1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
The primary gospel permeating the church today, at least here in America, is what is often referred to as the “cheap grace gospel.” It doesn’t mean that God’s grace is cheap, but that men have cheapened it by altering, diluting, and manipulating it to make it say what itching ears want to hear. So this cheapened grace message now appeals to the flesh of man because it doesn’t put the flesh to death but it now coddles and pacifies it.
It began as what is often referred to as “Once Saved Always Saved,” but gradually it has evolved to where it is being taught now that we don’t have to repent of our sins, and we don’t have to obey the Lord, and that we don’t have to submit to the Lordship of Christ, for they call that “works-based salvation.” So, they have turned light for darkness and darkness for light, for they are now giving sin full reign in people’s hearts and lives.
So, the message that they are giving to people is “peace and security,” but it is a false peace and a false security. For they are telling people that they can say some words after someone else in a prayer and now they are congratulated that they are part of God’s family and that heaven is guaranteed them when they die, and that it can’t be taken away from them regardless of how they live their lives from that moment forward.
Even if they use the word “repent,” they don’t usually use the word in the way the Bible mostly uses that word. Yes, the word means to have a change of mind, but when the Scriptures use it they primarily use it in the context of forsaking our lives of sin and our idols and us turning from them to God to now follow Jesus Christ in obedience to him and to his commands; to now go where he sends us and to do and to say the things he says to do and to say.
One of the big reasons that people are buying into this “cheap grace gospel” message is that it doesn’t demand death to sin in us nor obedience to the Lord, and so its adherents feel as though they can now continue living in sin guilt free with no fear of punishment, and that heaven awaits them in the end. It is also because they are ignorant of the Scriptures because they are relying on other humans to tell them what is true, which is a bad idea.
But what is happening, which has been going on all my life, is that Scriptures are being taught out of context and grouped together in neat little gospel tracts, and so the people are not being taught the true gospel. They are being taught that once they pray that prayer that they are now saved, done deal, and nothing can take that away. And even if holiness is being taught, which it mostly isn’t, it is not being taught in a way that impacts our salvation and our eternal life with God, so it is not demanded of anyone.
But the Scriptures, if taught in context, teach salvation, not as a one-time decision we make in our lives which guarantees us eternal life with God in the end, but it teaches salvation as progressive sanctification. It teaches our salvation parallel to the Jewish marriage of the Old Testament, which it is.
For when we believe in Jesus we enter into a marriage relationship with him which is really an engagement period. Our groom is preparing a home for us, and one day he will return to take us to be with him forever, and that is when our salvation will be complete, but only IF we turn from our sins and obey him and we continue in him steadfast in such faith as this until the very end. Thus, God’s promises to us are conditional on us doing the things he says we must do in order to have salvation from sin and life eternal.
Thus, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt 7:21-23).
So, if you want to know the truth of the gospel, and of what I just stated here, then please read these Scriptures in their context and you will learn the truth of our salvation:
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-11; Acts 26:18; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 10:1-22; 1 Co 15:2,58; 2 Co 5:10,15; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6,16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-23; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-21; Tit 2:11-14; Tit 3:8; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:26-27; Heb 12:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; Jas 2:17; 1 Pet 1:1-5, 17-21; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:1-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Jn 5:2-3; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
For, “While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” So, please take this to heart!
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 ESV
“But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”
But if we are truly children of God, by genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ, via dying with Christ to sin so that we can now live to him and to his righteousness, which is evidenced by our walks of faith which are according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, in obedience to our Lord’s commands, then the day of the Lord should not overtake us, for we should be watching and waiting longingly for his soon return (Rom 6:1-23).
Yet, there is a warning here even to us with genuine faith in Jesus that we must not walk in the darkness for we won’t have eternal life with God. We are being strongly urged here that we must not be like those who are still in the darkness who are spiritually asleep. We are to be spiritually alert by walking in the light we have been given in obedience to our Lord so that the darkness does not overtake us (see Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 1 Jn 3:4-10).
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Just because we, as believers in Jesus, are not destined for wrath, it does not mean we will escape God’s wrath by a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We must turn from our sins and obey our Lord, for if we don’t, and if we continue to walk in deliberate and habitual sin, in disobedience to our Lord, we will not inherit eternal life with God. And we must continue in this walk of faith until the very end for us to have eternal life with God (1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Jn 15:1-12).
So, if we want to be forgiven our sins, be delivered from our bondage to sin, and have the hope of eternal life with God, we must, by genuine faith in Jesus Christ, walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh in obedience to our Lord, in the forsaking of our sins until the very end. And these are not my words. This is what the Scriptures teach. We just have to read the Bible, especially Matthew – Revelation in context in order to get the whole big picture of our salvation and eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17).
So, remember Jesus’ words here: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Listen to Our Hearts
Songwriters: Geoff Moore / Steven Chapman
How do you explain, how do you describe
A love that goes from east to west
And runs as deep as it is wide?
You know all our hopes,
Lord, you know all our fears.
And words cannot express the love we feel,
But we long for You to hear.
So listen to our hearts.
Hear our spirit sing
A song of praise that flows
From those you have redeemed.
We will use the words we know
To tell you what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough
To tell you of our love,
So listen to our hearts.
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