PROOF OF YOUR FAITH: hina to dokimion humon tes pisteo:
4:12; Job 23:10; Ps 66:10, 11, 12; Pr 17:3; Is 48:10; Je 9:7; Zec
13:9; Mal 3:3; Ro 5:3,4; Jas 1:3,4;1:12 Rev 2:10; 3:10)
(See Piper's Sermon
Joy Through the Fiery Trial of Genuine Faith)
(Torrey's Topic Afflictions
John Piper's online book -
The Hidden Smile of God - The Fruit of
Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David
Gilt looks very much like gold but
it will not stand the fire. It curls and disappears. Oh! to be solid
gold through and through. If so, you need not mind the trials of
to-day, since they will only prepare you for the glories eternal at
the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1
Peter 1- Commentary)
Matthew Henry - Afflictions are sent for this end,
to bring us to the throne of grace, to teach us to pray and to make
the word of God's grace precious to us... Many are taught with the
briars and thorns of affliction that would not learn otherwise.
Henry Law - This school of trial best discloses
the hidden vileness of the heart and the vast riches of a Saviour's
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones- Christian people are generally at
their best when they are in the furnace of affliction and being
persecuted and tried....Trials and tribulations are very good for us
in that they help us to know ourselves better than we knew ourselves
dokimazo [word study]
dokimos [word study]
= proved, tried as metals by fire and thus
purified, in turn from dechomai = to accept deliberately and
readily, receive) describes both the
process of determining the genuineness of something (in this
case of our faith) or the result, this latter specifically referring
to the genuineness of something (our faith) as the result of testing.
dokimazo describes putting someone or something
to the test with a view of determining whether it is worthy of being
approved or not, the test being
made with the intention of approving if possible.
Dokimazo was used of
the act of examining candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
In a similar
way, Thomas Manton explained that "Trial is not only to approve, but
The genuine element in the faith
of Peter's readers would be proven by a process similar to that of
metal refining and ultimately would be found to be something more
precious than even these precious metals.
James in the only other NT use
of dokimon exhorts tried saints to
(A command - just try to do this NATURALLY! You can't. It can only be
accomplished as you are filled with the Spirit, Who alone can enable
you to make the SUPERNATURAL choice to rejoice) it all
joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that
the testing (dokimon) of your faith produces endurance."
(Jas 1:2,3 -
Henry says "the
faith of good people is tried, that they themselves may have the
comfort of it, God the glory of it, and others the benefit of it.
J. Vernon McGee
- When God
tests us today, He puts us into the furnace. He doesn’t do that to
destroy us or to hurt or harm us. But He wants pure gold, and that is
the way He will get it. Friend, that is what develops Christian
character. At the time of testing, the dross is drawn off and the
precious gold appears. That is God’s method. That is God’s school. We
don’t hear that teaching very much in our day. Rather, we are being
taught to become sufficient within ourselves. Oh, my friend, you and I
are not adequate; we are not sufficient, and we never will be. We
simply come to God as sinners, and He saves us by His grace through
the blood of Christ. Then He wants to live His life through us. He
tries to teach us this through our trials. He is drawing us closer to
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Roger M. Raymer writes that
Knowledge alone cannot produce the
great joy of experiential security and freedom from fear in the face
of persecution. God’s omnipotent sovereignty needs to be coupled with
human responsibility. Christians are responsible to respond in faith.
Faith turns sound doctrine into sound practice. Faith acts on the
content of theology and produces conduct that corresponds to that
content. Faith makes theological security experiential. The Apostle
John wrote, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our
faith” (1Jn 5:4).
This kind of faith or living hope can enable believers to rejoice even
when they are called on to suffer grief. (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985.
Faith is a furnace grace.
'Though it is tried with fire, it is found unto praise and honor'
(1Peter 1:7). Faith, like Hercules' club, beats down all oppositions.
By faith we resist the devil (1Peter 5:9). By faith we resist unto
blood (He11:34). (Beatitudes)
Genuine faith is
indestructible. Job suffered more intense "multi colored trials"
in one day than probably any other individual in history and yet he
was able to say
slay me, I will
(wait for) in Him." (Job 13:15)
Comment: The Hebrew verb for
hope is yachal has the idea of tarrying, and here pictures Job
as a man who exhibits a confident expectation or trust in God. To be
certain, Job longs to understand why God is allowing him to suffer so,
but he will not waver in unbelief but instead he resolutely holds fast
to his faith, even it he must die in doing so. (cp martyrs below).
This is the ultimate mark of a genuine believer...one who holds fast
his confidence until the end (cp Heb 3:6, 14, 10:35,36, Mt 24:13,
10:22, Lk 8:15, 2Jn 9 1Co 15:2, 2Ti2:12, Col1:23)
A weak faith may appear to be
strong when friends are true, the body is healthy, and the business is
profitable. But a truly strong faith clings to the Lord's promises and
relies on His faithfulness when loved ones leave, health departs, and
dark clouds obscure the future.
Evangelist D. L. Moody once said, "Trust in yourself and you are
doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and
leave you; but trust in God, and you will never be confounded in time
or eternity." Trials are the soil in which faith can flourish.
It is estimated that more than 50
million Christians died for their faith in the Dark Ages. It is
estimated that a million Christians died for their faith when the
Communists seized China. Unnumbered thousands died as martyrs in the
revolutions and civil wars in Africa.
The following are from unknown
Polycarp, venerable bishop
of Smyrna was a personal friend and pupil of John the Apostle. When he
was age 86, he was urged by the Roman proconsul to reproach Christ and
be set free. “Eighty and six years have I served Him and He never did
me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?” The
proconsul said: “I have respect for your age. Simply say, “Away with
the Atheists” and be set free.” Polycarp solemnly said, “Away with the
Atheists”—pointing to the pagan crowd. He joyfully went to the stake,
thanking God for counting him worthy to be numbered among the martyrs.
John Huss, the courageous
pastor of Prague, was arrested, condemned, and sentenced to be burned
by a church council in 1415. When Huss heard his sentence pronounced,
he fell to his knees and prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive my enemies.”
Then when he was chained to the stake, he prayed, “In Thee, O Lord, do
I put my TRUST; let me never be ashamed.” Then flames snuffed out the
life of “The Morning Star of the Reformation.”
On July 1st, 1555, John Bradford
was burned to death. He was chaplain to King Edward Sixth of England,
and was one of the most popular preachers of his day. But he was a
martyr to his faith. As he was being driven out to Newgate to be
burned, permission was given him to speak, and from the wagon in which
he rode to his death the entire way out from West London to Newgate he
shouted: “Christ, Christ, none but Christ!”
Having been banished, Cyprian
suffered martyrdom in Carthage in 258. When the sentence of death was
read to him he said, “I heartily thank Almighty God who is pleased to
set me free from the chains of the body.”
More Last Words Of Martyrs
Henry Vos—“If I had twin heads,
they should all be off for Christ.”
Castilla Rupea—“Though you throw my body down off this steep hill, yet
will my soul mount upwards again.”
John Buisson—“I shall have a double jail delivery: out of my sinful
flesh and out of the loathsome dungeon I have long lain in.”
Taylor—“Now lack I but two steps, and I am even at my Father’s house.”
Carpenter—“All Bavaria is not as dear to me as my wife and children,
but, for Christ’s sake, I gladly forsake them.”
During the terrible Boxer Rebellion in China the insurgents captured a
mission station, blocked all the gates but one, and before this placed
a cross flat on the ground. Then the word was passed to those inside
that any who trampled the cross underfoot (cp He 10:29-note)
would be permitted their freedom and life, but that any refusing would
be shot to death. Terribly frightened, the first seven students
trampled the cross under their feet and were allowed to go free. But
the eighth student, a young girl, refused to commit the sacrilegious
act. Kneeling beside the cross in prayer for strength, she arose, and
moved carefully around the cross and went out to face the firing
squad. Strengthened by her example, every one of the remaining
ninety-two students followed her to death.
Forty Wrestlers For Christ -
In the days of the Roman Emperor Nero, there lived and served him a
band of soldiers known as the “Emperor’s Wrestlers.” Fine, stalwart
men they were, picked from the best and the bravest of the land,
recruited from the great athletes of the Roman amphitheater.
In the great amphitheater they
upheld the arms of the emperor against all challengers. Before each
contest they stood before the emperor’s throne. Then through the
courts of Rome rang the cry: “We, the wrestlers, wrestling for thee, O
Emperor, to win for thee the victory and from thee, the victor’s
When the great Roman army was sent
to fight in far-away Gaul, no soldiers were braver or more loyal than
this band of wrestlers led by their centurion Vespasian. But news
reached Nero that many Roman soldiers had accepted the Christian
faith. Therefore, this decree was dispatched to the centurion
Vespasian: “If there be any among your soldiers who cling to the faith
of the Christian, they must die!”
The decree was received in the dead
of winter. The soldiers were camped on the shore of a frozen inland
lake. It was with sinking heart that Vespasian, the centurion, read
the emperor’s message.
Vespasian called the soldiers
together and asked the question: “Are there any among you who cling to
the faith of the Christian? If so, let him step forward!” Forty
wrestlers instantly stepped forward two paces, respectfully saluted,
and stood at attention. Vespasian paused. He had not expected so many,
nor such select ones. “Until sundown I shall await your answer,” said
Vespasian. Sundown came. Again the question was asked. Again the forty
wrestlers stepped forward.
Vespasian pleaded with them long
and earnestly without prevailing upon a single man to deny his Lord.
Finally he said, “The decree of the emperor must be obeyed, but I am
not willing that your comrades should shed your blood. I am going to
order that you march out upon the lake of ice, and I shall leave you
there to the mercy of the elements.”
The forty wrestlers were stripped
and then, falling into columns of four, marched toward the center of
the lake of ice. As they marched they broke into the chant of the
arena: “Forty wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee
the victory and from Thee, the victor’s crown!” Through the long hours
of the night Vespasian stood by his campfire and watched. As he waited
through the long night, there came to him fainter and fainter the
As morning drew near one figure,
overcome by exposure, crept quietly toward the fire; in the extremity
of his suffering he had renounced his Lord. Faintly but clearly from
the darkness came the song: “Thirty-nine wrestlers, wrestling for
Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the
Vespasian looked at the figure
drawing close to the fire. Perhaps he saw eternal light shining there
toward the center of the lake. Who can say? But off came his helmet
and clothing, and he sprang upon the ice, crying, “Forty wrestlers,
wrestling for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory” and from
Thee, the victor’s crown! (Source Unknown)
The Builder Of Coliseum -
Years ago, a Roman emperor said to a Greek architect: “Build me a
Coliseum, and when it is done, I will crown you, and I will make your
name famous through all the world.” The work was done. The emperor
said: “Now, we will crown that architect. We will have a grand
The Coliseum was crowded with a
great host. The emperor was there and the Greek architect, who was to
be crowned for putting up this building. And they brought out some
Christians, who were ready to die for the truth and from the doors
underneath were let out the hungry lions.
The emperor arose amid the shouting
assemblage and said: “The Coliseum is done, and we have Christians at
the mouth of these lions, and we have come here to honour the
architect who has constructed this wonderful building. The time has
come for me to honour him, and we further celebrate his triumph by the
slaying of these Christians.” Whereupon, the Greek architect sprang to
his feet and shouted: “I also am a Christian.” And they flung him to
the wild beasts, and his body, bleeding and dead, was trumpled into
the dust of the amphitheatre.
