“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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9
We have all heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” Historically, it has always been considered ridiculous to believe in One whom we have not seen with our own eyes. While the world relies too much on what they can see, we remember Jesus’ own words to Thomas in John 20:29, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Therefore, in a society where faith has gained an increasingly bad reputation, Christians are those who shamelessly declare, “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
There are a few interesting things to consider in today’s verses about the audience’s relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. They love Jesus and believe in Him despite never having seen Him. And they continue to do so while not presently seeing Him. Something extremely important to note is that the one writing this letter had seen Jesus! Peter had lived and walked with Jesus for three years. He had left all that he had and followed Him, declaring Him to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Yet Peter commends the faith of these Christians because they loved the Lord and continued to believe in Him despite never having seen Him physically. As believers in the 21st Century, we join these early Christians in loving Jesus and believing that His life, death and resurrection are enough to save us from the wrath of God which we deserve. We have the testimony of those who did see Him, and our faith is strengthened.
Notice what this faith produces in the hearts of these saints: joy inexpressible, filled with glory. We need to remember that these believers were going through suffering and persecution. However, as we noted last week, the glorious inheritance that was theirs in Christ gave them incredible joy and hope even in the midst of trials and adversity. The beautiful thing about our faith is that we don’t just believe in a set of things, but rather we believe in a Being! We love and believe in that Person, Jesus. Hence, even through difficult seasons, our trust is in Him. Thus we can rejoice with joy that is inexpressible, filled with glory, because the One we have believed in sits in glory and has promised to come back and take us where He is. Even when the world around us promises suffering, sorrow and death, we look to Him and see the promise of joy and life. And that changes us from deep within. Our joy is not shallow, it cannot be expressed by a mere smile, nor is it fleeting such that the world’s pressures could destroy it. When the Christian learns to think of Jesus—His gracious work in salvation, His eternal power and victory, and His promise to bring us into His glory—there is little left to do than rejoice.
Finally, as we continue to love and believe in Jesus, rejoicing with joy inexpressible and filled with glory, we continue to obtain the outcome of our faith: the salvation of our souls. All who have repented of their sins and turned to the Lord Jesus by faith have a great privilege. We currently enjoy new life and a living hope (Verse 3), a certain, guaranteed inheritance (Verse 4), God’s powerful guarding (Verse 5), and hope in the midst of trials (Verses 6 and 7). And ultimately, all these wonderful things will be multiplied infinitely when Jesus returns and gives us the full reward that He bought for us in His life, death and resurrection. While we currently have hope that it is well with our souls, there is coming a day when our souls will be with the One we have loved, the One in whom we have believed, the One in whom we rejoice. Jesus, our souls’ great reward!
Therefore, let us continue holding onto Him, for we shall indeed see Him face to face, and He will be worth every single sacrifice we made along the way, for He will make up for every single trial that we pass through on our way home to Him.
Have you allowed the things you can see to rob you of the joy that is in Christ? What are some of the things that get more of your attention than He does?