More Precious Than Gold – Part One

Gold is mentioned in the Bible more than any other metal. It is mentioned in Genesis 2 in the description of the location of the Garden of Eden. Gold was offered to Jesus as one of the gifts of the Wise Men. Gold led the people of Israel into idolatry on more than one occasion. And Jesus gave us the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In I Peter gold is mentioned three times. This is a three-part series based on those three references to gold. First, Peter says that our faith is more precious than gold. Then later he writes that we were ransomed, not with silver and gold, but with the blood of Jesus. Finally, in the third installment in the series, we will look at Peter’s reference to wearing gold jewelry.

Peter’s first mention of gold comes in a long, seven-verse opening section of chapter one:

[3] 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, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [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. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

Our faith is more precious than gold because gold perishes and our faith does not. Peter speaks of the day that gold will perish in his second epistle:

[8] But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:8-10 ESV)

First, Peter points out that God is patient and does not want anyone to perish. Then he points out that someday, unexpectedly like a thief, the day of the Lord will come and everything in heaven and on earth will be destroyed.

Faith is believing without seeing: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him.” (1 Peter 1:8 ESV)

Peter was one of the chosen apostles who had been part of Jesus’ public ministry. He had been called to follow the Lord and had been appointed as one of the twelve Apostles. He witnessed many, if not all, of Jesus’ miracles. He saw the unveiled glory of the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. And finally, although he had denied the Lord three times, Peter was chosen to be an eyewitness of the greatest event in human history, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

But the people to whom Peter is writing were not eyewitnesses to any of the Lord’s great deeds. They were Jews and Gentiles from Asia Minor. They had probably never even been close to the region where Christ lived, died and rose again. Yet through the proclamation of Peter and other eyewitnesses of the resurrection, these people had come to love and believe in the Lord just as Peter did.

Although it perishes, gold is something in which people often put their trust. Gold makes people feel important, confident and secure. Gold is precious and rare. But when gold perishes so will the faith that is placed in it.

The purest gold is the most precious gold. The way to purify gold is to subject it to a refiner’s fire. Our faith also becomes purer when it is refined by trials and testing:

“[6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [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.” (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)

Sometime we get the idea that when we go through trials it is because there is something wrong with our faith. That is not it at all. The trials we have prove that we have faith. God is just making it stronger.

Finally, Peter notes that the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls.  In every endeavor the outcome or end result is the most important element. Therefore, in a sense, the outcome controls everything that comes before it. If the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls, then the salvation of our souls should be the controlling element of everything that comes before it. Everything we do between now and the time we enter eternal life in heaven should be focused on the salvation of our souls.

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