YOU HAVE NOT SEEN HIM: on ouk idontes (AAPMPN):
excellent cross references on seeing the unseeable - Jn 20:29 2Co
4:18, 5:7 Heb 11:1,27 1Jn 4:20)
Christianity: Inexpressible Joy in the Invisible Christ")
The Greek phrase
is "of Whom not having had a glimpse".
emphasis in this phrase is upon the person of Christ – "Whom".
The Greek implies the idea of "toward whom" placing emphasis upon the
direction of our faith toward a person
Unlike Peter, these readers were not eyewitnesses of Jesus, but this was not a "spiritual
disadvantage." The world says "seeing is believing" but Jesus said
"Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (Jn
Another of those glorious "paradoxes" of Christianity.
Paul reminded the Corinthians that "we look (skopeo
- spy out,
look towards an object, to contemplate, give attention to - so not
merely a description of usual human vision but with the idea of
regarding a thing as important) not at the things which are seen (these things are not the goal of their existence), but at the
things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal,
but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2Co 4:18-note)
Jowett comments that "to be able to see the
first is sight; to be able to see the second is insight. The first
mode of vision is natural, the second mode is spiritual. The primary
organ in the first discernment is intellect; the primary organ in the
second discernment is faith... All through the Scriptures this
contrast between sight and insight is being continually presented to
us, and everywhere we are taught to measure the meagerness and
stinginess of the one, and set it over the fulness and expansiveness
of the other." (Jowett, Life in the Heights, pp68, 69)
readers had fully developed the skill of "spiritual insight"
and had learned to "walk by faith, not by sight." (2Cor 5:7)
How do we develop that same "spiritual insight"?
By believing what Scripture says and living by that belief.
Michael Card expressed the
paradox of not seeing yet seeing in one of his songs...
That's What Faith Must
Play this song
To hear with my
to see with my
to be guided by
a hand I cannot hold
to trust in a
way that I cannot see
faith must be.
never saw the Lord Jesus with the physical sense of sight,
but ah, what a vivid portrait of Him did the Holy Spirit paint for
them on the canvas of their spiritual vision....The picture of the
earthly Lord Jesus in His mortal body, seen by human eyes, is
supplanted now by the picture of the glorified Man in the Glory,
painted by the Holy Spirit for the spiritual vision of the saint....It
is as we free ourselves from the conception an artist may have of what
he thinks the Lord Jesus looked like in His life on earth, and depend
upon the Holy Spirit through the Word to reveal to us the likeness of
our Lord Jesus, that we come to some true conception of Him in His
glorified state. We will recognize Him in the Glory over yonder, not
by what human artists have conceived Him to be, but by the Holy
Spirit’s portrait of Him.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
LOVE HIM: agapate (2PPAI):
(See Torrey's Topic "Love
- see related study of noun
agape) means to love unconditionally
and sacrificially as God Himself loves sinful men (John 3:16), the way
He loves the Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:23, 24). Love is in the
present tense - you continually love Him, and I would submit
that love that manifests this perseverance is enabled in our hearts by
the Spirit of Christ!
is a verb and by its
verbal nature calls for action. This quality of love is not an emotion
but is an action initiated by a volitional choice.
writes that agapao "expresses the purest, noblest form
of love, which is volitionally driven, not motivated by superficial
appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. (MacArthur,
John: 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Moody Press)
Wuest - Agapao speaks of a love which is
awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize
it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object.
It is a love of esteem and approbation (act of approving). The quality of this love is
determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the
object loved (Ed: And I would add that such love necessitates
divine power supplied by the Spirit Who enables this God-like love.). (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Vine - Love can be known only from the
actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John
4:9, 10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or
affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its
objects, Romans 5:8. It was an exercise of the divine will in
deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies
in the nature of God Himself, cp. Deuteronomy 7:7, 8. Love had its
perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2Corinthians
5:14; Ephesians 2:4; 3:19; 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His
Spirit in the Christian, Galatians 5:22. Christian love has God for
its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit
obedience to His commandments, John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1John 2:5;
5:3; 2 John 6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of
love to God. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
In short, agapao describes unconditional, sacrificial love
which is the love that God Himself is. Agapao is not sentimental or
emotional but obedient as an act of one's will which desiring
another's highest good (and so is willing to die to the interest of
note above agapao is
present tense, picturing their love as the habit of
their lives, not an intermittent passing infatuation or emotional
high. And if the habit of their life was to "love" Him, they were also
"obeying" Him because Jesus taught that "If
you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (Jn
14:15 cf Jn 15:13)
Paul records that "the love (agape) of God has been poured out
(lavishly poured out to the point of overflowing - perfect tense = has
poured in and still
floods our hearts) within our hearts through
the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Ro 5:5-note)
(Ed: Here we see the "Hoover Dam" power station which enables
agape love -- it has flooded our hearts via the Spirit Who indwells
The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s love into our hearts and we
return that love to Him.)
