The Error of Lawless People

2 Peter 3:10-13 ESV

“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.

“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.”

Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human form, ministered God’s love and grace to the people, preached repentance for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life, spoke of a day of judgment, warned against disobedience, and called people to die to sin and self and to follow him.

The religious leaders and rulers in the temple of God hated him, they were jealous of him, and they wanted him dead. So, they had him put to death on a cross. But then God raised Jesus from the dead. After about 40 days he ascended back to heaven, sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers and, as he promised, he is going to come back for us one day.

When he returns, for those who are NOT watching and waiting for him diligently, he will come like a thief in the night. The people will be partying, playing games, having fun, and doing what they want to do without regard for what Jesus wants for their lives, so they will be taken by surprise.

Thus, the exhortation here is that, knowing this, we ought to be living lives of holiness and godliness. And holiness means we are living lives which are unlike the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ in all our words, thinking, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

We aren’t mixing with the world, taking on its character. We aren’t blending in with or immersing ourselves in today’s culture so that the people of this world will like us or approve of us. We are standing out as different in stark contrast to the people who are following after the gods of this world.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 1:1-34; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 6:44; Jn 8:31-32, 51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Pet 1:13-16; Rom 12:1-2; Phil 2:1-11]

2 Peter 3:14-16 ESV

“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.”

“Without spot or blemish” is not just a station we who believe in Jesus are in because of Jesus’ blood sacrifice on that cross for our sins. For, when we believe in Jesus with God-persuaded and God-ordained faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

But then we must continue in Christ, abiding in him and in his word, and we must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh actively, and we must not be making sin our practice.

For, God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin without guilt. His grace trains us, instead, to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit 2:11-14; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17).

Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” Lu 9:23-25

And the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. And he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Pet 2:24).

And they teach that if we make sin our practice (habit, addiction), and if righteousness is not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what we say we believe or what we profess with our lips. If we live in sin, we will die in our sins, professing Christian or not.

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Rom 6:16 ESV

[Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]

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.”

Many people professing faith in Jesus Christ today, at least here in America, are being carried away by the error of lawless people who pervert God’s grace by turning it into a free license for lasciviousness. They are the ignorant and unstable who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction.

For they are teaching a watered-down gospel which is a half-truth gospel, which is therefore a lie which is deceiving many naïve minds and many people whose desire it is to remain living for sin and for the flesh. For it teaches them what their itching ears want to hear.

What they are teaching is that one can “believe” in Jesus by saying a prayer or by giving acknowledgment to what Jesus did for us, or by professing him as Savior or confessing verbally that he is Lord. And do the Scriptures teach that by God’s grace, through faith, that we are saved? Yes!

But these lawless people aren’t teaching them what it means to believe in Jesus, for the Scriptures have much to say about what it means to believe, and what is required of us to prove that our faith is genuine and not of our own flesh. For “faith” in Jesus is not of our own doing.

What the Scriptures teach is what has already been discussed here regarding dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness and that if we continue living in sin, making it our practice, that we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God.

They leave that out. They don’t teach God’s requirements of us under the New Covenant for obedience, submission to him as Lord, and for dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness. They may or may not mention holy living, but not many teach it for eternal life with God.

So, what they are teaching is either that submission to Christ as Lord, obedience to his commands (New Covenant), and repentance are not necessary for salvation from sin and eternal life with God, as part of our active faith in Jesus Christ, or they are calling this works-based salvation, and thus they discard it as unholy.

So, just know what the Scriptures teach. Read them in context, word by word, chapter by chapter, and book by book, and you will learn what God requires of us for salvation and for eternal life with God, and it isn’t some one-time cursory confession of faith in him.

What he requires is our obedience, our submission to him, and us dying to sin and living to his righteousness. For, if we continue living in sin, we will die in our sins. We won’t have eternal life with God (see above verses).

More Than Words

BETTENCOURT, NUNO / CHERONE, GARY F.

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel…

Hold me close don’t ever let me go
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
Cos I’d already know

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