June 22, 2013

“Though They Have Not Seen Him” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:20 pm by sranderson0103

“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:8-9)

Peter had seen the Lord. He was called by Jesus to be an apostle. Peter followed Him for three years while Jesus taught. Peter was there at His death, knew that He had been buried and then he saw the empty tomb. He rejoiced together with the other apostles when they saw with their own eyes that their crucified Lord had been raised from the dead.

But, Peter is writing to those who had not seen these things. Peter taught them that they could have a wonderful relationship with Jesus even though they had not physically seen Him and so can we.  As Jesus told Thomas “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:29).

The ones to whom Peter addresses his letter were in the middle of terrible trials because of this Jesus whom they had not seen.

“…even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various  trials,…the proof of your faith…” (I Peter 1:6-7).

Their faithfulness under these circumstances demonstrated that we have no excuse in similar situations. Let’s look carefully at the attitudes of these who, unlike Peter, never saw Jesus.

They loved Him: Love stimulates love and helps make a trial bearable.

“We love, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“Who will separate us from  the love of  Christ? Will  tribulation, or distress, or  persecution, or  famine, or  nakedness, or  peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “ FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly  conquer through  Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37).

No, they did not actually see the fatal wounds He endured for us, but they responded with a love that did not flinch under trial.

They believed Him: Theirs was not a blind faith. They listened to the words of one who spoke from experience, an eyewitness. Peter testified to them as a, “witness of the sufferings of Christ,” (I Peter 5:1).

The effect of a rational, well-founded faith is obvious.

 “Open the  gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that  remains faithful. ‘The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.’” (Isaiah 26:3).

Our faith rests the same words from eyewitnesses, willing to die for their testimony.

They rejoiced: Let Peter try to spell this out in detail, though he says it is not entirely possible. They “greatly rejoiced with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Their emotion was truly a “better felt than told” thrill and it was glorious, fully glorious (even though they had not seen).

As incredible as it may seem, Spirit inspired Peter explains that faithful response to trials brings this surpassing joy now (while we don’t see) and even greater than surpassing joy later, when we finally do see.

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (I Peter 4:13) 

Conclusion: The inspired apostle prophesies that the “outcome of your faith” will be “the salvation of your souls.” We are assured that the end result of this faithful, thrilling service, is the complete and ultimate salvation of our souls, with many victories of faith along the way.

Adapted from an article by John D. Morris

 

 

 

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