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   PETER : FAITH TRIED IN THE FIRE!



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : September 10, 2001

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

Satan Sifts Peter, Peter Declares Christ Messiah, Defining
'Converted', Prodigal Son, Jesus Knew Mens' Hearts, Peter's
Weak Faith, Peter Walks On The Water...And Sinks, Peter's
Declaration Of Loyalty, Peter's Presumptuous Faith, Peter's
Slowness To Understand, Peter Rebuked By Jesus, God's Ways
Past Finding Out, Love Of Our Flesh, Betrayal In The Garden,
Shepherd Gives Life For Sheep, Judas - A Hireling And Thief,
Defining 'Lost' And Apollyon, Christian Persecution, Why The
Apostles Were Spared, Peter's Human Weaknesses, Pride, God's
Way Up Is Down, Dangers Of Self, All The Apostles Backslide,
Peter's Remorse And Inner Turmoil, Return To Galilee, Fruit-
less Fishing Night, Darkest Hour Before Dawn, Feed My Lambs,
Chronology Of Events, Getting Back On Track, Jesus Appears
Three Times, Jesus Appears For Forty Days, Jesus' Ascension,
Return To Jerusalem, Apostles' Tests Of Faith, Purging Dross,
A More Humbler Peter, Our Common Fiery Trials, Loving Rebuke




Recently, I was involved in a private online discussion with
a dear sister in the Lord, and she informed me that she felt
as if Satan was sifting her, just as he had tested and
sifted Peter's faith, as we see by the following verses:

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired
to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art
converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31-32, KJV

Upon reading the above verses, this dear sister came to the
mistaken conclusion that Peter's heart had not really been
converted to the faith; however, as I explained to her, that
word 'converted' is a bit misleading to us modern readers,
who have a very different understanding of the word. In this
particular case, it is not implying that Peter was not a
believer. Quite to the contrary, Peter most certainly did
believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Perhaps you will recall
the following scene found in the Gospel of Matthew:

"He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon
Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of
the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him,
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath
not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in
heaven." Matthew 16:15-17, KJV

It should be apparent to you then, that Peter was in fact
convinced that Jesus was the long-awaited promised Messiah,
BUT, that does not mean that, like some of us today, Peter
did not have his moments of weakness when he doubted his
inner convictions; and that is the crux of the matter. In
the previous verses, the word 'converted' is derived from
the Greek word 'epistrepho', which, in this case, means to
turn back to, or to return to. In other words, it indicates
the opposite of falling away, or backsliding from the faith.
As I was sharing this with my daughter in the kitchen a few
moments ago, the Lord gave her an excellent example of what
this word means: the story of the Prodigal Son. When the
wayward son came to his senses, realized his error, and
returned to his father's house, in a much humbler state of
mind, he was in fact converted. That is precisely what the
Greek word 'epistrepho' means. God bless my daughter for
being in tune to the Spirit! Even I didn't think of that
example.

Being the Messiah, the Son of God, and the very Living Word
of God, Jesus knew exactly what was in men's hearts. It is
for this reason, that in the Gospel of John, we find the
following interesting comment:

"But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew
all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for
he knew what was in man." John 2:24-25, KJV

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was also
inspired to write:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper
than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart." Hebrews 4:12, KJV

So Jesus, the Living Word, could in fact discern what was in
men's hearts. Exactly what is in men's hearts? Consider the
following verses which describe the darker side of our human
nature:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9, KJV

"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to
eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Matthew 15:19-20, KJV

From the previous verses found in the Gospel of Luke, it is
quite evident that Jesus knew what was in Peter's heart. He
knew that Peter's faith was rather weak, even though dear
Peter tried very hard to convey the exact opposite to his
fellow Disciples. Consider the following facts. Who was it
who declared Jesus the Christ? It was Peter. Who was it who
tried to walk on the waters of the Galilee with the Lord? It
was Peter:

"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them,
walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking
on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and
they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto
them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And
Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me
come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when
Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water,
to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was
afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save
me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and
caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith,
wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:25-31, KJV

