Christian authenticity speaks to “the tested genuineness of your faith” (1 Peter 1:7a). The apostle Peter had much to say about real personal faith in Jesus Christ. That is, faith which is seen and experienced by others, which can be tested and proven, which perseveres, even following times of stumbling and disappointments.
Peter explains that genuine faith is “more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire” (1 Peter 1:7b). The greatest treasures of this world are nothing compared to the eternal value of faith in Jesus Christ (Mat 16:26) which secures your soul. Peter’s point is this; even pure gold which has been refined will fade and suffer the effects of time and erosion; being of no spiritual value at all. However, dependant faith in Jesus Christ will produce eternal life and increase Christ-likeness with a growing desire for Him.
Counterfeit verses genuine faith
Pseudo faith that appears orderly, ticking all your preferences, may make you feel nice, but can only fail you with devastating consequences. Then there’s biblical faith, which is altogether different. Biblical faith focuses on Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour. It grows, wanting always to “be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7c).
You can identify pseudo faith (worldly faith) by its constant desire for self-promotion and fleshly appetites. It convinces you to take Jesus on a test drive, checking that He will perform as you want. Worldly faith is happy for you to attend church, just as long as it’s all about you. However, worldly faith has little interest in long term glorification of Christ and will dump you as soon as the dark pains of life hit.
The faith Peter speaks of shows its authenticity by looking beyond self and today. The benefits in this life are secondary compared to faith’s ultimate goal of magnifying the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity.
You see, “the tested genuineness of your faith” which Peter speaks of strives in anticipation for the return of Jesus Christ. The believer’s highest aspirations can only be satisfied upon seeing Christ exalted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Faith’s expectation will only be fulfilled when you witness “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
James was very practical when it came to the Christian’s faith. He realised that the challenges of life are useful for maturing in Christ-likeness, a process we often resist. Yet James instructs us to “count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
More than ever, believers need to have a biblical response to life’s difficulties, seeing them as God sees them. Recognise God’s purpose, which is for the; “testing of your faith (to) produce steadfastness.” Testing gives opportunity as Jesus said; to experience that “if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10).
Today, be encouraged to grow Christian authenticity which stands the test of real life in Christ. Help another believer today to understand how to grow their faith and bring glory to Jesus Christ.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz