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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
1 Peter 1

 

 

Verses 1-12

1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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.

How sweetly the apostle is obeying his Master’s command, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” This is the same Peter who once began to sink beneath the waves, yet now he is helping others to stand. This is the very Peter who denied his master, but he begins his Epistle by owning himself to be “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” What wonders the Lord Jesus had wrought for Peter by his grace! It is no marvel, therefore, that he should say to others, “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

1 Peter 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,—

And, truly, this is a blessing, beyond all comparison or imagination, that we have been begotten again by the Divine Father unto a “living” hope, for that is a better rendering than “lively.” Our first birth brought us into sin and sorrow, but our second birth brings us into purity and joy. We were born to die; now are we born never to die, “begotten again” unto a life that shall remain in us for evermore, a life which shall even penetrate these mortal bodies, and make them immortal, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:4-5. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Joy, my brethren, in the glorious inheritance which is prepared for you, unstained, uncorrupted, perfectly pure, and therefore to last for ever, because the elements which produce decay are not in it. It is without sin, and therefore it shall be without end. What a mercy it is to be “kept by the power of God”! See, heaven is kept for us, and we are kept for heaven; heaven is prepared for us, and we are prepared for heaven. There is a double action of God’s grace thus working in us, and working for us, unto bliss eternal.

1 Peter 1:6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

Or, “trials.” Some people cannot comprehend how a man can greatly rejoice, and yet be in heaviness at the same time; but there are many things, in a Christian’s experience, that cannot be understood except by those who experience them; and even they God many a mystery which can only be expressed by a paradox. There are some who think that God’s people should never be heavy in spirit; but the apostle says, “Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness.” He does not say, “If need be, ye are in manifold trials;” but, “If need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold trials,” for the “needs be” is as much for the depressed spirit as for the trials themselves.

1 Peter 1:7-8. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

And does not the joy agree well with the object of it? Paul said, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift;” and Peter, speaking of the same Saviour, says, “In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

1 Peter 1:9-11. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Do you wonder if, sometimes, you find in the Bible a truth which you cannot quite comprehend? You ought not to marvel, for even the prophets, who prophesied of the grace which has come to us, did not always fully understand their own messages. I am sure that their inspiration was verbal, because the inspired men frequently did not themselves know the meaning of what they were moved to write.

1 Peter 1:12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

See the kind of preaching that we should all desire to hear, and that all God’s ministers should aim at: “them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” Nothing but a gospel full of the energy of the Holy Ghost, and set on fire by him, can effect the eternal purposes of God; but this is the kind of preaching that will live, and that will also make men live. God send it to every church and congregation throughout the world! Amen.


Verses 1-16

1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 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.

The first Christians were not so afraid of the doctrine of election as some are now-a-days. Peter was not ashamed to address the saints as the elect of God, for so, indeed, they are, if they be saints at all. It is he that chose them, not because they were sanctified, but that they might be sanctified —chose them to eternal life through sanctification. Oh! happy are they who by grace have made their calling and election sure, and now ascribe all the glory of their salvation to the sovereign choice of God. “Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied.”

1 Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.

How full of grace every sentence is. He blesses God because God has so freely blest us; and he abounds in thanksgiving because he sees that abundant mercy, by which believers have been begotten again — born again — made, therefore, children after a new sort, and so made heirs of an inheritance very different from that upon which we enter by nature “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” Brethren and sisters, if you have, indeed, been born by divine grace, to what estates are you born — to what high dignities and saved privileges! Rejoice and bless the Lord. But, perhaps, the dark fear crossed your mind that, perhaps, after all, you may perish and miss the inheritance. Now, notice the double consolation of a double keeping. The inheritance is kept. It is reserved in heaven for you, and you are kept, too. It is kept for you, and you are kept for it, “For you, who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.”

1 Peter 1:6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

This is your life. This is like a rainbow made up of the drops of earth’s sorrow in the beams of heaven’s love a happy combination, after all.

1 Peter 1:7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Gilt looks very much like gold but it will not stand the fire. It curls and disappears. Oh! to be solid gold through and through. If so, you need not mind the trials of today, since they will only prepare you for the glories eternal at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:8-10. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

Prophets knew about you. They did not taste of the grace you know, but through the vista of the future they foresaw it, and they almost envied you in this gospel dispensation that you should live in so clear a light, and should be fed upon such rare mercies. Oh! what prophets and kings longed for, do not let us despise, and we shall despise these mercies if we do not make the most of them by entering into the fullness of the joy which they are meant to bring to us. These prophets searched diligently.

