The Trial of Your Faith
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
Peter tells us, “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, through it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). The words Peter uses here are wonderful. They speak of a goldsmith at work. Before the goldsmith could fashion the rough gold into the shape he desired, he first had to refine the gold. The gold must be unadulterated. Pure. He did this by testing and trying, by burning out the corruption, the unacceptable ingredients; removing the dross from the gold, leaving only the uncorrupted metal: the pure gold.
The goldsmith first placed the unrefined gold into a large mortar-like bowl. The mortar was placed over a searing fire to liquefy the metal. The fire segregated the dross from the gold. The goldsmith, during this long process, would periodically take a trial, a long spoon-like instrument, and dip it into the molten liquid. Placing a small drop of the refining gold onto a wooden plank, he would inspect the gold; testing for purity, hue, structure and clarity. This burning out of the corruption from the gold took hours. Drop by drop, testing and trying until the dross, the last bit of corruption, was removed and the gold was pure.
Do you know how the goldsmith knew when the corruption had been completely burned out of the gold? When, in his last test, the final drop of gold placed on the wooded plank, the only object he could see in the drop of gold, was his own reflection. No dross. No impurities. No corruption. Wonderful.
So the Lord tries us and tests us to bring us forth as pure gold. “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). When the Lord sees us in that day, the only object He will see in us is His own reflection. Glory! We are made pure by the testing and trying of our faith by fire, by the goldsmithing of the Lord.
When the apostle Peter exhorted us to, “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12), he was referring to experiences which we will meet in this life, and ones which, as his language denotes, is by no means exceptional. Each of us will face “fiery” trials. In this century, we may not experience the trials of being thrown to the lions, or “the spoiling of our goods,” or living in caves, “destitute and afflicted.” But during the last two centuries the Lord’s people, and especially His servants, have faced “fiery” trials, which have come in a more subtle manner: The Lord’s people have had to suffer the reproach of credulity and simple-mindedness, of being called “behind the times,” because we refuse to believe agnostic scientists and their theories of “modern scholarship.” Our sensitive natures can find such reproaches harder to bear than physical sufferings of past centuries. In this day, the test, the “fiery” trial, is to resist the seductions of an alluring world, to refuse any and all compromise.
Everyone who confesses the name of Christ will be tested - the true believer, as well as the false professor, in Christ will be tried and tested and proved. C. H. Spurgeon was right when he said, “Whether your religion be true or false, it will be tried; whether it be chaff or wheat the fan of the great Winnower will surly be brought into operation upon all that lies on the threshing floor. If thou hast dealings with God, thou hast to do with a ‘consuming fire.’ Whether thou be really or nominally a Christian, if thou comest near Christ He will try thee as silver is tried. Judgment must begin at the house of God, judgment will begin with you.” It is the will of God that whosoever takes upon him the profession of His name shall be tried, tested, and proved. The Lord tested the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-23). The Lord tests those who build their faith “upon the sand” - whose hope is based on a “faith in Christ,” which produces no obedience to Him. To such professors He says, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). They are tried and tested and found wanting. The intellectual professor is tested by being constantly subjected to alterations of the Truth. The Pharisees were of this sort - relying on their intellect, their knowledge, their apprehension of formal truth. Intellectual professors admire Truth, but they will not die for it. When tested the intellectual will go with what seems more comfortable, more compatible to their own interest. New mythical experiences, so-called new found biblical facts or translations, inconstant intelligence is the fire which test the intellectual’s faith. Intellectual knowledge of the truth is fluctuating, ephemeral. Truth is entertained as a transitory idea and found wanting.
Pilate was tested as an intellectual. He had a theoretical knowledge that it was contrary to the evidence to condemn Christ to death, but when the issue of his own interest with Cesar was raised, his practical judgment dictated him to save his own prestige. God allowed Adam and Eve to be tempted and tried by Satan. God tried Abraham when He charged him to take his dearly loved son and offer him up for a burnt offering on mount Moriah. The Lord gave all that Job had, except his life, into the hands of Satan - to test and try his faith. God left Hezekiah to himself to try him and make known what was in his heart, when the ambassadors of Babylon came to inquire of him what wonders the Lord had done in the land (2 Chronicles 32:31).
All who profess the name of Christ will be tried and tested and proved - whether they bear “good fruit” or “bad fruit.” That we “might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
The Trial of Your Faith
Published: 25 July 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 5 August 2010 in the Faith Column of The County Journal.
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© 2012 dr. jay & miss diana
all rights reserved