Wiersbe comments that "When you find yourself in some trial, and you hurt,
immediately lift your heart to Christ in true love and worship. Why?
Because this will take the poison out of the experience and replace it
with healing medicine. Satan wants to use life’s trials
to bring out the worst in us, but God wants to bring out the best in
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
It is interesting to note as an
aside that the expression those who
love Him is often a descriptive name for believers (Ro 8:28-note
1Cor 2:9 Ex 20:6 Ps 97:10
Ps 145:20 [Spurgeon's
love for Christ was a sure mark that they had been born into the
family of God, for as Jesus informed the antagonistic Jewish audience
(who initially had expressed an intellectual belief in Him, see Jn
If God were your
Father, you would love Me (Jn 8:42)
Paul was a bit more direct writing
If anyone does
the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha. (which means "Come Lord") (1Cor
Human love needs the seen presence
of the beloved one to complete the fullness of its joy (2Jn 1:12)
but Peter's readers love of the unseen Jesus produced joy even amid
Wuest - It
was the clear-cut conception of the Lord Jesus which the Holy Spirit
had given these saints through the Word, that caused them to love Him.
The distinctive Greek word for “love” here, agape, refers to a
love that is called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the
person loved. But even the preciousness of the Lord Jesus would not
have made these individuals love Him if God in salvation had not
produced in them that divine love which He Himself is, with which to
love Him (Ro 5:5-
Gal 5:22, 23-notes). One must have the nature of an
artist to really appreciate and love art. One must have the nature of
God (2Pe 1:4-note) to appreciate and love the Lord Jesus. It is this
ideal combination of a study of God’s Word and a definite subjection
to the Holy Spirit that results in the clear, vivid portrait of the
Lord Jesus in the spiritual vision of the saint. To know Him is to
love Him. To know Him better, is to love Him better. The secret of an
intimate, loving fellowship with the Lord Jesus, the secret of knowing
Him in an intimate way, is in the moment-by-moment control of the Holy
Spirit over the life of the Christian believer."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
William Lincoln - People talk a lot about love, but
the true test of love to God and Christ is, that in the trial it
says—“I would not lose the favor and
smile of God, so will
rather suffer than grieve Him.” Love will be content with a crust and
the smile of God, rather than a better position and the popularity of
the world without it. Such tests must come to all the true children of
God; they winnow the chaff from the wheat. The gold comes out from the
fire tried, and purified from its dross."
YOU DO NOT SEE HIM NOW: eis on arti me orontes (PAPMPN):
This fact points out that their continuing committal is not nurtured
by gazing upon His visible presence but by grazing upon the promises in His Word,
for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ, Who is
"the Word" (Jn 1:1).
Unlike Thomas Peter's readers had not demanded to see Him before they
would believe (John 20:25).
The Life Application Commentary has this
interesting note about our "paradoxical" (to the outside world) faith
rejoice despite trials and suffering, have faith in someone they have
never seen, and stake their lives on promises. Why?
Because they know
the Lord." (cp 2Ti 1:12-note)
B. B., et al. Life Application Bible Commentary. Romans: Tyndale House
(arti) means at this moment, at the immediate present,
or "just now" and has a beautiful implication in the present context.
