Lesson 3


The First Epistle of Peter

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials, 1:7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ -- 1:8 whom not having known you love; on whom, though now you don't see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory -- 1:9 receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Today's Lesson 

Today's Scripture is one of the most beautiful and comforting passages of scripture in the New Testament. In this passage Peter gives a reason why we must undergo trials and persecutions and one of the ways that God works these difficulties out for our good. He had written to them already that God had raised them to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. They had been granted an incorruptible inheritance that was being guarded in heaven for them by Christ. Their inheritance will not be defiled because it is not of this world. They would be guarded by the power of God until God was ready to reveal their salvation in the last days.

 

Now Peter writes to them and tells them that while we wait for God to reveal our salvation we will have to endure hardship and trials. The purpose of these trials is that we might prove our faith to ourselves. Faith that is not tested becomes weak. We doubt such faith because it has not proved itself. How many times have we found ourselves wondering if God is truly with us? Am I doing the right thing? Does God approve of the way that I am living my life?

 

Peter writes that when trials and persecutions test us it is similar to the process that is used to refine gold. Gold is melted and the impurities are separated and burned off. In the same way, when we are tested our faith is purified and refined. The fires of adversity burn the impurities in our hearts away and we are left with a purer, stronger faith.

 

God allows us to suffer because in suffering we come to realize that it is only God on whom we can depend. Everything else fails us during a time of crisis. If we counted on friends, they may well desert us. If we rely on wealth and possessions, we will likely lose them. Only the heart that is firmly relying on the Lord need never be disappointed. God places a greater value on our faith than He does on any other thing that we possess. Our faith is more precious than our very lives. If we lose our lives but are found to have faith, then we have gained the limitless inheritance of God. If we keep our lives but have not faith, our lives are less than worthless.

 

By faith we cling to Christ in the midst of adversity. Even though we cannot see Him, we love Him and live by faith in His resurrection. And the end of our faith, the goal toward which God is leading us, is the salvation of our souls. The end is not that we might endure the trial. Indeed, the trial may well overwhelm us and take our lives. The end is that our faith will endure the trial. If our faith endures, God has promised the salvation of our souls.

 

When you can look back on the other side of a trial and persecution and know that God has been with you, then you know that your faith has withstood the test. Your faith has been refined just as the gold. It is then that you know the comfort that the Lord can give.

 

What Peter is trying to express to these believers reminds me of my marriage. When my wife and I got married over 18 years ago I thought that we would stay together. But, it wasn't until our love for each other was tested by adversity that I became sure of it. We have been through many rough situations together in those 18 years. I have much more confidence in our marriage today because it has withstood those trials. I trust her more. I believe in us more.

 

That is what Peter is saying about your Christian life too. When you have endured trials and know that God will still stand with you, your faith will be stronger and purer. You'll know that you can trust Him. You'll believe in Him more.

 

Are you prepared for the trials of faith? Are you willing to be refined by fire so that your faith may be proved genuine?

 

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