What was the most exciting and joyful day of your life?
Certainly, we can answer this question in a number of different ways. And each of us may point to different exciting times in our life. For example, I could look to a major victory in sports. As a football player, I played in several exciting games. The most memorable ones were when we came from behind to win the game.
Also, I could point to receiving one of my college degrees. Whether it be my first degree in Biology, my Master’s degree in botany, or my PhD in Ecology. I think my most joy came when I graduated from Moody Biblical Seminary.
I have other highlights in my life. Perhaps the celebration when I retired after working more than 30-years as a research scientist or being ordained by Truth Fellowship Live. These were certainly memorable. But they were mere accomplishments.
So, what about the day I got married some 42-years ago (my anniversary is May 26). Or how about the birth of my three children or my five grandchildren. These were indeed very joyous days and I cannot think of much that would be more so.
But there is a day that has changed my life more than any other has. A day that transformed my life; a day that has impacted my life more than all of these other great days—the day gave me a living hope.
A living hope
In my last post, we discussed 1 Peter 1:3-5. We saw our praiseworthy God, who has abundant mercy, provided us with a new birth and a living hope through the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Our rebirth has provided us with a sure inheritance that is kept by the power of God.
For me, I received this living hope in September 1971. Peter goes on in his first epistle to begins to discuss the living hope we have in Christ. Peter says:
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6–9)
Let’s examine what Peter is saying in this passage.
Joy during trial
We are now—at this present time—in a position to rejoice greatly. Our living hope is brought about through our new birth in Christ. We were separated from God because of sin (Romans 3:23). But at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). You see, God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). By trusting in Christ—and Christ alone—we are given a new life and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because of this, we rejoice. This is the greatest joy we can ever experience. John 5:24 reminds us that … he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” This provides us with a hope of eternal life. But Peter also wants us to rejoice during this present age.
In this life, we will experience various trials. Peter tells us that even in these we should rejoice. Our living hope is to be enjoyed even while we suffer grief. The Greek word for rejoice means “rejoice greatly.” It is used by Peter in 1:6, 8; and 4:13. It means “to exult” or “to be overjoyed.” It is the outward expression of joy and is a religious joy. Peter indicates that when believers suffer grief, it is for a little while; it is always temporary.
The purpose of suffering
Peter subsequently deals with the purpose of suffering. Suffering ultimately is for the proving the genuineness of your faith. He begins by showing the value of faith is demonstrated by faith’s refinement in the fire of testing. Trials test the character of faith, whether your faith is true or false, in the same way that fire tests the character of gold. If faith is tested and passes the test, this faith will be rewarded with praise and glory and honor at the Second Coming (see 1 Cor 3:10-15).
Praise means “the recognition, the approval, and the reward of public commendation.” This will be received at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Glory means to share in the radiance of the Shechinah Glory. The word honor means “to have a position of distinction.” This is a position to which the saints will be promoted. What a day that will be—when we see Christ face-to-face at the Bema Seat. If our faith passes the test, we will hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Our faith grows and it is proved when we undergo the trials and griefs of life.
The object of faith
Our faith must have an object. That is to say, our faith must be in something or someone. Peter tells us that our faith must be in the Messiah—Jesus the Christ, our Lord. Peter reminds these readers that they are second generation Jewish believers—though you have not seen Him [Jesus] (NASB)—in the past, they still love Him.
Although they have never experienced personal contact with Jesus, their belief in Him results from apostolic preaching. They have never seen Jesus; yet, they still believe and rejoice with joy inexpressible. This joy is full of glory even though it cannot be expressed by human words and it is a joy inspired by the glory yet to come.
The goal of faith
The goal of faith is personal salvation. Peter said our faith would result in receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. The Greek word means either “end” or “goal,” which in this context refers to the salvation of the soul. Peter is speaking of our right to experience joy in the present—during this lifetime—with an eye on the future aspect of our faith.
Believers can rejoice because we are in the process of receiving as a reward what was promised—the salvation of our souls. This is the ultimate goal of faith.
For those who love and believe in Jesus Christ,
- Salvation is past—it has already happened and we have received it (He” has begotten us again to a living hope…” v. 3);
- Salvation is present (through faith we “are kept by the power of God” v. 5)
- Salvation is future (it is our “inheritance” v. 4, which will “be revealed in the last time” v. 5, and is “the end (goal) of your faith,” v. 9.
We see in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that …even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Therefore, we are now receiving the reward of our faith…but much more is to come. Thus, even as persecution deepens and demonstrates our faith, our salvation is certainly cause for inexpressible and glorious joy!
Have you trusted in Christ for your salvation?
If you have not trusted in Christ, now is the time to do so. Only through Christ can we find meaning in this life and an inheritance in the next life.
If have trusted in Christ, this should bring you great joy each day. Spend some time rejoicing. Give thanks to God for all He has given you and for the certainty of the salvation of your soul.
Whichever action is appropriate for you, do it now.