Last Martyr Of Coliseum - After three centuries,
notwithstanding the spread of Christianity, gladiatorial combats
continued to be the favorite pastime of a large proportion of the
Roman citizens. Constantine prohibited them. The populace persisted.
To avoid an insurrection they were allowed to have their will.
Honorious re-enacted the prohibition. It was also in vain.
One day, as the gladiatorial fight
was about to commence, Telemachus rushed down into the arena and
separated the combatants. Then the spectators, indignant at this
interruption, tore up the marble benches and hurled them down upon him
“from the amphitheatre, which seemed crowded with so many demons
raging for human blood.” But on his death the benevolent monk
Telemachus was victorious—rage yielded to admiration—and gladiatorial
combats ceased for ever. He became the last martyr of the Coliseum.
"Though He slay me, I will trust
Said the sainted Job of old;
"Though He try me in the furnace,
I shall then come forth as gold.
"Though the 'worms of deep affliction'
Cause this body to decay,
In my flesh I shall behold Him--
My Redeemer--some glad day."
"Though He slay me"--can I say it
When I feel the searing fire,
When my fondest dreams lie shattered--
Gone my hope and fond desire?
"Though He slay me, I will trust Him,"
For He knows just how to mold,
How to melt and shape my spirit--
I shall then come forth as gold!
Wiersbe comments that
Job 13:15 is one of the greatest
declarations of faith found anywhere in Scripture, but it must be
understood in its context. Job is saying, “I will take my case
directly to God and prove my integrity. I know I am taking my life in
my hands in approaching God, because He is able to slay me. But if He
doesn’t slay me, it is proof that I am not the hypocrite you say I
am." (Wiersbe, W. Be patient. An Old Testament study. Wheaton, Ill.:
take. When He has
tried me, I shall
God knew that Job was in the furnace of affliction, but it was a
furnace of God’s appointment and was not because of Job’s sin.
Furthermore, God would use Job’s affliction to purify him and make him
a better man. This is not the only answer to the frequently asked
question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” but it is one of the
best, and it can bring the sufferer great encouragement.
Warren Wiersbe aptly describes
the process of divine testing writing that
When God puts His own
people into the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on
the thermostat. He knows how long and how much. (If we rebel,
He may have to reset the clock; but if we submit, He will not
permit us to suffer one minute too long. The important thing is that
we learn the lesson He wants to teach us and that we bring glory to
Him alone.) We
may question why He does it to begin with, or why He doesn’t turn down
the heat or even turn it off; but our questions are only evidences of
unbelief. (Job 23:10-note)
is the answer: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested
me, I shall come come forth as gold” (NKJV). Gold does not fear
the fire. The furnace can only make the gold purer and brighter."
(Wiersbe, W. Be Patient. An Old Testament study. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor
Abed-nego were literally tested by an "extremely
fire". The Babylonian furnace proved
their faith to be real and burned away the ropes that held them,
setting them free. King Nebuchadnezzar in utter astonishment observed
midst of the
harm & the
son of the
In their "multi colored fiery trial", they also came to experience the
companionship of a fourth Person in the fire Who many consider to be
“the Son of God” Who provided just the right "color" of grace to meet
their need. (Read Da 3:12-30, see especially their bold faithful
testimony in Da 3:15, 16, 17, 18)
A dark hour makes Jesus bright.
--Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Gold is tested by
Man is tested by adversity
Our Daily Bread)
Meyer (Our Daily Walk,
Feb 21) comments on on 1 Peter
1:7 in his devotional entitled The Refiner's Fire...
IS harder to bear than the apparent aimlessness of suffering.
They say that what breaks a convict's heart in gaol (Ed note: a
prison) is to set him to say carry stones from one side of the
prison to the other, and then back again!
But we must never look
upon the trials of life as punishments, because all penalty was
borne by our Lord Himself.
They are intended to destroy the
weeds and rubbish of our natures, as the bonfires do in the
gardens. Christ regards us in the light of our eternal
interests, of which He alone can judge. If you and I knew what
sphere we were to fulfill in the other world, we should
understand the significance of His dealings with us, as now we
The Refiner has a purpose in view, of which those who
stand beside Him are ignorant, and, therefore, they are unable
to judge the process which He is employing.
Dare to believe that
Christ is working to a plan in your life. He loves you. Be
patient! He would not take so much trouble unless He knew that
it was worth while.
"We do not prune brambles,
or cast common
stones into the crucible
or plough sea-sands!"
You must be
capable of some special service, which can only be done by a
carefully-prepared instrument, and so Christ sits beside you as
the Refiner, year after year, that you may miss nothing.
the Fire is hot keep conversing with the Refiner. Ponder these
words: "He shall sit as a Refiner and Purifier of silver."
The thought is specially suitable for those who cannot make long
prayers, but they can talk to Christ as He sits beside them.
Nicholas Hermann tells us that, as he could not concentrate his
mind on prolonged prayer, he gave up set times of prayer and
sought constant conversations with Christ. So speak with Him,
then, in the midst of your daily toil. He hears the unspoken
prayer, and catches your whispers. Talk to Christ about your
trials, sorrows, and anxieties! Make Him your Confidant in your
joy and happiness! Nothing makes Him so real as to talk to Him
aloud about everything! PRAYER: Let the Fire of Thy Love consume
in me all sinful desires of the flesh and of the mind, that I
may henceforth continually abide in Jesus Christ my Lord, and
seek the things where He sits at Thy right hand. AMEN."
Today in the Word -
have an uncanny way of revealing what's inside a person. Consider the
behavior of some passengers aboard the doomed luxury liner Titanic. As
the great ship was sinking and the few lifeboats were being filled,
the command on deck was ""women and children first."" According to one
survivor, most of the men and older boys obeyed the order. But some
men ran back to the ship's staterooms and changed into women's
clothing in an effort to gain a seat on a lifeboat. The crisis brought
out the worst in these men. What about us? When God sends trials our
way, do we respond in fear or in faith?" (Excerpt from
Today in the Word)
GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
by William Cowper
discussion of his life)
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
PRECIOUS THAN GOLD WHICH IS PERISHABLE: polutimoteron chrusiou tou
polus = much, great + time = price, honor) literally means
"of great price", as that which is very high on a monetary
scale and thus very precious or far more valuable and much revered. It is a word some might think would more likely be used by ladies, but
Peter is very fond of "precious" using it some 7 times
(not all are "polytimos") in both
his epistles (Click for all
NT uses of "precious" by Peter and one by James).
is used 3 times in the NT: (1x
Jesus used polytimos describing the "the
kingdom of heaven" which He declared
is like a merchant
seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value,
he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Mt
Jesus pictures salvation as something hidden from
most people but so very precious that people who have it revealed to
them are willing to give up all they have to possess it. How "precious"
is genuine faith to the great Refiner's eye!
In describing Mary's (the "Mary"
of "Martha and Mary" see
Lu 10:39ff) act of love and deep
devotion, John records that she
"therefore took a pound of very
costly (polytimos) perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of
Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair and the house was filled with
the fragrance of the perfume." (Jn
Raymer writes that
Even refined gold, though it
lasts a long time, eventually perishes (see note
1 Peter 1:18;
Js 5:3). It will be valueless in the
marketplace of eternity. But faith “purchases” an inheritance that can
never perish. (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985.
John echoes this truth about gold and other things the world holds precious, declaring that
the world is passing away and also its lusts" (1John 2:17)
Matthew Henry adds
Gold is the most valuable, pure,
useful, and durable, of all the metals; so is faith among the
Christian virtues; it lasts till it brings the soul to heaven, and
then it issues in the glorious fruition of God for ever. The trial of
faith is much more precious than the trial of gold; in both there is a
purification, a separation of the dross, and a discovery of the
soundness and goodness of the things. Gold does not increase and
multiply by trial in the fire, it rather grows less; but faith is
established, improved, and multiplied, by the oppositions and
afflictions that it meets with.
It is not the
approved faith, but the approval itself that is in the apostle’s mind
here. To illustrate this distinction imagine a gold-mining company
wishes to buy a proposed site where gold is said to have been found.
But it is not sure whether the metal is real gold or not and whether
it is there in sufficient quantity so that a mine if sunk would be a
profitable venture. It engages an assayer of metals to take samples of
the gold ore to his laboratory and examine them. The assayer sends his
report to the effect that the ore contains true gold, and that the
gold is found in sufficient quantity so that the venture will pay. The
report of the assayer approving the gold ore is of far more value to
the mining company than the gold he returns with his report, for upon
the basis of the report, the company can go ahead with assurance and
buy the land and begin mining operations. The fact that God finds our
faith to be one which He can approve, is of far more value to Him and
to His glory, than the approved faith, for He has something to work
with, a faith that He knows can stand the testing and the trials which
may come to the Christian. The fact that God can trust a Christian as
one that is dependable, is of great value to Him, God is looking for
faithful, dependable workers, not necessarily gifted, educated,
cultured ones. It is a “well done, thou good and faithful servant”
that will greet the ears of the saint at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Why compare our faith to
gold? - In the ancient world gold was
considered the most expensive & rarest of all metals. It was
used in the worship of the gods, and was very prominent in the
temple of Jerusalem, where the true God was worshipped. Emperors
& heroes were know for their lavish use of gold. Under Augustus
and Nero the price of the Roman gold coin, the aureus, was worth
45 denarii (a Roman soldier got 225 denarii a year and one
denarius was considered to be a day's wage. All of this indicates that
a tried, genuine faith is extremely valuable! The known quantity in
this statement is the preciousness of gold -- a genuine faith is much
more precious than that. (Reinecker
& Rogers page 567)
(and found approved)
BY FIRE: dia puros de dokimazomenou (PPPNSG):
a Frowning Providence - Why Christians Suffer by John A Murray)
Pithy quotes and sayings
relating to adversities and trials...
God will not permit any
troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which
great blessing can come out of the difficulty. -- Peter Marshall
Afflictions are but the
shadow of God's wings. -- George MacDonald
Fire is the test of gold, adversity of strong men.
Our great Teacher writes many
a bright lesson on the blackboard of affliction.
As in nature and in the arts,
so in grace: it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as
stones, their luster. The more the diamond is cut, the brighter
it sparkles, and in what seems hard dealings God has no end in
view but to perfect our graces. -- Thomas Guthrie
When I am in the cellar of
affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines. -- Samuel
If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace. If he has
made it bitter; drink it in communion with him. -- Oswald
Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in
the shadows of life.
Affliction is the school of
faith and trial is the school of trust.
The Lord gets his best
soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. -- C H Spurgeon
Stars may be seen from the
bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the
top of a mountain. So are many things learned in adversity which
the prosperous man dreams not of. --C. H. Spurgeon
Nothing can render affliction
so insupportable as the load of sin. Would you then be fitted
for afflictions? Be sure to get the burden of your sins laid
aside, and then what affliction soever you may meet with will be
very easy to you. -- John Bunyan.
It takes the grindstone to
sharpen the axe. -- Vance Havner
(1381) (dokimazo from dokimos = tested, proved or approved,
tried as metals by fire and thus purified from
accept, receive) means to assay, to test, to prove, to put to the test, to make a trial
of, to verify, to discern to approve. Dokimazo involves
not only testing but determining the genuineness or value of an event
or object. That which has been tested is demonstrated to be genuine
is used 22 in the NT...
