Jason Silver | Pastor & Author
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Must I go on boasting? Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know — God knows. 3 And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Now Look back at 2 Corinthians 11:24-31 and Paul describes what God’s grace has allowed him to endure…
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and do I not feel weak also? Who is led into sin, and do I not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
God’ grace allows us to be refined, to become holy not just in a spiritual truth and position in Christ sense, but in character and action!
1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your
1 Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
Again it is the grace of God that allows us to be refined and to not perish in the process!!
Thank God for his grace! Thank God that’s it’s sufficient for me! AMEN!
Say this with me!! “God’s Grace… is enough for me!”
Say this! “God’s grace…. Is allowing me… to become holy.”
“I can walk… in the Grace… and Holiness of God!”
The scriptures do not speak of God to be like a forest fire, or like an incinerator’s fire. It says that he is like a refiner’s fire. A forest fire destroys indiscriminately. An incinerator consumes completely. Even the prophet Malachi in chapter 3 verse 6 says, “I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, you are not consumed — you are not destroyed.”
He is a refiner’s fire. A refiner’s fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner’s fire does not entirely destroy like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner’s fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the gold, and separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the gold intact and worth far more in value. God is like a refiner’s fire
Yet God is a consuming FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a reverential “fear and trembling” in the process of becoming pure.
We learn if from the time we are little children: never play with fire!
And it’s a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don’t fool around with it.
But He is like a REFINER’S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of trials in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction.
It is only the grace of God that’s allows us to go through the fire, to be refined and made holy!
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