What are some implications of the hostility from the world being used by God as a refiner’s fire—1) God has a sovereign purpose in the hostility incurred by Christians from the world. Notice what Peter doesn’t say—”Don’t be surprised at the trials because the enemy is simply going to have his way in this world; don’t be surprised at the trials because you can expect circumstances to return to the level of comfort you have grown accustomed to.” Rather, it’s—”don’t be surprised because God is testing you.”
Hostility from the world is not something God merely puts up with as a terrible alternative to what is helpful as it pertains to his plan for the church. Instead, God uses it for his purposes and always has since the earliest days of the church in the book of Acts. This means that the most important focus to have in any situation and at any time is to be considering what God’s purpose is.
There is a second implication as well…2) Our faith needs to be tested and God’s primary means for that testing is trials. This takes us back to the significance of the word, fiery. Many times in the OT, God declared that he would test and purify his people with a refiner’s fire. Often in those passages, this was compared to what is done with silver or gold, in that by putting those elements into the fire, unwanted impurities are burned away and they are actually more valuable as a result. That being said, sadly, if we’re honest, we would choose rather to have weak faith than for the Lord to test and refine us–“I’m good Lord. My faith is fine. I’ve grown a lot or I’ve been in Christ for many years now. I’m all set. You can probably just move on to someone else.” That’s exactly the kind of faith that needs to be refined because that is evidence of great pride and complacency.