Luke 12:56 "You hypocrites!
You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the
sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?
Luke 14:19 "And another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of
oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me
Romans 1:28 (note)
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer,
God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are
not proper, (Literally = And, according as they did not
approve [dokimazo] of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to
a disapproved mind, to do the things not seemly)
Romans 2:18 (note)
and know His will, and approve the things that are essential,
being instructed out of the Law,
Romans 12:2 (note)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God
is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 14:22 (note)
The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.
Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
1 Corinthians 3:13 each man's work will become evident; for the
day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire
itself will test the quality of each man's work.
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and
so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1 Corinthians 16:3 And when I arrive, whomever you may
approve, I shall send them with letters to carry your gift to
2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as
proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your
2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom
we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now
even more diligent, because of his great confidence in you.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Test (peirazo -
yourselves to see if you are in the faith;
yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?
Galatians 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and
then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and
not in regard to another.
Ephesians 5:10 (note)
trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Philippians 1:10 (note)
so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order
to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
Thessalonians 2:4 (note)
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with
the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (note)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is
1 Timothy 3:10 And let these also first be tested; then
let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.
1 Peter 1:7 (note)
that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is
perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result
in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but
the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false
prophets have gone out into the world.
is used 18 times in the non-apocryphal
(Job 34:3; Ps 17:3;
26:2; 66:10; 68:30; 81:7; 95:9; 139:1, 23; Pr 8:10; 17:3; 27:21; Jer
6:27; 9:7; 11:20; 12:3; 17:10; 20:12; Zech 11:13; 13:9). Here is an
Psalm 26:2 (David's
incredible plea to God) Examine (Lxx = dokimazo =
present imperative) me,
O LORD, and
try (Lxx = peirazo
present imperative) me; Test
(Lxx = puroo [heating precious metals red hot in order to
refine them] =
my mind and my heart. (Ed: Do we dare pray this prayer?
Considering the gold that comes from the furnace of affliction, do we
Spurgeon comments on this Psalm:
There are three modes of trial here
challenged, which are said in the original to refer to trial by touch,
trial by smell, and trial by fire. The psalmist was so clear from the
charge laid against him, that he submitted himself unconditionally to
any form of examination which the Lord might see fit to employ.
Examine me, O Lord. Look me through and through; make a minute
survey; put me to the question, cross examine my evidence. And
prove me. Put me again to trial; and see if I would follow such
wicked designs as my enemies impute to me. Try my reins and my
heart. Assay me as metals are assayed in the furnace, and do this
to my most secret parts, where my affections hold their court; see, O
God, whether or no I love murder, and treason, and deceit. All this is
a very bold appeal, and made by a man like David, who feared the Lord
exceedingly, it manifests a most solemn and complete conviction of
innocence. The expressions here used should teach us the thoroughness
of the divine judgment, and the necessity of being in all things
profoundly sincere, lest we be found wanting at the last. Our enemies
are severe with us with the severity of spite, and this a brave man
endures without fear; but God's severity is that of unswerving right.
Who shall stand against such a trial? The sweet singer says "Who can
stand before his cold?" and we may well enquire, "Who can stand before
the heat of his justice?"
These words are designed to include
all the modes in which the reality of anything is tested; and they
imply together that he wished the most thorough investigation to be
made; he did not shrink from any test. Albert Barnes.
As gold, by fire, is severed and
parted from dross, so singleness of heart and true Christian
simplicity is best seen and made most evident in troubles and
afflictions. In prosperity every man will seem godly, but afflictions
do draw out of the heart whatsoever is there, whether it be good or
bad. Robert Cawdray.
When your life is whole before God
and others, when you're practicing integrity, when you have a good
conscience, you don't have to be afraid of the battle or the furnace
or the X ray or the testing. God will see you through. When you walk
with integrity, you walk on solid ground. Never try to serve two
masters. Always keep your heart undivided before the Lord -- Warren
Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises
Psalm 66:10 For Thou hast
tried (Lxx = dokimazo) us, O God; Thou hast refined (Lxx =
puroo = heating precious metals red hot in order to refine)
us as silver is refined.
Spurgeon comments on this Psalm:
For thou, O God, hast proved us.
He proved his Israel with sore trials. David had his temptations. All
the saints must go to the proving house; God had one Son without sin,
but he never had a son without trial. Why ought we to complain if we
are subjected to the rule which is common to all the family, and from
which so much benefit has flowed to them? The Lord Himself proves us,
who then shall raise a question as to the wisdom and the love which
are displayed in the operation? The day may come when, as in this
case, we shall make hymns out of our griefs, and sing all the more
sweetly because our mouths have been purified with bitter draughts.
Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Searching and repeated,
severe and thorough, has been the test; the same result has followed
us as in the case of precious metal, for the dross and tin have been
consumed, and the pure ore has been discovered. Since trial is
sanctified to so desirable an end, ought we not to submit to it with
Spurgeon adds another note:
Convinced from the frequent use of this illustration, that there was
something more than usually instructive in the process of assaying and
purifying silver, I have collected some few facts upon the subject.
The hackneyed story of the refiner
seeing his image in the molten silver while in the fire, has so
charmed most of us, that we have not looked further; yet, with more
careful study, much could be brought out. To assay silver requires
great personal care in the operator.
"The principle of assaying gold and
silver is very simple theoretically, but in practice great experience
is necessary to insure accuracy; and there is no branch of business
which demands more personal and undivided attention. The result is
liable to the influence of so many contingencies, that no assayer who
regards his reputation will delegate the principal process to one not
equally skilled with himself. Besides the result ascertainable by
weight, there are allowances and compensations to be made, which are
known only to an experienced assayer, and if these were disregarded,
as might be the case with the mere novice, the report would be wide
from the truth." (Encyclopaedia Britannica.)
Pagnini's version reads: "Thou hast
melted us by blowing upon us," and in the monuments of Egypt,
artificers are seen with the blowpipe operating with small fire
places, with cheeks to confine and reflect the heat; the worker
evidently paying personal attention, which is evident also in
"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
To assay silver requires a
skillfully constructed furnace. The description of this furnace would
only weary the reader, but it is evidently a work of art in itself.
Even the trial of our faith is much
more precious than that of gold which perisheth. He has refined us,
but not with silver, he would not trust us there, the furnace of
affliction is far more skillfully arranged than that. To assay silver
the heat must be nicely regulated.
"During the operation, the
assayer's attention should be directed to the heat of the furnace,
which must be neither too hot nor too cold: if too hot, minute
portions of silver will be carried off with the lead, and so vitiate
the assay; moreover, the pores of the cupel (Ed: a small
shallow porous cup especially of bone ash used in assaying to separate
precious metals from lead) being more open, greater absorption will
ensue, and there is liability to loss from that cause. One indication
of an excess of heat in the furnace, is the rapid and perpendicular
rising of the fumes to the ceiling of the muffle, the mode of checking
and controlling which has been pointed out in the description of the
improved furnace. When the fumes are observed to fall to the bottom of
the muffle, the furnace is then too cold; and if left unaltered, it
will be found that the cupellation has been imperfectly performed, and
the silver will not have entirely freed itself from the base metals.
The assayer repeats his trying
process. Usually two or more trials of the same piece are made, so
that great accuracy may be secured. Seven times silver is said to be
purified, and the saints through varied trials reach the promised
rest. C. H. S.
WW: The reason God tries us
and tests us is to prove us. He's proving nothing to Himself. He knows
us from top to bottom. Instead, He's proving something to us. God
considers us as valuable as silver, and He puts us into situations
that test and strengthen us. -- Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and
(Lxx = dokimazo =
me, O God, and
know (Lxx = ginosko
[know intimately, experientially] =
Try (Lxx = hetazo
[examine, test, afflict] =
know (Lxx = ginosko
[know intimately, experientially] =
my anxious thoughts;
Spurgeon comments on this Psalm:
Search me, O God, and know my
heart. David is no accomplice with traitors. He has disowned them
in set form, and now he appeals to God that he does not harbour a
trace of fellowship with them. He will have God himself search him,
and search him thoroughly, till every point of his being is known, and
read, and understood; for he is sure that even by such an
investigation there will be found in him no complicity with wicked
men. He challenges the fullest investigation, the innermost search: he
had need be a true man who can put himself deliberately into such a
crucible. Yet we may each one desire such searching; for it would be a
terrible calamity to us for sin to remain in our hearts unknown and
Try me, and know my thoughts. Exercise any and every test upon
me. By fire and by water let me be examined. Read not alone the
desires of my heart, but the fugitive thoughts of my head. Know with
all penetrating knowledge all that is or has been in the chambers of
my mind. What a mercy that there is one being who can know us to
perfection! He is intimately at home with us. He is graciously
inclined towards us, and is willing to bend His omniscience to serve
the end of our sanctification.
Let us pray as David did, and
let us be as honest as he.
We cannot hide our sin: salvation
lies the other way, in a plain discovery of evil, and an effectual
severance from it.
was used in classic Greek to describe the assaying of precious metals
(especially gold or silver coins), usually by fire, to prove the
whether they were authentic and whether they measured up to the stated
worth. That which endures the test was called dokimos and that
which fails is called adokimos.
means to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding
that the person tested meets the specifications prescribed, to put
one’s approval upon him. For example Paul writes that unregenerate
did not approve (dokimazo)
of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mind, to
do the things not seemly. (Young's literal translation see note
incredible verse in Romans 1, fallen men presumptuously put God to the
test for the purpose of approving Him to see He if He would meet the
specifications which they laid down for a God Who would be to their
liking! But sinful man did not stop there, for finding that He did not
meet their specifications, they refused to approve (dokimazo)
Him as the God to be worshipped or to be kept in its knowledge! They
tested the infinitely precious God as they would a mere coin, and
chose to turn aside from Him!
means to make a critical examination of something to determine its
genuineness. Dokimazo was used in a manuscript of 140AD which
contains a plea for the exemption of physicians, and especially of
those who have passed the examination (dokimazo). Dokimazo
was thus used as a technical expression referring to the action of an
examining board putting its approval upon those who had successfully
passed the examinations for the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Dokimazo was also used to describe the passing of a candidate as
fit for election to public office.
Richison adds that...
literature used the word “test” for examining candidates for a medical
doctorate. Candidates for a medical doctorate must be tested. It is
crucial to find out if they are the genuine thing. We do not want an
incompetent surgeon operating on us. When doctors prove genuine by
examining, they meet the attestation.
It is obvious that God wants to discover what constitutes our
character. Character is best ascertained when we are placed under
duress. God will detect our weakness and strength by giving us an
exam. It will be a difficult exam. Get out your blue books. God is
about to find out the genuineness of your faith!
refines our faith by trial. When it comes to trials, everyone is in
one of these three stages: They are experiencing a trial, coming out
of a trial or about to go into a trial!
Have you assayed your life? Have you found it genuine? Will you pass
Will God regard you as appropriate for His service?
In the Detroit, Mich., area there are proving grounds for automobiles.
The purpose of these proving grounds is to test the mechanical
soundness of cars before they are out on the market. Test drivers run
these cars for days without turning off the motor. The cars are put
through bumps, curves, water, hills and many more obstacles for long
periods of time. The manufacturing companies want to know whether the
shocks and brakes are going to hold up under punishment. In the same
way, God wants to develop our faith so that we will stand up to the
bumps of life.
