Notes on 1 Peter 1:8

1 Pet 1:8

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Peter continues, by commending these, “strangers” for loving Christ despite having never seen him.  He also connects love with faith by stating, “in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing…” Faith and love, love and faith.  What Peter writes here is praiseworthy to the Holy Spirit of God.  We cannot see where the Spirit comes from or where the Spirit is going, but we can see the effects of the Spirit, see John 3:8.  Peter had seen Christ in the flesh, in sufferings, in his resurrection, and in his transfiguration.  However, scripture is replete with evidence disproving the saying, “seeing is believing.”  See John 10:25, Matthew 13:13-15, Matthew 21:15 and consider the many instances of public miracles followed by outright denial, read John 6.

The Christians Peter writes to, like us, never saw Christ with their own eyes.  Yet, they loved him and they believed in him.  Their affections were set towards him because he first loved them.  They received the Gospel with joy and rejoiced in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.  His office as priest, his work on our behalf, his paying our sin debt ought to stir all the greater sense of duty within ourselves.

They laid their total trust in what Christ had said and did.  They laid their all in the sufficiency of his crucifixion and the power of his resurrection.  Behold the marvelous work of God’s Spirit!  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  This light comes from God.  This knowledge is due to Christ’s work and ministered by the work of the Holy Spirit.  Here is something for us to hang our hats on.  This light does not come through the intellectual powers of the mind, nor does it come from the strength of youth, but this knowledge comes from the divine revelation of the Spirit through the Gospel.

Having this in mind, we see that Peter had cause to commend their love and faith.  I do not know if Peter knew any of these Christians personally or via good reports from other Elders, but for Peter to commend them for their love and believing in Christ means that were working works according to the faith given to them.  How do we outwardly measure a person’s confession of faith? When they keep his commandments such as loving each other and following presenting the fruits of the Spirit in their daily or our daily lives, see John 14:15; 1 John 2:5, 3:11, Gal 5:16-25. If we love the Lord, let us seek a deeper fellowship with him.  One way to do this is through daily reading his word, prayer, and serving each other according to our gifts.

Lastly, this love and believing in Christ results in, “joy unspeakable” that is to God’s glory.  Our trials may be many, and our worldly comforts at times few, but here is a well from which we may draw never ending streams of grace, mercy, and comfort.  We may look to Calvary the place at which our burden was rolled off and we proceeded forth on the narrow pilgrim’s walk.  Here we see the joy in Christ is such that words cannot describe it.  It is beyond description and quantification.  It is a joy which is given from the infinite to the finite.  Such a joy glorifies God.  It does not seek to exalt self or achievements.  This joy is to the glory of God.  This joy ought to fill us the more we study our scripture and the more we pray for each other and ourselves.  I hope and pray God will keep us by his power that we should be partakers of this joy springing forth from love and faith.

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