1 Peter 1:6-7

1 Peter 1:6‑7  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Thus the new life imparted, as abundant as the mercy that begot us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from out of the dead, has a result no less worthy of the God and Father of our Lord. It is for an inheritance incorruptible in itself, undefiled by evil, and unfading in its beauty. It is not on earth as Israel looks for their portion, but reserved in heaven for saints who in their weakness are being guarded in the midst of difficulties and dangers through faith unto salvation, founded on a sacrifice even now accepted, and therefore ready to be revealed, even for the body, in a last season which will manifest the grand purpose of God.
The Apostle now turns to the marked and peculiar characteristic of Christianity which stands contrasted with the hopes of Israel: the co-existence of exceeding joy, whilst passing through keen sorrow of ever so varied kinds. It will not be thus, when Jehovah reigns, the world is stablished that it cannot be moved, and He judges the peoples with equity; when all creation is in harmony, the heavens glad, the earth rejoicing, the sea and its fullness loudly responsive, the field and all that is therein exulting, and the very trees of the wood singing for joy (Psa. 96). While the Lord Jesus abides hidden on high, the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now, though its earnest expectation waits for the revealing of the sons of God (Rom. 8); as their revealing depends on the manifestation of the Lord (Col. 3).
Then, and not before, will come the restitution of all things (Acts 3), when God who sent Jesus the first time for the redemption (by blood) of His heirs will send Him again for redemption (by power) of the inheritance, both heavenly and earthly (Eph. 1:1010That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)). Then Zion shall never more taste sorrow or shame; and stiff-necked rebellious Israel shall be meek under Jehovah and David their king, their backsliding healed, themselves loved freely, when He will be as the dew to them (Hos. 3:14), and they in the midst of many peoples as dew from Him, as showers upon the grass, a blessing that tarries not for man nor waits for the sons of men (Mic. 5).
But though by faith we behold Jesus, Who has been made a little lower than angels on account of the suffering of death, for the same reason crowned with glory and honor, now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him, as they will be seen when His world-kingdom comes (Rev. 11:1515And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)). Meanwhile sufferings prevail during the present time; and Satan, though known to faith as judged in the cross of Christ, is the ruler of this world, the god of this age blinding the thoughts of the faithless to the end that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ Who is God's image should not shine forth. Hence the Christian has the part of Christ, rejection and suffering both for righteousness and for His name. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:1919If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)). How different from the day when “great shall be the peace of thy (Zion's) children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.” “Behold, they may gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall because of thee.” “And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isa. 60:33And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)). “For that nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish” (Isa. 60:1212For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)): “Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for Jehovah shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended” (Isa. 60:2020Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. (Isaiah 60:20)).
Undoubtedly these are highly figurative expressions; but they are figures expressive of Israel's blessings in the days of the future kingdom when Jehovah shall be King over all the earth. In that day shall Jehovah be one, and His name one (Zech. 14:99And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9)). Then idols of silver and gold shall be consigned to the moles and to the bats (Isa. 2:2020In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; (Isaiah 2:20)). And peoples shall flow to the mountain of Jehovah's house; and many nations shall go and say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His path; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many peoples and reprove strong nations afar off; and they shall forge their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-knives: nation shall not rise against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Mic. 4:1-31But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Micah 4:1‑3)).
In these scriptures is a true foreshadow of the coming kingdom, but in no sense applicable to the Christian. For he now, though having peace in Christ, shall have tribulation in the world, called to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ; he knows, that if we endure, we shall also reign with Him, while wicked men and impostors wax worse and worse deceiving and deceived. As our Apostle says (1 Pet. 2:2020For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:20)), “If when ye do well and suffer, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable (or, grace) with God.” Such is practical Christianity in contrast with the coming kingdom, contradicted alike by the principle and the practice of Christendom. It is therefore the more imperative to dwell on the truth and expose the departure from it for His glory and the walk of faith.
“Wherein ye exult, now for a little (if it is needful) put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, much more precious than gold that perisheth though proved by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at [the] revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-76Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:6‑7)).
To connect “wherein” with the last season seems poor in comparison with the glorious result generally. It is even misleading, if it be so taken as to deny the Christian's title to exuberant joy even now in the portion God has given us in Christ. Never will there be a work to surpass, yea or to match, what has been already wrought in the cross. Nowhere else such a concentration of what otherwise must be irreconcilable, majesty and humiliation, holiness and mercy, righteousness and sin, love and hatred, Satan apparently victorious but really and forever vanquished, man at his utter worst, God in His fullest grace, Jesus at the lowest point of obedience, yet glorifying God absolutely even as to sin, all issuing for the believer to God's glory in a perfect acceptance and an everlasting deliverance, with the reconciliation of all creation to come. “Wherein ye exult.” What else can we feel through grace? If we believe, we do not wait for the day of sight to participate in this exceeding joy, which breaks forth in thanksgiving and praise. In that day it will without doubt be unmixed with suffering and sorrow. The weakness of the mortal body will be no longer, but incorruption, glory, and power: so thoroughly shall we all be changed at Christ's coming. There is no scripture, no sound reason, however hostile, to deny present exultation as a proper characteristic of the Christian even now; or this, as the precise meaning here intended by the apostle.
But it is accompanied by being “put to grief” as a needed passing trial in God's government, while the exceeding joy may and ought to be habitual. For this rests on accomplished redemption and life in the power of resurrection, on the grace and truth which came through the Saviour. These abide unchanging for our souls, whereas the grief is definite; as the very tenses of the verb and of the participle imply, no less than the facts warrant from which both affections cannot but flow. Hence “now for a little” qualifies of course the aorist participle, and in no way our actual exultation as unbelief in effect would make it. This is still more distinctly taught by the brief clause “if needful,” or “if there is need.” How considerate and good! For the Father of spirits deals thus for our profit to the partaking of His holiness. No discipline at the time seems of joy but of grief; but afterward it yields peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that have been exercised by it. So we read in Hebrews 12:10-1110For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:10‑11).
Nor is Peter's doctrine really different: “for a little at this time,1 if there is need, put to grief in manifold trials,” or temptations. So triumphantly says Rom. 8:3434Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34), It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather raised, who is too at the right hand of God, who also intercedeth for us: who shall separate us from the love of Christ? tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? These were heavy trials, but by no means all; for indeed they are many and manifold. But if we do not know what we should pray for as is fitting, the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us intercedes according to God Who hears Him; and we do know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those that are called according to purpose.
Only as Hebrews 12 looks for a good result now, our text points to yet more by-and-by, as it says, “that the proof of your faith, much more precious than of gold that perisheth though proved by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory in the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Thus the Apostle contemplates the wilderness and our journeying through it. In the type this began for Moses and Israel with a song of exultation; and if Israel failed to continue thus, it is no rule for us, for (or, concerning) whom God foresaw some better thing; and what happened to them is written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. The worshippers once purged have no longer any conscience of sins; and no wonder. For Christ by one offering has perfected forever—in perpetuity—those sanctified, as Christians are. The wilderness is pre-eminently the scene of temptation. There the heart is put to the proof. All the more needful is it, that in passing through we cherish confidence in God's love to us. There we find by these trials how weak we are, and alas! it may be, careless, light, and unfaithful. We are sifted like Simon Peter, but have the Lord pleading for us as for him that our faith fail not. For this is the desire and aim, that the proof of our faith might be found to praise.
Note again that praise, honor, and glory are connected with Christ's revelation. His coming to receive and take us to the Father's house is supreme grace; in His revelation will be the appraisal of fidelity and reward accordingly. Both assuredly will be verified; but righteous government is quite distinct from sovereign grace.