1 Peter 1:6-7
In first Peter chapter one, Peter tells us about the fact that because of God’s grace we have an inheritance that’s waiting for us in heaven. And then he goes on to talk about the troubles we may have in this life. He says this:
In this you greatly rejoice, meaning that you know you have heaven, even though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Peter uses a very interesting illustration here. I’m wearing a gold wedding ring and gold is a precious metal and at the same time it’s a very soft metal. Because of that a lot of dirt and sweat and things like that can also get down inside of gold.
And so if you were to take your gold ring let’s say to a jeweler that jeweler could put it in a special appliance and place it over a very hot Bunsen burner and melt down the metal to a liquid. And then he could take a little thing that looks kind of like a knife and scrape it across the top to clean off what they call the dross.
Dross is really like the imperfections and dirt that can get into a precious metal. And once he has done that it makes the metals stronger once it solidifies once again. And it’s more pure.
Now Peter uses that as a picture regarding Christian faith. Our faith is very imperfect. I know mine sure is, goes up and down all over the place. Sometimes it’s a little stronger sometimes it’s weaker and so on. God will at times use troubles in our life just like the flame coming up under that jeweler’s appliance to sort of heat up our faith and challenge us in our faith.
And sometimes it’s going through difficulties with our health or financial problems or things in our family but God may use those things as a trial to test us. He says: so that your faith, just like gold, can be refined. So that God can use that as a way to strengthen us in our faith to take out the imperfections.
I’ve been at the bedside of a number of Christians as they are dying and dealing with horrible terminal cases of cancer and things like that. And it’s amazing how strong their faith often becomes in those moments. How much they latch onto their savior and what he did for them. How much more appreciative they become of His grace and also how much more God’s word in their prayer life becomes so important to them.
So even the trials of our life God can use to strengthen us in our faith with the hope that someday we’ll be in his presence forever in heaven. Amen