Peter is saying in essence "No "not now" yet yes "one day soon and
forever" you will see your Lord and King face to face." (Rev
22:3, 4-see notes
(certainty) must have made them want to shout "Hallelujah!" Does this glorious
prospect make you want to shout "glory" or do you want to "shrink back in shame
at His coming"
(see 1Jn 2:28)
But - Identifies a contrast,
and it always a good practice to ask "What is the writer contrasting?"
the faith, the
obedience of faith)
(1Pe 1:8, 21, 2:6, 7)
denotes not just an intellectual assent to the truth of the gospel,
but also involves an act of the heart and will of the subject.
emphasizes the ongoing commitment (in the face of not seeing
Him...walk by faith not by sight), and clearly this constancy of
belief is empowered by the Spirit Who indwells us.
means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s
trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction
as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To
consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of.
notes that pisteuo "means to persuade, to cause belief,
to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the
meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion
In secular Greek
literature, as well as in the New Testament, pisteuo (pistis,
pistos) has a basic meaning of an intellectual assent or a belief that
something is true. Michel says that this use arose during the
Hellenistic period. During the struggle with skepticism and atheism,
it acquired the sense of conviction concerning the existence and
activity of the Greek gods. Thayer calls this the intransitive use of
the word which conveys the idea of to be sure or be persuaded that
something is a fact. This kind of faith does not require any action on
the part of the believer but only an intellectual acceptance. As
discussed below, James used this type of faith as an example of a dead
faith stating that "The devils also believe, and tremble" (Ja 2:19).
secular Greek meaning that is the more common use in the New Testament
is the transitive or active use which means to "put faith in" or "rely
upon" someone or something. Sometimes it has even stronger meaning:
"To entrust something to another." In classical usage it denoted
conduct that honored a previous agreement, such as the honoring of a
truce between opposing armies (Iliad 2.124). The meaning of entrusting
something to someone is found in Xenophon (Memorabilia 4.4.17). An
example of this use in the New Testament is 2 Timothy 1:12. Paul said
I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed
unto him against that day (see note
2 Timothy 1:12)
(Comment: Here pisteuo means to trust in or rely upon Christ to
Did you notice the triad of hope, love and faith
in (1Peter 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)?
Faith means surrendering all
to God and obeying His Word in spite of circumstances and
consequences. Love and faith go together for when you love someone, you
trust him. And faith and love together help to strengthen hope for
where you find faith and love, you will find confidence for the
future. This faith in the Messiah Whom they had never seen sustained
W. H. Griffith Thomas
gives us an excellent description of the interrelation of
faith, hope and love...
Faith rests on
the past, love
works in the present, and hope presses toward the future; or,
looks backward and upward, love
looks outward, and hope looks forward. These three constitute
the true, complete Christian life and not one of them should be
omitted or slighted. We are only too apt to emphasize faith and
forget hope but, inasmuch as hope is invariably
connected with the coming of the Lord, "that blessed hope"
(Titus 2:13), it is a vital part of our Christian life.
hope expects; faith
appropriates, hope anticipates;
hope realizes; faith
is always and only concerned with the past and present, hope is
always and only concerned with the future.
We know that
faith comes by hearing; we shall find
that hope comes by experience.
Faith is concerned with a person who
promises, hope with the thing promised; and
faith is the
root of which hope is a fruit."
YOU GREATLY REJOICE
WITH JOY INEXPRESSIBLE AND FULL OF GLORY: de agalliasthe (2PPMI) chara aneklaleto kai dedoxasmene (RPPFSD):
(Torrey has an interesting topic "Happiness
of Saints in this life")
Greatly rejoice (21)(agalliao
[word study]) is the same
verb Peter used in 1Pe 1:6
picturing one so filled that they feel like skipping
around "jumping for joy." As discussed earlier,
agalliao depicts jumping and
shouting for joy which cannot be contained. Remember the context -
these saints are experiencing fiery trials! And yet the
present tense indicates that jumping joy was their continual
experience. Peter is not saying that we should rejoice over
the circumstances, but that we can rejoice in the midst
of them by focusing on Jesus Christ and our future with Him. Joy
resides in the unseen Jesus, the Source of joy. Future hope
fuels present joy, independent of fiery trials. Stated another way, present
joy based on a future hope can fuel steadfast endurance in fiery
trials. Every trial
we experience can help us learn something new and wonderful about our
Savior. If Abraham had refused the trial in (Genesis
22), he would never have come to know God as Jehovah
Jireh His Provider.
is a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing.
Secular dictionaries define joy
as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or the
emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The
world's definition of joy is therefore virtually synonymous
with the definition of happiness, for both of these "emotions" are
dependent on what "happens".
