Bible Society of South Africa

Faith like refined gold – 5 April 2022

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

4and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. 5They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God's power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

6Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. 7Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honour on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:4-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

The American singer Nightbirde had captured the hearts of millions of people for her gutsy performance on the America’s Got Talent show in 2021. She lived her dream, despite being given less than 2% chance of survival due to cancer. Her song, “It’s Ok”, and her testimony revealed God’s goodness in spite of all the negative things that we might experience. She died on 20 February 2022. But her faith, in spite of her suffering, touched millions of hearts across the globe.

Peter wants to encourage us in difficult times. Our future is safe in God’s hands. The power of the Almighty God will bring his children safely to the destination prepared for us. This is the song in our hearts – God is with us on the way to a better future. This gives me strength to endure, even if today is difficult. It gives us joy in life – that is what “greatly rejoice” means.

In this life, we endure trials. It may be difficult circumstances, things happening that are beyond our control. There are things in life that we cannot sort out by ourselves. But in this verse, Peter reminds us that our faith is worth more than gold. This image is helpful. We find gold in our country as part of gold-bearing ore reefs. It is embedded in rock. And the ore must be extracted from the ground, and the ore pulverised into a fine powder. The gold dust is then dissolved in a cyanide solution, and then it is put through the refining fire, to melt away all impurities to arrive at pure 24 carat gold. Our faith is also put through the refining fire of life, to burn away all impurities.

We do not like the idea of suffering as refining in our lives. No one chooses the way of suffering for themselves, we will do nearly anything to sidestep it. But in times of unavoidable suffering, Peter wants to help us to remain focused – to keep the faith. When we are going through the fire of life, God is always near. He even uses the bad times and things to refine our faith, so that it may be worthy of praise, glory and honour when Jesus returns.

We are precious in God’s eyes, more than silver or gold. No trials or suffering will be able to snatch us out of his hands. It remains our challenge to trust in the Lord, that suffering may refine our faith, and that we may exit these times of trial stronger than we were before.

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I experience my journey of life as hard, nearly too much for me to handle. But thank you that you are in control, and I am safe in your hands. Strengthen me and help me to trust in you, when I go through the refining fire of life, to your glory. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.9
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