We all want to succeed in life. We have set this as our goal and we pursue it vigorously. This is the reason why we work hard and, if need be, take some courses that will enhance our chances of success. In fact, we let our faith in God operate in such a way that we are able to defy challenges that come our way. But is this all that we want to achieve in life? In his epistle, the apostle Peter revealed something that should be our primary preoccupation. He said, “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, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Indeed, the salvation of our souls should be our priority in life and the goal of our faith, because life does not end here on earth but will continue on through eternity.
The key to receiving the goal of our faith is Jesus Christ. He alone can bring about the salvation of our soul. In a way, we are more blessed than the disciples and followers of Jesus who walked with him during his time here on earth. While they saw him with their own eyes and had personally interacted with him, many still doubted and did not believe in him. One particular disciple that was very vocal about his doubt was Thomas. He did not believe that Jesus resurrected until he saw him personally. For his unbelief, Jesus rebuked him saying, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). But while we have not seen him personally, we believe in what the Scriptures say about him and we are enamored with him. The Bible tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Therefore, we do not need to see Jesus physically for us to believe in him and to have faith in him. By believing in him, we have in fact seen many signs and wonders, and he will continue to do so as we put our trust in him.
The apostle Paul had been emphatic in saying that we ought to live by faith and not by sight. To do so, we need to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). Jesus himself also emphasized the need to worship the unseen God when he said, “the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). It is when we go up to the level of the Spirit that we can truly worship God and gain the goal of our faith. The fallacy of many is to worship what they can see and refuse to walk by faith. As clearly mentioned in Scriptures, things that are seen are all destined to perish. If we want to have eternal life, we have to fix our eyes on the things that are not seen for these are the things that endure through eternity.
For our faith to attain its goal of saving our soul, it will go through all kinds of tests. Apostle Peter made this clear when he said, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7). It must be noted that all these tests are only for a moment and the intent is to strengthen our faith even more. Just as gold is refined by fire, so shall our faith be refined through the furnace of afflictions. It will be painful for a moment but the end result will bring inexpressible and glorious joy.
Faith that has been fully tested through the furnace of affliction is far better than gold in that it will stand the test of time. While gold will perish, our faith will endure until the end. In times of real need, many find their gold to be of no help. Even millionaires and billionaires are dying in spite of their gold. On the other hand, many who were declared hopeless by doctors and experts are being saved and healed because of their faith in God. These are the ones that will experience unspeakable joy – no words are enough to express this joy, and it is a lasting joy. Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:23). Yes, even now we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy as we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and as we receive the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. Hallelujah!