To Stimulate our Minds

Stirring Up
2 Peter 3:1-2 NASB

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.

This is a wake-up call! The purpose of this is to wake us out of a sleep, much like someone might drink a cup of a caffeinated drink to wake themselves up when they feel sleepy. Only this is not talking about trying to energize our bodies and minds physically, nor is the source of stimulation artificial. But, this is referring to arousing, motivating, inciting and inspiring us spiritually, and the wake-up call is coming from the Holy Spirit.

This says, “Pay attention! This is critically important that you get this!” And, the object is to point us to the Word of God, and to remind us of what the prophets of old and the New Testament apostles taught us with regard to holiness, purity, righteousness, honesty, godliness and integrity. The purpose of this is to stimulate our minds to wholesome thinking.

Mockers Will Come
2 Peter 3:3-7 NASB

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.

A mocker is someone who derides, scorns, taunts, and makes fun of what they don’t understand. They treat people or a subject with contempt and ridicule. Mocking defies and challenges; to make sport of. “It implies a deliberate often malicious belittling” (M-W), intended to put people down or to put down what they say, or what they believe. It is intended to insult. Sometimes it is used as a knife to the heart of someone when the person mocking feels challenged or is confronted about a sinful lifestyle.

This is definitely talking about mockers who feel confronted with their sins and of their need to repent of their sins. They are unwilling, and so they mock the whole notion of divine judgment and that one day they will be held to account for their actions. They want to follow after their lusts, and they don’t want to forsake their idols, and so they mock whatever makes them feel uncomfortable or anything which suggests that judgment may one day befall them because they chose their lusts over love and over God.

What this translation fails to bring out is that these mockers willfully choose to forget. It willfully escapes their notice that God once destroyed the earth and the people of the earth with a flood (with the exception of Noah’s family), and that one day he will destroy it again, only this time with fire. Since they want to go on in their lusts, following the idols they have made for themselves, they willfully choose to deny the truth and to believe the lie.

Lord Not Slow
2 Peter 3:8-10 NASB

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.

But, just because the judgment anticipated has not yet arrived, don’t fool yourselves into thinking it will never happen. And, this is not just about the final judgment, either, for a time of judgment will come on the earth over a period of time at which time people will still have the opportunity to believe in Jesus, and during such a time when the church will be revived, I believe, i.e. speaking of true believers in Jesus making themselves holy, as a bride prepares herself for her wedding day (See: Rev. 19:7).

But, there is no guarantee that anyone will physically survive the time of tribulation that is to come on the earth, of which we are definitely experiencing those birth pains. To some, they may feel as though that time is already here, for they are going through great suffering for the name of Jesus. So, don’t put off giving your lives to Jesus, thinking you can wait until the last minute, for none of us knows when death will come knocking at our door. We should always be ready to meet our Lord. That way, when he comes, we will not be caught off guard and not be ready for his return.

In Holy Conduct
2 Peter 3:11-13 NASB

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.

There are a couple of factors working against the church making herself ready for her husband, and they both involve false teaching, I believe. One of them involves this teaching that says that once you pray the sinner’s prayer that you are saved forever, and it can never be taken away from you, no matter how you live your life while on this earth.

And, this comes from a misinterpretation of scripture, I believe. For, the scriptures make it quite clear that our salvation is not complete until Christ returns for us, and that it is contingent on our walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It is contingent on us continuing in Christ and in his Word, and us not living sinful lifestyles and engrossing ourselves in sinful practices (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21).

Another factor going against the church living in holiness is this teaching that says the church will be taken up before the tribulation. That is really an American belief, primarily, from what I understand, which did not come into being until the 18th century, and then was popularized in the 20th century in the USA (source: Wikipedia).

So, many who call themselves Christians feel as though they can indulge in their lusts, because they believe the judgments of God on this earth will not touch them. And, their salvation and eternal life, they feel, is guaranteed them. So, they have no (or little) motivation to live holy and godly lives, because they think they have no reason to believe that they will not go to heaven when they die.

Be Diligent
2 Peter 3:14-18 NASB

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.

You see here that our salvation is a process, which will not be complete until our Lord returns. I am NOT teaching works-based salvation here. Let me make that perfectly clear! We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. It is totally by God’s grace, through faith, that we are saved from our sins and we have eternal life with God.

But, we need to understand what that means. God’s grace is not free license to continue in sinful addictions without guilt or without punishment. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

God’s grace does not merely forgive our sins. His grace eradicates sin from our lives. His grace puts sin to death in our lives so that we can, in his power, live to his righteousness. This is why Jesus died (1 Pet. 2:24). So, if we are still living sinful lifestyles, we must know here that we are not promised eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment.

And, our faith is not an experience. It is our lifestyle. It is being divinely persuaded of God as to his will for our lives, so that we submit to his will. And, it is God-given, so it is based in living in purity and in holiness. Believing in Jesus is continuous, and it must endure to the end. But, it is also not the works of the flesh, but of the Spirit, as we yield to the Lordship of Christ in our lives and do what our Lord tells us we must do.

Yes, God’s grace, his salvation is a free gift, but the “free” part has to do with what Jesus did for us on the cross so that we don’t have to die in our sins. And, it is the faith to believe, but that faith involves repentance and obedience and submission. But, God gives us the empowerment to do that, too, for he has already moved us to want to obey him, if truly our faith is from God and not from our own flesh.

Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012

I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.

Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.

Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.

Thursday, June 28, 2018, 4:44 a.m. – Lord Jesus, help us to take this teaching from Your Word to heart and to apply it to our lives. Amen!

4 thoughts on “To Stimulate our Minds

  1. Jesus says very bluntly these things must happen, and THEN the tribulation will happen, and then the angels go to the four corners of the earth. He also says had these days not been cut short no one would be left. I’m glad you talked about this because it’s a good reminder and it’s a challenge. To stay accountable to the truth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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