1 Peter 1:11-12. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

See you not your privilege, then? You have what prophets had not. You enjoy what angels desire to see. They cannot enjoy what you do. Rightly does our hymn put it: — “Never did angels taste above Redeeming grace and dying love.” And you have, this very day.

1 Peter 1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,

Be ready to depart to your inheritance. Do not let your garments flow carelessly and loosely, as though you had no journey before you, but “gird up the loins of your mind.”

1 Peter 1:13. Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

That is a very blessed subject. There is a grace that was brought to you when Christ first came. There is another grace and a higher grace that is to be brought to you when Christ shall come the second time. Until that second coming of Christ, the church on earth and in heaven cannot be perfected. The bodies of the saints wait in the grave till he comes to give them resurrection.

“O long expected day, begin!

Dawn on these realms of woe and sin.”

For we wait for thy appearing, O Christ.

1 Peter 1:14-16. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

See your model. See the copy to which you are to write. You are far short of it. Try again. May the power of Jesus rest upon you, and may he that hath wrought us to the self-same thing to which we have attained continue to work in us till we are like our Lord himself!

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Peter 1:1-16 and Matthew 10:37-40.


Verses 1-25

1 Peter 1:1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, —

It must have been very pleasant to his heart to write those words, — not “Peter, who denied his Master,” not Peter, “full of imperfections and infirmities, the impetuous and changeable one of the twelve;” but “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,” as truly sent of God as any of the other apostles, and with as much of the Spirit of his Master resting upon him: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,” —

1 Peter 1:1-2. To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,-

You might go for fifty years to some places of worship, and never hear the word “elect” even mentioned. Modern ministers seem to be ashamed of the grand old doctrine of election; but it was not so with the apostles and the early Christians, they were accustomed to speak of one another as the elect of God. The doctrine of election was most precious to their hearts, and therefore Peter writes: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” —

1 Peter 1:2. Through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

We not only need grace, but we need much grace, and also peace, and we need a greatly increased measure of both those blessings. Do not be satisfied, dear brethren and sisters in Christ, with the grace that you already have. Be thankful for it, but ask for the divine multiplication of it; regard the grace which you have already received as being like the boy’s loaves and fishes, and expect that Christ will continue to multiply it for you and for thousands of others round about you: “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

1 Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

What a vast mass of meaning is packed away in these words! Men’s books, even when they are good, are like gold-leaf; a little precious metal is very thinly hammered out so as to cover a wide surface, but almost every word in the Bible seems to contain a whole mine of heavenly wealth.

Note, beloved, what Peter says concerning your new birth; you are begotten by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. At your first birth, you were born in sin; but now you have been born again, through grace, by the almighty power of God. Notice, also, unto what you are born, — unto a hope that is full of life, a lively hope, a hope of immortality a hope whose root is in the grave of Christ, the empty grave from which he has risen, and which is the assurance that because he has risen, you also shall rise. See, further, to what you have been born: “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” See, also, how that inheritance is entailed upon you, for it is “reserved in heaven for you;” and see, too, how you are kept for it, for you “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

1 Peter 1:6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

What! can there be rejoicing and heaviness in the same heart at the same time? Oh, yes! our experience has taught us that we can be at the same moment, in heaviness of heart and yet rejoicing in the Lord.

1 Peter 1:7-9. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

You have that already if you have believed in Jesus, you have received; a present, immediate salvation. There are some who do not understand or realize this, they miss the whole joy of our holy religion. They are always hoping to be saved by-and-by; but those who are in Christ Jesus by a living personal faith receive here and now the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.

1 Peter 1:10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Observe, dear brethren, that the prophets did not speak without due consideration, but they “enquired and searched diligently” into the meaning of that salvation of which they “testified beforehand.” Holy Scripture must not be read by us carelessly. We ought to peer, and pry, and search into it to get at its hidden meaning, and the prophecies as well as the rest of the Word are to be searched into by us upon whom the ends of the earth have come. Observe, also, that this divine revelation is of great interest to the holy angels before the throne of God; they stand gazing down as if they were trying to understand the wondrous mystery of redemption, and the great and glorious gospel of the grace of God.

