Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – I woke this morning around 2:00 a.m. The passage of scripture from 2 Peter 3:9 was in my mind, concerning God’s patience toward us, he being willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I believe the Lord put that scripture in my mind because he wanted me to read that chapter this morning. He also, once again, put in mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 3 (NASB).
Stirring Up (vv. 1-2)
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
Do you ever need to be reminded of things? I know I do. Especially the older I get, the more forgetful I get. I have to write things down or I know I will forget them. Sometimes spiritually we get forgetful, too, and thus we need to be reminded of the promises of God, and also of his provisions for us. It is essential, at times, to have our memories jogged, as well, with regard to his purposes for making us who we are, and the reasons for which he called us to his service, and for which he saved us by his grace.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ~ 2 Pet. 1:3-4 (ESV)
God has given us everything we need to live godly and holy lives on this earth, to resist Satan, to flee sin (or the temptation to sin) and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. When we believe in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. There is absolutely no reason why a born again Christian should still be trapped in sin and still living to please his sinful flesh. Jesus set us free! We just have to believe that, and we have to take the way of escape he has provided for us.
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us (Christ in us) to teach, counsel, convict, spur, remind, strengthen, encourage and to empower us to live godly lives. Yet, we are still in flesh bodies, and we still live in a sinful world, and sometimes we can get distracted by other things and forget the reason for which he cleansed and purified us from all unrighteousness. So, we need to have our pure (unadulterated) minds (thinking, discernment) stirred up (jarred) within us so we don’t lose sight of the reason we are here, and so we don’t fall into error, deceit, hypocrisy, wickedness, and impurity and the like.
He is Patient (vv. 3-9)
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
I am thankful to God that the day of total destruction of this earth has not yet come, because there are many people who need to be saved from their sins, and there are many Christians who need to have their unadulterated minds stirred up within them so that they remember that they were saved from bondage (addiction) to sin, not just saved so they can escape hell and go to heaven when they die. So, divine discipline is needed, at times, to jar (jog, shake) our memories, so we do remember why he saved us and why he called us, and so we follow him in his ways and in his truth, and so we are not distracted by all that the world is offering us in the way of pleasure.
There is a lot of discussion going on right now among people with regard to the possibility of nuclear war, supposedly because of threats coming from N. Korea, and because the U.S. president appears to be “stirring the pot,” i.e. it seems he is causing unrest and trouble for us, and for the world. Yet, God has allowed this for a purpose, and perhaps it is to “stir up” the purity of our minds, i.e. this may be for the purpose to get the attention of the people of this world, and of Christians, so we take God and his Word seriously, and so we don’t take lightly the prophecies of scripture with regard to these last days before the return of Christ. Just because the end has not yet come, and this earth has not yet been destroyed, does not mean it will not happen. It will, and we all need to be ready (spiritually) for when that day does come.
Holy Conduct (vv. 10-18)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
With a view in mind of what God has in mind for this earth at the end of time, and that none of us knows exactly when that is going to happen, even though Christians should know when it is near, we should take special note of how we are living (conducting) our lives, for none of us knows if he has tomorrow. Why should we be living as though we think every day will remain as it is, and without regard for the warnings of scripture regarding the fact that those who walk according to the flesh do not have eternal life?
As Christians, God has called us to be holy, to walk in purity, and to be separate from (different, unlike) the world of sin, because we are being conformed to the image (likeness) of Christ. So, why are so many Christians in America living not much different from the world? Why are so many living for their own pleasure, rather than to please God? Why is it so many churches are watering down the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh and to attract the world to its meetings? Why is the church trying to be like the world to win the world, and to what? Yet, we are to come out from under the influence of the world and to be separate, but not many are. We, as the church, are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, but I fear we have lost our saltiness, and we, as the church in America, are not much good for reaching this world for Jesus Christ and for his salvation.
Too many professing Christians in America believe that once they have secured their salvation, via a sinner’s prayer, that eternal life is guaranteed them, so they can sit back and relax, have a good time, enjoy life, live how they want, and then one day they will be raptured before things get too bad, or else they will die and go to heaven. But, if that were true, then why warn Christians in this way, as is written here in this book of the Bible and in others like it? If Jesus took our place on that cross merely so we would escape hell and go to heaven when we die, and if a sinner’s prayer is enough to secure our eternal destiny, then what difference does it make how we live our lives, or if one day the earth is going to be destroyed?
The danger here is that so many have lost the fear of the Lord, because it is rarely being taught these days. They assume that, even though they profess to believe in Jesus Christ, that their lives are pretty much theirs to do whatever they want, without regard for what God requires of them, because many believe he requires nothing of us at all. If they read their Bibles and pray at all, some of them act as though they are doing God a favor. Yet, Jesus said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin), we will lose them for eternity. Paul said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (Ro. 8:1-14).
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. ~ 1 Co. 6:9-10 (ESV)
Bless This House
Helen Taylor / May H. Morgan
Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .
Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with thee . . .