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The Trials and Tests of an All Knowing God

Peter makes a statement in his first letter to the scattered Christians in the ancient world which many have found troubling. The statement has been used by skeptics of our faith, as well as outright demonic forces, to sow into our minds the seeds of doubt and cause us to question the power or existence of God. In 1 Peter 1:6-7 , the apostle argues that as Christians we celebrate our future inheritance triumphantly even though we experience grief here on earth because of many terrible trials that have been used to prove our faith.

The skeptic will use Peter’s statement to ask a question like, “Well if God knows everything, then why does he have to test you or prove anything about your faith?” There are multiple answers to this, and none of them impugn the integrity of God’s omniscience. First, the test is not for God to prove to himself that a Christian’s faith is genuine. He already knows that. Instead, the test is to refine the Christian’s faith. God’s purpose is not to save you, and keep you as you are. His purpose is to save you from sin and self, and to change you into something better than you are. He uses all things, both good and bad, for your benefit, and to make you more like his perfect son (Romans 8:28-29). In fact, Peter explicitly compares your faith to a lesser substance – gold – which is tried and refined by fire as a means of moving it to a more pure state. But Peter isn’t the only apostle to make this same point. Perhaps James makes it most clearly when he tells us plainly that we should count it as joy when our faith is tested by various trials, because those trials bring completeness, and maturity (James 1:2-4).

Secondly, God uses the trial to prove to Satan, and to a world in rebellion, that the true Christian person will endure in his faith even though he faces difficulties. This is the core of the story of Job (Job 1:1-12). In that story, demonic forces are allowed by God to devastate the family of Job, and even to afflict him with disease. But Job does not waver in his faith, proving to demons and men that true faith in God does not fail against evil and difficulty.

Finally, God uses trials to prove to us that he will never leave us or forsake us in our journey toward completeness (John 14:15-18, Psalm 55:22, Hebrews 13:5-6).

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