Previously we have seen that God created us in his image. Christ is the perfect image. Messiah has the fulness of God as we also are to have that fulness. Through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we are to be in him and in Christ and that he will bear much fruit through us.
In this study we will discover that we will be perfected through many trials and temptations.
Yahweh God pictures himself as a potter and we as the clay
Isaiah 64:8 WEB
But now, Yahweh, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.
Isaiah 45:9 WEB
Woe to him who strives with his Maker — a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, “What are you making?” or your work, “He has no hands?”
The end result of Yahweh’s workmanship is that Christ is formed in us.
Galatians 4:19 NRSV
My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,
Galatians 2:20 RSV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We are to be purified
Titus 2:14 NRSV
14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Whatever happens to us, will it work out for our good?
Romans 8:28 NRSV
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:35-39 NRSV
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From the above scripture, it can be seen that nothing will be able to separate us from God.
Are we promised that trials and tests will come our way and indeed, we should not be surprised at these fiery ordeals?
Acts 14:22 NRSV
There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
As it says in the above verse, it is through many persecutions that we enter the kingdom of God.
Are the ordeals we experience designed to test us?
1 Peter 4:12-13 NRSV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.
James 1:2-4 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1:6-7 HCSB
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1-5 HCSB
1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Peter 1:3-7 NRSV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
Are we even admonished to be joyful, rejoice and even leap for joy? See above and below.
Romans 12:12 NCV
Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.
Matthew 5:12 NRSV
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Luke 6:20-23 NRSV
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22″Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.
23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
Acts 5:41-42 NRSV
and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
Colossians 1:24 CEB
Now I’m happy to be suffering for you. I’m completing what is missing from Christ’s sufferings with my own body. I’m doing this for the sake of his body, which is the church.
It’s through God’s power via Messiah that we are able to accomplish whatever the Father desires do through us.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NRSV
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Ephesians 3:18-20 NRSV
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,
Colossians 1:8-13 NRSV
8 and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,
2 Timothy 4:7 NRSV
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
Romans 15:13 NRSV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 6:4-11 NRSV
but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you
2 Corinthians 13:4 NRSV
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
No one can snatch us out of the hand of God
John 10:28-30 NRSV
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
Messiah has firsthand experience of being tempted and tested and is able to help us.
Hebrews 5:8 NRSV
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;
Hebrews 2:18 NRSV
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Messiah Jesus was tempted in all points
Hebrews 4:15 NIV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
As a result Messiah was made perfect.
Hebrews 5:9 NRSV
and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,
Being made perfect, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation.
Does all this testing result in us becoming blameless in holiness before God?
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NRSV
Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.
In part one of this series the question was asked “What does it mean to be created in the image of God?” We saw that Messiah Jesus is that perfect image of God.
In part two we saw that Messiah Jesus has the fulness of the Father and we are also to have the fulness of the Father and Messiah.
In part three we saw that we are to be in the Father and in Jesus. This is pictured for us in the analogy of the vine and the branches and that through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we bear fruit.
In this final part we have seen that we must experience many trials. The net result of all the testing and the temptations we experience is that we will be perfected and have the fulness of Yahweh God and messiah. We will become the exact representation of our Father just as our gold standard perfect example Christ is.
The testing of our faith produces perseverance – the end result of which is maturity and completeness in Christ. Enduring the trials and tests produce proven character which produces hope – this hope will not disappoint.
The end result of our life in Christ is to become the perfect image of God.