The DEEP

Trials

lead to character development.

Hebrews 5:7–10 (NKJV)

who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”

Almost every person in the Bible, including Christ, was subjected to trials that led to character development. Scripture records that character development, not just the events that spawned it. If that wasn’t important, the accounts wouldn’t have emphasized it so.

In the previous lesson, we used God’s image in Charles Dickens to illustrate the general concept of a creator’s higher purposes. Now let’s directly consider God’s higher purposes. So, “What are His higher purposes?” Specifically, “What’s the purpose of everything? Why did God create the universe?”

The standard answer is, “For His glory.” That’s undeniable; the references for this are too numerous to even list. Here are a few of my favorites.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. — Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14 (NIV)

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” — John 17:1 (NIV)

And notice how the plan of salvation emphasizes God’s glory, even while shepherding our character development.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8–9 (NIV)

The clause “so that no one can boast” is a purpose construction in the Greek. Precluding boasting is why we are saved by grace.

We cannot take credit; it all belongs to Him.


With boasting about our salvation off the table, we are humbled. This sets us up for the process of sanctification.

Growth in Christ is the primary goal of every Christian, and that’s character development.

It’s impossible to overstate how important this is in practice.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.