“Receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9

When my children were little I sought to teach them words of Christian character along with their definitions—Bible concepts like honesty, courage, integrity, success, humility and being saved. I called them “Daddy’s Definition Diatribes.” The goal was to take worthy words with high-minded concepts and distill their definitions down to simple truth for young ears, minds, and hearts.

One of the key words to well-rounded character is faith. Faith is a very natural behavior among men and displayed all day long. Faith is not just evident when a parishioner invests his all in a given church and its doctrine. Faith is very visible at a wedding when a couple exchanges their vows. Faith is the silent partner every time a driver turns the key in the ignition. Faith is the reason that a patient listens to his doctor and follows his advice. Faith is exercised every time a person sits in a chair.

Even our culture has a vague concept of faith. Though often disappointed, it readily invests its heart and hope as an act of faith in causes which glitter on the surface. But watch out for the hidden bitterness that stirs and eventually erupts from within. The faith was not the problem, the object of the faith was. Poor objects of faith are hard to recognize on first glance. The objects of faith must be measured by an absolute standard outside of themselves. The religion, the chair, the car, the husband, and the doctor each on the surface appear to be good ideas for investment of hopeful faith—but all should pass the inspection test before you hazard your welfare in their hands.

The definition of faith that I gave to my kids was, “Faith is believing what God says.” This definition goes to the source of the final arbiter of all virtue—God. The object of faith is God, the absolute standard is what God has said (the Bible), and the placing of our welfare in His hands is believing (rolling all the care of your body, life, and soul into His hands for safe keeping).

The apostle Peter’s first chapter launches into a clear sky as He describes the wonders of eternal life firmly planted in the eternal love of God for believers, displayed in the substitutionary death of Christ and Christ’s resurrection from the dead, guaranteeing our own living hope. That hope embraces His loving mercy and keeping power for all believers. He is preparing a place reserved in the heavens for which we wait expectantly.

The waiting exercise is not without purpose. Faith, believing what God says, is readily tested on this side of eternity. Peter teaches that the testing is to prove the genuineness of your faith (verse 7) and to produce praise, honor and glory when Christ appears. Saving faith (believing what God says—Romans 10:9–10, 13) is tested, goaded, exercised, and strengthened by the purifying testing “of fire,” producing living faith (Galatians 2:20). The fire in testing is not pleasant but the proving of the genuine faith is beyond worth!

Our verse states that there is a purpose to such stalwart faith in the Word of God. It is the “salvation of your soul.” It is what gives meaning to life, provides the standard of absolutes by which all other “objects of faith” vying for your attention are to be judged worthy, it is ever more valuable as you walk through testing obediently, and it produces undiminished praise, honor and glory to God Almighty.

Think of it, “salvation of your soul!” Is there a more sublime reason to persevere in the trials? Trust and obey.