God makes His
assessment after He puts us to the test. He will judge us to ensure we
are real and genuine, and if we are He will approve us for service. (Excellent
verse by verse analysis)
On the basis of
the truth in Romans 1-11, in
not be conformed (assuming an
outward expression not reflective of Christ Who is really inside you)
to this world (the beliefs, values, moral atmosphere, etc of this
present evil age which is ruled by Satan), but be transformed (daily,
continually be undergoing a metamorphosis or change in your outward
appearance which manifests your new, inner redeemed nature) by the
renewing (re-programming your mind, as the Spirit changes your
thinking as you saturate your mind with Scripture allowing it to
control and guide your steps) of your mind, that you may prove
(dokimazo) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable
and perfect." (see note
In a similar
exhortation to the Ephesians who were formerly in spiritual
darkness but now were light in the Lord, because of who they were in
Christ, they should walk as children of light continually
trying to learn (dokimazo -
continually putting every thought, word and deed to the test in order
to prove) what is pleasing to the Lord (The one point of all moral
is, does it please God?). (see note
Walking in the
light, in the Spirit, according to the Word and the revealed will of
God is a sure way to test and approve what pleases our Lord.
puts it this way
What does the Lord think about
this? How does it appear in His presence? Every area of life
under the searchlight (what a picture of "dokimazo"!)—conversation,
standard of living, clothes, books, business, pleasures,
entertainments, furniture, friendships, vacations, cars, and sports. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
prays for the saints at Philippi (and a good model prayer for
that your love may abound still
more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you
may approve (dokimazo) (continually like a "spiritual
metallurgist" assaying the things in their lives that were of real
value, as to discern
that which was true and genuine) the things that are excellent
(some things are good and others are better - the good is often the
enemy of the best. Dokimazo speaks of investigating to determine which
is the best), in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of
Christ." (see notes
Two good tests to enable you
to exercise spiritual discernment include
(1). Will it make you or others
stumble? (Mk 9:42, 43, 45, 47; Lk 17:2)
(2) Will I be ashamed if Jesus
should return? (1Jn 2:28, 3:2,3, 3:21; 4:17)
Ben Patterson wrote that
The American Banking Association
once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect
counterfeit bills. The program was unique--never during the two-week
training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, not did they
listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit
bills....All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency,
hour after hour and day after day, until they were so familiar with
the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false." (Ben
Patterson, Waiting: InterVarsity Press, 1989)
Regarding men being considered for church leadership
"let these also first
be tested (dokimazo
- present tense indicates an ongoing test not a
onetime test or probationary period) then let them serve as deacons
if they are beyond reproach." (1Ti 3:10)
The test and approval here do not refer to a formal examination, but
have reference to the general assessment of a believer’s service by
the church as to whether they fulfill the specifications set down in (1Ti
Once they become officially recognized as deacons, this evaluation is
still to be continuous (reflecting dokimazo in the present
tense). Note the word "also"
indicates that elders likewise are subject to ongoing "dokimazo".
In Luke 12:56 dokimazo is
translated “analyze” and is used in reference to
predicting the weather, Jesus declaring to a multitude who had come
out to hear Him:
You hypocrites! You know how to analyze
the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze
this present time?”
A short while later, in telling a parable of
the kingdom while dining with a group of leading Pharisees, He spoke
of a man who excused himself from attending a dinner given by a
wealthy man because he had
bought five yoke of oxen, and [was]
going to try them out (dokimazo)" (Lk 14:19).
Paul uses dokimazo
to describe the future Judgment Seat of Christ (2Cor 5:10)
of believers (not for punishment but to determine reward) when
each man’s work will become (plainly,
openly) evident (shown for what it really is); for the day
will show (disclose, declare) it, because it is to be revealed
with fire; and the fire itself will test (dokimazo)
(and critically appraise) the quality (character and eternal
worth) of each man’s work." (1Cor 3:13)
fire - Fire is the
symbol of testing. Just as it purifies metal, so will the fire of
God’s discernment burn up the dross and leave what is pure and
valuable. Or as William Dyer put it "Fiery trials make golden
Edwards adds that...
Eminent virtue always shows
brightest in the fire. Pure gold shows its purity chiefly in the
Charnock (Puritan author of The Attributes of God) wrote that...
We often learn more under the rod that strikes us, than under the
staff that comforts us.
Paul charges the
Thessalonians (in context referring to prophetic utterances, but
applicable as a general principle) to continually
(sift and test to prove whether genuine, worthy, authentic, discerning
between true/false, right/wrong, good/bad) everything (Greek =
"no exceptions"!) carefully;
take possession of) to that which is good (inherently genuine,
true, noble, right, not just what might appear beautiful on the
(continually hold oneself away) from every
form of (actively harmful, malignant) evil." (see notes
Comment: All of the
call for these actions to be our lifestyle, our continual or habitual
practice. But be careful! Do not depend on your old flesh nature to
obey these commands. Faith renounces self-reliance and instead relies
on the Holy Spirit, our Enabler to carry out these commands (and in
fact every command . We don't just need a little help
[this implies we just need a little "push" for example] to
from every form of evil! The true is that we need 100% of the Spirit's
supernatural enablement - He is at work in us, energizing us, giving
us both the desire and the power to obey - cf Php 2:13NLT!
To avoid being
pulled into error,
keep a firm grip on the truth.
Spurgeon said it well
Beware! Error often rides to its deadly work
on the back of truth!
John has a
similar charge writing
do not believe every spirit, but
test (dokimazo -
to determine their authenticity) the spirits to see
whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out
into the world (they profess Christianity, but teach another
gospel). (1Jn 4:1)
The teacher, for
example, is not to be put to the test for the purpose of condemnation
but with the intent to approve.
Paul combines dokimazo
and peirazo (see related word
peirasmos) in a warning to the
yourselves (peirázō) to
see if you are in the faith;
yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?" (2Cor 13:5)
Paul reminds the Corinthians--and us--that it is quite possible for a
man or woman to profess Christ and salvation, yet still be unsaved (cf
Titus 1:16). They may even deceive
themselves into thinking that such a profession has saved them.
Therefore, we need to examine ourselves to prove ourselves. The sure
proof is the realization that Christ is indwelling us, by the Holy
Spirit, resulting in godly lives and glad acceptance of all the
revealed Word of God, as inspired by the same Holy Spirit.
Self-examination is one test from which no Christian is excused.
are but our Father's goldsmiths
who are working to add pearls to our crowns.
us that this approval of our faith is much more precious than the
approval of gold, even though that gold be tested and shown to be
testing by fire. No goldsmith would deliberately waste the precious
ore. He would put the
crude gold ore in a crucible in a smelting furnace, subject it to intense heat,
in order to liquefy the solid ore. In the liquid state, the worthless impurities
in the gold ore would rise to
the surface and be skimmed off as dross (the scum that forms on the
surface of molten metal). When the goldsmith was finally able to see
his face reflected in gold remaining in the crucible, he would remove
it from the fire, for he knew that he had
pure gold. So our Lord keeps us in the furnace of suffering until we
reflect the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ. Christ-likeness is God’s
ideal for His child. Christian suffering is one of the tools He uses
to bring about that result.
put it this way...
Stars shine brightest in the
darkest night. Torches are the better for beating. Grapes come not to
the proof till they come to the press. Spices smell sweetest when
pounded. Young trees root the faster for shaking. Vines are the better
for bleeding. Gold looks the brighter for scouring; and juniper smells
sweeter in the fire.
John Calvin wrote that Peter's
argument is from the less to the greater; for 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?...Gold is, indeed, tried twice by fire; first. when it is
separated from its dross; and then, when a judgment. is to be formed
of its purity. Both modes of trial may very suitably be applied to
faith; for when there is much of the dregs of unbelief remaining in
us, and when by various afflictions we are refined as it were in God’s
furnace, the dross of our faith is removed, so that it. becomes pure
and clean before God; and, at the same time, a trial of it is made, as
to whether it be true or fictitious.... Afflictions
ought ever to be estimated by their end...Our afflictions prepare us
for receiving the grace of God... Our faith is really and truly tested
only when we are brought into very severe conflicts, and when even
hell itself seems opened to swallow us up... The more we are afflicted
by adversities, the more surely our fellowship with Christ is
It is the usual way of providence
that blessings come through several iron gates.
George Mueller once said that
God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead
of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be
willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it
deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats,
are the very food of faith
Affliction is the shaking of the
that it may blaze the brighter.
When prevailing conditions are
favorable, it might be easy to be a Christian. But when public
confession of Christ brings persecution and suffering, then the casual
followers drift away and are lost in the crowd. A religion which costs
nothing is worth nothing. Faith which refuses to pay the price is
spurious. It is the kind of say-so faith that James condemns. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
A faith that cannot be tested
cannot be trusted!
The darker the night, the
brighter the stars;
the hotter the fire, the purer the gold.
Too many professing Christians
have a “false faith” which will be "proved" no faith in the trials of
life as Jesus illustrated in His parable on the soils
The one on whom seed
sown on the
rocky places...is the man who
receives it with
because of the
The person who abandons his "faith”
when the going gets tough proves that he really did not possess
genuine saving faith.
On the other hand the more a tree
of righteousness is shaken by the wind, the more it is rooted in
Spurgeon addresses the
relationship of trials and a believer's faith explaining
Faith untried may be true faith,
but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish
so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when
all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings
are her illuminators.
When a calm reigns on the sea,
spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for
on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling
forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel
may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may
creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then
that she makes headway towards her desired haven.
No flowers wear so lovely a blue as
those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier
No stars gleam so brightly as those
which glisten in the polar sky
No water tastes so sweet as that
which springs amid the desert sand
And no faith is so precious as that
which lives and triumphs in adversity.
Tried faith brings experience. You
could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled
to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s
strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods.
Faith increases in solidity,
assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation.
Faith is precious, and its trial is
Let not this, however, discourage
those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without
seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due
season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long
experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that
degree of holy confidence whereunto you have attained: walk according
to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of
God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer
impossibilities. (Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and evening : Daily readings
November 12 AM)
The gem cannot be polished
nor man perfected without trials.
Dokimazo is used
20 times in the
Job recording that
the ear tests
(dokimazo) words, as the palate tastes food." (Job 34:3)
In an OT parallel of faith
tested and found authentic, David says to God
Thou hast tried (dokimazo
- subjected it to the Refiner's fire and assayed "pure"!) my
heart...and dost find nothing." (Ps 17:3
- Spurgeon's note)
That declaration might have some
relation to his prayer to
Examine (dokimazo) me, O LORD, and try (peirazo)
me. Test my mind and my heart." (Ps 26:2
- Spurgeon's note)
The psalmist records
Thou hast tried (dokimazo) us, O God; Thou hast refined us as silver is refined. (Ps 66:10
- Spurgeon's note)
Sadly we see faithless Israel trying God, the
your fathers tested (peirazo) Me, they tried (dokimazo) Me, though they had seen My work." (Ps 95:9
- Spurgeon's note)
"O Lord, Thou hast searched (dokimazo)
me and known me." (Ps 139:1
- Spurgeon's note)
And yet even knowing God had
already "assayed" him for authenticity, David ends his song with this
me, O God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts."
