By Way of Reminder

2 Peter 3:1-2 ESV

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles…”

Do you ever need to be reminded of things? I do! I am 71 years old, so believe me when I say that when you get into your 70s your mind is not as quick as it used to be. If I don’t write things down when I think of them they can go out of mind as quickly as they came in.

But even young people can have problems with remembering certain things and may need to be reminded, at times. And all of us can forget things we learned before and need to be reminded. And that is why the Scriptures repeat the same message over and over and over again.

And do you know that God’s primary message he gave to his people through the prophets is the same exact message that he gave to us through his Son Jesus Christ? The message has not changed, for God and his divine character and will for us, his people, has not changed.

And that message was and still is that we must repent of our sins. We must turn away from living for sin and self, and we must follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. We must not be idolaters nor engage in sexual immorality nor be liars nor thieves nor engage in impurity of any kind.

But we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We must love God with our whole being and our neighbors as ourselves. We must not hate anyone, but we must hate evil. For, if we died with Christ to sin, it was that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness.

We are to be holy in all of our conduct (actions, behaviors, attitudes) as God is holy. We are to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ. And we are 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.

For, if we walk according to the flesh, and if we make sin our practice (habit, addiction), and righteousness is not what we practice, and if we don’t obey our Lord’s commands (New Covenant), and if we hate our fellow humans, we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what we profess.

2 Peter 3:3-4 ESV

“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”

These scoffers aren’t just people who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Many of these scoffers are those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, but who are following after the cheap grace gospel and the flesh of humans rather than submitting themselves to Jesus as Lord.

So, their scoffing isn’t just confined to mocking our faith with regard to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Their scoffing includes rejecting and criticizing our beliefs which teach that we must submit to Christ as Lord, and leave our sins behind us, and follow our Lord in obedience to his will.

So, they ridicule our beliefs, and they call what we believe “works-based salvation” even though these beliefs are what the prophets and the apostles taught through and through. And they raise Paul up to be their hero, but they must not read all he wrote, for they would have to accuse him of the same.

For, Paul taught that God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin. He taught that by God’s grace we die with Christ to sin, and we live to Christ and to his righteousness. And he said that if we obey sin, it will end in death, but if obedience is what we obey, it leads to eternal life with God.

Paul taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in conduct) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God.

He also taught that God 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” (Rom 2:6-8).

And it was Paul who said that we should not be deceived:

“God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8).

2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

So, just because Jesus has not yet returned to judge, and just because you may still be living in sin without punishment, and so you may feel as though God is not going to judge you for your evil deeds, don’t get cocky. Don’t get overconfident in thinking God is not going to judge you.

And don’t take heaven for granted. Eternal life with God has conditions. They are listed for us all throughout the New Testament, many of which have been discussed in this writing. If you don’t meet those conditions, because you refused to surrender your life to Christ, you don’t have eternal life.

Also, for those who are following the Lord in obedience, who are being mocked and judged falsely for their walks of faith, do not lose heart. God is allowing things to go on as they are because he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to REPENTANCE.

And biblical repentance is not just “believing” in Jesus Christ if that belief is not of God but of the flesh, and thus it does not bear fruit in keeping with repentance. If we don’t die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness, we don’t have saving faith in Jesus Christ.

But, again, if you are following the Lord in obedience, and thus you are being mocked for your walk of faith, don’t lose heart. Don’t be discouraged. Give your circumstances over to the Lord, and keep praying, and keep believing the Lord for the salvation of many people.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]

YOU RAISE ME UP

Brendan Graham / Rolf Lovland

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be…

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

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