Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Sure "Thing"

(These verses and comments are for the “elect” those God has “chosen” to know Him through faith in Jesus Christ. This book of 1st Peter is packed with spiritual meat, I try to meditate on it often. For those outside the faith, I pray you will be given ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart to understand the riches in Christ, that God would call you through His own goodness and word to Himself.)

1 Peter 1:1-9
A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, [a]to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace [b]be yours in the fullest measure.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various [c]trials, 7 so that the [d]proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which [e]is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and [f]full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of [g]your souls.

Blessed be God. We have said that the main object of this epistle is to raise us above the world, in order that we may be prepared and encouraged to sustain the spiritual contests of our warfare. For this end, the knowledge of God’s benefits avails much; for, when their value appears to us, all other things will be deemed worthless, especially when we consider what Christ and his blessings are; for everything without him is but dross. For this reason he highly extols the wonderful grace of God in Christ, that is, that we may not deem it much to give up the world in order that we may enjoy the invaluable treasure of a future life; and also that we may not be broken down by present troubles, but patiently endure them, being satisfied with eternal happiness.
Further, when he gives thanks to God, he invites the faithful to spiritual joy, which can swallow up all the opposite feelings of the flesh.
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Understand the words thus, — “Blessed be God who is the Father of Jesus Christ.” For, as formerly, by calling himself the God of Abraham, he designed to mark the difference between him and all fictitious gods; so after he has manifested himself in his own Son, his will is, not to be known otherwise than in him. Hence they who form their ideas of God in his naked majesty apart from Christ, have an idol instead of the true God, as the case is with the Jews and the Turks. Whosoever, then, seeks really to know the only true God, must regard him as the Father of Christ; for, whenever our mind seeks God, except Christ be thought of, it will wander and be confused, until it be wholly lost. Peter meant at the same time to intimate how God is so bountiful and kind towards us; for, except Christ stood as the middle person, his goodness could never be really known by us.
Who hath begotten us again. He shews that supernatural life is a gift, because we are born the children of wrath; for had we been born to the hope of life according to the flesh, there would have been no necessity of being begotten again by God. Therefore Peter teaches us, that we who are by nature destined to eternal death, are restored to life by God’s mercy. And this is, as it were, our second creation, as it is said in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Lively or living hope, means the hope of life.1 At the same time there seems to be an implied contrast between the hope fixed on the incorruptible kingdom of God, and the fading and transient hopes of man.
According to his abundant mercy. He first mentions the efficient cause, and then he points out the mediating cause, as they say. He shews that God was induced by no merits of ours to regenerate us unto a living hope, because he assigns this wholly to his mercy. But that he might more completely reduce the merits of works to nothing, he says, great (multam)mercy. All, indeed, confess that God is the only author of our salvation, but they afterwards invent extraneous causes, which take away so much from his mercy. But Peter commends mercy alone; and he immediately connects the way or manner,by the resurrection of Christ; for God does not in any other way discover his mercy; hence Scripture ever directs our attention to this point. And that Christ’s death is not mentioned, but his resurrection, involves no inconsistency, for it is included; because a thing cannot be completed without having a beginning; and he especially brought forward the resurrection, because he was speaking of a new life.
4. To an inheritance.2The three words which follow are intended to amplify God’s grace; for Peter (as I have before said) had this object in view, to impress our minds thoroughly as to its excellency. Moreover, these two clauses, “to an inheritance incorruptible,” etc., and “to salvation ready to be revealed,” I deem as being in apposition, the latter being explanatory of the former; for he expresses the same thing in two ways.
Every word which follows is weighty. The inheritance is said to be reserved, or preserved, that we may know that it is beyond the reach of danger. For, were it not in God’s hand, it might be exposed to endless dangers. If it were in this world, how could we regard it as safe amidst so many changes? That he might then free us from every fear, he testifies that our salvation is placed in safety beyond the harms which Satan can do. But as the certainty of salvation can bring us but little comfort, except each one knows that it belongs to himself, Peter adds,for you. For consciences will calmly recumb here, that is, when the Lord cries to them from heaven, “Behold, your salvation is in my hand and is kept for you.” But as salvation is not indiscriminately for all, he calls our attention to faith, that all who are endued with faith, might be distinguished from the rest, and that they might not doubt but that they are the true and legitimate heirs of God. For, as faith penetrates into the heavens, so also it appropriates to us the blessings which are in heaven.

John Calvin

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