1 Peter 1:10-12
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you:…
I. THE NATURE OF THE TRUTH AFFIRMED.
1. The object of inquiry is — salvation and its concomitants: a salvation which consists in deliverance from condemnation, from the love and power of sin, and in restoration to peace and happiness; a salvation revealed in the Scriptures; a salvation the subject of prophecy; a salvation which, both in respect to its nature and the time of its accomplishment, engaged the most serious attention of the prophets; a salvation which rests, not on the merit or power of many, but on the grace of God; a salvation effected by the sufferings, death, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The persons engaged in this inquiry. The angels do not partake of body, nor organic eye, nor ear, nor other sense, yet they have powers equivalent to these faculties, even increased and extended; for they are represented as knowing the interior as well as the surface of things. They are as powerful as they are wise. They have been corrupted by no apostasy from God. They are true, just, benevolent, devout, they glorify God, and thereby completely answer the ends of their creation. They are, at the same time, as happy as they are good; they feel no pain, know no want; their perceptions are all pleasant, thoughts all elevated, employments all dignified.
3. The manner in which they conduct this inquiry. They "desire to look into" them. Looking is a species or modification of seeing. It implies seeing, but it includes more. In seeing, the mind is often in a considerable degree passive; an object is brought before the eye, and it must be seen, although it may not be considered or attended to. In looking, the mind is not only active, but it puts forth all its powers with energy. The object is not brought to it, but it is sought for; and when it is found the eye is directed towards it, and kept fixed upon it, to the exclusion of other objects. When we speak of seeing, as applied to the mind, it means apprehension or discovery. Nothing is so laborious and fatiguing to the mind as fixed, intense thought; and very great must be the importance or charms of an object which can engage it. But such is the importance and such are the charms of the things of salvation to angels, that they not only bend their capacious minds to this subject, and prosecute it with fixed, intense, and eager thought, but they consider it as an object of pleasure; for they not only look, but they desire to look into the things which pertain to salvation.
II. THE CREDIBILITY OF THIS TRUTH. It naturally excites surprise when we are told that angels, who have no immediate connection with salvation, should leave their native employments to investigate it with so much earnestness and solicitude. This, however, upon reflection, will be found to be a fact as reasonable as it is true.
1. The things which pertain to salvation form an object the contemplation of which is peculiarly adapted to the capacities of angels. In the salvation of Christ there is a new revelation of God; a new display of Divine character and attributes; not to be discovered in any other thing or in any other way within the whole compass of the universe of God. An object so completely adapted to the talents and to the duties of angels imposes obligations upon them to inquire into its nature and properties, which without blame, they could not neglect.
2. The things which pertain to salvation form an object which is peculiarly calculated to attract the notice of angels. They, in visiting, age after age, the utmost bounds of the creation of God, must have seen mighty wonders unknown to man; yet, after all, there is something, if I may so express myself, in the nature and texture, in the magnitude and utility of salvation, which has not its equal in the whole universe of God. It is this, therefore, that justly attracts their notice, and leads them to bend their mighty minds to the investigation of a subject so singularly astonishing.
3. The things which pertain to salvation form an object the knowledge of which will be highly beneficial to angels. It reveals to them new attributes, and discovers new glories in the Divine character; it increases their piety and devotion; it will afford them new employments, and add to their usefulness; it will enable them to discharge better the duties of their high office of ministering to the heirs of salvation; and it will give them a sweeter voice and a loftier tone in performing the heavenly song, which ascribes blessing and power and dominion to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.
4. The things which pertain unto salvation form an object in attending to which angels serve God. When angels trace in salvation evidences of wisdom, power, and glory, far superior to those which appear in the other works of God; when they admire the wonderful events of the incarnation, atonement, and redemption, these new things which have happened in the earth, their reverence and love towards the Divine Being are thereby increased; they render homage to the Son of God; and, in so doing, they obey the commandment which God hath given; for when He brought His First Begotten into the world, He said, "Let all the angels of God worship Him"; and thus they serve Him with increasing diligence and zeal.
III. THE UTILITY OF THIS TRUTH.
1. It is calculated to rescue the doctrine of salvation from unworthy treatment, Yes! angels are captivated by the doctrines of salvation which men presume to neglect.
2. It should give the doctrine of salvation dignity in the eyes of men.
3. It indicates the manner in which the doctrine of salvation should be studied.
4. It should encourage perseverance in endeavouring to attain the knowledge of the doctrine of salvation.
5. The greatness of the privileges of those to whom the knowledge of salvation is offered. Jesus Christ is emphatically styled in the Scriptures the unspeakable gift of God; and surely to attain the knowledge of salvation through Him, must be the most important privilege that possibly can be enjoyed.
(J. C. Jones. D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: