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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #3
Posted: August 23, 2006

I PETER 1:6-9

Let us continue our study of I Peter.  It is in this book during one of Israel’s darkest hours that Peter encourages them to look not at their suffering but the God of suffering. 

This week let us study verses 6-9 of Chapter 1.  It is here we find ‘The Purpose Of All Suffering’.  Our text says, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 

We find within our text a threefold purpose for suffering.  In verse 6 we have ‘A Rejoicing Purpose’.  The word ‘wherein’ is in the neuter gender and could not refer to our earthly profession of salvation.  He turns their attention from this season of trouble to the eternal world of salvation.  It is there we will greatly ‘rejoice’.  The word means extreme joy expressing itself externally in an exuberant fashion.  He compares what they are going through to what awaits them.  This time of trouble is but for a ‘season’. (Small span of time)  They find themselves going through the heaviness of manifold temptations.  The word ‘through’ means a fixed position without movement.  The word ‘heaviness’ means unbearable to carry.  ‘Manifold’ means varied in size, multiple in number, and heavy in weight.  ‘Temptation’ is a solicitation to do evil.  Peter tells us that ‘it needs be’.  Why do God’s people have to go through these things?  What is the purpose?  One reason is that servants who are to be used greatly must be ground between the millstones of suffering.  The second reason is only wayward children can be brought back to the Lord by suffering.  The third reason is simply to refine and make us like our Lord.  Let us rejoice in these reasons.  Why, even Job said ‘when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold’.

In verse 7 we have defined for us ‘The Refining Purpose’.  The word ‘trial’ used in this verse is the Greek word ‘dokimazo’, which means to put to the test with a view of determining whether one is worthy to be approved.  It is used in the consideration for a Doctor’s degree in medicine.  How can one be assured that his faith is genuine and is approved by the test of suffering?

The first proof will be a submissive spirit to the Lord in a time of testing. (Not my will, but thine be done)  The second proof is that one will remain faithful to walk with Him in the trial.  The third proof is there will be a desire to learn the lessons being taught through this test.

The faith is not the focus of the praise at His appearing but the fact of approval in the test.  Our approval in this test is ‘more precious than gold’.  When one is a gold miner and strikes a vein of gold he takes a sample to the assayer’s office.  The assayer through lab work will establish the worth of the gold and the quantity of the mine.  The assayer’s report is worth more than gold.  It is like money in the bank.  It is of great value when our God can trust our faith in the time of suffering. 

In verses 8 and 9 we have ‘The Revealing Purpose’.  We are reminded in verse 8 that we have never seen the Lord.  We have never seen Him yet we believe in Him and love Him.  To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to want to know Him more.  This loving knowledge causes great joy even in our darkest hours of suffering.

In verse 9 the final great fact of the ‘Revealing Purpose’ is that the ultimate end of our suffering will be to see Him face to face.  ‘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 sorrows will erase. So bravely run the race till we see Christ’.

Let our focus not be on what we are going through but the purpose for which God has chosen for us to walk this road.