The testing of our faith
You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 CSB
Peter continues to teach believers undergoing persecutions because of their faith in Christ about the providence of God. When we appropriate the faith that God gave us, we realize that God is shielding us from the attack of the enemy. And because of this, we experience hope from knowing that we have this guarantee and should “rejoice in this.” Although God’s promise of protection is with us (see Philippians 1:6), we should always be ready as well to employ the faith that we have. Paul’s imagery conveys this truth clearly: “In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). Although we are not guaranteed protection from the suffering and trials of this life, as seen in verse 6, we should view it, in light of eternity, as “momentary.” “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Peter provides encouragement to believers who are suffering under Nero and Rome as a whole. Nero is about to bring upon the church excruciating persecution for 250 years, where believers are literally dipped in tar and lit as torches for garden parties. Yet, Peter reminds us that this is a brief moment in comparison to the joy and painless lives we shall live in heaven in the presence of our Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:1-9). Peter uses a beautiful metaphor of a goldsmith in verse 7. In order to remove the impurities of a bar of gold, the goldsmith heats up the metal to temperatures of 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. The impurities then rise to the surface to be scooped up, until finally, the goldsmith can see his own reflection in the pool of gold. Christ is our goldsmith. As we go through trials, the impurities in our faith and life are exposed. God has to put our faith into test so we can see for ourselves if it is genuine. Testing takes time but after the elapsed time and the process of testing had ended, the one tested will greatly rejoice for faith has been proven genuine.
Isaac De Guzman