“To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
We can rejoice after enduring a trial because our hope in Heaven will be renewed.
The joy a Christian experiences as a result of trials can be the best kind he will ever know. But so often we allow the everyday stress and strain of financial difficulties, health problems, unrealized goals, and many other trials to rob us of our joy in Christ. True joy stems from spiritual realities that are much greater than temporal circumstances.
In today’s verse Peter gives us one strong reason for rejoicing—the confident hope that as Christians we have inherited a place in Heaven. This confidence can be so powerful that Peter, who was writing to believers suffering persecution, describes it as a truth we ought to “greatly rejoice” in (v. 6). This expressive, intense word is always used in the New Testament in relation to the joy of knowing God, never of shallow, temporal relationships.
Jesus’ disciples had a difficult time seeing that trials could be related to the certainty of going to Heaven. In teaching them about His upcoming death, Christ told the Twelve, “Therefore you, too, now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you” (John 16:22). And that is exactly what happened when they saw the risen Savior and understood the impact of His work.
We can have two responses to trials, just like passengers riding a train through the mountains. We can look to the left and see the dark mountainside and be depressed. Or we can look to the right and be uplifted by the beautiful view of natural scenery stretching into the distance. Some believers even compound their sadness by continuing to look to the mountain shadows of their trial after life’s train has moved away from the threatening peaks. But they would not forfeit their joy if they simply looked ahead to the brightness and certainty of their eternal inheritance.
Nothing in life can take away the wonderful promise of Heaven’s glory: it was reserved by God, bought by Christ, and guaranteed by the Spirit (see Eph. 1:11-13).
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask the Lord to help you meditate today on the glories promised for you in the future.
For Further Study
Read Revelation 21 and note the primary living conditions that will be true of Heaven.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.