1 Peter 1:7
“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.”
This verse informs us as to the purpose of trials. Once a person becomes a Christian, does that mean he/she is free from problems?
No, the Christian is not exempt from pain and problems. We all experience trouble and setbacks in this life.
That the genuineness of your faith
The word “that” indicates purpose. God’s purpose in trial is our tryout, not our ruin. Two results come from “many colored trials”: 1) they refine our faith and 2) they test for approval the reality of our faith.
The word “genuineness” means to test for approval. It means to test to find if something is genuine. This is the act of putting someone to the test to determine whether he/she is worthy of being approved or not. The test aims at approval if possible. Note these New Testament uses of the word “genuineness”: “I bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to test them out,” Luke 14:19. “Everyone should examine himself, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup,” 1 Corinthians 11:28. “Being tested severely by the troubles,” 2 Corinthians 8:2. “The testing of your faith produces endurance,” James 1:3. “When your fathers tested and tried (me),” Hebrews 3:9.
Greek literature used the word “test” for examining candidates for a medical doctorate. Candidates for a medical doctorate must be tested. It is crucial to find out if they are the genuine thing. We do not want an incompetent surgeon operating on us. When doctors prove genuine by examining, they meet the attestation.
It is obvious that God wants to discover what constitutes our character. Character is best ascertained when we are placed under duress. God will detect our weakness and strength by giving us an exam. It will be a difficult exam. Get out your blue books. God is about to find out the genuineness of your faith!
God refines our faith by trial.
When it comes to trials, everyone is in one of these three stages: They are experiencing a trial, coming out of a trial or about to go into a trial!
In the Detroit, Mich., area there are proving grounds for automobiles. The purpose of these proving grounds is to test the mechanical soundness of cars before they are out on the market. Test drivers run these cars for days without turning off the motor. The cars are put through bumps, curves, water, hills and many more obstacles for long periods of time. The manufacturing companies want to know whether the shocks and brakes are going to hold up under punishment. In the same way,. God wants to develop our faith so that we will stand up to the bumps of life.
Have you assayed your life? Have you found it genuine? Will you pass the exam?
Will God regard you as appropriate for His service? God makes His assessment after He puts us to the test. He will judge us to ensure we are real and genuine, and if we are He will approve us for service.
That the genuineness of your faith
The New Testament uses the word “genuineness” in the context of purifying and strengthening metals by passing them through fire. The fire melts the ore and brings the dross to the surface, where it can be skimmed off. After the metal cools, it is much stronger.
If a gold mining company wishes to develop a new site, it sends someone to assay the metal to see whether the gold is genuine and of sufficient quantity to warrant investment in the mine. The assayer takes a sample of the gold to the laboratory and examines it. He then sends his report about the quality of the ore to the company. The report is more valuable than the gold sent with the report. On the basis of the report the company will make a decision as to whether it will proceed with the project. In the same way, God wants a faith that can take the test. God is looking for people He can trust. If God finds our faith one He can approve, then He knows that we stand the tests of life. He wants to know the quality of our faith.
Something is genuine if it is without alloy. An alloy is a mixture of more than one metal. Lesser metals mixed with stronger metals weaken the stronger metals. God does not want the metal (character) of our lives mixed with lesser things.
The fiery tests of our faith bring greater strength to our spiritual lives. They remove the impurities in our lives. We may say that we trust God but we often mix that trust with dependence upon self. Our faith then needs purifying. We need tests to cleanse these impurities.
A purpose of trials is to test our faith.
Do you have a heavy heart? Every Christian faces disappointments and discouragement. Some people get the idea that a Christian should be immune from trouble. But trouble and trouble will come to all of us, in different shapes and sizes.
What does your faith prove? When God sends an ordeal into your life, how do you react? When God gives you a bitter pill, do you swallow it as God’s will? Many wounds make up our lives. It is not enough to simply endure them.