- Spurgeon's note)
that David was declared by God Himself as
a man after My heart who will do all My will" (Acts 13:22)!
instructs us to
Take my instruction,
and not silver, and knowledge rather than choicest (dokimazo
- tried and proved authentic) gold." (Pr 8:10)
Solomon writes that
As silver and gold are
tried (dokimazo) in a furnace, so are choice
hearts with the Lord." (Brenton's English translation
of the Greek Septuagint Pr 17:3)
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord
In a prophetic
reference describing the elect remnant of Jews who will see their
Messiah and call on Him as Savior and Lord Zechariah records God's
I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is
refined, and test (dokimazo) them as gold is tested
(dokimazo). They will call on My name, and I will answer
them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord
is my God.’” (Zech 13:9)
Those of Israel who "pass the test"
(see study of the Jewish
remnant) will thus be saved and restored to
covenant relationship with the Lord. (cf Ro 11:25, 26, 27 - see notes
Bishop Trench adds that dokimazo
The ore is not thrown into the fining pot—and this is the image which
continually underlies the use of the word in the O T—except in the
expectation and belief that, whatever of dross may be found
mingled with it, yet it is not all dross, but that some good metal,
and better now than before, will come forth from the fiery trial. It
is ever so with the proofs to which He who sits as a Refiner in His
Church submits His own; His intention in these being ever, not indeed
to find His saints pure gold (for that He knows they are not), but to
make them such; to purge out their dross, never to make evident that
they are all dross. As such, He is the Refiner of hearts ( "God...examines [dokimazo] our hearts"
online for Trench's full discussion of dokimazo and peirazo)
MAY BE FOUND
TO RESULT IN PRAISE AND GLORY & HONOR AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST: eurethe (3SAPS) eis epainon kai doxan kai timen en apokalupsei Iesou
Thomas Watson writing on
1Peter 1:2 says "True grace will make us
willing to suffer for Christ. Grace is like gold: it will abide the
fiery trial (1Peter 1:7). And if, upon a serious
scrutiny and trial, we find that we have the right jewel, the grace of
God in truth (Colossians 1:6), this will be a deathbed cordial. We
may, with Simeon, depart in peace, being assured that though we cannot
resist death—yet we shall overcome it. (The
Beauty of Grace)
explains that "The purpose of God’s chastening is
not punitive but creative. He chastens “that we may share His
holiness. (cp He 12:10-note,
[word study]) means
the condition of being bright or shining, brightness, splendor,
radiance and also can mean to give a proper opinion of something.
and is obviously a favorite word for Peter being used 10x in this
epistle (1Pe 1:7, 11, 21, 24; 4:11, 13, 14; 5:1, 4, 10; cp 2Pet 1:3,
17; 2:10; 3:18).
Glory is not fully revealed until Jesus returns but
Peter assures us that our trying experiences today are preparing us
for glory tomorrow.
Grace and glory differ in
degree, not in kind. Grace differs very little from glory. The one is
the seed, the other the flower. Grace is glory militant, and glory is
grace triumphant. Grace is a beginning of glory. It may be compared to
the golden chain in Homer, whose top was fastened to the chair of
Jupiter. Grace and glory are individual, yet inseparable. The psalmist
joins them together, "The Lord will give grace
and glory," Psalm 84:11. Grace is a living spring which never fails, a
seed which never dies, a jewel which never consumes, a sun which never
sets. All other gifts of whatever kind, worth, or excellency, are but
like a cloud soon dispelled, a vessel of clay soon broken, a sandy
foundation soon sunk.
Grace is more excellent
than gold. Gold draws the heart from God, grace draws the heart to
God; gold does but enrich the mortal part, the ignoble part—but grace
enriches the angelical part, the noble part; gold perishes—but grace
perseveres, 1Peter 1:7. If grace were not permanent, it could not
be excellent; if grace were not durable, it could not be pleasurable;
if grace were not lasting, yes everlasting, it could not be a
Christian's comfort in life, his support in death, and his glorious
crown in the great day of account. Grace in itself is permanent,
incorruptible; it never fades away; it is a birth which shall never
die; it is a plant of renown which shall never wither—but grow up more
and more until grace is turned into glory. Upon which account, Jerome
would rather have Paul's poor coat with his heavenly graces—than the
purple of kings with their kingdoms. No troubles, no distresses, no
dangers can deprive us of our graces, can rob us of our spiritual
Now affliction is a school,
under the blessing of God, to ripen us for an exceeding and eternal
weight of glory. And vain as is the common imagination that those who
are tried here are saved from all sorrow hereafter, be they united to
Christ or not, it is yet a true doctrine, that, as there are degrees
of glory, so the most severely-afflicted ones, who are also believers
in Jesus, will shine the brightest in that glory—not so much because
of their suffering, as of the grace wrought to purification in their
souls, by the Spirit of God, through the agency of suffering.
Take courage, then, sons and
daughters of tribulation; if united to Jesus by a living faith, you
are training, through your very afflictions, for superior glory! The
clouds that now darken your horizon will soon disappear before the
brightness of the sun, and your spirit of heaviness shall be exchanged
for the garments of joy. Be resting on Jesus for all your strength,
hope, and deliverance. Ask of Him in every fresh trial, and under
every circumstance of the trial, "Lord, what would You have me to do?"
Beg of Him increasing submission and thankfulness of spirit. Pray that
He may be pleased to lighten your affliction; but beg Him not to
withhold chastisement—"if need be."
Be assured, if you are of Christ's flock, that all shall be well with
you. You will enter a land where there is no pain, no suffering;
sorrow and sighing shall cease, and God shall wipe away all tears from
all eyes. Yet a little more toil, a little more labor, a little more
endurance, and your probation state will finish, and that Savior, whom
you are now delighting to serve, "will come again, and receive you
unto Himself, that where He is, there you may be also." (IF
from apó = from +
kalúpto = cover,
conceal, English = apocalypse) literally means cover from and so the
idea is to remove that which conceals something.
conveys the idea of "taking the lid off"
and means to remove the cover and expose to open view that which was
heretofore not visible, known or
disclosed. It means
to make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown. It
describes removing of a veil (an unveiling) or covering thus exposing
to open view what was concealed. In all its uses, revelation
refers to something or someone, once hidden, becoming visible and now made fully known.
Originally in secular Greek
apokalupsis was not an especially religious word
(other words were used in secular Greek to designate divine
revelations) but meant simply the disclosure of any fact. It was used to mean
"uncovering" as of one's head. It was used to describe the
"disclosing" of hidden springs. In contrast apokalupsis as
used in the NT always has theological meaning (as discussed more
The last book of the Bible, the
Revelation of Jesus Christ, is therefore the revelation, uncovering
(exposing to view by removing the covering),
unveiling or disclosure of Jesus Christ, especially of the truths about
Him and His final victory that were alluded to in the other
Scripture. Therefore the book of Revelation contains truths that had
been concealed, but have now been revealed and made fully known. As an
aside, note that although the Revelation
nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses allude to Old Testament prophetic truths.
Thus the Revelation in fact amplifies what was
only initially suggested in the Old Testament. Isn't it amazing that a
book that God says is an unveiling is one of the books most cloaked in
confusion and mystery as the result of the manifold interpretations!
It is indeed sad to read
comments by respected evangelical authors like Kistemaker who says
The Book of Revelation appears
not to accomplish what its title promises, confusing its readers by
all the images, figures, and numbers they encounter. (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book) (Ed note: I strongly disagree and
refer the judicious reader to Tony Garland's excellent, lucid
exposition of this wonderful "terminus" to God's plan for the ages -
A Testimony of Jesus Christ).
Notice that Kistemaker
refers to the "title", but
the book title is not as relevant as the first verse which "promises"
"the revelation of Jesus Christ", John recording...
The Revelation (apokalupsis)
of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the
things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it
by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word
of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Comment: God is not a God of
confusion but order. Even from a logical standpoint it would make
little sense that in His final Word to man, God would not bring
"order" out of the chaos of this sinful world. Indeed by definition
the inspired word (not a title given by men) clearly states that this
book is an unveiling of Jesus Christ. God accomplishes what He intends
in the Revelation for as His servant Joshua (23:14) said centuries
earlier "not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God
spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not
one of them has failed" and this statement is true in regard to "the
Revelation of Jesus Christ".
Dr John MacArthur
also strongly refutes
Kistemaker's conclusion that "the
Revelation" does not accomplish what its writer promises writing that...
The late British prime minister
Winston Churchill once described the former Soviet Union as “a riddle
wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”many Christians view the book
of Revelation in much the same way. Bewildered by its mystifying
symbolism and striking imagery, many believers (including some
pastors, who never preach through Revelation) avoid serious study of
the book. Even John Calvin, the greatest commentator of the
Reformation, who wrote commentaries on the other books, did not
attempt to write a commentary on Revelation." MacArthur goes on to
explain that "Far from being the mysterious, incomprehensible book
many imagine it to be, Revelation’s purpose is to reveal truth, not to
obscure it. That fact is evident in its title, “The Revelation of
Jesus Christ” (Re 1:1), primarily in His second coming glory.
Apokalupsis (“Revelation”) could be translated “an uncovering,”
“an unveiling,” or “a disclosure.”... In each case, apokalupsis
describes something (or someone) that was formerly hidden, but now
becomes visible. Revelation unveils truths about Jesus Christ, and
makes clear features of prophetic truth only hinted at in the Old
Testament and other New Testament books. This clarity is often
obscured by a rejection of the principles of literal interpretation in
favor of an allegorical or spiritualizing hermeneutical method (Ed
note: click here for comments on Revelation commentaries). Such
approaches attempt to place Revelation’s account in the past and
present rather than the future. But once the plain meaning of the text
is denied, an interpreter is left to his own imagination, and the
truths of this book are lost in a maze of human inventions void of
authenticity."...Many people are confused by the book of Revelation,
viewing it as a mysterious, bizarre, indecipherable mystery. But
nothing could be further from the truth. Far from hiding the truth,
the book of Revelation reveals it. This is the last chapter in God’s
story of redemption. It tells how it all ends. As the account of the
Creation in the beginning was not vague or obscure, but clear, so God
has given a detailed and lucid record of the ending. It is unthinkable
to believe that God would speak with precision and clarity from
Genesis to Jude, and then when it comes to the end abandon all
precision and clarity. Yet, many theologians today think Revelation is
not the precise record of the end in spite of what it says. They also
are convinced that its mysteries are so vague that the end is left in
confusion. As we shall see in this commentary, this is a serious error
that strips the saga of redemption of its climax as given by God."
(MacArthur, J. Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Press or
- this work is also highly recommended for it's lucid, literal,
balanced interpretation) (Bolding added)
The NT uses
in three general ways
(a.) The unveiling of
something hidden (Lk 2:32, Ro 16:25-note,
into spiritual truth. (Ep 1:17-note.
1Co 14:6, 26 2Co 12:1,7)
(c.) The return of Christ (Ro
1Cor 1:7, 2Th 1:7, Re 1:1-note)
(See related resource -
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming)
Apokalupsis here in first Peter clearly
is a reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Below are the 18 uses of
in the NAS (Lu;
Rev). Note most of uses
are by Paul (and the same observation applies to the corresponding verb
Luke 2:32 A light of
revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Thy people Israel."
Comment: Simeon exulted that the Messiah Who had been veiled in the prophetic
OT passages, now at His advent had been made fully known.
