Friday, August 28, 2015

What is Genuine Faith?

1 Peter 1:4-7

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed

As Peter continues to encourage the early believers, he reminds them of their future inheritance as God's sons and daughters. If he is speaking specifically to the Jewish believers, they have seen their temple for all intent and purpose destroyed. They have been taken from their land which was part of the promise of inheritance to the 12 tribes of Israel. And finally, they are suffering all kinds of grief in their trials.

So Peter focuses on one major thing that cannot be taken from them, their faith, through which they are shielded by God's power. And this won't last forever, as at some point they will receive their salvation when Jesus returns. This is not the salvation that comes when we believe, but our final deliverance from sin and death. But Peter also says there is a refining purpose to the various trials they are going through. And as we remain faithful in our trials, our faith is proved genuine. As we said yesterday it is not the good days that test our faith, but the bad days.

Then Peter says something very important. Our faith which is proven genuine through trials, is of greater value than gold, which though refined is destined to perish. Meaning your faith is one of the few things that you can take with you when die. And when Jesus returns, our faith will result in praise and glory when Jesus is revealed. Why is at important? What difference does it make? Well I think it goes something like this.

Although the believers were undergoing all kinds of suffering it was growing and refining their faith. It was proving it genuine. It was revealing to those that were exercising that it was real and made a difference. And that process in itself made it stronger and more pure. And how does it relate to praise and glory when Jesus returns? Our faith is what proves to others that we are Christians. When we are guarded by faith in trials, people take notice and ultimately leads them to God. And though we see some rewards in this life by exercising faith, one day our faith will be rewarded when Jesus comes to take us home.

Where is your faith being tried right now? How is God using these trials to make your faith more genuine? How can seeing that your faith will one day give praise and glory to God encourage you? Give thanks to God for giving you genuine faith. Every trial we go through makes it more genuine. It is the most precious possession we own. Guard it well!

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