God's People; A Living Joy ()

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith——the salvation of your souls." (). Consider two phrases from this text.

"The genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold…" is the first of these expressions. Gold has been considered precious from the very earliest history of civilization. Fine jewelry almost always involves gold in one manner or another. The value of gold is such that many people use it as a hedge against inflation or as a means to protect their money in the case of an economic collapse. Gold is precious but Peter identifies something that is more precious. The thing he identifies is the genuineness of the faith of faithful believers. Faith purified by trials is the essence of the Christian spirit. Jesus had faith that was tried under fire. Peter and John were frequently hailed for their faith in Christ and even commanded on occasion not to teach or preach any more in His name. Paul knew the value of trials as his faith was tremendously strengthened from the same. Faith made pure by trials is the type of faith that it takes for us to persevere when it seems that all have forsaken us. That faith is of tremendous value – literally it is more precious that all earthly possessions combined.

"Receiving the end of your faith——the salvation of your souls…" is the second of these expressions. "The end of your faith" does not refer to the termination of faith; rather, it speaks to the objective of faith. Faith is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end and the end is salvation. A key word quantifies the type of faith that results in salvation. This word appears just a few words prior to the phrase under consideration; that word is "believing." The faith of those to whom Peter was writing was such that it was not a one-time act of faith, but rather it was of enduring action; they believed and kept on believing even in spite of the trials that faced them. Their hearts were those represented by the good ground in the parable of the soils (see ). Their hearts were not represented by the rocky ground because they believed for a while, and then in a time of trial, fell away (). The hearts of those who were to be recipients of eternal life with God and the redeemed of all ages were hearts that believed and kept on believing. Salvation is the end result of that type of faith but it is not the result of shallow and wavering faith; salvation comes only to those who remain faithful (see ).

Having examined these two key expressions, note the way this section of scripture begins: "In this you greatly rejoice…" The quality of their joy was directly proportionate to the quality of their faith! A deep and abiding faith produced great and exceeding joy. The relationship between faith and true joy is a relationship that will always exist so long as time stands. Joy simply must thrive abundantly in the hearts of those who persevere in genuine and abiding faith. You want greater joy; strengthen your faith. This is a formula that is guaranteed in heaven!