(note) But because of your
stubbornness (sklerotes = hardness, the medical term sclerosis) and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in
the day of wrath and revelation (apokalupsis) of the righteous judgment of God,
Comment: When will God's wrath be fully disclosed? The consummation of His
wrath will occur at the Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers (Rev
20:11, 12, 13, 14-see
The increasing treasure of wrath, hidden now, will then be uncovered
for all to witness. In that day the judgment of God will be seen to be
absolutely righteous, without prejudice or injustice of any kind.
Romans 8:18 (note)
(for context) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
be compared with the glory that is to be revealed (verb
apokalupto) to us.
Romans 8:19 (note) For the
anxious longing of the
creation waits eagerly for the revealing (noun -
apokalupsis) of the sons of God.
Comment: Ray Stedman explains the
revelation of the sons of God - In other words, this present life in
which we are living is just a school time that we Christians are going
through, and here we have been placed to learn some lessons
that are preparing us for the
great day yet to come. And one of these days it is going to be graduation
day -- the day when the sons of God will shed their humble attire and
manifest that they have been princes in disguise all along (Ed note:
synonymous with the apokalupsis or revelation), indwelt by the same
wonderful secret of life that Jesus Christ had when he was here, indwelt by
divine life, a man who is the vehicle of the divine life."
William Newell adds that the
unveiling of glorified saints will be "as when some wonderful statue has been
completed and a veil thrown over it, people assemble for the ‘unveiling’ of
this work of art. It will be as when sky rockets are sent up on a festival
night: rockets which, covered with brown paper, seem quite common and
unattractive, but up they are sent into the air and then they are revealed
in all colors of beauty, and the multitude waiting
below shout in admiration.
Now the saints are wrapped up in the common brown paper of flesh, looking
outwardly like other folks. But the whole creation is waiting for their
unveiling at Christ’s coming, for they are connected with Christ, one with
Him, and are to be glorified with Him at His coming."
Romans 16:25 (note)
Now to Him who is able to
establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery (musterion
- spiritual truth not
previously known but now made known)
which has been kept secret for long ages past (Note that this is
Paul's longest closing benediction.)
Comment: The "mystery" that
had not been disclosed in the OT but now had been fully disclosed was
that of God's program of uniting believing Jews and Gentiles in one
body, the Church.
At present the world does not truly understand who Christians actually
are (and many of us don't really understand either who we are in
1 Corinthians 1:7 so that you are not lacking in any gift,
awaiting eagerly (apekdechomai)
the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Corinthians 14:6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking
in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by
way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of
1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When
you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a
revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be
done for edification.
2 Corinthians 12:1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not
profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the
2 Corinthians 12:7 And because of the surpassing greatness of
the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting
myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan
to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself!
Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I
taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus
Galatians 2:2 And it was because of a revelation that I
went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the
Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for
fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.
Ephesians 1:17 (note)
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give
to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of
Ephesians 3:3 (note)
that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery
(of the church composed of Jews and Gentiles),
as I wrote before in brief.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted
and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire
Comment: "Shall be revealed" looks
like a verb reveal but is actually the noun apokalupsis and the Greek is more
literally rendered "rest with us in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from
heaven". This verse appears to specifically have reference to
Christ's Second Coming (See
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming)
1 Peter 1:7 (note)
that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is
perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in
praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Comment: This verse could
refer to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, but as it is
addressed to believers, more likely refers to the revelation of Jesus when
He returns to Rapture His Bride and rescue her from all affliction and
adversity, following which there will be a time of reward at the Bema Seat.
Although it is difficult to be absolutely dogmatic, the Bema seat appears to
follow the Rapture and precedes the Second Coming of Christ at the end of
the Great Tribulation. One still has to
wonder about when and how the saints who are saved during the Tribulation
and Great Tribulation will be rewarded, and thus the importance of not being
absolutely dogmatic regarding the timing of the Bema Seat Judgment of
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming)
1 Peter 1:13 (note)
Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your
hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation
of Jesus Christ.
Comment: This could refer to
the Rapture, but it would be difficult to exclude the possibility that
it refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. (See
Table comparing Rapture vs Second
1 Peter 4:13 (note)
but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on
rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may
rejoice with exultation.
Comment: This revelation
of His glory could refer to
the Rapture, but it would be difficult to exclude the possibility that
it refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. (See
Table comparing Rapture vs Second
Revelation 1:1 (note)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His
bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent
and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
Writing to the
defending his ministry, Paul explained that the gospel he preached was
not an invention of man for he
received it from man, nor was...taught it, but...received it through a
revelation of Jesus
Christ." (Gal 1:12)
As he explained to the Corinthian church, it is only when a person
turns to the Lord that the veil of spiritual ignorance and separation
from God is removed (1Cor 3:14, 15, 16),
so that the truth received can be understood. And for Paul the details
and distinctions of that gospel truth came by special revelation
directly from God.
Writing to the Corinthian saints
Paul describes them as
awaiting eagerly (waiting assiduously
or marked by a lifestyle of unremitting
attention and expectation in
looking for) the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Cor
3:14, 15, 16)
The saintly Presbyterian pastor
Robert Murray McCheyne was known to on occasion ask people
Do you believe that
Jesus is coming today?” If they replied in the negative, he would
say, “Then you had better be ready, for He is coming at an hour
when you think not!
Calvin - This (truth
about the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ)
is added, that the faithful might learn to hold on courageously to the
last day. For our life is now hidden in Christ (Col 3:3-note),
and will remain hidden, and as it were buried, until Christ shall
appear from heaven..."
Jesus Christ will appear again in glory, and, when He does so, the
saints will appear with Him, and their graces will appear illustrious;
and the more they have been tried the more bright they will then
appear. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honour, and praise
will last to eternity. This should reconcile you to
The purpose of these
trials is that the trial of our faith might result in praise and
honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Some of the
translations (ICB, NCV, TLB, TEV, CEV,
Amplified, NLT) translate this verse as if it is
believers who are the recipient of the praise. Other
versions translate this verse conveying the thought that the praise
goes to our Lord Jesus Christ (GWT). Still others (more literal versions) leave
the intended meaning somewhat
ambiguous (NASB, NKJV, KJV, RSV, NRSV, NIV).
This difference of opinion will pale when we see Him face to face (Ro
11:33, 34, 35, 36-see
Ro 11:33; 34;
When a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is
assured that his faith is genuine (Ge 22:1, 12) Comparing (Job 1:20,
21, 22) with the end of his story in (Job 42:5,6) we note that Job's
perseverance in the face of crushing affliction ultimately resulted in a clearer revelation of God
and His character. Occasionally believers bring the trials on themselves, but
even then God's hand of discipline is not without purpose for the
trial proves to be a sign that we are
legitimate sons (He 12:7, 8-see
And so Peter instructs
his readers who are undergoing or will soon undergo trials that they can
stand firm in the face of whatever comes their way by recalling to
mind that every trial is in fact a test, not a test to destroy us but
to refine us. (cf 1Pe 5:10-note)
The trials which come test our faith and out of them our faith can
emerge stronger than before. The rigors which the athlete endures in
his training are not meant to make him collapse but to enable him to
develop more strength and staying power. And so too in this world our
trials are not meant to take the strength out of us, but to put His
strength into us.
For the believer, afflictions, persecutions & troubles are not the end
but the means in a sense for beyond the temporal trials lies the
certainty of eternal glory and this hope of future glory gives us a
mindset that allows us to hold on no matter what life brings. One of the
basic principles of human life is that a man or woman can endure
anything so long as they know it will eventually end and that they
have something to look forward to. And so Peter renews their mind with
of future praise, glory & honor. For a Christian, the best is truly
yet to come!
Kenneth Wuest adds Peter reminds us
and purpose of these trials, namely, that the trial of our faith might
result in praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
The word “trial” is the translation of dokimion the noun, dokimazo being the verb of the same root, the latter
referring to the act of putting someone or something to the test with
a view of determining whether it is worthy of being approved or not,
the test being made with the intention of approving if possible. The
word was used of the act of examining candidates for the degree of
Doctor of Medicine. It is the approval of our faith which is to
resound to the praise of the Lord Jesus. Testing times put our faith
to the test, and as we are submissive to God and remain faithful to
Him and are ready to have Him teach us the lessons He would have us
learn through them, we demonstrate by our actions that the faith we
have is a genuine God-given, Holy Spirit produced faith, the genuine
article. This faith and its working in our lives is to the glory of
the Lord Jesus. It is not the testing of our faith that is to the
glory of God, but the fact that our faith has met the test and has
been approved, that redounds to His glory. This is made very clear by
the Greek grammar involved in the statement.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
><> ><> ><>
Bread - Invisible Gold - In the 1980s, Northern
Nevada was the site of a gold strike. The discovery would have been
beyond the imagination of 19th-century prospectors, for the gold in
those western hills is virtually invisible. Even after being magnified
1,500 times, most of the particles remain imperceptible. Modern
technology, however, has found a way to extract the gold. First, tons
of ore are crushed to the consistency of fine sand. Then cyanide is
added to dissolve the granules into a clear solution. When zinc dust
is blended in, the gold separates from the mixture. The gold was there
all the time, but it couldn't be seen.
There's a similarity here to Peter's explanation of suffering in his
first New Testament letter. He saw great potential in the mountains of
adversity & affliction that faced the Lord's people. So he encouraged
them to look beyond the heat and pressure produced by their suffering
to the precious faith the Lord was developing from it (1Pe 1:6, 7). He
showed them that the "faith processing" experience was of great value
to their spiritual lives. Therefore, they could actually rejoice in it
Don't give in to life's troubles. You may not see in them the rich
potential of a strong faith, but it's there. To have it developed is
much more precious than gold! --M R De Haan II (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
God watches us
with patient eye,
With love that's strong and sure:
His gold endures the fervent heat
Required to make it pure. --Anonymous
times can be faith-strengthening times.
The refiner is
never very far from the mouth of the furnace
when his gold is in the fire. - Spurgeon
><> ><> ><>
C Philpot - 1 Peter 1:7 - Devotional
of faith - Very Precious
temptations are the means which God employs to manifest to the soul
the reality and strength of the faith which He bestows upon it; for
there is in every trial and temptation opposition made to the faith
that is in the heart; and every trial and temptation, so to speak,
threaten the life of faith. And they threaten it in this way--Under
the trial God for the most part hides Himself. He puts forth, indeed,
a secret power whereby the soul is held up, or otherwise it would sink
into utter despair, and be overcome and swallowed up by the power of
unbelief. Hence comes the conflict between the trial that fights
against the faith and the faith which fights against or rather under
Now, when in this trial, in this sharp conflict, in this hot furnace,
faith does not give way, is not burned up, is not destroyed, but keeps
its firm hold upon the promise and the faithfulness of Him Who has
given it, this trial of faith becomes very precious. It is
precious to the soul when God again smiles upon it, and becomes
thus manifest as genuine. It is precious in the sight of God's
people, who see it and derive strength and comfort from what they
witness in the experience of a saint thus tried and blessed; and it is
precious also in the sight of God Himself, Who crowns it with
His own manifest approbation, and puts upon it the attesting seal of
His own approving smile. But above all things, it will be found
precious at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and that not only in
His various appearings in grace, but in His final appearance in glory,
for of that the Apostle mainly speaks when he says that "it may be
found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Bread Devotional - The abrasive experiences we
encounter each day help to prepare us for heaven. God uses all of
life's troubles to polish and perfect our character. If we accept our
trials with the right attitude and recognize that the heavenly Father
is working through them, we will someday shine with splendor before
In the rough, a diamond looks like a common pebble, but after it is
cut, its hidden beauty begins to emerge. The stone then undergoes a
finishing process to bring out its full radiance. A skilled craftsman
holds the gem against the surface of a large grinding wheel. No other
substance is hard enough to polish the stone, so the wheel is covered
with diamond dust. This process may take a long time, depending on the
quality desired by the one who will buy it.
