Can Christians experience joy and grief at the same time? Is there a purpose to the trials that you are facing right now? God answers both of these questions with a mighty “yes” in today’s passage. We do not always understand what the Father is doing and why. But in the hard times, His desire and plan for us is always that we look to Jesus and live.
We may not be facing the same sorrows and sufferings as the early church. I don’t know what makes your heart heavy right now. I don’t know what troubles or hardships you are facing in school, on your team, or at home. But God knows, and He has a purpose for your pain. Like the believers who first read this New Testament letter, we rejoice even when we grieve and struggle because our God is refining us for His heaven. Through the burdens and trials, we can rejoice because we know our Lord is purifying our faith. In the midst of the spiritual furnace, we cling tighter still to Jesus. Our love for sin and the things of this world burns off like dross away from the gold. We have not seen Jesus in the flesh, yet through faith we see and love our Savior more each day. As Hebrews 12:1-2, reminds us, we “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” so that we may “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
The Text (1 Peter 1:6-9)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Background and Observations
• In the original Greek in which 1 Peter was written, the root word for “trials” in verse 6 is actually the same as the root for “tested” in verse 7. The idea is that our faith as Christians is tested by tests just like the purity of gold is tested by fire. The trials or tests that God allows us to face will remove the spiritual junk from our lives and show us that our faith in Christ is real.
• The “salvation of your souls” (verse 9) that comes by your faith in Christ has past, present, and future meanings. You “were saved” when you first trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, meaning that you were “justified” or made right in God’s eyes. All the sins you ever committed or will commit were totally forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus. But now as you grow in faith and godliness, you are “being saved” or “sanctified” (made holy) more each day. When God finally calls you home to heaven, you “will be saved” or “glorified” as He finishes your salvation forever, destroying the last of the sin that remains in you.
• Our salvation through faith brings glory to God. We rejoice in the middle of our trials not just because of the spiritual growth they bring, but because God is honored when we praise Him even when life is hard. It shows the world that we don’t just love God for the earthly blessings He gives us. We love God because of who He is: all powerful, all wise, and all good. He gave us Jesus, His only Son, and He is greater than anything else this world can offer.
Questions to Think About
1. What are your griefs and trials right now? How does today’s Scripture encourage you in the middle of your suffering?
2. Is there any “dross” or junk in your life that God might be trying to burn off of you right now? Confession or acknowledgement of our sin is a good thing. However, God wants us to move on from confession to “repentance,” or change. Repentance is hating our sin the way that God does, loving Him and His ways more than our sin, and then turning away from our sin to live for Him. Repentance can be hard, but it is God’s way for us to grow in holiness to be more like Him. Repentance brings joy as we learn to walk in the new life that God has given us through Christ.