Though I Haven’t Seen Him, I Love Him

by Catherine McNiel on November 24, 2021

Are we allowed to have favorite Bible passages? To me, this feels a bit like having a favorite child. After all, we need the full book to make sense of any piece of it; it’s all the Word of God, together, right?

But I must confess: Today’s passage is my favorite in the entire Bible. These verses right here:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 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. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

What an incredible summary of God’s redemption and our place in it! First, we begin with joyful praise. Then worship flows over into a recitation of what God has done: giving us new birth into a living hope, and an inheritance that can never spoil or fade. In fact, God is keeping all this safe for us until the time is ready.

And so, we rejoice, even though we live through grief and trials. The original audience of this letter did live through trials. They were no longer living according to the ways of the Greco-Roman culture (the “world”) and instead were listening to Jesus’ teaching and realigning their priorities and daily rhythms to be in step with the Spirit and the Christian community. As we saw yesterday, Jesus’ teaching includes some pretty challenging asks. Following these teachings can lead to social pain, loss of status, wealth, employment, and honor—or worse (then and now).

But even so! What can humans do to us when God is keeping our inheritance safe? We know our suffering and grief refines our faith into something genuine, which will result in even more praise to Jesus.

And speaking of Jesus? We love Him. We have not seen Him, but we love Him. And even though we cannot see Him with our eyes and cannot touch Him with our hands, in Jesus we receive an inexpressible and glorious joy. Why? Because we know the end result of this faith-grown-through-suffering: salvation. And though Peter doesn’t say it explicitly here, this salvation means we will see Jesus with our eyes, and touch Him with our hands, someday.

Praise God! Do you see why I love this passage?

Questions for reflection and discussion: Well, what do you think? Should we band together into a community that praises God and lives as the Body of Jesus, following the Way of Jesus—possibly ruining our current comfortable lifestyles, but gaining so much more? What stands out to you in this passage? What does this Christian life look like, day to day?

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