Note: This, the last in three posts concerning The Refiner’s Fire. If you missed the first two posts, please scroll down to the end of this post, to read first two. Thank you.
“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”
In the last post we showed that each born again believer is a priest to God, The Father through Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5) and that the “sons of Levi” are actually a type of us and that we, as believer-priests, now offer sacrifices on the altar of our dedicated, consecrated heart.
Since every believer is a priest to God The Father through Jesus Christ, this purifying and refining process applies to you and me. The Lord Jesus is going to purify and refine us so that we offer to God unblemished sacrifices which is our reasonable service, since we are recipients of His many mercies.
Just as the smelter would scoop the impurities off the hot liquid, looking for a clear reflection of his face in the purified gold or sliver, so the Savior is looking for the reflection of His face in our hearts, the real you and me. A reflection of Him in the “hidden man”. The characteristics of His Personality.
Another scripture states this a little differently. Speaking of the Lord Jesus it says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5: 25-27)
Instead of the using the metaphor of a smelter, the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul states that Jesus is going to sanctify or set apart the believers from the world, to Himself, by washing them with the Word. In other words, as the believer obeys the commandments of God, they will purify their souls (mind, will and emotions) becoming holy (more Christ like) and blameless (practicing righteousness). Peter said in I Peter 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls…”.
In respect to this purifying and refining, this is why in James 1:2 it says “Consider it all joy,…when you encounter various trials…” because they are refining and purifying events, with the goal of making us more like Jesus and providing proof of our faith. Satan may mean to use the trial for our destruction but, by us remaining faithful during the trial, Jesus will redeem it for our good. James 1:3 explains the good: “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The end result of various trials is to make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. “…perfect” means mature. Ephesians 4:13 says, the goal of the operation of the Holy Spirit gifts within the church is: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Trials, whether disciplinarian (Hebrew 12: 5-11) or adversarial (I Peter 1:6), mature us into more Christ likeness by stopping us from practicing sin and replacing it with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Ignatius [Bishop of Antioch, martyr; first century believer] said it this way:
“None of these escape your notice, if you are maturing in faith and love towards Jesus Christ. For these are the beginning and end of life: faith is the beginning and love is the end, and the two, when they exist in unity, are Godlike. Everything else that contributes to moral beauty follow from them.”
The “…complete, lacking in nothing”, does not refer to worldly things like money, cars, food, shelter, etc. but refers to not lacking in the characteristics of Jesus’ personality in our lives. The Apostle John refers to this as being perfected in love. Some of these characteristics are listed in Galatians 5:22: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”. The fruit of God the Holy Spirit. Three more can be added from II Peter 1: “moral excellence”, “knowledge“, and “perseverance”. “…humility of mind…” would be another. This is what the Father desires for His children. Christ likeness. To be more like His Son.
Colossians 3:1-2 tells us
“If you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is…” “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
What are these “things” we are to keep seeking for? A mansion in Heaven? A cloud to sit on? A throne like James and John sought for? No! I am not certain what all “things” entails, but I know they include Jesus’ personality traits because our life is hidden in Him. He is our life.
Therefore, the Lord Jesus is the smelter and the washer in our born again lives, with the end result being, we can offer spiritual sacrifices to God the Father through Him that are unblemished and righteous. This is only possible because we are alive from the dead and He loves us enough to purify and cleanse us so we can “share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). This is the sanctification process in our lives. Psalms 149: 4 says:
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”
In closing let me say this about trials. There are disciplinary trials that come from our heavenly Father who disciplines each child for their good so they can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12:4-11). There are adversarial trials which come from the world and Satan. The world hates Christians. The world is controlled by Satan; therefore, we should expect adversarial trials to come. Jesus said they would come. As a born again child of God, we are pilgrims in the earth heading toward our new, heavenly home. (See Hebrews 13) We need to “gird our minds for action and keep sober in spirit..” as Peter said and expect trials. It helps me to know that Jesus is my smelter and washer and that whatever comes my way He is using it for my ultimate good.
Remember, our brother and sisters in other countries whose trials include imprisonment and even death.
So let us rejoice NOW and ALWAYS in our Great Savior and God, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for His watch care over us. Because of this refining and purifying, the Word says that we will be so joyful one day that, “you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
Thank you for your time.
Let us be paying close attention to ourselves,
2 thoughts on “The Refiner’s Fire (Part 3)”
Good stuff Pop! I’ll be preaching from James 1:2-12 next Sunday. Perfect timing. I’ll be using your illustration!
Thank you Lane. Glad you found it interesting. May your sermon on the subject be an eye opener for those the Lord considers precious, i.e. the Body of Christ!