1 Peter 1:13-16. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Be not only moral, upright, truthful, and so forth; but “be ye holy.” That is a very high attainment: “Be ye holy;” and observe the reason for obedience to the command: “for I am holy.” Children should be like their fathers, there are many children who bear, in their very faces, evidence, of their sonship; you know who their fathers were by the image that the children bear. Oh, that it were always so with all the children of God: “Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: —

You are only here for a while, you are sojourners, foreigners, pilgrims passing through a country where you have no abiding place; be therefore careful and even fearful lest you should become like the people among whom you dwell, have a holy dread of the contaminations of sin: “Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” —

1 Peter 1:18-21. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Jesus Christ, from the dead, and this is our joy today. This is one of the facts, which are proved beyond all question, that Jesus Christ, who died upon the cross, and was buried in Joseph’s tomb, did actually rise again. This is the corner-stone of the Christian faith; one of the great facts upon which we found our confidence as to salvation by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:22-23. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s Word never dies, God’s Word never changes. There are some who think we ought to get a new gospel every few years or even every few weeks, but that was not Peter’s notion. He wrote, and he was divinely inspired to write, concerning “the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

1 Peter 1:24-25. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


Verses 13-25

1 Peter 1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

This is Peter’s practical application of the greet truths of which he had been writing. “Look ahead, and expect great things. Live in the future. Project your thoughts beyond the centuries that are passing away into the ages which will never die.”

1 Peter 1:14-15. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Remember that you can never be really whole till you are holy, for holiness is spiritual sanity; it is the curing of the mind and heart from the disease which sin brought upon them.

1 Peter 1:16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Children of God, be like your Father; prove that you are his true children by manifesting his character. Let his lineaments be seen in your countenance: “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” The Revised Version is, “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Be not presumptuous. Ever remember that, as there is a God who is to judge every man, you are to be judged; and oh, that you might, through his grace, be in such a condition of heart that you shall stand the last test, and be found to be full weight when you are put into the balances of the sanctuary which God shall hold with steadfast hand!

1 Peter 1:18-19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

You have seen the character of your Father who is in heaven; this should urge and help you to be like him, holy. Now you see the character of your Redeemer, “a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Let this influence you to be holy, too.

1 Peter 1:20-21. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

It is no use to place them anywhere else. All other vessels are too frail to bear such a heavy burden; but, if your faith and hope are in God, then you have a security which none can destroy.

1 Peter 1:22-25. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Blessed be God for an everlasting gospel, founded on the everlasting covenant, which bringeth with it everlasting life to all those who believe in Christ Jesus the Lord.


Verses 17-25

1 Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Not in unbelieving fear, but in that holy carefulness which watches against sin of every kind lest in any way you should spoil your holy work for God.

1 Peter 1:18-19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

As your redemption cost so much, prize it highly, and do not go back to the sin from which you have been so dearly redeemed. Fear lest you should do so. Remember that heredity has a great power over you; the traditions of your fathers will imperceptibly draw you back unless you watch against them. But you have been so gloriously redeemed with the very blood of Christ’s heart that you must not draw back.

1 Peter 1:20-21. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Whenever you think of the glory of your risen Lord, remember what your redemption cost him, and quit all dead works, lay aside the grave-clothes of care and anxiety, and live in newness of life as those who have been redeemed by the risen Saviour.

1 Peter 1:22-23. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, -

See how this love of the brethren is linked on to regeneration. The first time we are born, we are born in sin, and that tends to hate, but when we are born again, born unto God, our life tends to love. “Being born again,”-

1 Peter 1:23. Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Peter reminds us, in the 18th verse, that we were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with incorruptible; and he here reminds us that we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.” Everything about a Christian means his deliverance from corruption, and the bringing of him into a state of immortality and incorruption.

1 Peter 1:24-25. For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

Everything earthly is corruptible; that which is merely natural has its season of decay, but the children of God have the Word of the Lord abiding in them, and that never dies; it has no autumn or winter.

1 Peter 1:25. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Peter 1:17-25; and 1 Peter 2:1-12.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-peter-1.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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