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THE GOAL OF YOUR FAITH

July 10, 2013

Text:  “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not 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.” I Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)

Of all the verses that speak of faith, these two are probably the least referred to. Indeed, I confess to overlooking them. But one day in my Bible reading they sprang from the page and glittered like gold! We all have our favorite verses and passages and neglect many others, but let us reevaluate these two and what they have to tell us.

It occurred to me that the verse that these two relate to most is Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Both of these passages talk about things that are not seen in this world.  One speaks of a reality of the present: the other speaks of reality of the future.  But both generate faith and happiness that sustain our souls.   

Those Christians to whom Peter was writing had been experiencing persecution (see verse 6). In other words they had been going through a period of testing.  Life is a test. The Christian is taught by such trials to  endure them and to persevere in the faith. The reason for his persistence is the value of the reward: heaven.  Peter is specific about the value of our inheritance: it is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” Worth the sorrows and woes of this life.

So the apostle Peter affirms that we will have joy in this life because we are Christians. That’s right, rejoicing and true happiness here on earth. Peter tells us this joy is “inexpressible“. It is ineffable, so great that you can not describe it in words. Moreover, the joy of faith in Jesus is “filled with glory“. That means that our rejoicing glorifies and magnifies God!

Do you remember “Droopy”, the sad looking little dog in the MGM cartoons? He was a basset hound whose imperturbable expression never changed and whose demeanor was always “low-key”.  He always bested the bad guys but never gloated. In some of the episodes he would turn to the audience and say, “You know what? I’m happy” in the blandest of expressions. That always broke me up! Let’s vitalize our joy and let other people know that we are joyful Christians.

Beyond this, Peter looks to the future to remind us of our futures. He informs us that we achieve by faith a deeper, richer reward than we can imagine. The fruit of our persistent and steadfast faith is “the salvation of your souls”. Just think of it, “All this, and heaven too!” 

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