Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

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Online Magazine: Edition 21

February/March 2008

Welcome to the Twenty-first Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church



The Refiner's Fire

by Norman Tew

The article in this issue by Mary Turbet was in line with the theme of our weekly Bible Study guide for the last three months of 2007.  Each week members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in all parts of the world study a Bible lesson selected for the World Church.  There is a new theme every three months, so that each theme is studied for 13 weeks.

For the final three months of 2007 the theme was The Refiner's Fire, and we studied various aspects of this subject.  The key word seemed to be the Crucible.  In the familiar story in Mary's article it talks of the refiner working till he sees his image revealed in the contents of the crucible.

As we were reminded some years ago "Life wasn't meant to be easy".  It would seem that all, both good and bad, go through suffering in this world. 

How far is this suffering part of God's process of purifying his children? 

Does God light the fire?  Or does he use the trouble sent by the Devil to wear our rough places smooth?

Or are all trouble the result of sin?  I do not mean that our problems are necessarily the result of our own sins.  When a law abiding couple are killed in a crash caused by a person breaking the rules of the road it is clear the trouble comes to the innocent parties.  As another example, are not the problems of Global Warming the result of the greed of people in general?

The final lesson looked at how God Himself entered into the crucible, firstly to demonstrate that the crucible can be endured and survived (see Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin".)  Secondly to take our place in the final second death (see 1 Peter 2:24   "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.").

Perhaps the most encouraging text on this subject comes from Isaiah, when he quoted the words of the Lord, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" Isaiah 43:2.

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