Thursday, 26 September 2019
…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 1 Peter 1:8
Peter had just spoken of the faith of his audience. Someday that faith would be turned to sight. As he said, “at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Now he confirms that they are living by faith and not by sight with the words, “whom having not seen you love.” It is to be remembered that Peter had lived with Christ, experienced many marvelous things with Him, and yet that did not lessen the honor of those who had not seen Him. In fact, Peter certainly remembered the words of Jesus to Thomas –
“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
It very well may be that this is what was on Peter’s mind as he penned his words to the saints. He next says, “Though now you do not see Him.” This is a set of words which, although rather innocuous in nature, are to be taken literally for all whom he is writing to. As this includes any who read Scripture, and as Scripture is given to all for the establishment and building up of faith (Romans 10:17), it is to be taken that Peter’s words here apply to all – “Though you do not see Him.” It is a note that we live by faith and not by sight. It thus dispels claims by those who say they have had visions of Christ. Taken together with Jesus’ words to Thomas, this is a certainty.
Peter then expresses what should be considered an honor with the words, “yet believing.” These people had believed simply by having been told. There was no sight, and yet they accepted the message. The honor Jesus spoke of to Thomas is firmly established in those who have come to God through the word conveyed to them. And in this act of faith, Peter then says, “you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
The joy inexpressible is that joy which can only be felt inside. It is the absolute surety that the faith in the heart will lead to the sight of the eyes. It is a joy which understands that the pains and trials of this world are nothing when compared to the state of existence which lies ahead. And it is a joy which says, “Though death may come, it does not have the final say over my existence.” Words cannot fully express the joy which is anticipated in the faith of the believer.
The idea of the believer’s joy being “full of glory” is that of anticipation in the state which lies ahead. We can look at our bodies and see true wisdom in their construction. We can marvel how they heal themselves from cuts, bruises, diseases, and so on. But we also know that our bodies are corruptible and will wear out.
We will die and our bodies will return to the dust. However, what God promises in Christ is a glory which is beyond our ability to imagine. We shall be like Christ, rising from the dead with eternal bodies. Such is just a small sampling of what the words “full of glory” look forward to. Peter understood this because it has been the hope of man since the fall. And it is a hope which is now realized in Christ Jesus, of whom his audience was now also partakers.
Life application: After the resurrection, Thomas doubted that it had occurred at all. This was even after the other apostles and those with them had emphatically claimed that Jesus was alive. Eight days later Jesus appeared while Thomas was present. Finally convinced of what he saw and felt, he cried out, “My Lord and my God!”
Are you struggling with the validity of the biblical account? Or do you have that inexpressible joy which is full of glory? The difference may simply be that you have failed to apply your faith to a study of the Bible.
When your faith is faltering, nothing can build it up like opening its pages and reminding yourself about the reliability of what is recorded there, including the book of 1 Peter.
If you find some portions difficult, go to reliable study aids which were written by people who have spent their lives verifying the accuracy of what the Bible records. Don’t be a doubting Thomas (or Jane, or Mike, or Calvin, or…)! Instead, believe the surety of God’s word and you will be filled with inexpressible joy!
Heavenly Father, I know Your word is sure and Your testimony is true. When my faith falters, help me to rebuild it through reexamining the pages of the Bible and being filled with Your glorious Holy Spirit. Yes, Lord! Fill me to overflowing with knowledge of You by the illumination of Your Word for my understanding and the joy that accompanies it. Amen.