Hi, guys! It’s Heather, it’s time for the last post of this week of guest posts. What did you think of these posts? Which one was your favorite? I hope you enjoyed reading these, I definitely did.
I got such a great response from bloggers wanting to do this series, that I have guest posts lined up for twice a week for the next 3 weeks! (Possibly even longer if I keep finding people! If you’d like to join this series, email me @firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today’s post is written by my friend Jaeden. It’s beautiful and such a great reminder!
REFINED BY FIRE
By Jaeden Knutson
Throughout our lives, we suffer. It’s part of life. But there is a reason behind every trial we endure. Paul, the author of Philippians, writes, “Your pain has a purpose” (1:29). Paul, like many other disciples, knew a lot about suffering and pain, yet he and the others still found joy in it all. One of the other disciples, Peter, writes about suffering in his book 1 Peter. In three short verses, Peter walks us through three reasons and outcomes of suffering in faith.
1 Peter 1:6-9 (English Standard Version)
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
REASONS TO REJOICE IN SUFFERING (1:6 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials”)
1) Suffering is Necessary – God is sovereign in both salvation and suffering. No suffering occurs without a purpose. Peter tells us suffering only comes to us when the sovereign God of the universe deems it necessary (Romans 8:20). Although difficult, we may rest assured that there is no senseless suffering for any saint.
2) Suffering Exists Only a Little While, but Glory Lasts Forever – Our suffering is temporary, while heavenly glory is eternal (as seen in the phrase: “now for a little while”). For the elect, suffering occurs only in this life. Glory lasts forever, and there will be no sorrow or suffering then.
THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE OF SUFFERING (1:7 “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”)
All suffering is ultimately for the glory of God, but in the context of 1 Peter we must say that the innocent suffering of the saints is to the glory of God (Job 1:9-11; 2:5).
Testing proves the genuineness of our faith. The trials and tribulations of life prove not only the genuineness of our faith, but they strengthen and purify our faith as well (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-3). God wants our faith to grow, and suffering is one of the best stimulants for that growth.
Peter compares the purification process by which God purifies and strengthens our faith to the means by which gold is purified and made precious. Gold is refined by fire, a very hot fire. Often, the flames would reach a thousand degrees celsius. This proved to be a dangerous job for the craftsman as he had to sit and tend to the gold, taking away any impurities that floated to the top of the gold(http://www.gold-traders.co.uk/gold-information/how-to-refine-gold.asp). Peter compares this method of refining gold to the way God refines of our faith through suffering. He then contrasts the preciousness of our faith with the lesser value of the highly refined gold. Gold is viewed as extremely precious, especially in the biblical times. The fact that Peter said our faith is more precious is incredible and doesn’t always make sense to us.
Gold is purified by fire. The hotter the fire, the more impurities are burned off, and the more precious the gold becomes. So it is with our faith (1 Peter 4:12). As mentioned before, gold is refined by a very hot fire that hurts and burns if you were to touch it.
In a similar way, suffering produces hurt. It’s never something we want to go through. In fact, we fight it. Suffering is painful, it hurts us deeply, and therefore we try to avoid it. And when we can’t, we blame God. We get angry at Him. But this is the exact opposite of what we’re called to do. In the midst of our trials and sufferings, we are to rejoice, praise God. For in our suffering, our faith is being tested and proving itself to be a genuine faith. Beyond this, suffering purifies and strengthens our faith, making it more precious than fine gold. Our proven faith glorifies God.
EXPLORING FAITH (1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”)
Faith deals in the unseen (Hebrews 1:11).
In verse 8, Peter doesn’t attempt to minimize dealing with the unseen. But his emphasis is on who is unseen and how our faith enables us to relate to Him. The object of our faith is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the preeminent One in this verse.
Peter has been speaking of the proving and purifying of our faith. In verse 8, he gives us 3 specific ways a genuine and precious faith is evident.
- In our love for Christ (“Though you have not seen him, you love Him”)
- In our trust in Him (“Though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him”)
- In our rejoicing, because of Him (“You greatly rejoice with joy, inexpressible and full of glory”)
By faith, we trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We recognize His work as the expression of God’s love to us. And in response to His love, we love Him in return (Romans 5:3-8; 1 John 4:16-19). We not only live by faith; we also love by faith. Love is rooted in and closely related to faith (Ephesians 3:17-19; Hebrews 11:6).
Faith is also necessary in order for us to rejoice. Peter not only wants us to rejoice in our salvation (1:6) but to rejoice in the midst of our suffering (1:8). We are to rejoice because suffering is a part of a divine process which results in the salvation of our souls, as Peter shows in verse 9.
THE OUTCOME OF OUR FAITH – THE SALVATION OF OUR SOULS (1:9 “obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”)
Suffering is an inescapable part of the process by which God has ordained our salvation. All too often, Christians think that since they follow God, they will not suffer. But this is far from the truth. We are never promised a life without suffering. 2 Timothy says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (3:12). Unfortunately, we hold tight to our view of deserving an easy life with no suffering. When we do suffer, we get angry with God. We blame Him. But as we’ve just been told by Peter, this is not what we should be doing. We should be rejoicing in Him for our suffering tests our faith, it makes our faith stronger and more precious. Rejoice in your suffering and bring glory to God.
Suffering strengthens and purifies our faith, and the outcome of our faith is our full and final salvation at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Suffering proves and strengthens our faith. In no way does it save us; only faith saves us.
This life is filled with many trials–trials that will push us, that will break us. The burning fires of suffering are all around us, constantly wanting to engulf us in flames, to take us down. But if we keep our eyes fixed on God, He is faithful to us. Our suffering will test and prove our faith. It will bring glory to God. We keep our eyes trained on God, on our promised future of glory and a painless life for eternity. This is the hope that we have: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). Only for a little while we suffer. So hold on, the pain will end and we will be glorified in Heaven.
Jaeden Knutson is a junior in highschool and an aspiring author. She’s been homeschooled her entire life and has always taken an interest in her faith and in writing. When she’s not writing she is often playing the piano or playing with her siblings.