“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” – 2 Peter 1:1-10
For the gold or silver smith, the furness brings the impurities hidden in the workman’s material to the surface. For the human it is often the furness of affliction that brings hidden impurities to the surface as well. Pride, selfishness, greed, ambition, vain glory, unbelief, a desire for attention. All of these things surface quickly when the heat and pressure are turned up.
Therefor does God take us through trial and tribulation to purify His bride and make her ready for the day of His returning when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” – Titus 2:11-14
Our opening passage says that both grace and peace are multiplied to us through the knowledge of God. It is in these times in the furness that our knowledge of Him is tested. Do we know what He said in His word or to us personally in the place of prayer? Will we stand on it and not be shaken when all else around us is? Will we wait patiently for His deliverance, however it may come? Will we take matters into our own hands and mess His plans up? Will we try to climb to the top and leave others in the dust in the process? Will we act in fear rather then minister faith and grace? What will come to the surface when the heat is turned up a bit? Do you truly know the word of God and will you stand on it?
The passage continues to say that maintaining our faith in this knowledge will lead us to demonstrate the virtue that He has made available to us through the life changing blood of Jesus in the midst of these trying times. To be shining lights in the darkness. To be a reminder of the glory of heaven while surrounded by the elements of hell. Showing that they have lost their power over the soul who’s hope is truly in the Lord, and in Him alone.
Therefor is it important to be very diligence, in the furness when the pressure is on, to recognize and allow the Great Craftsmen of our soul to remove those impurities as they surface that you might add to your previous measure of faith, virtue; and to your virtue, also increase in knowledge; and to knowledge, obtain temperance; and to temperance, grow in patience; and to patience, manifest more godliness; and to godliness, demonstrate brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, offer charity.
These virtues will demonstrate the character of Christ to the world. His Spirit will flow in these good fruits through you to nourish and strengthen those around you. This is the true power of the Kingdom of God that is available to us here now and we must ever fight to maintain it. To contend for the faith that was once given us, as Paul put it. To allow the furness of affliction to purify and mold us, rather then to harden us.
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he (the Antichrist) corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32
The passage closes with this warning that if we forget these things then we will become blind, short sighted, and easily ensnared by the enemy. We are warned to be diligent to maintain our calling and purpose, that we not fall away from it for lies, flattery, and an easier life; but rather keep our focus on producing these things, which are Manifestations of Christ in me!
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, fixing you eyes upon Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” – Hebrews 12:1-3
My friend, I assure you of this. If you focus on the fire, on the furness, on the storm, and you will sink like Peter did! When we do this we must immediately repent and be pulled back to the place of being focused on Jesus! Keep your eyes on Christ and you will walk in the fire and not be destroyed like the three Hebrew boys. Only that which held them back was burned away in their furness of affliction as they got to know Jesus more intently then anything they had ever experienced outside of it.
Search your heart today. What lies inside that needs to be Circumcised? What comes to the surface when the fire is heated seven times hotter? Pride, greed, ambition, selfishness, arrogance? Or virtue, knowledge, faith, temperance, patients, godliness, kindness, and above all charity; wherein is the bond of perfection in Christ Jesus?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalms 139:23-24
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” – 2 Timothy 2:20-25