Wednesday, 25 September 2019
…that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:7
Peter just spoke of being grieved by various trials. He says that there is a reason for these things. It is dealing with “the genuineness of your faith.” The word translated as genuineness is found only here and James 1:3. It signifies a test or a proving of something to determine its nature, whether it is genuine or not. Because of the use of this word, it is surmised that Peter was aware of James’ epistle and was using this particular word to supplement the thoughts that James spoke of. There he said –
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2, 3
James spoke of the producing of patience when tested. Peter speaks of the genuineness of it. In other words, there is a proving process which is occurring in the believer that comes from these various trials. He then says that this proven faith is “much more precious than gold that perishes.” Peter makes the comparison of faith directly to gold, and he says that it is “more precious.” The thing that many find of such high value is nothing compared to proven faith.
And to bolster this, he says that gold “perishes.” The idea here is that faith does not. When it is proven, it is that which has eternal benefit. In this, there is a thought which Paul made in his writings that is confirmed here. Gold is tangible; it can be seen and held. And yet, it is temporary. However, faith in God’s work which is accomplished in Christ is unseen. But despite this, it will never perish. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 13:13 with the words, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three.”
Peter then says of this faith, “though it is tested by fire.” This is referring to the “various trials” of verse 6. They are the means of testing the faith, and though they may be grieving, they serve a purpose. Gold is purified when it is put through the fire. Peter is making a comparison between that process and the fire of affliction. The same result is realized. Just as gold is purified by fire, so is the faith purified by the trials. He is making a direct analogy between the two – meaning the proven faith and the purified gold. In doing so, he then says that the faith “may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The three-fold thought expresses that which is to be bestowed upon those of faith at the time of Christ’s revelation. There will be commendation for having demonstrated faith. That will be increased for those who maintained their faith through the various trials they face. There will be reward for those who have increased their faith from simple belief in the gospel to that which is so grounded that it will hold up even through the greatest of trials. And, there will be a conferral of the magnificence of God bestowed upon those who have so proven their faith. Each person will receive what is due to him according to the evaluation which is made concerning the faith which is demonstrated.
In the end, the judgment of the believer is one of reward and loss, and every single reward will be based on faith which is connected to whatever deed is accomplished. A deed not done in faith can receive no reward. The judgment of God in Christ upon the believer is described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:9-11.
Life application: The faith we possess, and which is tested in the crucible of trial, difficulty, and suffering will ultimately lead to “praise, honor, and glory.” Too often when something disastrous occurs, we cry out, “Why God?”
Imagine a father and his friends who go out on the ocean for a day of fishing. Three days later, after extensive searches, they are all found dead. The usual questions arise, and God’s goodness is part of that questioning process. But is this right? Would these people have perished in a boating accident if they hadn’t gone boating? Would it have been better to stay indoors in a locked room?
God’s goodness is displayed in the fact that these people had the freedom to choose a day of fishing; they had the ability to relax instead of continuing work just to feed their family; they had families that loved them; etc. We don’t live in isolated cells with feeding tubes attached to us. We must expect soldiers will die in war, people who cross the street may not make it to the other side, and people who eat may accidentally choke on their food.
The test then is not for the dead, but for the living. When we face trials – be they large or small; personal, within a family, or within a community; financial, life-threatening, or spiritual – we demonstrate our faith when we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and His right to work out His plan in a way that we may not always understand.
When trials come, the testing may be intense and the heat may be severe, but this refining process is something that will ultimately lead to praise, honor, and glory. And this will come when Jesus Christ is revealed to us in His glorious splendor. Pain and sadness are to be expected, but when you can honestly accept all things with the attitude that “the Lord’s will be done,” you are in the high place of strong faith – a place of reward from the Creator.
O great and sovereign God, give us the ability to accept all things that occur in our lives as gifts from You – whether blessing or trial. We ask this because we see that even the trials are blessings when they test our faith and refine it. Help us to consider that Your word clearly teaches this. And so, when trials come, may there be praise, honor, and glory for us when we faithfully endure through them, and when our faith is proven as a result of them. Amen.