Trials From Without - Lesson 3 - The Value of Trials
6 In this,, you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
The first five verses of this chapter give many reasons to rejoice, so how about some fiery trials? Yes, now a potentially distracting necessity — trials. The meaning of the word ranges from the temptation to proving. When the devil uses it, his intent is to make you fail. When God is in it, He intends to prove you and thus make you stronger.
Carefully read the text and note that when you are passing through a trial, it is distressing, but its real target is your faith. The trial is happening to prove (assay) your faith. When a miner discovers ore or a gold nugget, he brings it to be assayed. Heat or chemicals are used to prove the quality of the substance being tested. If it assays well enough, he puts greater effort into mining the area. Then the metal is refined for ultimate use. When it’s gold in question, the refining may involve repeated melting in a crucible. Each time the gold is heated until liquified the jeweler skims off the dross that floats to the top. He repeats the heating and skimming process until he can see his reflection in the purified gold.
That’s what trials do to your faith. God gave you the faith to start with. Jesus is its author and perfecter Hebrews 12:2. We all tend to combine faith with other things like doubt, common sense, experience, or fear. That downgrades it from what God intends it to be. So He allows trials that are necessary to purify your faith. Trials feel like fire a lot of times. If you’re in the process right now, it may seem like there is no end in sight. Worse, it may be that you have come through one set of trials only to be facing another round. You are tempted to think God has abandoned you and that you will soon crash.
Read on . . . your faith will end up producing praise, glory, and honor at the revealing of Jesus Christ. You will make it and on that day when Jesus steps forward to be revealed (gr: apocalypses) to the entire universe — uncovered, unveiled, fully disclosed. On that day, your faith will be ready to shine forth in praise to Him. You won’t remember much about any trials at that moment, but you’ll be glad for what they accomplished in your life. You’ll only have shining faith to present, so you’ll want it to be as pure and radiant as possible.
Won’t it be amazing to see Jesus! You have sung to Him and about Him, studied His word, prayed to Him, witnessed for Him . . . but have never seen Him. Yet you love Him and believe in Him and greatly rejoice in Him with a glory-filled joy that is essentially inexpressible. Isn’t it wonderful when you have those very special times with Him? Maybe in the night, or when out in creation, or a time in His word or praise and worship. You almost see Him. He is so real. But on that day the nail-scarred One will stand as every creature confesses “Jesus is Lord”.
Well, there is a bottom line to all of this — you obtain as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your soul. You may think that sounds odd since you got saved when you believed in Jesus. Remember the ministry of the Holy Spirit? He sanctifies positionally, practically, and permanently. Here is the same idea. When you believed in Jesus and confessed His lordship you were saved positionally. You were placed by adoption into the family of God Galatians 4:5,6, you were seated with Jesus in the heavenlies Ephesians 2:4-6.
However, your soul was not totally saved. Saved from sin’s penalty, yes, but not from its practice. The cycle Peter described frees your soul from bondage to sin into obedience to Christ. That gives you unspeakable joy as you live in freedom and glorify your Savior in each moment.
So do trials have any value? Actually, a lot!