight of faith, holiness, good works, and perseverance therein; for these are all, when genuine, the fruits and effects of election, which are included in it, and secured and brought about by it; but the sovereign grace, good will, and pleasure of God, or the everlasting love of God the Father, which is the cause of, and has given birth to the act of election, is meant by foreknowledge, joined with affection, delight, and approbation; knowledge, and foreknowledge, as ascribed to the divine Being, often signify such things; see Psalm 1:6 Romans 11:1 and such a knowledge God the Father had of the persons of the elect from all eternity; and which is the ground and foundation of his choosing them to grace and glory, and not anything in them, or done by them, or anything out of himself; no other reason can be given of it than his own grace, his pure love, and sovereign good will and pleasure: the means follow, through which they were chosen,

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.

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