Following their final united celebration of the Feast of the
Passover, also known as the Last Supper, the Lord led His
followers to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the way there, He
once again revealed to them the facts concerning His coming
betrayal, Crucifixion and Resurrection. Again, who was it
who said that he would never deny the Lord, even if all of
the others abandoned Him, and that he would even be willing
to die with the Lord? It was Peter:

"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the
mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be
offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will
smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be
scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go
before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him,
Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I
never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto
thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny
me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with
thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the
disciples. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called
Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while
I go and pray yonder." Matthew 26:30-36, KJV

So the battle between pride and true faith was raging in
Peter's heart. Because the Lord had indicated that Peter
would be the leader of the small band of Apostles following
His Departure from the Earth, it isn't difficult to imagine
that Peter probably tried very hard to live up to the Lord's
expectations, and to fulfill the role which had been given
to him, by trying to be an example of faith, loyalty, and
perseverance to the other Disciples; but, it is obvious from
the way the events of that night unraveled, that Peter tried
to convey more faith than he obviously had. Perhaps he had a
presumptuous kind of faith.

In fact, I would daresay that the fact that Peter struck the
servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear, was another
indication that Peter was still relying upon his fleshly
wisdom and strength, and that he still did not understand
that Jesus HAD to die. Perhaps Peter viewed his actions as
the ultimate demonstration of his love, devotion and loyalty
to the Lord, by trying to prevent His arrest and ultimate
Crucifixion, but Peter had it all wrong. Instead of helping
to fulfill God's Will, he was standing in the way of it. You
may recall that earlier, Jesus in fact had to rebuke Peter
for this very same reason, as we see here:

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his
disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer
many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and
be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter
took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from
thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and
said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an
offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be
of God, but those that be of men." Matthew 16:21-23, KJV

Imagine; Peter standing there and harshly chiding the Lord.
He must have been totally shocked, not to mention humbled,
when Jesus turned around and rebuked him; even referring to
him as Satan, which, as I have mentioned before, in the
original Greek and Hebrew, actually means 'adversary'. At
that point in time, Peter was in fact acting as an adversary
to God's Perfect Will, and His Plan of Salvation. Peter's
problem was that he was still seeing things the way that men
see them, and not the way that God sees them. He was trying
to understand them with his mind, and he was not spiritually
in-tune to what God was doing, even after being with Jesus
for some three years. As Paul would write some time later:

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the
sons of God." Romans 8:14, KJV

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he
know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways
past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor?" Romans 11:33-34, KJV

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may
instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

Many centuries earlier, the Lord inspired the Prophet Isaiah
to also write:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV

It is also quite possible that Peter's actions in the Garden
of Gethsemane were the result of a mixture of loyalty, pride
and fear. Like all of us, Peter was a weak human, and Jesus
knew that he was afraid for his flesh, and that Peter would
eventually betray Him, rather than risk losing his own life.
Crucifixion was not an easy way to die! As the Apostle Paul
would write some years later:

"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and
cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:"
Ephesians 5:29, KJV

In trying to save Jesus from His persecutors in the Garden
of Gethsemane, it is possible that Peter and the others were
attempting to save their own lives as well. Considering the
suddenness of the assault against Jesus, they could not
possibly know if they might be taken and crucified right
along with Him. It was the middle of night; they had just
awakened from sleep; and they were probably in a general
state of confusion. The very fact that they were even asleep
is an indication to me that they didn't have the slightest
clue regarding what was going to happen that night; even
though Jesus had already told them plainly. Put yourself in
their position for a moment. If you knew that a terrible
event was going to occur that night, would you have been
able to sleep? I think not; so that leads me to believe that
they just didn't understand; even though Jesus had already
told them several times. You may recall that following His
Resurrection, Jesus said to Cleopas and the other Disciple
who were traveling on the road to Emmaus:

"...O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken:" Luke 24:25b, KJV

But returning to the dark events which occurred that night
in Gethsemane, the Lord, knowing what was probably going on
in their hearts and minds, intervened between His enemies
and His Disciples, and said:

"...I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me,
let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled,
which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost
none." John 18:8-9, KJV

