“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3).
As we reach the close of our studies on this vital subject there is yet one further issue that needs our consideration, that is, the testing of our faith.
1 Peter 5:6-11 reads, ” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Peter asks us to do three things:
1. Humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.
2. Cast all our fears upon the Lord.
3. Resist the devil.
But then notice that he warns us that our faith might have to endure a time of testing and trial. We often pray along with the disciples, “Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5), but often the seed of faith only grows under the dark clod of suffering. We can thank God though that it is only for “a while.” When the testing of our faith has achieved its purpose, the Holy Spirit will make real all that we have trusted Him for. “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” (1 Peter 1:7.)
Faith is triumphant before, during, but more especially after times of testing. It knows no fear or defeat. It will not allow Satan to divert it from the goal. It believes that “the very God of peace” will “sanctify [us] wholly” and He will keep our “whole spirit and soul and body … preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23.)
Throughout eternity we will worship God for His calling on our lives. We will never cease to praise Him for the work of sanctification in our lives. We will thank Him for His faithfulness and all that He has done for us.
Sanctification is not meant to be a one off experience; in fact it is a life-long work of the Holy Spirit. It is vital that we do not give up because we do not yet see the effects of it in our hearts. Let us “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith” we are called and the Lord will cleanse us (Ephesians 4:1.)