Certainly there is joy in human
life, such as joy when one experiences a victory (" We will
sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set
up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions." Psalm
or reaps a bountiful harvest (see Isaiah 9:3), but more often the
Bible speaks of joy in a spiritual sense. For example, Nehemiah
declared to the down in the mouth (not very filled with joy) Jews that
"The joy of the Lord is
your strength" (Nehemiah
Similarly, David pleaded with God to “restore to me the joy of Thy
salvation” (Ps 51:12
It is not surprising that joy and rejoicing are found most frequently
in the Psalms (about 80 references) and the Gospels (about 40
C. S. Lewis got a bit closer to the
Biblical meaning when he called joy an “unsatisfied desire which is
itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” That statement is
a bit obtuse but Lewis then goes on to add that joy "must be
sharply distinguished both from happiness and from pleasure".
Ultimately Lewis' experienced joy when he discovered that Jesus was
the wellspring of all joy.
Joy then is the deep-down
sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows
all is well between himself and the Lord. It is not an experience that
comes from favorable circumstances but even occurs when those
circumstances are the most painful and severe as Jesus taught His
Truly, truly, I say to you, that
you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be
sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. 21 "Whenever
a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but
when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more,
for joy that a child has been born into the world. 22
"Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your
heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from
you. (Jn 16:20-22)
Believers have the Resident Source
of joy within, for as as Paul teaches
the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Galatians
Emotional fluctuations cannot
disturb this Source of joy. Note Paul’s statement of this confidence
For our citizenship is in heaven,
from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Php
Chara in some uses can describe the
person or thing that actually is the source of the joy. For example
when the angel announced the birth of Jesus he referred to this
occasion as a great joy (Luke 2:10). Similarly when Paul
referred to his beloved saints in Philippi, whom he longed to see, he
called them his joy and crown (Php 4:1-note).
Joy is the blessed state that is
promised to the bondservants ...
His master said to him, 'Well done,
good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will
put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.'
The Christian life is to be a life
It is founded on faith in Jesus, whose life on earth began as "good
news of great joy for all people" (Luke 2:10).
The theme of joy is
underscored by the 59 uses of "joy" and the 74 uses of "rejoice" in
the NT always to signify a feeling of happiness that is based on
Joy is God’s gift to
believers and is thus more than just a mood. This is a deep confidence
that was rooted in God’s sovereign control of the universe, His
unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities including
the assurance of ultimate victory for those who are in Christ by grace
Joy is a part of
God’s own nature and Spirit that He manifests in His children.
Joy is the inevitable
overflow of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and of the believer’s
knowing His continuing presence and having a sense of well being
experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord.
Biblical Joy not only does not come
from favorable human circumstances but is sometimes greatest when
those circumstances are the most painful and severe.
God’s joy is full, complete
in every way. Nothing human or circumstantial can add to it or detract
from it. But it is not fulfilled in a believer’s life except through
reliance on and obedience to the Lord.
Although joy is a gift of
God through the fruit borne by His Spirit to those who belong to Christ
and who are surrendered to His perfect will, the expression of this
commanded Paul writing...
Rejoice in the Lord
always; again I will say, rejoice! (Php
cf Php 3:1-note)
Because joy comes as a gift from Him, the command obviously is not for
believers to manufacture or try to imitate it but to delight in the
blessing they already possess (Ro 14:17-note;
Php 4:4-note). The command is to
gratefully accept and revel in this great blessing they already
Webster's definition of
is NOT a good description of JOY that a believer experiences
but reflects the world's viewpoint of what brings joy: "the emotion
evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of
possessing what one desires"
Warren Wiersbe defines
that inward peace and sufficiency
that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is
Paul’s experience recorded in Php 4:10-20.) This "holy optimism"
keeps him going in spite of difficulties.
Matthew Henry defines
as "cheerfulness in conversation with
our friends, or rather a constant delight in God
Donald Campbell former
President of Dallas Theological Seminary says "Joy (chara) is a deep and abiding
inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ (Jn
It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s
sovereign control of all things (cf. Ro 8:28)
William MacDonald says "Joy is contentment and satisfaction
with God and with His dealings. Christ displayed it in Jn 4:34
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Adam Clarke defines joy as "The exultation that arises from a
sense of God’s mercy communicated to the soul in the pardon of its
iniquities, and the prospect of that eternal glory of which it has the
foretaste in the pardon of sin."
joy as "triumphant overflow of Christian
Barclay adds that "It is not the joy that comes from
earthly things, still less from triumphing over someone else in
competition. It is a joy whose foundation is God."
is the byproduct of obedience. (Source Unknown)
than as He is obeyed."
