1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…
I. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TRIED SURELY.
1. Faith, in the very nature of it, implies a degree of trial. God never gave us faith to play with. It is a sword, but it was not made for presentation on a gala day, nor to be worn on state occasions only, nor to be exhibited on a parade ground. It is a sword, and he that has it girt about him may expect, between here and heaven, that he shall know what battle means. Faith is a sound sea-going vessel, and was not meant to lie in dock and perish of dry rot. To whom God has given faith, it is as though one gave a lantern to his friend because he expected it to be dark on his way home. The very gift of faith is a hint to you that you will want it, and that, at all points and in every place, you will really need it.
2. Trial is the very element of faith. Faith is a salamander that lives in the fire, a star which moves in a lofty sphere, a diamond which bores its way through the rock. Faith without trial is like a diamond uncut, the brilliance of which has never been seen. Untried faith is such little faith that some have thought it no faith at all. What a fish would be without water or a bird without air, that would be faith without trial.
3. It is the honour of faith to be tried. He that has tested God, and whom God has tested, is the man that shall have it said of him, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
4. The trial of your faith is sent to prove its sincerity.
5. It must also be tested to prove its strength.
6. The trial of our faith is necessary to remove its dross. "Why, a week ago," says one, "I used to sing, and think that I had the full assurance of faith; and now I can scarcely tell whether I am one of God's people or not." Now you know how much faith you really possess. You can now tell how much was solid and how much was sham; for had that which has failed you been real faith, it would not have been consumed by any trial through which it has passed. You have lost the froth from the top of the cup, but all that was really worth having is still there.
II. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TRIED VARIOUSLY.
1. There are some whose faith is tried each day in their communion with God. That is, God in Christ, who is our God, is a consuming fire; and when His people live in Him, the very presence of God consumes in them their love of sin and all their pretentious graces and fictitious attainments, so that the false disappears and only the true survives. The presence of perfect holiness is killing to empty boastings and hollow pretences.
2. God frequently tries us by the blessings which He sends us.
3. Another trial of faith is exceedingly common and perilous nowadays, and that is heretical doctrine and false teaching.
4. The trial of our faith usually comes in the form of affliction. I remember Mr. Rutherford, writing to a lady who had lost five children and her husband, says to her, "Oh, how Christ must love you! He would take every bit of your heart to Himself. He would not permit you to reserve any of your soul for any earthly thing." Can we stand that test? Can we let all go for His sake? Do you answer that you can? Time will show.
III. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TRIED INDIVIDUALLY. It is an interesting subject, is it not, the trial of faith? It is not quite so pleasant to study alone the trial of your faith. It is stern work when it comes to be your trial, and the trial of your faith. Do not ask for trials. Children must not ask to be whipped, nor saints pray to be tested. The Lord Jesus Christ has been glorified by the trial of His people's faith. He has to be glorified by the trial of your faith.
IV. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TRIED SEARCHINGLY. The blows of the flail of tribulation are not given in sport, but in awful earnest. The Lord tries the very life of our faith — not its beauty and its strength alone, but its very existence. The iron enters into the soul; the man's real self is made to endure the trial.
V. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TRIED FOR AN ABUNDANTLY USEFUL PURPOSE.
1. The trial of your faith will increase, develop, deepen, and strengthen it. We may wisely rejoice in tribulation, because it worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and by that way we are exceedingly enriched, and our faith grows strong.
2. The trial of our faith is useful, because it leads to a discovery of our faith to ourselves. I notice an old Puritan using this illustration. He says, you shaft go into a wood when you please, but if you are very quiet, you will not know whether there is a partridge, or a pheasant, or a rabbit in it; but when you begin to move about or make a noise, you very soon see the living creatures. They rise or they run. So, when affliction comes into the soul, and makes a disturbance and breaks our peace, up rise our graces. Faith comes out of its hiding, and love leaps from its secret place.
3. Besides, when faith is tried, it brings God glory.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: