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. FIRST, WE ARE TO MENTION THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION WHICH ARE PROBABLY THE SUBJECT OF ADORING INQUIRY, OR PERHAPS HOLY ASTONISHMENT, TO THE ANGELS OF GOD.
1. The first thing I shall mention is the Incarnation of the Son of God; the union of the Divine and human nature, by the Word's being made flesh. It is probable that this discovery was made to the angels gradually, as it was to men. There is one circumstance in the Incarnation itself, which is certainly as astonishing as any, That He was not only made flesh, but sent "in the likeness of sinful flesh." What so opposite to the nature of God as sin? And what so surprising, as that the Son of God, though without sin, yet should in all respects outwardly be like to sinners? that He should be taken for a sinner, treated as a sinner, and at last crucified as more than ordinary sinner?
2. Another circumstance which must afford matter for adoring inquiry to the celestial spirits, is the substitution of an innocent person in the room of the guilty, and His suffering from the hand of God. The angels had always hitherto seen innocence and holiness attended with peace and felicity, and they had seen the apostate spirits laid under an irreversible sentence of condemnation. What astonishment, then, must it have given them, what new views of the boundless sovereignty and unsearchable wisdom of the Most High must it have opened to them, when they heard Him saying, "Deliver him from going down into the pit, I have found a ransom!" How often must they have been put to a stand, what to think of the severity and persecution, the contempt and opposition which Christ met with from those very sinners whom He came to save! But above all, how must they have been at a loss to comprehend His being exposed, not only to the contempt of man, but to the wrath of God! For "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He hath put Him to grief."
3. Another circumstance in the plan of redemption through Christ, which will afford matter of wonder to the celestial spirits, is the free justification of sinners, and their acceptance with God, through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Must not this appear a new and extraordinary plan to the angels, who, by personal and perfect obedience, retain the favour of their Creator, and who had been hitherto strangers to the influence and intercession of a mediator? who had seen no such thing take place when their brethren sinned (Hebrews 2:16). The holy angels will rather say, "Let us step aside and see this great sight." They will then see that there is no way more proper for maintaining the dignity of the Divine Government; nay, that it is the only way by which those who have been sinners can be received into favour. They will see and confess that there is no circumstance whatever that tends more to level the pride of the sinner's heart, and bring him to universal submission, and absolute subjection to the sovereignty of God.
4. Another circumstance in the mystery of the gospel which will be matter of wonder to the angels, is the application of redemption, or the manner and means of translating sinners "from darkness to light," and "from the power of Satan unto God."
II. PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT.
1. What you have heard will contribute, I hope, to show the guilt of those who despise the gospel, and serve to remove the offence of the Cross.
2. You may learn from what has been said the encouragement that is given to sinners to return to God through Christ.
3. From what hath been said upon this subject, you may examine your title to partake of the holy ordinance of the Lord's Supper; or, in other words, your right to the favour of God and to eternal life. No disposition more suitable, none more necessary at a communion table than a grateful and admiring sense of redeeming love;
4. From what has been said, learn what is your most proper employment at the Lord's table. Adore and contemplate the riches of redeeming grace, that great theme which "the angels desire to look into."
(J. Witherspoon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: