Don’t Let Them Persuade You

2 Peter 3:13-14 ESV

“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”

There is a day coming when the Lord will judge the earth and the people of the earth, and the universe as we know it will be destroyed with fire, and the ungodly will be destroyed. This is at the end of all things in this world that we now know, and in which we now live.

But prior to that time, or leading up to that time, we are going to go through some very trying times which will test our faith to the limit. The Lord warned us ahead of time about these days, which really began with his life on this earth, for he said that as he was hated and persecuted, so we would be.

He warned us that we would be hated, rejected, persecuted, falsely accused, falsely arrested and imprisoned, beaten mercilessly, mocked, called crazy, accused of being of Satan, harassed at every turn, and attempts would be made to try to trip us up, too, just as his persecutors did to him.

So, we should not think that we will escape such persecution, for we are told in Scripture that we are called to this type of suffering, and that suffering is part of the Christian life and witness, and that we will have to endure such suffering for righteousness’ sake, but that we who endure will be blessed.

Thus, we are encouraged to live godly and holy lives while we wait for the Lord’s return, at which time we (the godly) will go to be with him forever, but at which time the earth will also be destroyed. So, we are to be diligent to be found in Christ when he returns as those whose lives are unblemished (untainted) by the sinful practices of this world.

2 Peter 3:15-16 ESV

“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.”

So, if all there is to salvation is that we are forgiven our sins so that we escape hell and so that we go to heaven when we die, but that how we live will not impact our eternal security or our eternal destination, then why do we have so many Scriptures warning us of the importance of how we are living at the time of Christ’s return?

It is because our eternal salvation is not guaranteed on a profession of faith in Jesus Christ or a one-time experience in our lives where we declared faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns IF we continue in Christ to the end (1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; Rom 11:17-24).

Thus, while we wait for Christ’s return, we are to be those who are saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and who are living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. And we are to be walking (conducting our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Holy Spirit, and not in agreement with the flesh (Tit 2:11-14; Rom 8:1-17).

For, if we claim to know Christ and to be in fellowship with him, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), and we do not obey the truth of God’s word, then we do not have eternal life with God no matter what we have confessed with our lips, or we think we have believed in our hearts (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21).

So, we are to regard the patience of the Lord, in not yet coming to destroy the earth, as salvation, for it gives people more time to get their hearts right with the Lord before he comes to judge. But his patience will not last forever, so don’t get cocky and think you can wait him out, for you never know when you will breathe your last breath.

So, what are these matters that Paul talked about incessantly that people twisted to their own advantage? And to their own destruction? Paul insisted that we walk according to the Spirit and that we not walk according to the flesh if we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God.

But many are cherry picking the words of Paul they like, and they are building a doctrine around those hand-selected verses while they are largely ignoring all the Scriptures where Paul warned the church, the body of Christ, that they must walk in holiness, in the Spirit, to the end, if they want to have eternal life with God.

Paul taught conditional salvation, just as Jesus did, and the conditions are that we forsake our sins and submit to Christ and that we walk in obedience to his commands, and that we love God and others and not hate.

2 Peter 3:17-18 ESV

“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.”

Lawless people are those today who are teaching that we can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God guaranteed but that we don’t have to repent of our sins, submit to Christ, or obey his commandments.

They twist the Scriptures by trying to say that if we live in obedience to our Lord that we are trying to earn our own salvation, and so they guilt-trip people into denying the Lordship of Christ over their lives, to continuing to live in sin, and to living lives of disobedience to God.

But don’t fear them. Test everything that they say against the Scriptures (in context), for the Scriptures do not teach what they teach. The Bible teaches we must repent of our sins, submit to Christ as Lord, and walk in obedience to his commands if we want eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17).

Do Not Fear

An Original Work / June 2, 2013
Based off John 14

Do not let your hearts fear.
Trust in God. Trust in Christ.
“In My house you will find
Many rooms I have
Prepared for you,
And I will come back
And take you to heav’n.”

“I will take you to be with Me;
You’ll be where I am.”

“I am the way and
The truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father,
Except he comes through Me,
So put your faith in Me,
And do all of what I command.”

“Whoever has My commands
And obeys them loves Me.”

“I did not leave you as orphans.
I sent you the Counselor;
The Holy Spirit to live in you.
He teaches you all things,
And He reminds you of Me.”

“My peace I give to you,
So do not fear, trust in Me.”

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