Turning Up the Heat – Part 3

March 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 5 Comments
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Previously we examined:

1. The position of the Refiner
2. The purpose of the refining.

Now, let’s look at:

3. The product of the refining

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3, emphasis added

The end result of the refining of silver should be what? Refined silver. Pure silver. And not just so the refiner can say, “Okay, it’s pure!” No, refined silver is ready to be used for something – to be offered up. The Master Refiner – the Lord Jesus – wants the purified silver to be an offering in righteousness, but not an offering of something just to be put up on a shelf and admired. A righteous offering is something that can be used for the Glory of God.

Now, let’s be clear, the Refiner doesn’t take a lost person, somebody who’s never been born again, and put him in the Silversmith’s cauldron, and turn up the heat and keep it up until he does enough good works to earn his way to heaven. No, we are not saved by works.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

The Bible is very clear on that. But, as believers, sometimes we start to abuse the idea of grace. We read Ephesians 2:8-9 and we say, “Oh yeah, uh-huh, I’m a child of grace – grace has set me free… Now don’t talk to me about works! I’m all about grace, and I don’t want to hear anything about works!” And we fail to read what comes next:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

The Bible says we are created unto good works. You can not work for your salvation. But you should certainly be motivated to work because of it. God ordained some works for you to do – some good works – before you were ever created.

The purpose of the refining is to make us fit – suitable – to accomplish good works for the Refiner. Are you being refined today? Is the Refiner turning up the heat because you are holding on to those last few impurities?

The first time I taught this lesson, someone asked me, “How long will the refining last?” The refining will last until we are purified. But if you are asking me what can we do to shorten the refining process, my answer would be to let go of sin we are stubbornly holding onto. Now, that answer may feel like me stepping on your toes. And what’s even worse is that I highly recommend Bible study, prayer, church attendance, and Sunday School to help in your refining. If you don’t like those recommendations, your issue is not really with me. Your issue is with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit of God. If a person is stepping on your toes, it’s easy enough to get some protective foot-wear. But if the Holy Ghost is stepping on your toes, the best way I can think of to stop getting your toes stepped on is to move your feet – move them right in line with the Word of God. That’s the path – the only safe path – for your feet to go.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II Timothy 2:15

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 18:1

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Acts 5:32

Let us thank God that our refining is not for vanity. You want to know how long a refiner refines and purifies silver and gold? The answer is, as long as it takes. I doubt the truthfulness of this illustration, since I suspect that looking into a pot of molten silver over extreme heat could cause blindness, but it makes a good point: A silversmith determines that the silver he is refining is pure when he can look down and see his own reflection in it. In the same way, the Lord Jesus is refining us until He looks down and sees an image of Himself looking back.

1. The position of the Refiner: sitting
2. The purpose of the refining: purified faith and obedience
3. The product of the refining: believers conformed to the image of Christ.


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