“Wherein ye greatly rejoice...” 1 Peter 1:6a. We are a people who love rejoicing! The world likes to use the term “partying” for what it enjoys doing over and over. I love the Bible word. The word “rejoice” comes from two Greek words that mean to “leap or spring up” and to do it “again”. My grandchildren are such a good example in this. When they get excited about anything it is not unusual to see them hopping up and down almost unable to contain themselves. Sports fans and music lovers seem to express the same idea. Do Christians have something that makes us want to spring up again and again? Peter seemed to think so. In our text he stated that the believers to whom he wrote were greatly rejoicing! Does that describe us today, at least in our spirits? Let's look at what was making them rejoice.
First, Peter describes them as “strangers” or people living in a different country than they are in. Now Peter was not writing to them because they were not citizens of the various provinces of modern day Turkey that he mentions in verse one. He calls them strangers because they are citizens of another country, namely heaven, like those described in Hebrews 11:13-16, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." Now these verses were not written for them alone. They were written to describe all who have faith in the LORD.
Second, Peter calls these believers “Elect” or chosen ones. We should not shrink at the use of that word to describe us. Never be afraid a of Bible word. Peter uses the word to describe the work of all three persons of the Godhead in us. The Father foreknows us, the Spirit sanctifies us or sets us apart to God and this produces our obedience to the gospel and results in our experiencing of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, reminiscent of the sacrificial act of having the blood cleanse us of sin. And Peter concludes in verse two with those special words that describe our relationship with God as one of Grace, God's gift to us, and Peace, God's gift in us. Now that is shouting ground if I ever heard of it!
But Peter doesn't stop there.
Third, Peter breaks out into blessing God in worship for the wonderful benefits we receive from the gospel. Here they are in short order, 1. Mercy or undeserved love and forgiveness, 2. The new birth like that described by our Lord in John's gospel, 3. A living hope guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus, 4. A latent hope or inheritance that is not, can not, and shall not be lost but is watched over carefully by God Himself until we receive it, and 5. A lasting hope that is kept by the very power of God.
These are the things that bring great rejoicing to the people of God. I hope and pray that you have it. Please Contact us if we may help you further to understand to great salvation God has provided. O Magnify the LORD with me!