Seeing the Goldsmith's Face

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Genesis 1, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 3, Job 1 & 23
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 4

Seeing the Goldsmith’s Face

(Genesis 1, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 3, Job 1 & 23)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Navel gazing is natural. It is normal to consider how some change will affect you. Indeed, you probably spend most of your time thinking about changes and how they affect you. I fear that we let this seep into our theology - that we begin to think of problems as a way to improve us. Our goal is to be refined gold they say, so let difficulties pour over us. Consider this, if God wanted us to be refined by problems, why did He give us His Commandments and His advice in the Bible? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about the validity of the idea of refining!

  1. God’s Rulers
  1. Read Genesis 1:26-27. Why did God make humans in His image? (He created them to be rulers. He created them to have dominion. A goat could hardly be a ruler.)
  1. Read Romans 8:18. Does this suggest that suffering brings glory? (It says that glory is in the future. Glory will be revealed. But, it does not explicitly say that glory arises from suffering.)
  1. Read Romans 8:19-21. Is the creation suffering? (Yes, it was “subjected to futility.” It is in “bondage to corruption.”)
  1. What will release the creation from suffering? (We are told that it will “obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”)
  1. Does that mean that our freedom results in the creation being free?
  1. How does that relate to our first text, that we were created in the image of God to rule over creation? (It suggests that humanity in general has lost the image of God and therefore has not been a benevolent ruler of the creation.)
  1. Read Romans 8:22-23. Most of those reading the prior verses were probably thinking that humans have harmed the environment. Is that what this is about? (No. “The redemption of our bodies” refers to the Second Coming of Jesus. When Jesus comes He will release both us and the creation from the bondage of sin.)
  1. Let’s skip down and read Romans 8:28-30. What is our goal? (“To be conformed to the image of [Jesus].” Consider the logic of what we have discussed so far. What will being “conformed” to the image of Jesus do for the creation? (It makes everything better. It moves us back toward our original relationship with God.)
  1. Read Romans 8:33-34. What does this tell us about the nature of our justification? Is it something that results from the impurities being burned out of us? (“God justifies.” God “is interceding for us.”)
  1. Read Romans 8:35-39. What does this suggest is the purpose of suffering? (To separate us from God.)
  1. What does this say about the claim that God brings suffering to make us more like Him? (It suggests that suffering does not come from God and its purpose is to make us less like God, to separate us from Him.)
  1. Read 2 Corinthians 3:14-18. How does this text say that we become transformed into the image of God? (When we behold what Jesus has done for us. When we live in the power of the Holy Spirit.)
  1. Let’s discuss this some more if necessary. Is returning to the image of God a good thing for us and for the creation? (Yes!)
  1. Are we returned to the image of God by suffering? (These texts do not suggest that.)
  1. Do Christians suffer? (Yes. But our goal in suffering is to hold on to our faith in Jesus.)


  1. We have all seen the “dummies” series of books. “Word for Dummies.” The idea is to make learning something as simple as possible. How is it that we lost our perfect image of God? (We chose to turn away from God. We brought suffering on ourselves.)
  1. If we brought suffering on ourselves, does it make any logical sense to think that suffering will bring us back to Jesus? Isn’t that like whipping ourselves to remove sin?
  1. The Lesson of Job
  1. Read Job 1:1. Did Job need to be refined? (No. This says wonderful things about Job, including that he is “blameless.”)
  1. Read Job 1:8-12. This is one time where we know precisely the reason for suffering. What is the source of Job’s suffering?
  1. Was Job being refined by his coming suffering?
  1. Read Job 23:1-5. To whom is Job appealing for justice? (God. He says that if he could find God to file a complaint, God would listen.)
  1. Read Job 23:6-9. What is the practical problem that Job faces in filing his complaint with God? (He cannot locate God.)
  1. Read Job 23:10-12. Is Job saying that in his suffering he will be refined like gold? (Not in the least. He is saying that if he can get a hearing with God, that when God tries his case he would “come out as gold.” Job claims in verses 11-12 that he has done everything that is right. He will be ruled to meet the gold standard of God.)
  1. Is Job kidding himself? Is he arrogant? (No. We know from Job 1 that God considers him “blameless” and the suffering has nothing to do with refining Job, and everything to do with bringing glory to God.)
  1. Let’s re-read Job 1:11. What is Satan’s purpose in Job’s suffering? (To separate him from God. Notice that this is precisely what Romans 8:35 teaches us - Satan’s purpose in suffering is to cause us to let go of our faith in God.)
  1. The Apostles and Suffering
  1. Read 1 Corinthians 4:9-13. Is Paul suffering? Is he rejoicing in suffering? (He is not rejoicing in suffering.)
  1. Why do you think that Paul is comparing other church members to himself? (Paul seems to say that church members should not look down on him because of his suffering. They are not superior to him because they are not suffering.)
  1. Look again at 1 Corinthians 4:9. Paul says that the apostles have become a “spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” What does this suggest is the reason for their special suffering? (This sounds just like Job - the universe observes the faithfulness of the apostles.)
  1. What is the result of their faithfulness, and that of Job? (It gives glory to God. He has certain faithful people who will stand through anything.)
  1. Is there any suggestion that the apostles are being refined by this suffering?
  1. Read 1 Corinthians 4:14-15. Paul says that those reading his letter can learn something from the experience of the apostles. What is it? (It has to do with selecting the correct guide. What they should learn is that a leader who suffers may be doing so because God is using the leader for God’s glory. It does not necessarily mean that the leader deserves to suffer.)
  1. How to Be Refined
  1. Read Ephesians 4:11-14. What is God’s formula for refining His people? (The church! God wants us in a structure that teaches us and builds us up!)
  1. Read Ephesians 4:15-16. How does God want us to be refined? (By speaking the truth and listening to those who speak the truth.)
  1. Read Ephesians 4:30. What role does the Holy Spirit play in our refining? (The Spirit “seals” us for salvation.”)
  1. Friend, this brings us to a conclusion that every mature person understands. There are two ways of learning. You can bash your head on the truth, or you can listen, learn, and follow the truth. The texts we have studied today show that God’s way is the smart way. However, evil exists and when we are plunged into suffering through no fault of our own, we have the opportunity to bring glory to God!
  1. Next week: Extreme Heat.