The Lord Jesus led me to read 2 Peter 3 (Select vv. NASB).
When we, as believers in Jesus Christ, trust in Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are delivered both from slavery to sin and the punishment of sin, which is spiritual death, which is eternity without God in the fires of hell (or in the lake of fire) where there will be eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth. And, we are given the hope of eternity with God in heaven. Amen!
As well, at the end of time, God’s wrath will be poured down upon the earth, the earth will be destroyed by fire, and the ungodly will be no more.
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.
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.
Yet, so far, our Lord has delayed this destruction of the earth with fire because it is not his will that anyone should die without him and face eternal punishment, but it is his will that all should come to repentance, i.e. that they should all turn from their lives of sin to God, to follow him in his ways and according to his Word. For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to deliver us from hell and to promise us heaven when we leave this earth, but he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
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.
The purpose of our salvation, thus, is not just to forgive us our sins so that we are no longer under condemnation, but it is to free us from addiction (slavery) to sin so that we can walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness the rest of our days on this earth.
Too many people these days, nonetheless, cut that message short, and they focus entirely on God’s forgiveness of our sins, but they fail to teach holiness and godliness as a direct result of having been delivered from our sins.
But, God’s Word teaches us that his grace to us is not just freedom from the punishment of sin, but it is freedom from bondage (addiction) to sin so that we can now walk (in lifestyle) in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. His grace, which brings salvation, in fact, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return.
So, if our conduct is to be holy, it means we are to live our lives separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world, because we are being conformed to Christ’s likeness. So, we should not participate in ungodly practices, including we should not be allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, either. We should not do anything that our Lord would not do, and we should be doing what Jesus did when he walked this earth, in showing kindness and compassion to others, in bringing healing to their hearts and lives, and by speaking the truth in love so that others can be saved from their sins, too.
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.
Again, the goal of our salvation is godliness and holiness, being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. He is our model for how we should be conducting our lives, in the power and working of his Holy Spirit now living within us.
So, if anyone is telling you that your salvation, or that God’s grace to us, is merely about Jesus taking your punishment for your sin so that you can escape hell and go to heaven when you die, then they are only telling you a half-truth. Don’t accept their lies which tell you that all you have to do is repeat some words after someone in a prayer or that all you have to do is to merely accept God’s grace and that you have heaven guaranteed.
The truth of the matter is that coming to faith in Jesus Christ involves us dying with Christ to sin so that we can be resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and daily, by the Spirit, be putting sin to death, and we must be walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24).
This is not to say that we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. We died to sin, if we are truly in Christ Jesus by genuine faith in Him, so how can we live in it any longer?
The joy of our salvation is that we have been delivered out of slavery to sin, and out from under the control of Satan over our lives, so that we can now walk faithfully and steadfastly in Christ’s holiness and righteousness, and so we can be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, becoming like him in his death, in order that we may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:10-11).
Gracious Father / An original work / April 6, 2011
How great are You Father;
how great are You, Lord.
My heart so adores You;
Your mercy outpour.
Your love and your kindness;
Your gracious reward
Are treasures from heaven
that we can’t afford.
So, freely they’re given
and humbly received
When we bow before You
on penitent knee.
O gracious Redeemer;
my Master and King,
To You I owe everything –
my offerings I bring
With whole heart devotion,
to honor and praise
My loving companion
and friend for always.
It’s You I serve only,
to walk in Your ways,
So I have your promise
for all of my days.
Thursday, November 30, 2017, 5:05 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for your truth, for your Words, and for your grace to us which delivers us not only from the punishment of sin, but from our addictions to sin, too, and which sets us free to now walk in your holiness and in all godliness before You.