1. To the sojourners - Upon earth, the Christians, chiefly those of Jewish extraction. Scattered - Long ago driven out of their own land. Those scattered by the persecution mentioned Acts viii, 1, were scattered only through Judea and Samaria, though afterwards some of them travelled to Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch. Through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia - He names these five provinces in the order wherein they occurred to him, writing from the east. All these countries lie in the Lesser Asia. The Asia here distinguished from the other provinces is that which was usually called the Proconsular Asia being a Roman province.
2. According to the foreknowledge of God - Speaking after the manner of men. Strictly speaking, there is no foreknowledge, no more than after-knowledge, with God: but all things are known to him as present from eternity to eternity. This is therefore no other than an instance of the divine condescension to our low capacities. Elect - By the free love and almighty power of God taken out of, separated from, the world. Election, in the scripture sense, is God's doing anything that our merit or power have no part in. The true predestination, or fore-appointment of God is,
1. He that believeth shall be saved from the guilt and power of sin.
2. He that endureth to the end shall be saved eternally.
3. They who receive the precious gift of faith, thereby become the sons of God; and, being sons, they shall receive the Spirit of holiness to walk as Christ also walked. Throughout every part of this appointment of God, promise and duty go hand in hand. All is free gift; and yet such is the gift, that the final issue depends on our future obedience to the heavenly call. But other predestination than this, either to life or death eternal, the scripture knows not of. Moreover, it is.
1. Cruel respect of persons; an unjust regard of one, and an unjust disregard of another. It is mere creature partiality, and not infinite justice.
2. It is not plain scripture doctrine, if true; but rather, inconsistent with the express written word, that speaks of God's universal offers of grace; his invitations, promises, threatenings, being all general.
3. We are bid to choose life, and reprehended for not doing it.
4. It is inconsistent with a state of probation in those that must be saved or must be lost.
5. It is of fatal consequence; all men being ready, on very slight grounds, to fancy themselves of the elect number. But the doctrine of predestination is entirely changed from what it formerly was. Now it implies neither faith, peace, nor purity. It is something that will do without them all. Faith is no longer, according to the modern predestinarian scheme, a divine "evidence of things not seen," wrought in the soul by the immediate power of the Holy Ghost; not an evidence at all; but a mere notion. Neither is faith made any longer a means of holiness; but something that will do without it. Christ is no more a saviour from sin; but a defense, a countenancer of it. He is no more a fountain of spiritual life in the soul of believers, but leaves his elect inwardly dry, and outwardly unfruitful; and is made little more than a refuge from the image of the heavenly; even from righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Through sanctification of the Spirit - Through the renewing and purifying influences of his Spirit on their souls. Unto obedience - To engage and enable them to yield themselves up to all holy obedience, the foundation of all which is, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ - The atoning blood of Christ, which was typified by the sprinkling of the blood of sacrifices under the law; in allusion to which it is called "the blood of sprinkling."
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - His Father, with respect to his divine nature; his God, with respect to his human. Who hath regenerated us to a living hope - An hope which implies true spiritual life, which revives the heart, and makes the soul lively and vigourous. By the resurrection of Christ - Which is not only a pledge of ours, but a part of the purchase- price. It has also a close connection with our rising from spiritual death, that as he liveth, so shall we live with him. He was acknowledged to be the Christ, but usually called Jesus till his resurrection; then he was also called Christ.
4. To an inheritance - For if we are sons, then heirs. Incorruptible - Not like earthly treasures. Undefiled - Pure and holy, incapable of being itself defiled, or of being enjoyed by any polluted soul. And that fadeth not away - That never decays in its value, sweetness, or beauty, like all the enjoyments of this world, like the garlands of leaves or flowers, with which the ancient conquerors were wont to be crowned. Reserved in heaven for you - Who "by patient continuance in welldoing, seek for glory and honour and immortality."
5. Who are kept - The inheritance is reserved; the heirs are kept for it. By the power of God - Which worketh all in all, which guards us against all our enemies. Through faith - Through which alone salvation is both received and retained. Ready to be revealed - That Rev. is made in the last day. It was more and more ready to be revealed, ever since Christ came.
6. Wherein - That is, in being so kept. Ye even now greatly rejoice, though now for a little while - Such is our whole life, compared to eternity. If need be - For it is not always needful. If God sees it to be the best means for your spiritual profit. Ye are in heaviness - Or sorrow; but not in darkness; for they still retained both faith, 1 Pe i, 5, hope, and love; yea, at this very time were rejoicing with joy unspeakable, 1 Pe i, 8.
7. That the trial of your faith - That is, your faith which is tried. Which is much more precious than gold - For gold, though it bear the fire, yet will perish with the world. May be found - Though it doth not yet appear. Unto praise - From God himself. And honour - From men and angels. And glory - Assigned by the great Judge.
8. Having not seen - In the flesh.
9. Receiving - Now already. Salvation - From all sin into all holiness, which is the qualification for, the forerunner and pledge of, eternal salvation.