Tuesday, 24 September 2019
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 1 Peter 1:6
Peter begins this verse with, “In this.” It is referring to the “living hope” mentioned in verse 3 and the excitingly wonderful description given from verses 3-6. This living hope allows us to “greatly rejoice” no matter what our current situation is. And who could not do so when he fully grasps what Peter has described!
In his words is the assurance of salvation, not merely a dubious hope. It is a hope which is grounded in the promises of God which cannot fail. And, it is because of this living hope, that is possessed by believers, that they can look beyond the temporary light afflictions that they may face. As Peter says, “though now for a little while.”
Peter is speaking not of a temporary issue during this life, but the temporary issue which is this life. The KJV gives a false sense of the idea by saying, “for a season.” Again, Peter’s words do not speak of a temporary part of this life at all, but the whole. This whole is being compared to a short period of time. In comparison to the eternal state in which we will be, this life truly is “a little while.” Understanding this, he then says, “if need be.”
There is a purpose for all things that come to man, and those things come according to God’s sovereign decisions. In the book of Job, Satan afflicted Job terribly, but he did so only as allowed by the Lord. There was, in fact, a need for this trial in his life, and there is always a reason for that which occurs in our lives as well.
For some, they are truly for a season, meaning temporary. Job was afflicted and then restored. However, others may face a particular affliction (or afflictions) for their entire lifespan. Peter would still call this “a little while.”
He then finishes his thought concerning this with, “you have been grieved by various trials.” The words, “you have been grieved,” have the sense of, “you have been put to grief.” It is passive in the grief. We are the recipients of the grief, just as Job was. The next word translated as “by” here is the Greek word en. It means “in.” Vincent’s Word Studies says, “the preposition not being instrumental, but indicating the sphere or environment in which the grief operates.”
In other words, we are living in a world of grief, and we have been put to grief in this world where grief operates. What Peter is doing is making a contrast between what is now so that we can compare it to what lies ahead in our “living hope” which is “incorruptible and undefiled.” What we experience here cannot compare to the glory which lies ahead.
The word translated as “various” is one which speaks of the spots of a leopard, lines in marble, or the embroidering of a robe. It is something variegated. The trials come out in various ways, and at various times and degrees depending on the individual. Despite these, Peter says that the believer rejoices. The only reason why one would rejoice through such things is because there is a hope that they have an end. If they were to be one’s full and final lot in life, what would there be to rejoice in? But when we truly grasp that this life is a blip on the road which leads to eternal glory, then why should we let it consume our joy and disturb our souls?
Life application: Are you reading this commentary today and seeing that Peter’s words apply to you? Mature Christians will look beyond the “various trials” which have grieved us, and which may continue to grieve us, and we will possess a joy as we face them. It is certain that we are not immune from trials, and we should even expect them, but they are really only grains of sand on a road otherwise paved with gold, and which leads us to our coming glorified state.
In the book of Colossians, Paul shows us his ability to rejoice even while writing from a Roman prison –
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24
Paul was often beaten, imprisoned, abandoned, or he faced some other terrible time. And yet, he could look beyond the moment to the glory to come. If you think carefully about everything that goes on around you, it is all exactly as it should be, and we are moving toward the consummation of the ages.
God is in complete control even if we aren’t. He is working faithfully through our many errors, trials, and heartaches. In the end, we can look back on our lives and say, “So this is why that happened.” For now, you should trust that He hasn’t abandoned you, and He hasn’t carelessly forgotten about your every need. While we may mourn now, we can still rejoice in the future. Our hope is that sure; our destiny is secure.
Lord God, help us to realize that you haven’t abandoned us, nor have you forgotten even our slightest sorrows. How much more then do You know and care for our times of overwhelming grief. Thank You for being so tender and caring towards us. You are a great and awesome Creator and to You we give our praise. Hallelujah and Amen!