We increase our faith by the assimilation of God’s Word (Romans 10:17) and by the application of what we know (Hebrews 4:1-3). The approval of our faith is more important than the approval of gold.
being much more precious than gold that perishes
Gold is a precious metal, but the test of our faith is much more precious than the test for gold.
This phrase describes our faith, not the trial of our faith: “being much more precious.” Similar uses of the phrase “much more” also occur in: Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:10 “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:15 “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” Romans 5:20 “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”
Our faith is much more precious than anything else we possess. We have nothing more valuable than our faith. The closer we get to death, the more we realize how precious it is.
Peter uses the word “precious” seven times in 1 and 2 Peter. We use “precious” for just about anything. We say, “Isn’t that a precious necklace.” The Bible, however, uses this term for that which is of ultimate value. Acts 20:24 says “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
The word “worth” is the same as the word “precious” in our passage. Paul’s testimony is the value here. Hebrews 13:4 says marriage is precious. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
The contrast between gold and our faith in 1 Peter 1:7 is between material and spiritual wealth. Material wealth perishes; spiritual wealth does not (Psalm 119:127; Proverbs 8:11).
After gold liquefies in fire, the impurities rise to the surface, where they can be skimmed away. When the goldsmith sees his face in the gold, he knows he can turn down the heat. He knows that the gold is purified. God compares our faith with gold because He deems it a precious commodity.
Yet gold is of only temporal value. The Christian’s faith is of eternal value.
God deems a faith tested by fire as being of eternal value.
One day gold will perish. Our faith will never perish. This passage says if your faith is real, it cannot perish. If you lost your faith you never had a true faith in the beginning.
though it is tested by fire
The word “tested” means–test to approve, to prove with a view to approving, test for approval. The trials test for proof that our faith is genuine. God wants to certify the worth of our faith. Our faith is the foundation of all other character qualities we possess. If our faith falters, everything falters.
We put metal into a crucible to determine whether it is genuine (Proverbs 8:10; 17:3). God tests, proves and scrutinizes us by fire to show that we are worthy for His service.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:4, the apostle and his fellow missionaries were “approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel.” God gives approval for us to preach after He puts us to the test.
The Corinthians did not find in Paul the proof of the power that they sought (2 Corinthians 13:3). However, Paul reminds them that what ultimately counts is not what men think but what God thinks. God’s commendation at the end of the day is what matters. 2 Corinthians 10: 18 says, “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”
God proves our attestation in affliction. The pressure put on us when we are under strain will either produce endurance or failure. Suffering produces endurance (Romans 5:3-4). The Macedonians remained both joyous and generous under duress (2 Corinthians 8:2). Testing sifts out authentic believers (2 Corinthians 9:13; 11:19). It attests to our love for God (2 Corinthians 8:8).
God sets the believer under His searching eye. We learn the will of God by testing (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:9-10; Philippians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Testing protects Christians from caprice and brings them into the sphere of God’s will.
When Jesus prayed for Peter, He asked God to strengthen his faith: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren,” (Luke 22:31-32). Now in 1 Peter, Peter writes about the importance of faith holding up under fire. Our faith improves by trial.
The nature of our test is a fire-test. The trial of faith is more precious than the test for gold already refined.
Here is a double comparison of the trial of gold with the trial of faith. Gold at the time of writing of 1 Peter was the most valuable of all the metals. Faith is the greatest among Christian values. The trial of faith is of greater value than the trial for gold. Both trials purify. The purification of gold separates the dross from the precious metal. The purification of faith separates the garbage from the Christian life.
God uses extreme adversity (“fire”) to force out the impurities and the things that are unimportant in our lives.
Peter compares our faith to gold that is precious from the human viewpoint. Suffering brings the impurities out of our lives and makes us useful to God. This kind of faith is more valuable than gold. God takes the slag out of our lives.
God does not test our faith in prosperity but in adversity. God kicks out the crutches from our lives. He skims off the slag of dependence on other people, upon our social life, upon health, beauty, sex or material possessions. Trouble will come that can wipe out these things. These things will not sustain us in times of duress. Good times do not sustain us; only God can sustain us by his promises.
