“7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” NIV
As I reflected on this verse, three thoughts seemed to stand out:
- The value of faith: We are once again reminded of the transience of earthly wealth. It can sprout wings and fly away. Even something mankind prizes as much as gold can ‘perish’ Hebrews 11:6 says: ‘’And without faith it is impossible to please God…’’ This faith, which is God’s gift in the first place, is so precious. If you are believing in the temporarily hidden Jesus (8), this makes you (and everyone else who shares the same faith) the wealthiest person in the world. This faith is not subject to stock-market fluctuations. It’s value cannot plummet;
- The durability of faith: Faith has to persevere through trials and tests in order to ‘’be proved genuine’’. God doesn’t need to test your faith so that He can find out how much faith you’ve got. He knows that full well. But it provides you with a sort of spiritual ‘bank statement’. Faith which goes through the mill and comes out strong the other side is ‘’genuine’’.
- The glory of faith: When Jesus Christ returns, as He one day will (‘’when Jesus Christ is revealed’’) our faith – our enduring faith – will bring glory to Him. He gave it to us in the first place, and He kept us strong to the end. It’s all glory to Him. This is the glory of genuine faith, that it brings glory to Jesus.
‘’ I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.’’ (The Message 1 Peter 6-7).
Today’s prayer is based on verse 5 : “ who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”, and was suggested to me by a comment Jilly made on Monday morning:
PRAYER: Lord, we often hear talk about certain people in our society being ‘shielded’. Thank you that all your people are ‘’shielded’’ by your ‘’power’’. I know this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be able to avoid all sickness, or to cheat death. But thank you that in ultimate terms we are safe in your eternal grip. As one great saint said: ‘All is well, and all manner of things shall be well.’ It is well with my soul.