“In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8
Here we have linked together faith, love, joy, and glory. The word translated “rejoice” means a high degree of joy, and signifies literally, to leap with joy. Spiritual joy, holy joy, is therefore distinguished from earthly joy, natural joy, not only in nature, but in degree. Natural joy can never rise very high, nor last very long. It is of the earth, earthy, and therefore can never rise high nor long endure. It is always marred by some check, damp or disappointment; and, as in the bitterest cup of the righteous “There’s some thing secret sweetens all,” so in the sweetest cup of the ungodly there is something secret embitters all. All their mirth is madness; for even “in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” God frowns upon all the worldling’s pleasure, conscience condemns it, and the weary heart is often sick of it, even unto death. It cannot bear inspection or reflection, has perpetual disappointment stamped upon it here and eternal sorrow hereafter.
But how different is the joy of faith and love. It is unspeakable, for it is one of the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man; and therefore human language, which can only express human thoughts and feelings, has no words for this. Those who have experienced it understand it when spoken of by others, but not from the words themselves, but because those words are as if broken hints, dim and feeble shadows, imperfect and insufficient utterances, but interpreted by their own experience.
“And full of glory.” It is literally “glorified,” that is, the joy is a joy which God especially honours by stamping upon it a divine glory. It is, therefore, a blessed preparation for, and foretaste of the glory that shall be revealed.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869