1 Peter 1:9 MEANING

1 Peter 1:9
(9) Receiving the end of your faith.--The "end of our faith" means, the object to which our faith is directed, the thing we believed for. And "faith" catches up the "believing" of last verse, so that, in reading, the accent of the sentence falls on "end," not on "faith;" and the whole clause is added to justify the statement that we rejoice with a joy which has already attained its full perfection. The reason is, he says, because we receive already, in the present life, the object of all this trusting without sight; we need not wait till the next world to attain our glorification.

The salvation of your souls.--It might be simply, salvation of souls, including other men's besides our own, but the context is against it, and the absence of articles is characteristic of St. Peter. It seems at first sight not a very exalted object for our faith to work to, the deliverance, or safety, of our own souls. And yet our Lord fully recognises the instinct of the higher self-preservation as that to which the ultimate appeal must be made (Matthew 16:25-26). He could give His own soul a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28); He could save others and not Himself (Matthew 27:42); St. Paul could wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren's sake, "that they might be saved" (Romans 9:3; Romans 10:1); Moses could ask to be "blotted out of the book" (Exodus 32:32); and yet the fact remains, that in seeking our own welfare, in the highest sense, we are fulfilling a primal law of our being, imposed upon us by the Creator. We are bound to make that our first object, if it were only to gratify Him who has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, even if we could possibly divest ourselves of all "selfish" interest in the matter.

"A charge to keep I have,

A God to glorify;

A never-dying soul to save,

And fit it for the sky."

The Buddhist longing for Nirvana is as far as possible removed from the healthy spirit of Christianity. "Salvation" here seems to have widened its meaning since 1 Peter 1:5; while there the main thought was final deliverance from the afflictions of life, here the salvation is said to be received in the very midst of all these afflictions. The addition of the word "souls," appears to make the difference. For the soul, there is present salvation, because persecutions, &c., do not touch it, and it is capable of the most complete emancipation from the evils of sin (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:69; Luke 1:71; Luke 1:75; Romans 6:14; Romans 7:24-25.) Salvation, then, is the restoration of man to the ideal excellence from which he was fallen: it contains--here, at any rate--no allusion to "damnation" as an opposite.

Verse 9. - Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. The present participle "receiving" (κομιζόμενοι) implies that the believer realizes the deep blessing of salvation gradually while he is being saved as one of οἱ σωζόμενοι (Acts 2:47). Salvation is present as well as future. "By grace ye are saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8); "According to his mercy he saved us" (Titus 3:5). God's elect receive it in various measures now; in its blessed fullness it will be manifested hereafter. It is the end which faith ever holds in view, pressing towards it as the prize of the high calling. It is the salvation especially of souls; for, as Bengel says," Anima praecipue salvatur; corpus in resurreetione participat."

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.Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Which is a just and sufficient ground of joy and rejoicing. "Salvation" intends spiritual and eternal salvation; that which God appointed his people to from all eternity, which is obtained by Christ, applied by the Spirit, and will be fully enjoyed in heaven: this is the salvation "of souls": which are of more worth than a world; and the redemption of which is precious, and requires a great price, and for which a great price is paid, as in 1 Peter 1:18. It is rightly supplied in our version by "your", as in the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; though the Vulgate Latin version only reads, "the salvation of souls"; and which is to be understood, not to the exclusion of bodies, for God has designed the salvation of them; and Christ has procured the redemption of them; and these will be preserved unto the coming of Christ, being united to him; and will be raised by him, and with their souls enjoy everlasting happiness with him; though, in the present state of things, salvation rather takes place in the soul than in the body, which is exposed to various labours, afflictions, and diseases; but the chief design of the phrase is, to distinguish this salvation from a corporeal and temporal one: and so the Jews use the phrase , "the salvation of the soul" (z), in opposition to, and distinction from, a mere bodily one; and it intends a salvation from sin, Satan, the law, and its curses; from hell, the second death, and wrath to come, and every spiritual enemy: which is the end of faith; or, as the Syriac version renders it, "the reward of faith"; not that faith is the cause of salvation, or meritorious of it; for that itself is the gift of God, and is rather a part of salvation, and, at most, but the means of perceiving an interest in it, and of enjoying the comfort of it; and is what will issue in it, and in the full enjoyment of it; when faith will both have its end and scope, and be at an end, being exchanged for fruition; just as a reward is given at the end of a man's labours: hence it is called "the end", Proverbs 23:18 and even now salvation is the end of faith, in like sense as Christ is the end of the law: as the law has its full accomplishment, and all its ends answered in Christ, so faith has its end, and all it looks for, desires, and wants, in salvation by Christ: and which is now "receiving"; for the saints not only shall receive, and enjoy the full possession of it hereafter, but they have it now; it is not only appointed to them, and wrought out for them, but is brought near, set before them, and applied to them, and put into the hands of faith by the Spirit of God; they have it in faith and hope, by which they are already saved; and in Christ their head and representative, in whom they are set down in heavenly places; and besides, they have the beginning, firstfruits, earnest, and pledge of it in their own hearts, as well as a right unto, and a meetness for the perfect possession of it hereafter; all which is matter of joy unspeakable, and full of glory,

(z) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 168. 4.

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