by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
The pure gold of faith
How important this is—the precious character of faith. [Peter] brings out that in his comparison with gold. Look at gold, he says in effect. Gold is precious but not as precious as faith ... gold is something that ultimately is going to vanish ... there is nothing permanent about it, though it is wonderful and very precious. But faith is eternal. Gold perishes but faith does not. Faith is something that is everlasting and eternal. The thing by which you live, says the Apostle, is the thing which accounts for your being in the Christian life.... We walk by faith, the whole of our life is a matter of faith, and you see, says the Apostle, this is so precious in the sight of God, it is so marvellous, it is so wonderful that God wants it to be absolutely pure. You purify your gold by means of fire. You get rid of the alloy and all the impurities by putting gold in the crucible and applying great heat to it, and so these other things are removed and the gold remains. His argument, therefore, is that if you do that with gold that perishes, how much more does it need to be done with faith. Faith is this extraordinary principle which links man to God; faith is this thing that keeps a man from hell and puts him in heaven; it is the connexion between this world and the world to come; faith is this mystic, astounding thing that can take a man dead in trespasses and sins and make him live as a new being, a new man in Christ Jesus. That is why it is so precious. It is so precious that God wants it to be absolutely perfect. That is the Apostle’s argument. So you are in these manifold temptations (1 Peter 1:6) because of the character of faith.
Spiritual Depression, pp. 226–7