Richard Sibbes - Those that look to be happy must first look to be
John Howe really nails down the reason many believers do not
experience the joy of the LORD as their strength writing that "God is not otherwise to
Haydn, the great musician, was once asked why his church music
was so cheerful, and he replied:
When I think upon God, my heart is
so full of joy
that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen, and since God
has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve Him
with a cheerful spirit.
Men have pursued joy in every
avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have
not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found
and as you read the list allow the Spirit to search your heart to see
there be any hurtful way in it
Not in Unbelief — Voltaire
was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had
never been born...(and at his death cried out desperately) I am
abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if
you will give me six month's life. Then I shall go to hell; and you
will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!”
Not in Pleasure — Lord Byron
lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the
canker, and grief are mine alone.”
Not in Money — Jay
Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he
said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Not in Position and Fame
— Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote:
“Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”
Not in Military Glory
— Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having
done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more
worlds to conquer.”
Where then is real
— the answer is simple, in Christ alone. (Adapted from The Bible Friend, Turning
Point, May, 1993)
As a third-century man was
anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend:
It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad
world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy
people who have learned a great secret. They have found a
which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life.
and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls.
They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am
one of them.
The eternal effect of a Christian filled with the
Joy of the Lord:
Many years ago when the great
Adoniram Judson was home on furlough,
he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy
playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival was struck
by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any
human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who
the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but became so
absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the
impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that
boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful
face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of
memoirs he penned a chapter entitled: “What a Boy Saw in the Face of
Adoniram Judson.” That lighted countenance had changed his life. Even
as flowers thrive when they bend to the light, so shining, radiant
faces come to those who constantly turn toward Christ!
It takes 72 muscles to frown—only 14 to smile!
Acts repeatedly emphasizes joy
as a fruit of salvation
(Acts 2:43,46; 8:8,39; 13:48,52; 15:3).
The Christian’s joy is not dependent on earthly circumstances
but on the risen, exalted Christ at God’s right hand. It is no more
possible to rob a saint of his joy than it is to unseat Christ from
His place of glory. The two stand together. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
with two unusual adjectives
full of glory
from a = without + eklaléo = to speak out, to disclose) means literally unable to
be told out, what cannot be spoken and so unutterable, unspeakable,
ineffable (incapable of being expressed in words). This verse
represents the only Biblical use of this adjective.
This joy defies all human efforts at understanding or explanation. The joy
they experienced could not be adequately expressed in words. This
quality of joy contradicts the experience of
natural fallen man.
Kelly adds that "This is a mystery of faith
contradicting everyday experience, and so the joy is inexpressible.
Christians do not rejoice because of sufferings but because of their
present perception of Christ (in the Word) and the certain expectation
of His future return and reign. What they believed rightly, radically
affected what they experienced.
Albert Barnes comments
inexpressible is a "very strong expression, and yet
verified in thousands of cases among young converts, and among those
in the maturer days of piety. There are thousands who can say that
their happiness when they first had evidence that their sins were
forgiven, that the burden of guilt was rolled away, and that they were
the children of God, was unspeakable. They had no words to express it,
it was so full and so new:
Tongue can never express.
The sweet comfort and peace
Of a soul in its earliest love
And so there have been
thousands of mature Christians who can adopt the same language, and
who could find no words to express the peace and joy which they have
found in the love of Christ, and the hope of heaven. And why are not
all Christians enabled to say constantly that they "rejoice with joy
unspeakable?" Is it not a privilege which they might possess? Is there
anything in the nature of religion which forbids it? Why should not
one be filled with constant joy who has the hope of dwelling in a
world of glory forever?" (Barnes Notes on the Bible)
Would the majority of the church in America be described this way?
Spurgeon once asked "Why is this joy of the
Christian so unspeakable and full of glory? I think it is because it
is so altogether divine. It is God's own joy; it is Christ's own joy.
- see word study on
doxa) means to be give praise, to magnify, to extol.
Doxazo is in the
perfect tense (past
completed action with present ongoing result or effect)
passive voice (action
produced from outside source) which pictures Christian joy as suffused
( spread over or through) with glory which is their permanent state and which will
culminate when we "gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2Th
2:14). This fact would help
explain why this joy is inexpressible. And yet it is a joy that is
available now to saints who are steadfastly suffering for their Lord.
