Inexpressible joy is the privileged possession of every believer, a joy distinct from the short-lived pleasure of, say, amazement or humour, or of unexpected kindness, or a gift. Spiritual joy endures alongside trial and grief, but it must be held tightly. Here is how.
1 Peter is a book full of Jesus Christ and His glories. It is an epistle that addresses so many different departments of the Christian life.
It is a book of holiness – separation from the world and from sin is emphasised repeatedly.
It is a book of citizenship – it tells us how to live in this world, how to live under worldly authority and how to behave.
It tells us about marriage – with remarkable and profound comments and exhortations concerning Christian marriage.
It is a book of trials – every chapter of the book refers to a particular trial, and how to prove the Lord through it by faith.
It is a book of service – how to serve the Lord and how to be committed and dedicated to Him.
It is a book of pilgrimage – it describes God’s people as resident ‘aliens’ in this world; a people who are called out of the world. Yes, we are to be good citizens, Peter says, but this isn’t our place. We are living for eternity, for the kingdom of God.
It was written around 63-64AD, but there are unbelieving critics who deny the apostle Peter could have been the author. Why? Because he was a Galilean. He was an ignorant, unlearned fisherman. He spoke Aramaic and Hebrew, and this book is written in perfect, elegant Greek.
How can this be? Right at the end of the book Peter says, ‘I have written by Silvanus.’ Silvanus was his secretary, as it were. God took hold of them both. Peter gave the words, Silvanus put them into Greek, God superintended the process.
Did we think the apostle Peter was just a raw, ignorant fisherman? Well, that may be correct. But what wonderful things conversion accomplishes! How tremendous that it takes raw, impulsive, rash Peter and makes him such a deep, spiritual, reasoning being. No tighter reasoning can be found anywhere than in the sequence of arguments and incentives proceeding one after the other in this epistle.