The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 110 of 207
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Seven precious things.
The precious trial of faith (I Pet. 1: 6, 7).
pp. 17 - 19
The setting of the first of Peter's precious things is in "heaviness", "temptation" and
The apostle uses a number of expressions to soften the severity of the "fiery trial"
through which the believer is called to pass, among which let us gratefully note the
"For a season" (oligon).--The word literally means: "for a little while." We find it
in I Pet. 3: 20 where it is translated "few", and more to our point in I Pet. 5: 10 where
the apostle says:--
"But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
This throws a comforting light upon the trial of faith: at most, it is but for "a little
while", and it leads to perfecting, stablishing and settling.
Another mitigating feature in the trial of faith is expressed by the words: "if need
(dei) be." There is a "need be" for every thorn, for every hour of darkness. The "need
be" may be in ourselves, our need of discipline, some element of dross that must be
purged. There may be a "need be" because of the outworking of the great purpose of
God, and if so surely it is an honour to suffer anything that is associated with that mighty
plan. There is also a "need be" because of others, for none of us liveth or dieth to
himself. Thus we find the word (dei) translated "behove" in Luke 24: 46 ("Thus it
behoved Christ to suffer"), and "must" in John 12: 34 ("The Son of man must be lifted
up"), and "must needs" in Acts 17: 3 ("Christ must needs have suffered").
The most important note, however, is that sounded in I Pet. 1: 7 in the expression,
"The trial of faith". As the word itself indicates, and the very explanatory note of Peter
proves, the "trial" refers to the testing of a metal, the refining of gold. The words,
"though it be tried with fire", may of course refer to the faith, but a fuller sense is given if
we read them as referring to the gold. The intention of the apostle is expressed as
"That the trial of your faith (being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it (the gold) be tried with fire) might be found unto praise and honour and glory at
the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1: 7).
Gold is called by the chemist a "noble metal" by reason of its resistance to the attack
of acids. Peter, however, says that it "perishes", yet he adds: "even gold that perishes
stands the test of fire; how much more then your faith?"