Trial by Fire -
Everyone Will Undergo It
A trial by fire is something we think will only happen to the lost. However, even the saints will be tried or judged by fire.
This is part three of a seven-part study on the true meaning of The Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Go back to part two
The Final Judgment and Its Fire.
Fortunately, it will not be a physical fire:
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Pet. 4:12)
Peter says "think it not strange" implying that the saints should expect fiery trails. The New Testament speaks often of being tried by fire or of the trial by fire that the saints will encounter. Here are some examples:
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matt. 3:11)
"Every man's work [including believers] shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Cor. 3:13)
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Pet. 1:7)
Whatever this "fire" is, at some point, everyone is going to have the experience. It evidently does play a major role in the final judgment and is there described as a "lake of fire:"
"And I saw a great white throne ... And I saw the dead... and the dead were judged... according to their works... and they were judged every man according to their works ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:11-13, 15)
The word "fire" in all of the examples above is translated from the same Greek word whether concerning believers or unbelievers. This passage in Corinthians clearly includes both groups of people:
"Now if any man build upon this foundation - [Jesus]
gold, silver, precious stones - [godly character traits],
wood, hay, stubble - [carnal character traits];
Every man's work - [thoughts, words and deeds]
shall be made manifest - [become known, come to light]:
for the day shall declare it - [make it evident],
because it shall be revealed by fire; - [fire has a role of revealing]
and the fire shall try - [prove, discern the quality of]
every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Cor. 3:12-13)
The word translated "try" is from the Greek "dokimazo" (# 1381) with the definitions:
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
In the following verses, it clearly has the meaning of to examine in order to make a decision regarding quality:
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor 13:5)
"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." (Gal 6:4)
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
Clearly, both the saved and the lost go through the "fiery" process of a trial by fire. How this will work in the case of the lost will be explained in a later part of this study. Please continue reading to learn in part four how it is that the saints will be
tried in the fire.