This is similar to the way God works with us. The procedure is not
pleasant, nor is it intended to be. The Divine Workman, however, has
our final glory in view. We may be "grieved by various trials," as
Peter said, but when we understand what is behind them we can rejoice
even in adversity. God has one goal in mind during the refining
process: that our faith "may be found to praise, honor, and glory at
the revelation of Jesus Christ." Knowing this enables us to look
beyond the unpleasantness of "polishing" to see the outcome. P. R. Van
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
A gem cannot
be polished without friction,
nor a man perfected without adversity.
a stern schoolmaster,
but a good instructor. - Spurgeon
Praise God for
the file and the furnace!
set our graces going. - Spurgeon
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Bread
- Acid Test - A severe
trial is sometimes called an “acid test.”
originated during times when gold was widely circulated. Nitric
acid was applied to an object of gold to see if it was genuine
or not. If it was fake, the acid decomposed it; if it was
genuine, the gold was unaffected.
In God’s view, our faith is
“much more precious than gold,” and it too MUST be tested (1 Pe
1:6, 7). But these “acid tests” are positive ones. The Lord is
working to reveal genuine faith, not to expose false
faith. During hard times, though, we may feel overwhelmed with
the fear that our faith is decomposing.
Ronald Dunn, a Bible teacher
who has experienced much personal tragedy, knows what we are
going through. He writes
I’m often mystified. I don’t
understand why it is that as I endeavor to live for God and pray
and believe, everything seems to be falling apart. Sometimes I
struggle, and I say, ‘Dear Lord, why are You allowing this to
for us to remember that God is not an arsonist; He’s a Refiner!”
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
><> ><> ><>
I have learned, dear
friends, that at the Red Sea of affliction
we see most of the right arm of God. - Spurgeon
Adversity does not make us
it only shows us how frail we are.
The north wind finds out
the cracks in the (wall of the) house.
Affliction tests our religion, and lets us see our failures of
faith, patience, and temper. Blame not the wind, but the
wall. - Spurgeon
Affliction is the shadow
of God's wings. Affliction scours the rust from faith.
Afflictions are flails to thresh off our husks. - Spurgeon
Be it ours, when we cannot
see the face of God,
to trust under the shadow of His wings. - Spurgeon
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Bread - Crucible
Steel- Frank has a toolbox full of knives and chisels that
are designed for his woodcarving hobby. His favorite is a
German-made, all-purpose carving knife. He has honed it
repeatedly, and it still holds an edge. "I'm going to be sad,"
Frank said, looking fondly at his knife, "when this blade gets
too thin to sharpen."
Like all reliable carving tools, that knife is constructed of
"crucible steel." To produce this durable metal, raw material is
placed in a crucible where it is subjected to intense heat. Once
it is glowing with molten brightness, the white-hot metal is
maintained at precisely the right temperature until it qualifies
as crucible steel. When it cools, it is neither so soft that it
won't hold an edge nor so hard that it is brittle.
Christians, as the handiwork of God, are shaped and formed by
His will. Sometimes He places us in a crucible of affliction.
Peter wrote about the faith of Christians and said that it may
be "tested by fire" (1Pe 1:7). That testing may come in the
form of "various trials" to refine our faith (1Pe 1:6).
If you're in a crucible of testing right now, don't be
discouraged. God knows what He is doing. He has promised to stay
with you and help you to become a useful tool in His strong,
loving hands. —David C. Egner (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
All things work out for good
Such is God's great design;
He orders all our steps below
For purposes divine. --Peterson © 1961 Singspiration, Inc.
><> ><> ><>
Gold is tested by fire;
man is tested by adversity
While the fire is hot,
keep conversing with the Refiner.
--F. B. Meyer
Bless God for your
and your afflictions will be your greatest blessings.
><> ><> ><>
Morning Thoughts (Devotional) -
1 Peter 1:7
trial of faith is a test of its character
It is the
furnace that tries the ore of what kind it is- it may be brass, or
iron, or clay, or perhaps precious gold; but the crucible will test
it. There is much that passes for real faith, which is no faith; there
is much spurious, counterfeit metal; it is the trial that brings out
its real character. The true character of Judas was not known until
his covetousness was tempted; Simon Magus was not discovered to
possess a spurious faith, until he thought to purchase the gift of God
with money (Acts 8:13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24); Demas did not
forsake the apostle, until the world drew him away (Col 4:14-note,
Philemon 1:24, 2Ti 4:10-note).
But true faith stands the trial; where there is a real work of grace
in the heart, no tribulation, or persecution, or power of this world,
will ever be able to expel it thence; but if all is chaff, the wind
will scatter it; if all is but dross and tinsel, the fire will consume
it. Let the humble and
tried believer, then, thank God for every test that brings out the
real character of his faith, and proves it to be "the faith of God's
elect." (Titus 1:1KJV-note)
God will test His own work in the gracious soul; every grace of His
own Spirit He will at one time or another place in the crucible; but
never will He remove His eye from off it; He will 'sit as a refiner,'
and watch that not a grain of the precious metal is consumed; He will
be with His child in all and every affliction (He 13:5-note);
not for one moment will He leave him. Let gratitude rather than
murmuring (Php 2:14-note),
joy rather than sorrow, attend every test which a loving and faithful
Father brings to His own gracious work, "that the trial of your
faith might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing
of Jesus Christ."
><> ><> ><>
Bread - Great Preachers - The greatest sermons I have ever
heard were not preached from pulpits but from sickbeds. The deepest
truths of God's Word have often been taught by those humble souls who
have gone through the seminary of affliction.
The most cheerful people I have met, with few exceptions, have been
those who've had the least sunshine and the most pain and suffering in
their lives. The most grateful people I have ever known were not those
who had traveled a pathway of roses all their lives, but those who
were confined to their homes, some to their beds, and had learned to
depend on God.
The gripers, on the other hand, are usually those who have the least
to complain about. The men and women who are the most cheerful and the
most grateful for the blessings of Almighty God are often those who
have gone through the greatest trials.
The Bible tells us that if we respond properly to the trials of life,
we will develop patience and godly maturity (Romans 5:3, 4, 5-note; James
1:3, 4-note). We must keep in mind that our present sufferings are "but for
a moment" and that they are being used by God for our eternal good (2Co 4:17,18).
So take heart, suffering one. Someday you too will realize that it was
worth it all (1Pe 1:7). —M R De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
It will be worth
it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ. — Esther Kerr Rusthoi
(c) Renewal 1969 Singspiration, Inc.
><> ><> ><>
Some of life's
are learned in the school of affliction.
We are all at
school, and our great Teacher
writes many a bright lesson on the black-board of affliction.
><> ><> ><>
has an excellent sermon (click
Keep Believing Ministries) on trials in the believer's life...
God Must Be Praised in Fiery
1 Peter 1:6-7
On April 5,
1943, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo
for his resistance to the Nazi regime in Germany. For several years he
had spoken out against the Nazis, and eventually it caught up with
him. As he saw his country sliding into the abyss, he felt that he
could not remain silent. Two years later, only a few weeks from the
end of World War II, he found himself in Buchenwald Concentration
Camp, facing the death sentence. On Sunday, April 8, he led a service
for other prisoners. Shortly after the final prayer, the door opened
and two civilians entered. “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us,” they
said. Everyone knew what that meant—the gallows. Quickly the other men
said goodbye to him. An English prisoner who survived the war
describes the moment: “He took me aside [and said], ‘This is the end;
but for me it is the beginning of life.’” The next day he was hanged
at Flossenburg Prison. The SS doctor who witnessed his death called
him brave and composed and devout to the very end. “Through the
half-open door I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer still in his prison clothes,
kneeling in fervent prayer to the Lord his God. The devotion and
evident conviction of being heard that I saw in the prayer of this
intensely captivating man moved me to the depths.”
“This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” What makes
a man facing certain death talk like that? Where do you find faith
like that? Surely such a man has discovered the “living hope” that
goes beyond the grave. How else do you explain it?
Why God Sends Trials
journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who became a Christian before his
death, said late in life, “Contrary to what might be expected, I look
back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and
painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, everything I have
learned, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my
existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness.”
Every thoughtful person has wondered why God sends trials to his
children. You don’t live very long before that question stares you in
the face. It might be a critical illness, death of a loved one, loss
of a job, the breakup of a marriage, trouble with your children, a
season of depression, financial difficulties, or a time of intense
persecution from others because of your faith. Those things happen to
all of us sooner or later. If you’ve never pondered why God allows
such things, you ought to.
When we turn to the Bible, we find many perspectives that help us
understand why trials come to God’s children. I Peter 1:6-7 offers an
important perspective that we need to know. It doesn’t answer every
question we could ask about trials, trouble, and the sufferings of
this life. No single text could answer every question. But it does
provide a crucial framework for seeing the hand of God at work in the
worst moments of life.
Before we jump into the text, let’s notice two key words. The first is
the word “trials” at the end of verse 6. The Greek word is peirasmos,
a word that appears often in the New Testament. It can mean “test,” or
“trial,” or even “temptation.” Depending on the context, it can have a
positive or negative connotation. When we face a test in school, we
either pass or fail. The same is true of the tests of life. God sends
those tests so that what is in the heart will be revealed for all to
see. The same event may be both a test and a temptation. That is, it
may be sent by God to test us, and Satan may use it as an occasion for
temptation. It all depends on how we respond.
When trouble comes …
We may turn to
God in prayer,
or we may become bitter.
We may become quiet and thoughtful,
or we may begin to complain.
We may become tender and compassionate,
or we may become harsh and
We may learn new trust in God,
or we may rebel against Him.
We may take courage,
or we may give in to fear.
We may draw close to God,
or we may turn away from Him.
The same event in all cases—but vastly different results. It all
depends on how we respond.
The second word comes from the first phrase of verse 6: “In this you
greatly rejoice.” Take the root word joy and consider it for a moment.
What is joy? It’s a difficult word to define. We know that joy and
happiness are two different things. Happiness depends on
circumstances, and comes and goes depending on the emotions of the
moment. But joy is deeper and more profound because it comes from God.
Last night as I pondered the matter, this thought came to me: Joy
comes from “satisfaction with God.” When we are satisfied with God, we
will have joy even in the hardest moments of life. G. K. Chesterton
called joy “the gigantic secret of the Christian life.” Joy, he said,
is always at the center for the Christian; trials are at the periphery
of life. I put these ideas together this way: Joy is the ability to
face reality—the good and bad, the happy and the sad, the positive and
the negative, the best and the worst—because we are satisfied with
Seen in that light, this is no contradiction between joy and trials.
They belong together.
Our text teaches us four important truths about the trials of life.