In that very moment, Jesus fulfilled something which He had
said to them earlier in John chapter ten. He said:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the
good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is
an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are
not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and
fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the
sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and
careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know
my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me,
even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the
sheep." John 10:10-15, KJV

That night, Judas was clearly the thief, the hireling and
the destroyer, while Jesus was the shepherd who willingly
laid down His life, not only to save the rest of the fold,
but to save us as well. Incidentally, you might find it
interesting to know that when the previous prophecy says
'have I lost none', what it actually means is that none of
the other Disciples were taken and killed along with Jesus.
That word 'lost' is derived from the Greek word 'apollumi',
which means to destroy, to kill, or to put to death. Some of
you may recognize it as the very same root from which the
name 'Apollyon', or 'the Destroyer', is derived in the Book
of Revelation:

"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the
bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon,
but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Revelation 9:11, KJV

So one thing is for certain; Apollyon the Destroyer was
indeed at work behind the scenes, that dark night in the
Garden of Gethsemane! As Jesus also said as His enemies
encompassed Him about:

"...Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and
staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye
stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour,
and the power of darkness." Luke 22:52b-53, KJV

While we Christians today often speak and write freely about
living our lives for the Lord, denying the desires of our
flesh, and laying down our lives daily in a symbolic sense,
(please refer to my article 'Are You Crucified With Christ?'
and similar articles on discipleship), the truth of the
matter is that the vast majority of us have never lived up
to the example of the First Century Disciples, many of whom
paid for their faith with their very lives. Most of us have
never suffered life-threatening persecution. In most cases,
it has been limited to a small bit of verbal harassment or
ostracism by our peers, unless, of course, one happens to be
a missionary in a foreign land, where our Christian faith is
not tolerated, and even hated. It is commonly believed that
all of the first Apostles, save for John and Judas Iscariot,
died martyr's deaths. They not only died daily to their
personal desires, as the Lord commanded them to do, but they
paid the ultimate price of surrendering their Earthly lives
as a final witness of their faith. Consider the following
verses:

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow
me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but
whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall
save it." Luke 9:23-24, KJV

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not
greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will
also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will
keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you
for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:20-21, KJV

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall
kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's
sake." Matthew 24:9, KJV

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12, KJV

Please refer to such articles as 'Civil Disobedience And
Christian Persecution' for more information on this topic.
It is for this reason then, that the Apostles' lives had to
spared that night, according to prophecy, so that they could
fulfill the job which God had given them to do. Their most
important work hadn't really begun yet, and would not really
begin until Christ returned to Heaven, and they received the
Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost while in the Upper Room
in Jerusalem. God simply would not allow any of them to be
cut off before their time; and thus, Jesus was taken alone
that night.

Returning to the Apostle Peter, the main point I wish to
emphasize regarding him, is that he was no less human than
the rest of us. He definitely had his pride; and we can't
overlook the possibility that his pride may have prevented
him from being completely honest with himself. Perhaps Peter
even had an inflated image of himself as 'the leader' of the
band of Apostles. If that was the case, then it is easy to
see how his betrayal of the Lord was a necessary event in
his life, and in reality, an essential step in his spiritual
growth; because it not only greatly humbled him, but it
revealed to him his own humanness, as well as his need to
depend utterly on the Lord for his faith and spiritual
strength. I am once again reminded of verses such as the
following:

"The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and
before honour is humility." Proverbs 15:33, KJV

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit
before a fall." Proverbs 16:18, KJV

"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before
honour is humility." Proverbs 18:12, KJV

So as I have pointed out before, God's way up, is often down
first; down to self; down to pride; down to vanity. It is
only when we come to the end of ourselves, and honestly see
what little nothings we are, that the Light of Christ can
truly begin to shine through us. As long as self is in the
way, we remain utterly useless to God; because in our pride,
we want all of the credit for everything. We want to be the
center of attention. Our lives are self-centered, and not
truly Christ-centered.

