Grab your Bible, and let’s dig into 1 Peter 1:6-7.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Let’s first break into verse 6.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
“In this …” In what? Peter is saying, “Based on what I just said in 1 Peter 1:3-5.”
1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this living hope that we have because of God’s great mercy and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In this living hope that is an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, by God's power.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice …
Who is the “you”? We are! We are the elect exiles. In this we rejoice! Peter is saying, “God’s elect exiles are to have joy.” We are to rejoice in these great truths. It is important that our joy is based on these great truths and not on our circumstances, because the rejoicing Peter is telling us to have is in the middle of various trials and suffering.
Look at the rest of the verse.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
Peter says here that our exile will mean that we are grieved by various trials, that we will suffer. But he is also saying that in these various trials and suffering, we, the elect exiles who walk in a living hope, will have joy. He says this so clearly later in chapter 4.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Like Peter here, Paul speaks of rejoicing in the middle of our suffering again and again.
… I rejoice in my sufferings … (Colossians 1:24)
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)
… rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor … (Acts 5:41)
… but we rejoice in our sufferings … (Romans 5:3)
So, what does this tell us today? How does this help us today?
Will there be pain, and sorrow and hardship that affects us? Yes!
1 Peter 4:12 So, do not be surprised at the fiery trial … as though something strange were happening to you.
But it also tells us, as we experience these things, it is always on the foundation of joy in Christ—of thanksgiving and praise.
This is how Paul is able to say that he is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” in 2 Corinthians 6:10.
I plead with you to not dismiss this truth today. Some of you are missing who Christ is, through and through. You claim Christianity. You claim Jesus, but you live your lives like you truly do not know the fullness of who He is to you.
I know many of you are in the middle of hard things, painful stuff. This life, in the here-and-now, is really hard—the death of loved ones, financial stress, wrestling with addictive habits, flesh-driven motivations of a loved one that is ripping your marriage or family apart, broken relationships whereby the other party is content to do nothing to reconcile, your health is really failing you, and so much more.
The fact remains that you will suffer and struggle and experience various trials.
But what else does Peter say here about this? Let’s go back to 1 Peter 1:6. He says, “though now for a little while.” In other words, it’s temporary. Peter says this again later in 1 Peter 5:10: “… after you have suffered a little while …”
Believers can rejoice in suffering in their exile, because they have a living hope that will not last forever. Now, this doesn’t mean the suffering will be brief. It will be brief in comparison to eternity.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Next, he says, “if necessary.” This means if God decides it is necessary. Peter later makes this clear in 1 Peter 4:19.
1 Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
This is also good news, because our suffering or various trials are not outside of God’s sovereign hand. This is good news for our hearts, because it means we are not forgotten in our struggles and exile. It means what we face is only what God deems is necessary; and since we are His and He is God and He has us eternally in His victorious grip in Christ, we can be assured that what He deems necessary is necessary.
Next, he says, “you have been grieved by various trials.” Notice it says the various trials will grieve us. Trials and suffering are still hard. They still hurt; they still bring tears.
Do you ever feel like, being in a Christian means you can’t say “ouch” or like you have to be strong all the time and show no wear-and-tear? This just is not the case. Christians hurt; they say “ouch.” Exiles mourn and slow down. But the difference between Christian exiles and the world’s citizens is we do it in joy. It is not our end. It doesn’t undo us. There is a hope—a living hope. There is a joy in the midst of the tears that is based on that living hope that rises to the top and carries us through the tears.
So, whether in our highest highs or our lowest lows, Peter is saying here, “There is still rejoicing, even in the midst of our various struggles.” Why? Because of who we are in Christ and because of our living hope in Him.
Fact: You and I will suffer. So, the question today is, when you suffer, will you suffer in a way that is purposeful and for the glory of God? What God’s word tells us time and time again is that we can suffer in a way that is purposeful and not purposeless.
Here is a tip: When you suffer, don’t waste it. Do you allow room in your suffering for God to do great things in you and through you? Or are you all-consumed in you and, therefore, useless to the eternal movement of the good news of Jesus Christ?
I am begging you not to waste your suffering and not to waste hardship as something all-for-naught when it can, and should, be used as something all for God’s eternal glory.
Let me ask you this: When others see you struggling in various trials and hardships, do they grow in their faith? Do they become bolder?
Our suffering is meant to be purposeful and not wasted!
Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Hear this today: Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament promises that believers will escape affliction in this life, for God, in His sovereignty, uses suffering to do eternal things in the lives of people and ultimately carries out His purposes for His glory. This is good news. This is the view that Peter is trying to give the elect exiles. We need this truth.
Now, you might ask, “Why is it God’s plan that we experience various trials in our exile?” That’s a fair question. Not that we are deserving to know if our sovereign Lord deems it necessary, but Peter answers in verse 7 at least part of the reason essentially telling us that suffering proves to be the perfect crucible for faith to abound.
1 Peter 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
What this is saying is our faith is proven by the testing of struggles. The refining fire of God will sanctify, purifying the gold of true faith. True faith will endure, but fake faith will not endure. The refining fire of trials and suffering will consume fake faith. For those whose faith is not of God but is just a temporary, religious, man-made experience, trials will cause them to run, to flee, to abandon ship. God’s elect exiles will be refined by the struggles and will endure unto praise and glory and honor at the end-times coming of Jesus. When Peter contrasts faith with gold, he is showing that purified faith is more precious and valuable than purified gold, because gold still perishes. But true faith is lasting, lasting unto the imperishable inheritance that Jesus brings at the revelation of Christ.
Consider this: True faith turns sound doctrine (sound understanding of God) into sound practice or testimony. This is one of the main reasons God ordains our struggles in this exile we are in. He wants us to experience the refining fire of God.
Look back to the Old Testament in Malachi 3:2-3.
Malachi 3:2-3 … For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.
The Hebrew word here for “refiner” expresses the melting, testing, and refining of something—mostly metals and especially precious metals such as gold and silver.
In the ancient world, crude metal was re-melted to remove impurities and to make metal castings (tools, weapons, images, etc.). The metal was heated in pottery crucibles (Proverbs 17:3; 27:21) which were ovens or hearths, with bellows often being used to provide a draught to create intense heat.
The Scriptures speak of God as the master-refiner, seeking the pure metal by trying and testing the heart of man. This is good news, because God’s intention is not only to save His people but to purify His people from sin as with the removal of dross and alloy. So here in 1 Peter 1:7, the refining of gold is used as a metaphor for the stronger faith that emerges after persecution. A refiner’s fire’s purpose is to purify something of value. It purifies by removing the impurities so that its value is greater to the owner as it becomes a more righteous treasure.
God’s purpose is to purify His people by His refining fire so that we are a vessel of worship made more and more into Christlikeness that is pleasing to God.
2 Cor 2:15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God …
Make it personal for you today:
How are you navigating this exile’s hardships?
Are you wasting your hardships and simply wishing them away, or are you stewarding them as an opportunity to be refined by God, to become more dependent on Him and not on your circumstances?
Is your joy in God? Is your living hope found only in Christ, or is it in your circumstances?
I needed this study from Peter this week, and I pray you see your need for it, too. Maybe not right now, because you aren’t experiencing the various trials at this moment, but you will, and it is oh-so-important that we are properly grounded in God’s truth so that we see and savor these things for His glory and not our own.
Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.