"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).
The recipients of 1 Peter, like us, had never seen Christ but they enjoyed fellowship with Him just the same. And their fellowship was genuine because it was marked by love, trust, and obedience.
The love Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:8 isn't shallow emotionalism or sentimentality. It's the love of the will— the love of choice. His readers had chosen to love Christ despite never having seen Him physically. Such love is marked by obedience, as Jesus affirms in John 14: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words" (vv. 15, 24). To have fellowship with Christ is to love and obey Him.
Another element of fellowship is trust. After hearing reports about Christ's resurrection, the disciple Thomas declared that he would trust Jesus only after seeing and touching Him. Jesus honored his wishes, saying, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:27). But then Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed" (v. 29). We as Christians are among those who believe in Christ, not having seen Him.
The result of loving and trusting Christ is "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8). This joy is something beyond the ability of speech and thought to convey. That's obvious even on the human level—as evidenced by the thousands of songs that have attempted to communicate the joy of being in love. "Full of glory" refers to the divine element in Christian joy. It's a supernatural endowment bestowed and energized by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Enjoying fellowship with Christ is one of the supreme privileges of your Christian life. Strengthen and enrich that fellowship by learning the Word and relying on the Spirit. As you do, you will learn to love and trust Christ more deeply.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask God to teach you how to love and trust Him more faithfully. Thank Him for the joy that comes as you do.
For Further Study:
Memorize Matthew 22:37.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.