1 Peter 1:6-7, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
In verse 7, St. Peter writes trials must happen in order “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Peter paints a brilliant metaphor here. Our faith is so precious to God that He wants it to be pure. We purify gold through fire. Through the process of making gold pure, we remove alloy and other impurities from it by putting gold in a crucible and applying intense heat to it until all the impurities are destroyed and all that remains is the gold. Peter’s argument here is that if we do this with gold, then how much more this needs to happen with our faith. Throughout our entire lives, we enter different trying crucibles, intense heat being applied to the trial each time in as we trust in God to eliminate all of our impurities until all that remains is our faith—purified and perfect. Faith is this remarkable gift from God that takes a person who is dead in sin and makes him alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-7) and therefore a new creation—a new man or woman in christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I’m not saying every trial we face occurs at the command of God. For example, with an alcoholic, God does not place the alcohol in his or her hand and neither does He plant thoughts of temptation into our minds that forces us to make unwise and sinful decisions, for God is not a tempter (James 1:13). Such an example is something we bring upon ourselves because of sin, as I discussed in the prior blog entry. Again, God may at times permit trials to happen to us because for the Christian, everything we do and everything that happens to us has the future appearing of Jesus Christ as its ultimate objective. We are in these “manifold trials” because of the character of our faith. Or, as St. James says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-3). As we trust in God our Father, He helps to remove the imperfections from our faith as we face these fiery trials until all that remains at Christ’s glorious return is perfect faith.
Stay tuned for next time when I talk about exercising our faith.