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.