Why Christians Can Rejoice
1 Peter 1:6-9 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The theme of this Epistle is about suffering. However, the word suffering is mentioned only after the first five verses here in Chapter 1. From here, we can see that suffering is part of the ordinary or normal Christian life. We believers have reasons to rejoice even in the midst of suffering or fiery trials.
I. Rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory
A. To rejoice is to be joyful; to exult in God (Lev. 23:40; Mt 5:12). Rejoicing, in the Bible, most frequently has to do with rejoicing in God, in His power and glory, in His protection, in His graciousness, in His provision (Deut. 12:12; 26:11; 1 Sam. 2:1; Ps. 9:2; 31:7; 32:11; Isa. 41:16; Ph. 4:4).
B. Joy is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is the object and ground of the believer’s joy.
C. “Unspeakable” means unable to tell out. Our joy surpasses our ability to describe it. We cannot express properly our joy in God, not with words.
D. We will exalt with joy at the return of Christ (I Pet. 4:13; Jude 24).
E. The basis of our rejoicing can be traced back from verses 2 to 5
1. We are the elect chosen, chosen by God the father, sprinkled by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, sanctified by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:2)
2. We’ve been born again unto a lively hope. (1 Pet. 1:3)
3. We have an inheritance in heaven. (1 Pet. 1:4).
4. We are being kept by the Lord (1 Pet. 1:5). You will never lose your salvation.
F. The believer is not yet glorified but his joy is in fellowship with the Lord. If you are in close fellowship with the Lord your joy will be full of glory.
II. Suffering is part of the Christian life
A. The Bible plainly says that trouble and suffering is the lot of every child of Adam (Job 5:7).
B. The Christian is subject to the normal afflictions connected with this sinful world, and is promised that he will also suffer for his faith (Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:18; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12).
C. God’s plan includes no accidents or mistakes. Even the sins committed against us by others are a part of God’s plan for our lives (Genesis 50:20).
Illustration: Pass Through the Fire
Most of the Psalms were born in difficulty. Most of the Epistles were written in prisons. Most of the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers of all time had to pass through the fire. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress from jail. Florence Nightingale, too ill to move from her bed, reorganized the hospitals of England. Semi paralyzed and under the constant menace of apoplexy, Pasteur was tireless in his attack on disease. During the greater part of his life, American historian Francis
Parkman suffered so acutely that he could not work for more than five minutes as a time. His eyesight was so wretched that he could scrawl only a few gigantic words on a manuscript, yet he contrived to write twenty magnificent volumes of history.
Sometimes it seems that when God is about to make preeminent use of a man, he puts him through the fire. All of us will endure suffering while we are here on earth.
III. The Christian can rejoice in the midst of suffering.
1. The apostle James wrote about it. “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (James 1:2-4).
2. The Apostle Paul told “…I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (II Cor. 7:4)
3. The Macedonian Christians experienced it “…in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy” (II Cor. 8:1,2)
4. As written by the Apostle Paul to the Colossians “…longsuffering with joyfulness” (Col. 1:11).
5. Described by Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians “…in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit” (I Thess. 1:6).
IV. Suffering will last for a while only.
A. Sorrows last only for a short time.
1. “present time” – Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
2. “for a moment” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
3. “awhile” – 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
4. “a season” – 1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
We all think and feel our problems are unique and sometimes we ask the Lord “why me?” Trials and tribulations of this life will be left behind when we enter Heaven. The difficulty we presently face will look different a year from now. You may face slander or gossip. This will pass. You may be in financial crisis. It will eventually pass. The suffering we endure on earth does not indicate our future estate in the kingdom of God. Because of this, we must live by faith and believe that what we now see is not what we will get in eternity. All sufferings will end when we will be with the Lord.
V. The Purpose of Suffering
1. All suffering is ultimately for the glory of God, even the innocent sufferings of Christians.
2. Trials and sufferings proves our faith. God refines our faith by trials. Our proven faith glorifies God.
3. The trials and tribulations prove not only the genuineness of our faith, but they strengthen and purify our faith as well (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-13).
4. God wants our faith to grow, and suffering is one of the best way to that growth.
5. Suffering is closely related to faith. It is a test which exposes false faith from true faith.
6. Those who really love the Lord will always be faithful and will always love Jesus and believe in Him whom they have not seen.
7. The outcome of our tested faith is salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9).
Indeed we can rejoice in the Lord even in the midst of trials and tribulations. We can rejoice even more when we meet Him in glory. Have you experienced the joy of salvation, and the joy of being a child of God? If not why don’t you come to Christ? He is waiting for you.