Joy mingled grief

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 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, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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 1:3–9 ESV)

Peter is writing to the elect exiles of the dispersion (v1).  We are exiles in a foreign land that long for our true home.  Our hearts cry out with all of creation for the day when all things will be made new; redemption has happened – restoration is sure.  Just as Israel was God’s chosen people, now, Christians are God’s chosen people – His elect inheritance according to His sovereign choosing.

It is because of God’s great mercy that we have been born again (see also Ephesians 2:4-5).  He is the one that has caused this in us.  We now have a living hope, one that will not fail us!  We have been raised from death to life!  This living hope is our inheritance.  What we will one day inherit will not spoil or be spent.  Our inheritance will not be exhausted and it is guarded by the Creator Himself!  This inheritance language conjures up in one’s mind the OT saint’s inheritance of the Promised Land (Num. 32:19; Deut. 2:12; 12:9; 25:19; 26:1; Josh. 11:23; Ps. 105:11) which is really a picture of our return to Eden – the new heaven & new earth.

Our inheritance is secure, nothing can destroy it – quite different than our lives today!  We toil at making life secure, safe & comfortable, only to have things tarnish & break.  Our hope is that one day, all sad things will be made untrue – all things will be made new.  It is God’s power that guards not just our inheritance, but our faith as well.  God is guarding our faith and salvation.  What a relief that it once again does not depend upon me and my faithfulness, but upon God’s.  God will guard us by His sovereign power; He will sustain our faith until the end of time.

We rejoice in God’s mercy towards us.  We rejoice that there is a living hope – our inheritance.  We rejoice, despite the trying difficulties of the trials that we are facing.  These are real & pressing, but when they are COMPARED with the glory that is to come, they become light & momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17).  This is joy mingled with grief.  Real, difficult, toil, but hopeful joy that one day this will all be made new and that He is bringing us in to the true Promised Land.

Our suffering is “necessary.”  Regardless of the flavor of the trials that you face, it has been filtered through the loving, sovereign hands of the Almighty and He deems them “necessary.”  Even though we can’t always see the purpose of our suffering (Job’s reason for his trials were never revealed to Him), we have to trust our good & sovereign Father!  They are necessary to develop our faith, which will not fail us at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Trials & suffering produce an enduring faith in us.  Father, help us to see your glory and set our minds on the things that are to come so that we can see our current sufferings as “light & momentary.”