Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1
“Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcomes of your faith, the salvation of your souls”. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
As you read this, you fall into one of two categories. 1. A person who is enjoying life, living with high hopes of a promising future, or 2. A person who is discouraged at life’s difficulties and struggling to find real joy in this world. The solution for both is not positive thinking or trying to be better. The real solution can only be found in the person of Christ.
Taking 1 Peter 1 backwards, Peter quotes Isaiah 40 in v. 24-25, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” If you’re riding high on life’s waves, what is it that makes you happy? Our lives are temporal, like withering grass. Will friends, family, games, money, and all the worldly things ever last to give eternal joy? If you’ve sunk deep down the ocean of despair, where is your hope for a better tomorrow? Who or what do you look to for ‘salvation’ from your circumstances?
This world can offer no hope because we have corrupted it with sin and evil. All the things we think give us joy are temporal and fleeting. True hope and joy are only found in the person of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot”.
In love, Christ came to ransom us from the problem of evil. He did this by becoming a sacrifice for your sins. And, what Christ did on the cross has bought us the promise noted in 1 Peter 1:3, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” For those who believe in Christ and the forgiveness of sins, there is hope in the power of the cross. At the cross, the Author of life was put to death for our sins. Yet, He was raised by the Father, showing that Christ overcame the power of sin and darkness. He was accepted and seated at the Father’s right hand, and He is there today as King of kings.
The Supreme Power of the universe keeps for us the inheritance of future glory and restoration in heaven. Christ has given us a living hope for true joy and true life in future glory. However, this true joy is not only withheld for the future. Because of this hope, true happiness can be ours today. 1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials”.
How do we set our hope on this future glory, and how can we find true joy today? Peter’s exhortation is holiness. He says in 1 Peter 1:14-15, “As obedient children, do not conform to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”. Eternal life is not about living forever and enjoying temporal things that make us happy forever. Eternal life is about learning to enjoy God, the ultimate source of true joy. John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”.
True joy today means to hope and live in eternal life today. That means enjoying and knowing God today. How do we accomplish that? By the path of holiness. It means putting to death our former lusts and fleshly desires. It means to grow in God’s Word and present our lives in complete trust in God’s ways. When we do, and when we seek joy and satisfaction in no other except Jesus Christ, there we will understand true joy, God’s joy.
Lord, I want to be joyful in You. Please place my hope in the person of Christ who has died and ransomed me to an eternal living hope. Teach me to know You and to know holiness. As You are holy, make me holy. Wean me from the passions of sin and plant a love for Your ways and Your truth in me. Let me walk in them and let me walk with You that I may enjoy You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.