1 Peter 1:8
"...whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." (I Peter 1:8)
Here Peter speaks of an inexpressible joy, a theme that not only pervades this letter, but also is found throughout the New Testament. This word is used hundreds of times in the New Testament. What was the source of their joy?
First, material things were not their source of joy for Peter is writing to homeless ones, those called "pilgrims" and "sojourners". Even the Hebrew writer commends the saints for joyfully receiving the plundering of their material things. (Heb. 10:34)
Neither was pleasure their source of joy. Peter commands them to "abstain from fleshly lusts" (I Peter 2:11) and instructs them they are to no longer live according to the "lusts of men", but according to the "will of God". (I Peter 4:2)
Popularity was not the source of their joy. Peter is encouraging a persecuted people. For the moment they were being grieved by various trials and their faith was being tested by fire. ( I Peter 1:6,7) In these trials they were not to be ashamed, but to rejoice that they were partakers of Christ's sufferings. (I Peter 4:14-16)
What then was their source of the joy? Jesus Christ and God his father was the source of their joy. (I Peter 1:3-8) In this context God is "blessed" or extolled for his abundant mercy and for the incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that he promises through his son, Jesus Christ. These homeless one would suffer for a little while and then receive the salvation of their souls. This hope was the reason for their inexpressible joy!
So, my brother "gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ". (I Peter 1:13)
By George Slover
From Expository Files 9.10; October 2002