Allow me to also point out that Peter did not backslide
alone. We are told that after Peter had cut off the ear of
the servant of the high priest, and after Jesus had turned
Himself over to the authorities, all of His Disciples fled
from the Garden of Gethsemane. They all wanted to save their
own skins. Even after three years of being with the Messiah,
and seeing all of the wonderful miracles which He had per-
formed, and knowing who He was, no one was willing to defend
Him after that. Their faith just flew out the window:

"But all this was done, that the scriptures of the
prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples
forsook him, and fled." Matthew 26:56, KJV

But, as we have already seen, this was a foreordained part
of God's Plan. Not only did this sad incident contribute to
their humility, but it saved their lives, so that they could
go on to fulfill God's destiny for each one of them. As I
explain in some of my other articles, not only did Peter
betray the Lord, but after the betrayal, we are told that he
returned to his old life as a fisherman; possibly because he
no longer felt worthy to be a Disciple of the Lord. Imagine
if you were in Peter's shoes. How would you feel? Like him,
you would probably feel greatly condemned. You might even
feel that God no longer loves you, and that you are utterly
useless to Him. Perhaps you might even fear His imminent
judgments on your life for being such a failure. We don't
know exactly what went on in Peter's mind and heart, but we
do know that he wept bitterly because of his weakness:

"And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto
him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he
went out, and wept bitterly." Matthew 26:75, KJV

In spite of his outward denial, we know that Peter was
fighting hard to persevere in his faith. Remember that it
was also Peter and John who followed the Lord to the palace
of Caiaphas the night of His mock trial; and it was also
Peter and John who ran to the empty tomb following the
Lord's Resurrection; so Peter must have really had a lot of
inner turmoil going on in his heart. He wanted to believe,
and maintain his faith, but he was finding it very difficult
to do so. There was a major battle occurring between his
mind and his heart.

Sadly, being as Peter was viewed as the Elder Disciple, the
Apostle John tells us that all of the others followed his
poor example and went right along fishing with him. Exactly
where did they go fishing? The Scriptures tell us that it
was at the Sea of Tiberias, which was the Roman name which
had been given to the Sea of Galilee by King Herod, who
ruled over Galilee. In other words, the indication here, is
that the Apostles were so scared, that they fled Jerusalem
entirely, and returned to the safer hills of the north, far
away from the power center of the Scribes and the Pharisees,
and their Roman persecutors:

"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the
disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he
himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called
Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of
Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith
unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go
with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship
immediately; and that night they caught nothing."
John 21:1-3, KJV

Notice that the Disciples caught absolutely nothing that
dark night, (and it must have seemed dark to them in more
ways than one), because God does not bless disobedience. I
daresay that He wanted them to feel the full weight of their
sin and unbelief. He must have been dealing very heavily
with each one of them that night. But, the darkest hour is
right before dawn; and John tells us that it was the very
next morning, that the Resurrected Jesus appeared on the
shore of the Galilee, with a fire already made, and fish and
loaves prepared for the Disciples. It is later in that same
chapter, that Jesus has the well-known 'Feed my lambs' talk
with Peter:

"This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his
disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when
they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of
Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him,
Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him,
Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my
sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of
Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said
unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto
him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love
thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
John 21:14-17, KJV

Perhaps it was after this heart-to-heart, to-the-point talk
with the Lord, that Peter's faith began to be restored; and
he was converted as Jesus had prophesied. He obviousy began
to realize that Jesus had not given up on him, as Satan had
undoubtedly tried to convince him; and thus began Peter's
journey to become the man that God truly wanted him to be.
Peter's tears of bitterness were transformed into tears of
joy and hope, but it took a bit of personal introspection,
honesty, and humility, before that transformation could
begin in earnest.

Allow me to share another interesting point with you. While
this is pure speculation on my part, it seems to me that the
Lord's appearance at the Lake of Tiberias occurred BEFORE
the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when the Apostles received
the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Chronologically-speaking, it
does not make sense to me that the Disciples would receive
the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit, speak in foreign
tongues, win thousands of converts to the Lord, and then end
up in a dismal backslidden state in Galilee where they spend
a fruitless night at their old jobs as fishermen. Why is this
point important? If my speculation is correct, it highlights
a very important lesson, and actually hints at one of the
ways in which the Lord seems to operate; and that is this:
When we backslide and get off-track in our walk with the
Lord, sometimes, it seems that He leads us back to the point
where we first went astray, in order to learn the lessons
that we missed due to our detour. Perhaps some of you have
experienced this in your own lives.