I. Our Trials are Brief
Peter begins by
assuring his readers that their trials would only last “a little
while.” Of course, that “little while” seems to last forever when we
are in the furnace. Early Sunday morning when I asked a man how things
were going, he shook his head and said, “Things are falling apart.” I
told him that he should listen closely to my sermon because I was
preaching on how our trials are brief. He chuckled and said, “They
don’t seem brief to me.” We all understand that. When you sit by the
bedside of a loved one in the hospital, time seems to slow to a crawl.
When your marriage crumbles or your children are in trouble or you
lose your job and can’t pay your bills, the trial seems to go on
forever. In what sense can Peter say that our trials are brief? The
answer is, everything in this life is brief when compared to eternity.
It’s all a matter of perspective. If I say I know a man who can hold
his breath a long time, I mean he can hold it for two or three
minutes. That’s a long time for breath-holding. But if you say,
“Pastor Ray, you’ve been at Calvary a long time,” you mean that I’ve
been here for 15 years. That’s a long time for a pastor to be at one
church. Our trials may last for weeks or months or years, sometimes
they last for decades, but seen against the endless ages of eternity,
even the worst trials here are brief by comparison. Our problem is a
kind of spiritual nearsightedness that views this world as the “real”
world and counts eternity as nothing by comparison. God never asks us
to deny the harsh reality of our trials. He asks only that we take his
perspective on our suffering.
A wise pastor friend of mine wrote recently to say that his
responsibility is not just to help people live well but to help them
live with the great expectancy of heaven. “It is to prepare them to
die well, even with excitement toward heaven and not regret.” He went
on to speak of a man who died while a pacemaker was being installed
because the doctor clipped an artery without knowing it. The man had
been in good health, but suddenly his life was over. It all changed
with one prick of a wire. My friend said that he thinks about this
more often now because he is 50, and he is seeing friends his age (and
younger) begin to die. When we are young, death seems rather
theoretical, and even when it happens, it seems remote from our own
experience. But time has a way of changing our thinking. He spoke of a
nine-year-old boy in his congregation with a cancerous tumor in his
brain. Chemo didn’t work, and he faces radiation soon. His vision is
going quickly. “Every time I see him or think of him, I realize my
ministry to him, unless the Lord intervenes, is to help him die with
joy and anticipation of Christ. And it is to help the parents
understand that his life cut short is not loss but gain.” My friend
speaks words that come from the heart of God. Life is short for all of
us compared to eternity. And in the worst of our trials, we can
rejoice because we know they will not, they cannot, last forever.
II. Our Trials are Necessary
Note how Peter
puts it: “You may have had to suffer.” Literally, the Greek reads, “If
necessary for a little while.” Peter could not be sure how long they
would suffer, but he knows that the suffering itself is necessary.
Whether long or short, hard times come to every believer. Those hard
times come in many varieties. (When I said that on Sunday morning, a
voice from the back of the sanctuary said, “Amen!”) And they come over
and over again. And those hard times come to every believer. No
Christian is exempt from trials. Some have more, others less, but all
share in the “many trials” Peter mentions. Those trials are necessary
to help us grow spiritually. That’s why Martin Luther called adversity
“the very best book in my library.” And George Whitefield declared,
“God puts burs in our bed to keep us watchful and awake.” Perhaps that
is why you could not sleep last night. Those trials are proof that we
belong to the Lord. John Duncan put it this way: “If we have not got a
cross, alas! We may conclude that we have not Christ, for it is the
first of his gifts.”
Trials are Purifying
We have arrived
at the heart of Peter’s message. Trials come “come so that your
faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined
by fire—may be proved genuine” (v. 7). Note the little phrase “so
that” in the text. Circle it, underline it, highlight it. No phrase is
more hopeful or more needed. The words “so that” tell us that our
trials have a purpose. They don’t just happen by chance or by some
random act of fate. There are no accidents for the children of God.
Everything happens for a reason. Even though we may not see the
reason, our faith can survive if we know that a reason really does
Peter goes on to explain that God sends trials in order to test and
purify our faith. The phrase “proved genuine” translates the Greek
word dokimos, which means to test something in order to prove that it
will not fail. Let me illustrate. When Chevrolet tests Ford pickup
trucks, they do it to prove that Ford trucks won’t pass the test. But
when Chevrolet tests its own trucks, they do it to prove that their
trucks will pass the same test. That’s the Greek word used here. God
puts our faith to the test by allowing hard times to come, not to
destroy us but to demonstrate that our faith is genuine. Note the
contrast between faith and pure gold. Did you know that it takes four
tons of gold ore to produce one ounce of pure gold? During the
refining process, the gold ore is heated in a giant furnace until it
liquefies; the dross or waste material is skimmed off, leaving only
the pure gold at the bottom. In ancient times goldsmiths knew they had
pure gold when they could look at the gold and see their reflection.
That’s what God intends through our trials. He puts us in the furnace
to burn off the greed, the impatience, the unkindness, the anger, the
bitterness, the hatred, the lust, and the selfishness. For most of us,
that’s a lifetime process. But in the end, the image of Jesus is
formed in us. I have seen that happen over and over again in the lives
of suffering saints. “Joe, you look like Jesus to me.” “Sandra, I can
see Jesus in your face.”
God wants to prove your faith is genuine, and trials provide the most
reliable proof. We may all mouth certain phrases that make us sound
spiritual when things are going well, but how we respond when life
tumbles in around us tells the real story of what we truly believe.
God “proves” our faith to us, to our loved ones, and to a watching
world. Outside the four walls of the church are millions of people who
watch the way we live. They may not understand what we believe, but
they watch us from a distance to see how we respond when hard times
come. And even if they don’t understand it all, they are profoundly
moved by a believer whose faith remains strong in the time of trouble.
They know our faith is real, and that draws them one step closer to
This is how it works:
You lost your
money, but gained devoted faith.
You lost your health, but gained patient faith.
You lost your job, but gained resilient faith.
You lost your loved ones, but gained grieving faith.
You lost your friends, but gained courageous faith.
Thus does God bring triumph out of our trials, and from the pit of
despair, he lifts us to the pinnacle of faith. Hard times make strong
saints. There is no other way.
IV. Our Trials are Eternally Significant
suggests one final truth about our trials. God sends trials to prove
our faith is genuine so that it “may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed” (v. 7). Normally when we read words
like praise, glory and honor, we associate them with Jesus Christ
himself. But Peter says we are the ones who gain praise, glory and
honor. That is, the Lord himself bestows upon us praise and glory and
honor. Or more properly, because of our faithfulness during our trials
in this life, we will share in the praise, glory and honor that
belongs to our Lord. What a thought that is. What an incredible scene
in heaven, when the faithful saints of God are crowned with glory,
praise and honor, by our Lord himself. I imagine Jesus saying,
“Father, this is Mario. He suffered for my sake on the earth, and he
never denied my name. He is one of my faithful ones.” As those words
are spoken, a vast cheer rolls across the universe from the assembled
multitudes. And so it will go as one by one those who suffered so much
in this life, those who endured ridicule, hatred and martyrdom are
revealed and rewarded for their faithfulness. And those who suffered
illness with joy, who lost their possessions but not their faith, who
walked a hard road on the earth but never gave up, are recognized and
honored by the Lord.
When Jesus finally appears, we will find out what our trials have
accomplished. Things that seemed useless and unfair will be seen as
instruments of God’s grace. Things we thought were hard and even
cruel, we will discover were tempered by God’s mercy.
And we will all say,
“He was nearest
when I thought him farthest away.”
“He was faithful when I had no faith to believe.”
“He used my trials to develop my faith.”
“He used my faith to encourage others.”
We don’t see those things very clearly now, but in that day, all will
be made plain. And as we look back across the pathway of life, we will
see that nothing was wasted. God knew what he was doing all along.
Three Final Thoughts
Before we wrap
up this message, here are three concluding thoughts about the troubles
of life that we all face sooner or later.
A. Trouble is something we should all take for granted.
After what our
Lord endured 2,000 years ago, how can we ever say, “I can’t believe
this is happening to me?” Better to face the trials of life with
wide-eyed realism, understanding that suffering is the first course in
God’s curriculum in the School of Spiritual Growth.
B. Trouble is meant to draw us closer to the Lord, not push us
Strange as it
may seem, our troubles are a sign of God’s love, for if he did not
love us, he would not discipline us (see Hebrews 12:4-11). Some of you
may say, “If that’s the case, then God must love me a lot.” I am
certain that he does, and your trials and your tears, and the
confusion you experience, do not invalidate his love for you. C. S.
Lewis remarked that God whispers to us in our pleasure but shouts to
us in our pain. He called pain “God’s megaphone” to rouse a sleeping
world. Many times God speaks to us through our pain because we won’t
listen to him any other way.
C. Trouble is meant to be used and not wasted.
Our hard times
are not easy and sometimes they are not good at all, but God can use
them for our good and for his glory. He intends to “prove” our faith
genuine by the way we respond to our trials. Think of it this way:
Before our trials, our faith is unproved.
After our trials, our faith is improved.
A faith God approves brings him great glory. Here is good news for all
God is not
looking for educated people.
God is not looking for rich people.
God is not looking for talented people.
God is not looking for beautiful people.
God is looking for faithful disciples who having passed through the
fiery trials, are stamped for all the world to see, “Approved by God.”
As I write these words, I know that some of you are going through
incredibly difficult things at this very moment. What is God saying to
1) It will not
2) It is necessary for your spiritual growth.
3) It is sent to help you, not to hurt you.
And if you find yourself in the furnace right now, be of good cheer.
It is your Father’s kindness that has put you there. On Sunday a man
told me that he is being “barbecued” by what he is going through. But
he did not seem angry at all. He knows that the pain is helping him
grow and become a new man by God’s grace. Nothing of value will be
taken while you are in the furnace. The only things taken from you
will be those things you didn’t need anyway.
Joy and Trials
And so I come
back to the two words I mentioned at the beginning: Joy and Trials.
Now we can see clearly how these two always work together.
The Christian position is not:
Joy, then trials, or
Trials, then joy, or
Joy or trials.
It is always joy and trials, at the same time, working together, mixed
together, so that we have joy in our trials, joy beside our trials,
joy within our trials, and sometimes even joy in spite of our trials.
Thus could David say in Psalm 34:8, after mentioning his fears and his
troubles, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Indeed, his mercies
endure forever, but most of us only discover that truth in the
furnace. Like the three Hebrew children of Daniel 3, when we are cast
into the furnace, suddenly we discover “the fourth man” is there with
us. Jesus comes to us in our time of direst need, and just when we
need him most, he is there.
So this is my final word to you. This is what we must say:
Whatever it takes, Lord, do your work in me.
Whatever it takes to purify my heart, do your work in me.
Whatever it takes to build my faith, do your work in me.
Whatever it takes to make me like Jesus, do your work in me.
If that means doing some “furnace time,” do your work in me.
If that means fiery trials today and more tomorrow, do your work in
Lord, I want my life to be approved by you, so do your work in me.
This is God’s call to all of us. Embrace the cross God is calling you
to bear. Stop fighting with God. Stop complaining. Stop blaming
others. And open your heart to exceeding great joy. Some of us have
never discovered this kind of joy because we fight God at the point of
our trials. But joy and trials come together in God’s plan. There is
no exceeding great joy without the suffering that goes with it. Don’t
fear great rejoicing. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, do
not resist his work in your life, and he will lift you up. Let God do
his work in you, and you will know joy unspeakable and full of glory.