We consider another aspect of John Flavel’s teaching on the Marks of Grace. This time, we reflect on the fact that our response in times of severe suffering can reveal the condition of our hearts before the Lord. These severe trials are broken into five main subgroups as follows:

  • Trials that endanger the things that are dearest to us in this world
  • Trials to which it appears there may be no end
  • Trials in which we seem to be alone, having no one to help us
  • Trials that come from those nearest to us
  • Times when a multiplicity of temptations and trials come upon us and the sum of the whole constitutes a severe trial to our souls.

Those who strive to remain faithful by God’s grace through these trials can have assurance that they are true believers. Those who do not remain faithful or whose motives are self-serving in such trials are revealed to be hypocrites. We are encouraged to review how we have reacted in trials and to prepare ourselves for the trials that may very possibly come upon us, so we may prove faithful to the Lord and come out of the Refiner’s fire as pure gold.


Shaun Bryant

Shaun has been Pastor at Grace Church in Modesto since late 1993. His journey to the fellowship took him through churches of various persuasions, during which time he became convinced of a call to the ministry and also of a Reformed view of the Scriptures. Shaun completed his studies for the ministry at Westminster Seminary in California. He is married with 3 children.

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