Present-Hope Joy – 1 Peter 1:6-9

Peter also says that if we suffer various trials, it is because such trials are necessary. At first glance, we might say, “What? If necessary? How come that person doesn’t have to suffer like I do. How come I suffer but that Christian over there doesn’t? Why is it necessary for me and not necessary for them? Well, just because you do not perceive that someone else is suffering, that does not mean that they are not suffering trials of various sorts. Some trials are just more obvious to the onlooker. Also, if someone is not suffering like you, what is it to you? If anything, give thanks that they are spared your trials.

Further, in our self-pity we might ask the question, How can these trials I’m suffering be necessary when we have a loving all-powerful Father in heaven?” The thing is, that is exactly the point. Various trials are necessary because we have a loving, all-powerful Father in heaven. Our trials are not random misfortunes of chance. They have a purpose that is tailored to us.

Hence, our second point, the Purpose of Trials. Verse 7:

so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Trials are a test of our faith. It is by our trials that our faith is tested and proved to either be genuine faith, or proved to not be genuine faith. This is along the lines of  what Jesus said in the “Parable of the Sower.” In Mark 4:5-6, he speaks of the seed sown on rocky ground, which quickly dies because it had no root. He explains what he means by this in vv. 16-17:

16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

Every single Christian is different, and our faith is as varied as we are. It makes sense that each of us has our own trials that test and refine our faith custom to who we are—various trials for various people. Enduring these trials and persevering through them in the Lord demonstrates that our faith, your individual, personal faith, is true. Remaining rooted in the Lord, solid and unmovable, we rejoice in the Lord. And think about it. How might you know that your faith is actually true saving faith, if it is not a faith that has been tested in a personal way?

Peter illustrates the concept of our faith tested through such trials by comparing our faith to gold.

“your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire”

Concerning this statement, John Calvin rhetorically asks:

If gold, a corruptible metal, is deemed of so much value that we prove it by fire, that it may become really valuable, what wonder is it that God should require a similar trial as to faith, since faith is deemed by him so excellent? [2]

While refined gold is precious to the world, it perishes. Even gold will be destroyed when the Lord returns in judgment, bringing the new heavens and the new earth (Is. 51:6; 2 Pet. 3:10). In contrast, true faith is eternal. Our faith is more precious to God than all the gold in the world, and his power secures it. God uses fiery trials to test and refine our faith, refinement that carries into eternity (1 Pet. 4:12). This testing is also for our benefit (Rom. 8:28). Finding that our faith continues and is refined through the fire, we are reassured in our faith. Our confidence in our salvation and the Lord is confirmed. And, we find even more cause to rejoice.

This present-hope joy, in the midst of various trials, will continue until the Lord returns bringing his Kingdom. At that point, in the presence of Christ, our tested genuine, refined faith will result in praise and glory and honor. When the Lord says to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant;” when we receive our reward in heaven (Matt. 25:20-23; & 34); then we will cast our crowns of glory and honor at his feet (Rev. 4:10), praising and worshipping him as the one who is worthy to receive glory and honor and power. Thus, in the midst of our various trials we have true cause to rejoice.