The Scriptures do offer some support for my speculation. You
will notice that in the previous verses, we are told that
this is the third time that Jesus appeared to His Disciples.
In the previous chapter, we are told that the Lord appeared
to them on the evening of the first day of the week, which
was also the day of His Resurrection. In other words, it was
that same Sunday evening. We are also told that He appeared
a second time eight days later:

"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the
week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were
assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the
midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you...And after
eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with
them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in
the midst, and said, Peace be unto you." John 20:19, 26 KJV

There are two important points which are lacking in these
verses. First, there is no mention of the Lord's Ascension
to Heaven, and second, there is no mention that this is the
last time that He saw His Disciples. In fact, in reading the
first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we discover that
the Lord appeared to His Disciples for a period of forty
days following His Resurrection; and that the last time that
the Apostles see Him, it occurs on the Mount of Olives, just
outside of Jerusalem; and that it is there that He ascends
to Heaven. Furthermore, all of these events occur BEFORE the
Day of Pentecost when the Disciples receive the Holy Spirit
and become a mighty witness, which is described in chapter
two:

"To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by
many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and
speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that
they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of
me...And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld,
he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their
sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he
went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up
into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you
into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen
him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from
the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath
day's journey." Acts 1:3-4, 9-12, KJV

So putting all of these descriptive verses together, it
appears that the Disciples fled northward to Galilee after
the Lord's Crucifixion, in order to save their lives, where
they must have remained in a backslidden state, until the
Lord had 'the talk' with Peter in John chapter twenty-one.
My guess is that it was at that time, that they understood
that they had left the job unfinished, and so they returned
south towards Jerusalem, which is how we find them bidding
the Lord farewell on the Mount of Olives. As I point out in
other articles, notice that the Lord's final instructions to
them, is to return to Jerusalem, where they must wait for
the promise of the Holy Spirit, which occurs in chapter two.

From all of the events I have shared in this article, it
becomes evident that the Apostles underwent some major tests
of their faith. God had to purge out the dross from their
lives, before He could even begin to use them in a major
way. He had to bring them to the end of themselves, and make
plain to them their weak, sinful condition, in order to make
sure that they would give credit to Whom credit is due. The
Lord had to mold them in the fires of personal trials and
tribulation. I would daresay that Peter's trials may have
been heavier than those of the others, because he had been
chosen by the Lord to lead the young flock. Once Peter had
his self-confidence, pride and cockiness knocked out of him
through his own sins and self-serving blunders, we see an
amazing transformation in his life, as is revealed in some
of the things he wrote in his Epistles. For example, please
consider the following verses:

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed
with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth
grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the
mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:5-6, KJV

What a marked change from the proud man who claimed that he
would never deny the Lord, and that he would even be willing
to go all the way to the Cross with Him. Peter had been
through the school of hard knocks. He had endured the fiery
trials of faith, which mold men into the vessels that God
truly wants them to be; and now he was able to use his per-
sonal experiences to humbly encourage others who were going
through similar trials. In other parts of this same Epistle
Peter also writes:

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if
need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom,
though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your
faith, even the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9, KJV

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial
which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened
unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed,
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached
for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of
glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil
spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
1 Peter 4:12-14, KJV

Before concluding this article, allow me to share a few
more verses with you on this same topic:

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10, KJV

"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will
refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold
is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them:
I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is
my God." Zechariah 13:9, KJV

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers
temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith
worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
James 1:2-4, KJV

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to
man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Revelation 3:18, KJV

So if you find yourself in the midst of God's refining fires,
please don't despair. God never allows anything to happen to
us unless it is for our own good, and everything He does,
is always done in love, as we see here:

"Open rebuke is better than secret love." Proverbs 27:5, KJV

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom he receiveth." Hebrews 12:6, KJV

Finally, please remember this precious promise, which is one
of our favorites:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose." Romans 8:28, KJV

I pray that this article has been a blessing in your life.

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