Summary: After beginning his letter with hope & encouragement, Peter proceeds with loving counsel for those who are facing trials & suffering. He shares with a suffering church various results that develop out of the trials which God allows to come into our lives.
1 PETER 1: 6-9 [Renewing Hope Series]
OUR PRESENT JOY
Our faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead not only fills us with a living hope but also with joy inexpressible and full of glory. As we endure the trials of life God refines our faith and develops our inner strength as He prepares us for the most wondrous experience of our existence, our great personal encounter with Him at the end of our earthly life.
So after beginning his letter with words of hope and encouragement, Peter proceeds with loving counsel for those who are facing trials and suffering. Although he discusses the matter of suffering thoroughly later in his letter (3:13-17, 4:12-19, 5:9), he promptly opens up the subject here [with great wisdom and insight].
Peter knows what it means to face temptations and trials. He remembers well the pain of falling to temptation when he denied his Lord on the night of Christ’s betrayal. Undoubtedly, Peter continued to face trials through out his life, and he discovered that in addition to the grief that trials bring, God uses trials to bring benefits into our life. And so he shares with a suffering church various results that develop out of the trials which God allows to come into our lives (CIT). [Cedar, Paul. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol 34 : James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984, S. 116.]
I. GREAT REJOICING, 1:6.
II. PRECIOUS FAITH, 1:7.
III. INEXPRESSIBLE JOY, 1:8.
IV. FAITH’S OUTCOME, 1:9.
Meditating on the coming glorious culmination/consummation of our salvation brings us Present Joy as verse 6 teaches. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”
Peter understood that as we make our way through life, we will suffer as a result of our troubles. Tough times can bring pain and sadness and they don’t seem to bring any good at all. Peter told us to greatly rejoice in them. He wanted us to look ahead to the necessary spiritual development that trials bring and to reside in the forever joy that is ours. We thus can actually rejoice through our difficulties because God has reserved something special for us at the end of our journey due to our suffering for His name. The gains of heaven will more than compensate us for the losses of earth.
The prospect of our inheritance and finishing our salvation journey should encourage us to greatly rejoice. The unusual Greek word [agalliasthai] translated greatly rejoice implies a forever joy, a joy that is out of this world. The word is used in 1:18 to convey an “inexpressible and glorious joy” and again in 4:13 for being “overjoyed” at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This joy is always a jubilant release for some divine action.
We have this great joy “even though now for a little while” we experience suffering. We can because this joy is unconditional, or not dependent on one’s external circumstances. Because of the hope that is within us we can rejoice in spite of and even in the midst of our hard trials. Early Christians vivid awareness of the presence of God in their lives enabled them to rejoice in God as He carried them through all manner of deprivation and ill-treatment.
II. PRECIOUS FAITH, 1:7.
A purpose of trials is to enrich and develop our faith which is more precious than gold verse 7 proclaims. “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
God assures us in the midst of our sorrow that it is being used for a positive purpose. God is not the cause of suffering and pain, but He doesn’t allow it to be wasted. He uses every trial for our good if we commit ourselves to Him (Rom. 8:28).
The purpose of our trials is said to involve faith. Not saving faith, but sanctifying faith. These various trials have two benefits or results for our faith. First these trials Demonstrate our Faith. One reason trials are necessary is to prove the genuineness of our faith. The word dokimazomenou, rendered proved genuine, means “to test for the purpose of approving” (dokimion, “testing,” as in James 1:3, and dokimon, “test,” in James 1:12), to demonstrate the authenticity of something. We suffer trials so that our faith may be proved genuine. Trials let the reality of our faith be displayed.
Gold is used as an illustration. If you think you’ve discovered gold, how would you prove its authenticity, its true value? You would take it to an assayer to evaluate the gold. He would then test it to see if it was real or genuine.