<quote from Real Faith & Reason>
If we’re going to obey 1 Peter 3:15, we must “purify the Lord God in our hearts,” but purification is a progressive process. Through Scripture, God speaks of purification in 1 Peter 1:7, “so that the authenticity of your faith–more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation [apokalupsis, which means the removal of the veil] of Jesus Christ.” And since God’s will goes against our sinful nature, it’s like fire refining the gold—some refinements and purifications requiring more heat than others. Gold is symbolic of deity, which is Christ in us. This refining fire removes the veil that hides Christ in us.
We can look into this purification and this clarity of vision using an analogy. If we fill a clear water glass with dirt, we can’t see through the glass. But if we start adding clear water, the water begins to wash the dirt out of the glass, and soon, instead of pure dirt, we have muddy water. However, we still can’t see through the muddy water. Though it’s true that some light comes through, there’s no clarity of vision. The point is that we can eventually remove all the mud by adding water. On the other hand, if we add mud instead of water, we make progress backward away from clarity.
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