1 Peter 1:8
Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Peter had seen Jesus constantly during the course of his ministry, had known him intimately, and had loved him well. But most of these to whom he wrote this Epistle had not been brought into such association with the Son of man. The apostle's aim in communicating with such professed Christians as those to whom he addressed his letter was to encourage and stimulate their spiritual life. It was his privilege to bear the testimony which it was their privilege to receive and to act upon. They were in a position to experience and enjoy the blessing pronounced upon those who, "not having seen, yet believe."
I. IT IS DISTINCTIVE OF THE CHRISTIAN THAT HE HAS FAITH IN THE UNSEEN SAVIOR. This faith has a human side - it is prompted and justified by the witness of those who beheld Christ's glory, and who wrote the things which they had seen and heard in order that others might, by their evidence, be led to believe on Jesus. This faith has a Divine side; for Christ is his own witness to the heart, which finds in him the realization of its loftiest and its purest aspirations. It is the Divine provision and appointment that the life of the Christian should be a life of faith. And this is a wise and merciful arrangement, evidently calling forth the best feelings of our nature, supplying us with the highest motive and aim to a new and better life, and calling us away from absorbing interest in self and in earth.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S FAITH IN CHRIST PRODUCES LOVE TOWARDS CHRIST. Faith in an unseen Being seems more natural than love towards him. The earthly friends whom we love we have seen and known; Christ we have not listened to or looked upon. Yet what surpassing and all-sufficient motives we have to love him!
1. Because he first loved us.
2. Because of our gratitude for his interest in us and his willing sacrifice on our behalf.
3. Because we admire his peerless character, his blameless and benevolent life.
4. Because our fellowship with him develops sympathy and congeniality.
III. JOY IS THE PROPER RESULT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S FAITH AND LOVE. This assertion doubtless appears to some minds enthusiastic and ridiculous. Yet it is a reasonable assertion in itself, and it is justified by Christian experience.
1. This joy is altogether different from the pleasures sought and prized by the unspiritual and worldly. These rejoice in the gratification of sense, in the excitement attending the quest of pleasure, in the attainment of favorite objects of desire. But Christians rejoice in quite other delights.
2. This joy is awakened by the Spirit of God in the heart. It is a fountain springing up within, when the rock is smitten by Divine grace and power. For this cause it is largely independent of circumstances.
3. This joy is characterized as unutterable, because it is deep and calm, and not by any means noisy and demonstrative. Its infinite side - that towards eternity and heaven and God - is inexpressible in human language.
4. This joy is, "full of glory," or glorified, both because of the transcendent character of the Christian's pure delights even in the present, and because of his justifiable anticipations of future and imperishable bliss, Oh that Christian people could appreciate their privileges, shake off the melancholy characteristic of the age in which we live, and enter into the possession of this primeval joy! - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: