”But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
with exceeding joy
“Exceeding joy” means celebrating a victory. We experience a state of great joy that often involves verbal expression – to be extremely joyful, overjoyed, and rejoice greatly. When we arrive at the point where we have inner joy based on what God does for us, we have something to celebrate. The celebration is a result of the victory.
Faith lays hold of future glory. Christians have a wonderful future. We, therefore, need not fear old age or what the future holds in time. There is no comfort in the future for those without Christ.
“Exceeding” means to go beyond and carries the idea of exulting. On that day, we will have intense and transcending joy. This is a joy that goes beyond anything we have ever known. We cannot adequately describe this joy.
1 Pe 1:8, “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Ps 16:11, “You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The only joy in which non-Christians can participate is temporal. Temporal joy never lasts.
A manifestation of the Christian who the Holy Spirit controls is joy,
Ga 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”
Suffering forms a backdrop for God to demonstrate his grace, making us exult in inexpressible joy.
David spent much of his life as a lonely shepherd boy and later as a fleeting nomad. This prepared him for his role as king. God operates the same way in our lives. He prepares us by suffering to be conformed to the image of Christ. David said that “It was good that I have been afflicted.”
Ps 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.”
Black clouds make us appreciate the sunshine. We cannot see the grace of God without the means to manifest it through suffering. When trials come our way, it is an opportunity for God to display his grace. Persecution blesses us because it forms a dark backdrop for the true radiance of the Christian life. The stark contrast of God’s blessing in a trial is like a brilliant diamond that sits on pitch-black velvet.
Affliction is the emery wheel that takes off the rough edges of our lives. Suffering makes us more mature and appreciative of eternal values.