The picture brings to mind the writer of Hebrews description of the
Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame" (Heb
thus "leaving (us) an example...to follow in His steps." (1Pe
A T Robertson writes that full
of glory is like the glorified face of Moses. The Septuagint
(Lxx - Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) in fact uses this same verb doxazo recording that
when Moses went down from
the mountain, there were the two tables in the hands of Moses,-- as
then he went down from the mountain, Moses knew not that the
appearance of the skin of his face was glorified (doxazo),
when God spoke to him." (Ex 34:39)
Even as Moses' face reflected a glow associated with being in the
presence of Jehovah, the joy these believers possessed somehow was
infused with heavenly glory, a glory which ultimately gives a proper
opinion of the Lord, the only One to Whom glory is due.
Application Commentary agrees adding that that the believer's present joy is
infused with a heavenly glory.
While we await Christ’s return, we are already experiencing a touch of
heaven through the joy of our relationship with God. (Barton,
B, et al: The NIV Life Application Commentary Series: Tyndale)
Barnes explains "full of
glory" as speaking (1) Of anticipated glory - of the
prospect of enjoying the glory of heaven. (2) of present glory
- with a joy even now which is of the same nature as that in heaven; a
happiness the same in kind, though not in degree, as that which will
be ours in a brighter world. (Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
Jameison adds that this joy
full of glory speaks of a joy that is
encompassed with glory. The "glory" is partly in present possession,
through the presence of Christ, "the Lord of glory," in the soul;
partly in assured anticipation.
Gill explains that "full of
glory" is "a joy on account of the glory of God, which the
believer lives in the hope and faith of; and it is a beginning, a
presage and pledge of it; it is a glory begun here; it is the
firstfruits, and a part also of it; and by it saints may know a little
what heaven itself will be." (And I would add that by this glory,
the lost world might also see and come to know something of the
heavenly glory of God in the face of the believer who radiates such a
joy full of glory!) (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
Matthew Henry adds that this
joy is "full
of glory, full of heaven. There is much of heaven and the future
glory in the present joys of improved Christians; their faith removes
the causes of sorrow, and affords the best reasons for joy."
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
J Vernon McGee has some pithy
comments "Does this set your heart to beating faster? Are you really in love
with Him, or do you have a dead religion that is quite meaningless?
Oh, my friend, Christ is so wonderful! Simon Peter loved Him. Paul
loved Him, and all of those who have genuinely served Him have loved
Him. I hope you love Him today. If you do, it will solve a lot of your
problems. It will help the husband-wife relationship. It is wonderful
how the love of Christ draws our hearts together. Not only will it
help you in your home, it will help you in your church. Loving Christ
draws believers together. It will help you in all your relationships
if you love Him....Are you a rejoicing Christian, my friend? You
should be. You are a
child of the King, and you have an inheritance coming to you some day.
How wonderful it is to be His child! (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
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Reasons To Rejoice -
READ: 1 Peter 1:1-9-
Though now you do not see Him, . . . you rejoice with joy
inexpressible and full of glory. —1 Peter 1:8
The New Testament gives us many
reasons to rejoice. For example, Jesus said, "Rejoice because your
names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). The apostle Peter spoke of
the reasons believers can "rejoice with joy inexpressible" (1Peter
1:8). We're not asked to pretend that problems don't exist but to
rejoice even in the midst of them.
The word rejoice reminds me of my friend Carol. She chose to rejoice
throughout her long struggle with cancer. Her Christian life began
within hours of surgery, when she prayed and trusted the Lord for her
salvation. During her recovery she walked the hospital corridors
saying to everyone, "Isn't this a beautiful day!"
Because one of her eyes had been removed, Carol had a number of
decorative eye patches made to match different dresses. Every day she
delighted in choosing an attractive eye patch, especially when sharing
her testimony. When she became bedridden, she hung a large sign at the
foot of her bed that read, "Rejoice!" On my last visit before she
died, she pointed to the sign and whispered, "Rejoice!"
Carol's reason for rejoicing was her deep gratitude to Jesus for
loving and saving her. Whatever you're facing today, let Carol's
reason for rejoicing be yours too. —Joanie Yoder (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Amid the thorny
trials of life
God's buds of beauty grow;
If we'll rejoice and not complain,
His peace and love we'll know. —Sper
If you know Jesus, you always have reasons to rejoice.