There’s a lot of discussion these days about our monetary system. Those who have invested in gold have seemingly made a wise decision because its value continues to increase. But there is one commodity apparently far superior in value–our faith.
Hesistant believers will argue that “faith” isn’t going to pay the mortgage or save our country from a fiscal disaster, and in part, I agree. But it doesn’t change the fact that God Himself said faith is “much more precious than gold that perishes” (1 Peter 1:7). So what does He mean? What is He looking for? And how does it help us?
I like a good word study, so let’s start there.
Specifically, Peter said, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Genuineness. This word describes something that is truly what it claims to be; it is authentic and sincere. In the Bible, it is also translated as proving, trial, approved, or tried character. In other words, it’s not just our “faith” that is more precious than gold… it is the genuineness or proving of our faith that is of great value to God.
BUT… we have to dig a little deeper lest we fall into the trap of thinking God loves to “test” us with hardships. People everywhere have fallen into a snare laid by Satan into believing bad things happen for a reason. When really, Satan is the thief who loves to steal, kill, destroy, and then disguise himself as an angel of light to deceive even the elect of God (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Matthew 24:24).
Instead, the word genuineness describes our character.
In Romans, Paul said, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, CHARACTER, and character, hope” (Romans 5:1-4).
The word genuineness in 1 Peter 1:7 and the word character in Romans 5:4 are both from the same Greek word. Isn’t that interesting?
So exchanging them, we find “that the character of your faith, [is] much more precious than gold that perishes” and tribulations produce (and reveal) a person’s perseverance and genuineness.
No wonder it’s precious to God.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The only way others are going to see the Father is through us (through our genuineness of faith, or more specifically, through our character which is revealed when tested and proved).
I know we don’t like the idea of testing, but it’s through a rough patch that our sincere faith in God is either proven true or false (or simply weak). One of the toughest tests I ever endured was standing at the side of son’s bed in ICU after just being told he had a 50/50 chance of surviving the fire he was rescued from. But it was in that moment, that I knew what I believed. And that my friends, was (and still is) more precious to me than any amount of gold!
I knew that I knew my faith was real, and it was solid. It was tested and it wasn’t fun–but who I am on this side of that ordeal has made me much stronger and ready for any new trial that may come my way.
So what about you? Have you discovered the same?
This is the life of the righteous.