by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6 March 15, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
7 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:
8 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:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
8 whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
I. The Link Between the Elements of 1:6 and 1:7.
A. In 1:6 there are two general issues.
1. The "great rejoicing" in the immutable salvation.
2. The "grief" of manifold trials.
B. The opening of 1:7 introduces what is normally seen as a "purpose/result" clause.
1. This means that "rejoicing" in the presence of "grief" is a necessary ingredient for the result.
a. The "permission" of "manifold trials" is given with a "proof of faith" objective.
b. Clearly, the absence of rejoicing is a failure of faith.
c. Just as clearly, a failure of faith cannot produce what the success of faith can.
2. This also has to mean that Peter is moving beyond the "immutable salvation" issue.
a. The only way Peter could stack up the descriptors of the "inheritance" in the terms he used (incorruptible, undefiled, fadeth not away, reserved in heaven) was for his mind to be focused upon what the Person and works of Jesus Christ had accomplished for those who believe in Him. If there had been any sense of a contingency rooted in human performance issues, he would not have been able to create his sense of "immutable salvation".
b. To bring the issue of "trials of faith" into the picture is to deliberately move to another level wherein the Person and works of Jesus Christ are not the sole consideration. The immutability of salvation can only rest upon a successful completion of an effective methodology for acquiring that salvation. Everywhere in Scripture we are told that that effective methodology is the production of an uncompromised righteousness and the biblical claim is that Jesus Christ successfully accomplished that production. To move into another level wherein "rejoicing" in the face of "grief" is the methodology for the production of "glory, honor, and praise" is to move away from the sense of immutability into a sense of potentiality. This does not mean that Peter is moving into an arena of human production; it only means that he is moving into the arena of fluid mutability wherein the outcome is not yet "set". This is the arena of the Spirit and His relationship to those who are heirs of the salvation that Christ purchased. This is not an "already settled" accomplishment; it is an ongoing pursuit of multiple accomplishments. But, the methodology remains the same: faith. Faith in Christ results in the immutable salvation; faith in the Spirit of Christ results in "praise, and glory, and honor" at levels beyond that which Christ purchased for all.
II. The Issues of 1:7.
A. The greater value of faith.
1. In the illustration, faith is contrasted, in terms of value, with gold.
2. In the typical cliche, this illustration takes off on the purification of gold by subjecting it to fire for the purpose of purification. This, however, is not at all what Peter said: he said, "Gold perishes" when it is subjected to "fire" and "testing". This is consonant with his comments in 2 Peter 3:10-11. His point is not that gold is refined; it is that gold perishes and, therefore, is of singular impotence in the face of eternal inheritance issues.
a. The issue of the inheritance is a critical issue.
b. The elements of the inheritance are identified as "praise, honor, and glory". These elements are identified by Paul in Romans 2:7 as worthy of our efforts.
3. Thus, the greater value of faith is obvious in that it can produce an eternal inheritance, whereas gold not only cannot, the pursuit of it destroys such.
B. The timing of the manifestation of the impact of faith: the unveiling of Jesus Christ.