How many times have we prayed, “Lord, take it away.” God put it there. He wants it there. He wants us to learn to trust Him in adversity. Some people quote 2 Corinthians 10:13, “but with the temptation will also make the way of escape” with the interpretation that they will “escape” from problems. They want to get out from under the trouble so that it does not hurt anymore. Escape does not prove a thing.
For some people, the only time they think seriously about God is when they are in a jam. If they were honest they would say, “Now God, I’m in this terrible jam. It hurts terribly. Make it stop hurting. Wave your divine wand to make it stop.” That is why they want a God. They want a divine pacifier. As soon as the trouble passes, they forget all about God again.
God’s way of escape is IN suffering. He allows suffering so that we can know joy while going through trouble. We will get out of the trial sooner or later. But that is not the answer. The answer is what we do while under pressure.
may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ
God is the one who does the finding here, not us. God will find whether our faith glorifies Him or not. Long after gold is gone our faith will remain. If our faith meets the test, it will redound to the glory of God.
The word “found” means to find after a search. God puts our faith to the test to approve us for the glory of God. Trials put our faith to the test. If we trust Him to meet us in our need, it glorifies Him. It is not the testing of our faith that glorifies God. It is whether our faith meets the test.
The trial of our faith will produce three results: praise, honor and glory. These results are all in the future.
If we reduce 1 Peter 1:7 down to its least common denominator it would read like this, “That the genuineness of your faith…be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Our faith produces something for the future.
2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Trials will not last forever. And God furnishes the equipment to support us while we are in them.
Material wealth perishes; spiritual wealth is imperishable. The person who places spiritual values above temporal values operates on genuine, eternal priorities.
The trial of faith is producing something for us in the future.
Jesus is coming again. When we meet Him, the character of our faith will be manifest. The greater the refining process, the brighter it will appear. Trials will disappear but the luster of the trial will proceed into eternity. This should reconcile us to our present afflictions.
Christians do not judge their life based solely on time but on eternity as well.
to praise, honor, and glory
“Praise” is the expression of honor. Jesus will express His approval at that day. The word “praise” is a compound of two words “upon” and “a tale.” It meant to tell a tale about someone. It came to mean “praise” with the idea of commendation or approbation.
“Honor” is the esteem that someone has for someone else. God will honor our faith when we meet the Lord Jesus.
Proverbs 18: 12 says “But humility comes before honor.” We know little about humility. The station this side of honor is humility. We cannot get to the second station without stopping at the first station. If we receive honor without humility, it might go to our head. We would inflate with our own importance.
One day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We will get our grades then. Some of us will receive more honor than others. Some will have crowns. Some will have none.
“Glory” means to manifest the attributes of a person. This is the glory that results from a good opinion. Does God have a good opinion of us? The New Testament uses “glory” to refer to the blessed estate of the children of God when they are brought into the glorification of the likeness of Christ.
God will make a big deal of the quality of our faith on Earth. In the marketplace of eternity, gold will be of little value. The quality of our faith will be of much greater worth.
Very few of us receive glory here on Earth. The reason faith is more valuable than gold is that when we meet God, He will find it to have honor, praise and glory.
Principle God has established a day when we will get our due.
We do not get much praise here on Earth. That’s life. If you are inclined to praise someone down here, don’t hesitate to do so. If you fear that they will think it is flattery, do it anyway.
One day we will receive praise from the most important person of the universe.
1 Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
When the Lord comes back and we stand before Him, we will receive our due then.
at the revelation of Jesus Christ
The word “revelation” means unveiling. This refers to the return of the Lord Jesus. 1 Peter 5:4 says “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 John 2:28: “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
God will manifest the eternal value of the life of faith when Jesus returns
Do you anticipate His return? He may come today.
The three results of the glorification of the believer: praise, honor and glory will take place at the coming of Christ. God honors those who prove their faith.
This comes from the study of 1 Peter 1:7 in the Grace Notes 1 Peter lessons.
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