Present-Hope Joy – 1 Peter 1:6-9

So we come to our third point, the Joy of Trials. Verse 8:

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

Unlike Peter, we have not seen Jesus, and we do not see him now. Yet, disciples of Christ trust in Jesus and love Jesus. As Jesus said to doubting Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Although we have not seen, we, miraculously, have believed. This miracle was decreed by the Lord, initiated by the Lord, and is carried through by the Lord. It is not of us. It is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Therefore, we rightly rejoice.

But, what is this “joy that is inexpressible,” that Peter mentions? Well, joy in Christ in the midst of trials can certainly be inexpressible. It is hard to cry and laugh at the same time. And, as it is “inexpressible,” how can I describe it here? It is suffering terrible grief, yet, finding joy in Christ, in whom every tear will be wiped away, keeping you from despair. It is a seemingly hopeless situation, yet, suffering no loss of hope due to your belief in an all-powerful, perfectly-loving God. It is suffering from sickness, injury, life changing debilitations, even old age, yet, rejoicing in the hope of the perfect, glorified body you will possess for all eternity, which is part of your inheritance kept for you in heaven by the power of God. It is tied into that peace that passes understanding. Sometimes you experience great trials, yet, you find yourself having peace and joy, and you really cannot put your finger on exactly why. Sometimes these things are beyond us. It is enough that we know the why is Jesus.

Maybe you are thinking of times when you’ve experienced just this type of inexpressible joy. I know many of you know exactly what this is. It’s a joy filled with glory, isn’t it? God’s glory, because secure in him we never have reason to despair. All praise and glory to God!

And so, we come to The End of it All. Verse 9:

“obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Notice this does not say, the salvation of your spirit, the salvation of your body, or the salvation of your mind. It says, “the salvation of your souls.” Your soul is your entire being, body, mind, and spirit.

The outcome of your faith, the faith of a disciple of Christ, which has been tested true and refined by fire, is that when the Lord returns, your whole being will be saved from the wrath of God. As Jesus said in Matt. 25:34, concerning his words to his people at the Last Judgment, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And in that end, we find the beginning of life.

Are you going through various trials? Most people are in some form or another. How are you holding up? Do you find yourself focusing narrowly on the troubles immediately at hand? Or, do you have the long perspective, even, an eternal perspective?

My friends, there is no reason to despair if you are in Christ. He is our living hope! Look to Jesus, in the grief of your trials, to find that joy that is inexpressible, confident that your faith has been tested and found sure. Find your peace in the Lord. Look to the eternity that is before you as an immortal being, perfect, and powerful, unhampered by sin. It is right there. It is close enough to touch.

And live your life following the call of Jesus (whom you love, and whom you trust), keeping your eyes on him, the author and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before him endured the Cross. Your joy is set before you. You can persevere in him.

The story is told of an old man who struggled through great difficulties without feeling sorry for himself, or betraying the least impatience. One of his friends asked the old man if he could teach him his secret of contentment. “Sure,” the old man replied; “I can teach you my secret; it consists of nothing more than making a right use of my eyes.”

Seeing how perplexed his friend was, the old man explained, “In whatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven, and remember that my principle business here is to get there; I then look down upon the earth, and call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it, when I die and am buried; I then look abroad into the world and observe what multitudes there are who are in all respects more miserable than myself.

Thus, I learn where true joy is placed; where all our cares must end; and what little reason I have to feel sorry for myself or complain.” [3]

In this life we suffer the grief of various trials. But, in Christ, we know they have a purpose. In him we can find joy despite our pain. Look to Jesus in love and in faith, and find your salvation. Since the salvation of the Lord’s people is grounded in Him, we should view present hardships from an eternal perspective.