Home  |  About Us  |  News & Views  |  Articles & Studies  |  Meditations |  E-periodical  |  Guest Log  |  Contact Us

Studies from 1Peter: 4

IV. Christian Joy in the midst of trials. 1 Peter 1:6—9

By Nelson Thomas, Mumbai

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your salvation faith- the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:6—9

Peter comes to the actual life of the readers. He mentions two experiences that they go through:-
                       a. Great joy: - v.6, v.8c. “Inexpressible”
                       b. Various trials. V6. “Grieved by various trials.”
He will further exhort them to keep on rejoicing in spite of the more fiery trials they are about to go through. Cf. 4:12, 13.

Is it possible to experience both at the same time? Joy & sorry simultaneously!
           Generally man rejoices when he finds every thing ok, his desires fulfilled etc. But a Christian rejoices even as he goes through painful situations. This is one of the unique paradoxical experiences of Christian life mentioned in the New Testament.

Three things about Christian joy:-

1. Essential Christian experience.
It was the normal feature / experience of Christians from the 1st century. New Testament refers around 70 times about believer’s joy.

           Matt. 28:9: – “All hail” / ‘Oh joy’- It was the first century Christian greetings.
            Acts. 2:46 –“Continued daily …. …with gladness.” It was state of the early church. Cf. Act.8: 39; 16:34.
Happiness was a natural result of salvation and new life. It was implanted with in us at conversion. No need to create or pretend to be happy. Cf. Matt. 13:20, 21:- False Christians can not experience such joy.

2. Supernatural in its origin and value.
What is joy? Is it laughing or smiling? According to a dictionary, “An emotion evoked by well being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.”
For natural man, joy is to have a sense of well-being. That means everything is well and good so he is happy. His joy is based on food, shelter, cloth and money etc.

But Christian joy is not based on such external factors. Not affected by circumstances cf. 1 Pet. 1:6. Grievous trials could not diminish the joy of the readers of Peter. Their joy was the result of their union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Cf.
           Phil. 3:1 -in the Lord
           Neh. 8:10 -of the Lord.
           Rom. 14:17 –in the Holy Spirit
           Gal 5:19 – fruit of the Spirit
Christian joy comes from God. It’s divine in its origin. Cf. Psa. 4:7 “You have put gladness in my heart more than in the season that their grain and wine increased”. That’s why:-
           • Not affected by circumstances cf. 1 Pet. 1:6
           • Can not create with favorable conditions.
                     So, Circumstances should not take our joy.

Notice the experience of the apostles:-
           Act. 16:24, 25 –Songs of praise from the dungeon.
           Act. 5:41 – Beaten badly yet rejoicing.
           2Cori. 6:10- ‘sorrowful yet making others happy’
A true Christian believer may go through manifold painful incidents but underneath there is joy – a sense of well-being, implanted by the Lord, undisturbed by circumstances. They may be poor yet rich in spiritual enjoyment.

3. We have been exhorted to exhibit this joy.
The word of God commands us to rejoice in the Lord. Notice some of those references:-
            1 Pet. 4:13 - Keep on rejoicing even if fiery trials!
            Phil. 3:1:- rejoice –again I say, -to write... Not tedious.
            1Thess. 5:16:- rejoice always.
            Dt. 12:7; 16:11:- God commands
            Jn. 17:13:- Christ’s concern cf. 16:22
Let the world know our spiritual happiness. It’s a testimony. It can influence others. The Lord requires us to do so. (Notice: - Already it has been mentioned, joy doesn’t mean to laugh or smile, but being happy with in our heart and feeling that everything is well, in spite of the circumstances.)

Now, there is another paradoxical truth, the Lord Jesus who said, ‘you may rejoice’ lived as a man of sorrows. Isa 53:7. He took our sorrows that we may rejoice in the Lord.

What hinder / enhance:-

           The Bible speaks about many things that can hinder as well as enhance our spiritual joy. It is good to consider those things for quite often because of these reasons believers fail lead a happy Christian life.

Notice some of the things that made Peter’s readers happy:-

A. Awareness / assurance of:-
           1. Their relationship with God –begotten.
            2. Their eternal inheritance –reserved.
            3. Their own security – kept / protected
            4. Truth about future –to be revealed.
            5. Truths about a Christian’s suffering:-
                        a. Temporary –“little while” cf. 2 Cori. 4:17
                        b. Purposeful –to try –prove genuineness.
                        c. Rewarding –praise, honour.

                    Such awareness led them to:-
B. Love for Christ even if not seen. v.8
C. Trust in Christ against all odds. V.8

The joy of the readers of Peter and the circumstances is noteworthy. It was knowledge of God’s wonderful works in them that made to rejoice more. Discovering biblical truth increases spiritual joy. Cf.
Psa. 63: 5, 6-meditation brings joy.
Jer. 15:16 –ate the word – results in joy.

From the above mentioned point it is perfectly clear that spiritual ignorance takes away our joy whereas knowledge of the word God enhances our joy.
Apart from that we can notice some thing more from other scripture portions:-
           -Sin destroys our joy. Cf. Psa. 51:12 David lost his delight. Psa. 4:7; 32:3—5. A clean heart increases it.
           - Fellowship with the Lord and His people affects our joy. Cf. 1John1:3, 4.
            - Prayerlessness is another major part that can influence our joy. Cf. 1 Samuel 21; 1:10, 15, 18 About Hanna we read that after her, “her face was no longer sad.”

Conclusion: - True Christian living is a joyful life irrespective of the painful situations we go through. Suffering is part of Christian life, so is happiness. It is supernatural in origin and quality. Unbelievers and false Christians can not experience it, for it is inbuilt, implanted by the Lord Himself.

In this world of sorrow and hopelessness God wants His people to show His joy among them. The joy of the Lord is our strength. It is a testimony too. It affects others with whom we interact.


Next: Greatness of our salvation

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study.
You can also reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and
reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT yahoo.com