This is the second of a series of two articles focusing on 1 Peter 1’s discussion of the resurrection and faith.
In the first article, I point out that 1 Peter 1:3-5 indicates we are promised, through Christ’s resurrection, a great inheritance and a living hope.
In this second one, I want to encourage you with what 1 Peter 1:6-9 says about grief and trials here on Earth. This is an edited version of part of a sermon I delivered.
I want to encourage you by relaying that, according to the Bible, difficulties can lead to grief, but grief can enhance faith and faith can bring joy and salvation.
Grief and Trials on Earth are Opportunities for Our Faith
1 Peter 1:6 says that we should “greatly rejoice” in this inheritance and living hope given to us by God.
This rejoicing should go on, it says,
… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The passage says “for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
That’s an understatement for many of us! Grief and trials come in many forms: death of love ones … realizing regretful things we did to hurt others … anxiety over deadly viruses … physical ailments … anxiety … many ways.
Grief and trials come in different ways to different people, but we all face them.
I think the verse is saying we may have already faced grief and difficulties. It is also implying more will come.
Why Do We Face Grief and Trials?
The passage says grief through difficulties have come for a reason. Why? Grief and difficulties come “so that the proven genuineness of your faith … may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Wow. Grief and trials are so our faith may be shown or proven.
Note “proven genuineness” isn’t “greatness,” “perfectness,” or “high amount of.”
In other words, grief doesn’t come so that we can prove we have a lot of faith or that we can show our faith is perfect. Grief is not inviting a public performance of proof.
Nor is Peter encouraging us to dismiss grief and trials as easy. Or to look for trials. Or to risk or tempt grief or trials.
Indeed, the Greek in the original is δοκίμιον (dokiminion), emphasizing proof or testing of what is, not seeking to prove or test.
Proven to Whom?
To whom do we show or prove the genuineness of our faith? I think it is God and ourselves.
Others can guess, but they don’t really know. They can see what we produce and the fruits of our faith, but it is only God and ourselves that know the “proven genuineness” of our faith.
And it is different for different people.
The same particular action might be one of great faith for one person and not so for another. For one, it might be faith. For another, it might be self-righteousness or showing off.
This can’t be judged or measured by us humans by the type of action or otherwise.
Grief and trials, while we do not seek them, give us an opportunity to work on and grow in our faith, that ourselves and God may see.
It is this faith, our genuine faith, that we grow that “may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
What Are Some Ways This Faith Might Manifest Itself Now?
The passage points out, “[t]hough you have not seen [Jesus], you love him; and … you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy ….”
In other words, knowing of the resurrection, even though we — you and I — have not seen Jesus in the flesh, we love Jesus and believe in him. That love and belief can fill us “with an inexpressible and glorious joy ….”
Say that again. Inexpressible and glorious joy.
This joy offered to us by God, through the resurrection, through love, comes with our inheritance and hope.
This knowledge that we have that we are receiving “the end result” of our faith — the salvation of our souls — and our love for Christ can yield joy.
This joy comes through our belief in Christ and through our faith.
So, through Christ, we can have a great joy that benefits us here and now. Even in the face of grief and trials.
And not just in the face of grief and trials. Grief and trials can be catalyst.
Through Christ, the grief and trials that we have been through, and the grief and trials we will go through in the future, can bring faith. And that faith can bring joy.
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Sources / Notes
All scripture quotes from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay