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and recognize even if sometimes we are utterly baffled with an attempt to reconcile them.
I: 2. “ To obedience and sprinkling of the blood.”
In "obedience” we have the active human side of the result. In the “sprinkling” the divine side. Moses had sprinkled Israel according to the flesh with the blood of bulls and of goats. By conta with this the people were brought within the covenant of which he was the mediator (Gal. 3:19).
In the same way, S. Peter tells us, believers in Christ are brought within the new covenant by the mystical, spiritual sprinkling on their souls and spirits of the blood of Jesus, and for that sprinkling God had chosen them with a purpose supremely wise to which no time limits could be assigned. As S. John puts it, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”
“ Grace to you and peace.” The word "peace "stands for the old Hebrew salutation “shalom.” The word “grace,” “charis,” probably stands for the more definite Christian thought, in place of the “joy,” or “greeting" (chairein), which, as in Acts 15:23, S. James 1 : 1, was the customary opening formula of Greek letters.
“A living hope.” This is a hope not destined as human hopes proverbially are, to be frail and perishable. On the contrary it has of necessity in it, the living elements of a perennial life.
Elsewhere S. Peter lays much stress on baptism. But here it is to be noticed he does not refer to it as the instrument of the new birth, but goes further back than that
to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as that without which baptism and faith alike would have been ineffectual. In this as in so many other respects his teaching is substantially at one with that of S. Paul. See Rom. 6:3, 4.
1:5. “ Who by the power of God are guarded through faith.”
The power of God is the force which encompasses and protects us. The faith is that through which, as in the vision of Elisha's servant (2 Kings 6: 16), we feel that we are guarded, and see that “those who are with us are more than those who are against us."
1:6. “ If need be.”
Our sufferings are not from mere chance. They are never allowed to come upon us but for a purpose. They have their necessary place in the process by which God works out the complete and perfect character of his children.
“ The proof of your faith.” Faith is not known to be genuine till it has been proved by sufferings. Gold is purified, but then it perishes. Faith is purified by sufferings, but then it takes its place among the things which do not perish. Yes, and more than that, for when sufferings have been rightly borne by us children of men here below, praise and glory and honor will be ours at the last great day when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven to judge both the quick and the dead.
1:8. “ Whom, though you have not seen him, you love."
S. Peter, like S. Paul, would teach his followers to know Christ no more after the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16). Compare S. John 20:29.
1:13. “So girding up the loins of your mind.”
Here is an echo of our Lord's words to his disciples as found in S. Luke 12:35. Compare Ephesians 6:14. The prospect of the coming glories should be our motive to unflagging activity during our sojourn here on earth. 1:13.
“ The grace which is being brought to you." The communication of grace is continuous. It finds its sphere of action in every successive revealing of Jesus. The beginning of this activity is found in the soul's first consciousness of his presence through every stage of spiritual growth.
“ Ye shall be holy. For I am holy.” All members of the Church of Christ partake of the priestly function, in their way offer up spiritual sacrifices, and so must be holy. Compare chapter 2, verse 5.
1:17. “ If you call on him as Father."
The sequel shows that this attribute of Fatherhood is not thought of as excluding the idea of judgment, but gives assurance that the judgment will be one of the heart as well as of the head. I:18.
“ Redeemed.” This liberation is not so much from the penalty of an evil life as from the evil life itself. 1:19.
“ With precious blood.” Remembering that the blood is the life, compare this with S. Matth. 20:
: 28; S. Mark 10:45. The minds of the disciples had been directed to the “ blood ” thus understood, as connected with the remission of sins, in what we know as the words of institution at the Last Supper (S. Matth. 26:28; S. Mark 14:24; S. Luke 22:20).
“ Who raised him from the dead.” The redemptive act was completed in the shedding of the precious blood, but the Resurrection and the glory of the Ascension were the foundation of man's confidence that the work had been completed.
Having purified your souls.” Freedom from sensual lust is the purity here implied, but it includes within its range freedom from all forms of selfishness.
“ God's living and abiding word.” This is more than any written revelation. It is far more than any preaching or teaching of the Gospel. It is more like what S. John tells us in the introduction to his Gospel.
S. Peter is thinking of a divine, eternal, creative, power working in and on the soul of man. “The word of the Lord,” had thus come to he prophets old. As the writer to the Hebrews tells us : “ The word of God ... is quick and powerful ..
... a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. In other words, God manifested speaks to the soul of man. Either the preached or the written word may be the instrument of this, but he may work independently of both, and is not to be identified with either.
2:4. “ Rejected, indeed, by men."
It was not the rulers of the Jews only, nor the Jews only as a nation, but mankind at large, by whom ine head of the corner was rejected. 2:5.
“ A holy priesthood." As in the time of the patriarchs, as in the original ideal of Israel (Ex. 19:5), as in the vision of the future which floated before the eyes of Isaiah (61:6), so now in the
Church of Christ, there is to be no separate priesthood, in the Jewish sense of the word, nor are there to be identical functions. All are now to offer spiritual sacrifices as contrasted, with the burnt offerings of Jewish ritual. Compare Rom. 12:1.
Through Jesus Christ.” Here we have the sanction of the Church's use of this form of words in connection with all her acts of prayer and praise, and the implied truth that it is only through our union with Christ as the great High Priest and with his sacrifice we are able to share his priesthood and offer our own spiritual sacrifices acceptably to the Father.
“ Unbelievers." This means more than the mere absence of belief. It implies an active and deliberate resistance.
“ Stumble at the word.” The “word,” as before intimated, is the sum and substance of the Gospel and even more, that is, the power of God to salvation.
They were appointed to this." It is a part of God's appointed order that the disobedient should stumble and be put to shame. Stumbling, however, is not at all identical with being irretrievably lost. Compare Rom. 9:11.
“ That you should make known.” We are not chosen for our own sakes as Israel was not. We are chosen to act as God's exponents to the world. On this point S. Peter and S. Paul are at one with each other, and with the old Jewish Prophets before them.