1 Peter 1:8, 9 Identity: Joyful

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


I have moments of joy.  I love them.  It feels like my stomach is full of tingling bells and that my perception is clear and free.  I usually respond to a situation with profound gratitude and wonder at God’s grace.  I know that I should be dead.  I should be horrifically executed for my disobedience, my behaviours, and my attitude.  Before the throne of God I am nothing of consequence.  Except that I have all the appeal of a skid mark on new, white, cotton, underpants.  However, Jesus washes me clean.  Jesus has presented me as pure and he makes that perception a reality by his constant care and work of compassion.

I feel tears as I feel joy, but something fights their flow.  When I counsel a student in my office, I feel the joyful privilege of sharing biblical truth and the joy moistens my eyes.  I wish tears would flow.  There is a dreadful blockage that I constructed in the years when I fought all emotion.  I constructed a damn because I wanted to be a socially acceptable male.  In so doing, I dammed the fear and the hate and the pain, but I also dammed the joy and the compassion.  Jesus saves me from my errors, but still I find it hard to embrace the weakness of tears so that I may know more fully the strength of being alive.

When I was depressed even bold colours seemed muted.  I was relieved that, as I reengaged my feelings, the colours I saw seemed more vibrant.  Christ has led me so far that I can access joy, but I do not live in a permanent condition that I would call joyful. If we address my entitlement, and the belief that I am forced to do things I don’t choose, I will access more of the continuous salvation that the passage describes.


I long for joy.  I long for moments of joy to become that joyful assurance that I am unconditionally loved and accepted.


  1. What words describe the Christian’s joy?
  2. From where does a Christian’s joy arise?
  3. What are we receiving now?
  4. Why do some Christians today cease receiving joy from God?
  5. How do you experience joy?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
This entry was posted in Daily Devotions. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 1 Peter 1:8, 9 Identity: Joyful

  1. Eric Wildermuth says:

    Peter uses the words, “inexpressible and glorious” to describe the joy that Christians are filled with.
    Christian joy comes from being loved by the Father and receiving salvation through Jesus Christ.
    We are now receiving the salvation of our souls–the end result of our faith (Interesting that this is the end result, but so often, this is the aspect of Christian life that we spend much of our time looking at; perhaps at the expense of looking at the full means that brings us to this end).
    We can cease receiving joy when we are caught up in sin–recall as David cried out in the 51st Psalm, “restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Having sin greatly, David requested of God to bring back the joy he once had regarding his position with God.
    I experience joy when I am reminded that, in spite of my ugliness before God, that he has loved me as His son. The topic of adoption and God as Father have been present often in my conversations, reading, and the sermons at church. It is truly amazing to know that God has loved me with the same love which he feels and expressed toward His son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

  2. kevin w. says:

    “inexpressible” and “glorious”–these are the words used by Peter to refer to the joy which a believer. It is not inexpressible as to say nonsensical, but rather that the joy is so wonderful and full that it is beyond real description; it is truly glorious. We deserve punishment and yet are given life through the death of the one whom we have scorned and sinned against. We are being sanctified, are adopted as sons and daughters of the Creator-Father, we are justified and redeemed from the bondage of sin and death–Oh the wonder of what we have in Christ!
    Hearing a good friend has come to the Lord after years of praying, long talks, bouts of depression–such joy comes from this. Being given the privilege to live as part of the body of Christ brings me joy.

  3. Christina Zezulak says:

    Joy is described in this passage as inexpressible and glorious, which I whole-heartedly agree with. A believer’s joy comes from our salvation. Joy comes from us being united with Christ, loving Him and believing Him. Some Christians allow the stresses of the world to tune out the joy they have been freely given in Christ. It is an easy trap to fall into, one that I find myself in every so often. I praise God that I am able to experience the joy of being united to Him, regardless of my present circumstances and emotions. My reality is not determined by my feelings, nor the hardships of this life. I pray that my life would continue to be overwhelmed by His joy and that I would forever remember the great blessings He has given me that I did not deserve by any means.

  4. Bronwyn says:

    I love that one of the characteristics that define a believer is “joyful.” Not pretender, not shallow, but “joyful.” It’s not that we try hard to smile all the time, masking our pain and anger within, but that from within we have a fount, God, our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4). To be united with Him now is to be on the road back to becoming truly human. To be joyful in hardships is not crazy, and abnormal, or stupidly optimistic. We are not those who laugh all the time, thinking everything is a joke. We are serious. We are sorrowful. We are determined. Christians should feel more deeply than others, and all emotions- righteous anger(over the injustices in the world), agonizing sorrow (over the lost for example), overflowing peace (because the God who holds their hand holds the world and vice versa), and deep gladness- because God had pity on them and saved them and He didn’t have to and He keeps loving them…

    G.K. Chesterton said, “Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”

    As we are shaped to be more like Christ, we are more joyful and we rejoice more. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and just as we have all love, and peace because we have God (in fact we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places- Eph. 1!), all joy- glorious and inexpressible is ours in Christ. Yet we don’t know this reality fully presently. It’s part of the “already, not yet” phenomenon that we live in. Bit by bit we are tasting the fruit of salvation, and we are growing, joy is seeping into our lives and dare it conquer us?

    As we grow in wisdom, believing more quickly and deeply that “to be happy in Jesus, (one needs to) trust and obey,” not sin. Joy, a gift from God! Yet at the same time, I think we have choice in the matter. We are commanded to rejoice in the Scriptures. We are commanded to praise God. The Bible tells us things we can do that will bring joy and things that will squelch our joy.

  5. Inexpressible and glorious describe the word joy in this verse. this joy comes through belief in Him and salvation that is the result of this belief. We are receiving salvation right now through our faith and belief in Christ.
    I believe some Christians cease to receive joy because of repented sin their lives and also not understanding how to handle sin when it comes into their lives. I also would have to venture to see if they are saved. This could be why they are not receiving joy in their lives because they are still dead. I experience Joy through the Word, going to Church to be with the community of God. Hearing other people’s stories and life events as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s