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1 Peter 1:6-9 NASB

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

Is Peter implying that we will obtain salvation of our souls as a result of our faith being proved and tested (verse 7)? Verse 9 at the end makes it seem that our souls will be saved as an outcome of our (tried and true) faith, rather than salvation being initial belief and confession like Romans 10:9 says.

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    Also see related topic on Phil 3:12 "not already justified and made perfect" passage hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/84677/… The present language of justified in perfect or past tense only refer to the hope to be justified on the judgment day, by following the right way of life in obedience.
    – Michael16
    Jul 16, 2023 at 10:55

4 Answers 4

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While the salvation provided by Christ in His death and resurrection was universal (see What does “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” mean? ) the acceptance of that atonement is definitely not universal

Many will reject Christ and His atonement for sin - many will refuse to have faith in Jesus. Paul say this in places like Rom 1:18-23.

Further, many who have accepted Christ's atonement will lose their way and their faith/trust in Christ as listed in many places such as in the appendix below and implied in the OP's text of 1 Peter 1:6-9.

Thus, it is true that only those who trust in Christ to save them can be saved - those who refuse to trust (=have faith in) Christ will not be saved against their will.

Now, many who have faith in Christ will have that faith severely tested by trials as predicted by Jesus Himself, John 15:20, 21, 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21, 4:14, 5:8, 9. Peter is saying the same thing in 1 Peter 1:6-9 - the faith of many will be severely tested.

APPENDIX - Can salvation be lost?

Here are numerous examples of people losing salvation:

  • The “wilderness generation” of Israelites that God called out of Egypt perished in the desert because, despite being called, turned their backs on God and refused to trust in God by believing the majority spy report.
  • Eze 18:21-28 also teaches that the wicked can reform and be saved, and the righteous can apostatize and be lost. Both situations are incompatible with Calvinism’s view of salvation and humanity.
  • Rom 11:17-21 discusses the warning that people who had been grafted into the “olive tree” of the Christian community could be broken off if they were unfaithful.
  • 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
  • 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
  • 2 Cor 6:1, “As God’s fellow workers, then, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
  • Gal 1:6, I am amazed how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
  • Gal 5:4: “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace”
  • Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
  • Heb 2:1-3, We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every transgression and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
  • Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
  • Heb 10:19-35 contains an extended passage on enduring. It contains some real gems about the possibility of losing one’s faith and confidence such as:
    • V26: If we(!) deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
    • V29: How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. This verse clearly shows that it is possible to be sanctified and subsequently lost.
    • V35: Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward.
    • V36: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised.
  • Heb 13:9, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace …”
  • 2 Peter 1:10, “make your calling and election sure”. This clearly allows for the possibility of losing one’s election.
  • 2 Peter 2:21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
  • 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.
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The question reads very differently if the word 'only' is dropped. The simple answer to "Does 1 Peter imply that we will receive salvation if our faith has been tried/proven true?" is "Yes, we will receive salvation if our faith has been tried/proven true." But to introduce the word 'only' into the question raises a very different issue, and not one that Peter raises, the answer to which is "No, they will not be saved only if their faith is tested."

The result (or, outcome) of tried and tested faith is what Peter is pointing out to Christians who had already suffered trials and testing of their faith. He is writing to encourage them to endure such trials because their faith is being refined and strengthened - purified, to have any dross sink to the bottom, as happens when gold is put through the furnace. However, he does not even suggest anywhere that unless their faith is so tested that they will not be saved! That is an entirely different matter, which would necessitate use of the word 'only'. But nowhere does Peter say "only" as in 'You will be saved only if your faith is tested.'

How could Peter even suggest that, knowing that the repentant thief on a cross next to Jesus was assured of Paradise within hours of his imminent death? How could that evil-doer have his new-found faith in Jesus 'refined' when he was unable to do or say anything further in the few hours of life left to him? What further, or greater endurance with regard to faith could possibly happen to him? He was at the ultimate end of his faith within two or three hours of having expressed it, to Jesus' satisfaction! Did Jesus say that, if he kept his faith until his dying breath, then he would be assured of Paradise? No! Jesus promised the evil-doer Paradise at the moment of his repentant expression of faith in Jesus.

