One Day

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3:10 ESV

This world which we call home is not always going to be here. One day God is going to judge the earth and the people on the earth, and everything is going to be burned up with fire. And, he is going to come to take his faithful followers to be with him for eternity. And on the day of God’s wrath…

“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:6-8 ESV

Do we really get what this is saying here? Not everyone is going to heaven. Not every “good” person is going to be with God for eternity. And, not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ has eternal life with God. Whatever decision we think we may have made to believe in Jesus at some point in our lives is not what is going to determine our eternal destiny.

And, this is not works-based salvation I am talking about either, for this is what Paul taught, and he taught grace. For, this is a true picture of God’s grace. For, God’s grace is not just forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. His grace delivers us out of our slavery to sin and it empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, for this is why Jesus died (1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).

For, true faith in Jesus Christ is not some acknowledgment of who he was/is and of what he did in dying for our sins, and in being raised from the dead. It is not some emotional experience we had at an altar. And, it is not words we repeat after someone else supposedly in a prayer to God after which we are congratulated that we are now part of God’s family.

True faith in Jesus Christ is first of all a gift from God, and it is divinely persuaded of God. And, since it is from God, it submits to God and to his purposes for our lives. Thus, true faith in Jesus turns away from lifestyles of living to sin and self and it turns to God to follow our Lord in true righteousness and holiness, by God’s grace and in his power and strength (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 2:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

But, true faith in Jesus Christ is also continuous and persistent and it endures to the end of time. We must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. Daily, by the Spirit, we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are to be putting on Christ and his righteousness. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Jn. 8:31-32; 1 Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Jn. 2:24-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-25).

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV

So, this is why Peter said what he did here. How we live our lives on this earth does matter for eternity. We don’t just “get saved” and then we live how we want, and then one day we get to go to heaven when we die. We need to be living godly and holy lives, separate (unlike, different) from the world because if we don’t, eternal life with God is not guaranteed us.

Again you will hear me say that this is not about having to live in absolute sinless perfection, for if we could, Jesus would not have to die for our sins. But, lack of perfection is also never to be used as an excuse for willful defiance against our Lord via habitual and premeditative sinning against God, as a matter of practice, of life course. For, if we live according to our sinful flesh (habitually), we are going to die in our sins (Rom. 8:1-17).

“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:14-16 ESV

If we are saved, done deal, and heaven is guaranteed us, no matter what, then why do we have all these scriptures which say we need to be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace with him, when he returns? And, why say, “count the patience of our Lord as salvation”? It is because salvation is not a one-time done deal thing (Rom. 8:1-17).

We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns and our salvation is then complete. So, God’s patience in not yet bringing his wrath on the earth is not just so that more people can “get saved” but that those who profess faith in him, that their faith in him might be proved genuine by their walks of obedience to him. For, many profess faith in Jesus Christ, but not everyone lives godly and holy lives, but many are still being ruled by their flesh (Gal. 5:16-21).

But, not many people want to accept this teaching. They want to believe that they can pray a prayer to receive Christ and that it guarantees them eternal life with God no matter how they live. But, the “hard teaching” of Paul which was “hard to understand,” and which people pervert, to their destruction, is that we must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God.

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 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.” 2 Peter 3:17-18 ESV

So, we need to know what the Word of God teaches regarding our salvation, and not just by cherry picking scriptures that support what we want to believe, either. We have to look at the whole counsel of God and all the scriptures which teach on salvation. And, we have to examine what a lot of preachers are teaching against all the teachings on eternal life with God, in the New Testament. For, there are many teachers of a cheap grace, which gives people free license to keep on in their sinful practices while promising them heaven as their eternal destiny.

And, we need to know the truth so that we are not led astray, and so we don’t end up on the wrong end of this judgment of God, and so we don’t end up hearing, “Depart from me! I never knew you!” after being assured that nothing can separate us from God if we profess faith in Christ.

For, we have to read the promises of God at the end of Romans 8 in light of all of Romans, and in light of all of Romans 8 which begins by telling us that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

So, how we live proves whether or not our faith in Jesus Christ is of God or if it is of our human flesh. We must not only turn away from our lifestyles of sin, and daily die to sin and self, and daily walk in obedience to our Lord, in practice, but we must do this to the very end if we want to have eternal life with God (1 Jn. 2:24-25; Col. 1:21-23; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Rom. 11:17-24).

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

 

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