The beginning of the First Epistle of Peter assures us that though we live as exiles of the dispesion, we have been granted a new identity in Christ. In Jesus Christ, we have been granted a new identity that defines us and helps us to live faithfully. A fruit of that identity is that we become a people of a living hope, not despair -our identity thrives in knowing the value and certainty of what we possess in Christ. But not only do we have a living hope as a fruit of our identity, we have a transcendent joy.
1 Peter 1:6-9 talks about that Transcendent Joy – one that is experienced in this world but that is not dependent on this world – it comes from God the Father, on the basis of the work of Christ, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Because it is a joy that is experienced in being known by Christ and knowing and loving Him and believing His promises, this joy is meant to be the chief joy of our lives, taking priority over all earthly enjoyment.
You may at first say – what in the world are you talking about? What world do you live in? Is it possible that in the midst of suffering, poverty, hatred, loneliness, that one can experience a joy that rises above the trials of life?
If you have not repented of your sins and come to Jesus as the only one who can rescue you, then I understand your skepticism.
However, if you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have at least tasted of this joy. When you understood the depth of your sin and rebellion and the greatness of God’s love in rescuing you, in that realization of forgiveness and new life, you experienced a joy that even though everything was not all right in your world,. You became all right (righteous) in God’s eyes.
This initial joy of the gospel remains the continuing joy of our lives as we continue to live with a spirit of repentance and dependence upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Neither my self-righeousness nor my self-gratification can offer me a transcendent joy; rather they are the chief opponents of the transcendent joy of the gospel.
In Christ I can say: I am chosen, I have a living hope, I now have a transcendent joy. This transcendent joy of the gospel does not eliminate other enjoyment nor does it remove all sorrows, but it does transcend – it stands above all else – untouched by human misery and unrivaled by earthly enjoyment.