Why is that simple fact overlooked by those claiming that we have to do certain things in addition to expressing faith in Christ? Why is Acts 15 also overlooked by such ones who say more is required for salvation than putting faith in the finished work of Christ? Peter was also involved in that Acts 15 crisis in the church, when some believers were trying to insist that for Gentiles to be saved, they must get circumcised and keep the law of Moses. Peter stated:

"Men, brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." Acts 15:7-11 A.V. [Emphasis mine]

This is the same Peter, who years later, wrote to more Gentile Christians saying they had already been begotten by grace (the new birth) and had a living hope (present tense) because Jesus had been raised from the dead (past tense). (1 Peter 1:1-3). He adds that their incorruptible inheritance is reserved (present tense) in heaven for them, and that they "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation", (present tense) which salvation will be revealed at the very last (future tense) (vs.s 4-5) - when Christ appears.

Then come the verses you ask about. But given what Peter has just assured them of, it is clear that he is encouraging them not to be disheartened at continuing persecutions (trials) because those will only serve to strengthen their faith. And all the while that Christians endure trials, that serves to glorify God and Christ.

There are no exclusion clauses in what Peter says or writes. There is no hint that their salvation has a proviso attached - "Only if your faith is tested will you be saved." That simply is not there.

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Jesus told His disciples; "“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." (John 15:18 NIV). Then in His Gethsemane Prayer, Jesus prayed for His Disciples

14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:14-15 NIV)

Jesus meant His disciples were going to be hated in the world, it meant when they followed Jesus, troubles followed them, and that included their faith in Jesus would be challenged, or tested. From John 17:15, it should be worthy noted that the proof of faith is not just the work of the person, but from the protection of God. As Jesus said; "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance." (Matthew 13:12 & 25:29) It means if our faith is genuine, we will have that protection. The outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9)

Paul's words in Roman 10:9 is a declaration

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The pre-requisite of that belief surely needed to be genuine.

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It is faith in Jesus Christ, not the testing of faith, that saves a person. Note the meaning of δοκίμιον.

δοκίμιον, ου, τό ... ① the process or means of determining the genuineness of someth., testing, means of testing ... ② genuineness as result of a test, genuine, without alloy,... -- Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 256). University of Chicago Press.

Fire does not make gold, but proves it genuine:

... more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire ... (in 1 Peter 1:7, ESV)

There is no indication that faith must be tested for salvation, nor is there a claim that gold that fails the testing was ever gold. For a failed test indicates that the so-called gold is not genuine.

However, there is one benefit of a failed test. By showing that a person's faith is not genuine, it gives that person the opportunity to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Consider Peter's denying Christ, then John 21 and later.

Note the testing of faith in Jesus Christ brings assurance of salvation, not salvation itself, which results from that faith.

However, this verse better gives the idea of tested faith bringing salvation:

and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matt. 10:22, ESV).

Here the Greek word translated endure (ὑπομένω) still retains the meaning of its etymology to remain under. The danger with the idea that the testing of faith brings salvation is that it might cause a Christian to encourage unnecessary persecution even in a Christian society. It might encourage a Christian to deviate from nominal Christianity to cultic behavior. At the very least it encourages divisiveness and denominational differences. See 1 Cor. 1:10-17.

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  • --You just threw out 19 scriptures that Dottard correctly made reference to. Yikes!
    – moron
    Jul 19, 2023 at 20:09
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    I discussed this with Dottard before and don't throw out his verses. There is no disagreement that the person who endures to the end is save. So, we agree on who is saved, and the question about was a lost person ever saved is hypothetical and depends on who's prospective, which is different from the standpoint of God all-knowing and a person who thinks he/she will be saved. The question if faith must be tested to save a person just adds another hypothetical question which we don't seem to be answering, only being sidetracked.
    – Perry Webb
    Jul 19, 2023 at 23:23

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