A Certain Climax

Having thought on II Peter 3:8-9 yesterday, one thing that you can be absolutely sure of is this: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." (From Verse 10). What is this Day of the Lord? Thinking about the end times, there are three very significant days: 1). The Day of Christ (when Jesus comes for His Church). 2). The Day of the Lord ( about 1007 years starting with the Rapture and going to the end of The Millennium). 3). The Day of God (those last few events that bring the curtain down on all that has been going on and introduces the new order that God has in store for all His creation). Some of what is involved in the Day of God is spoken of in the last of Verse 10 through Verse 13. "….in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Considering all that happens from now until God ends all that has gone before and replaces it with His new order, how should we conduct our lives? Did you notice that verse 11 provides the answer to that question? We, who are His, are to live holy lives and let Him produce Godliness in us, through His Word applied and obeyed. While this is being lived out, we are to be watching for that glorious future (Verse 13) and keep in mind that from God's perspective we are rapidly approaching that certain climax. Selah! Having a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is to be safe in Him during these cataclysmic events.    Ron
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Boundless Love

The Rapture could be any moment. God's people have been saying that for a long time. It hasn't happened yet! In fact, that has been thrown in our faces by the scoffers (that we considered yesterday and whose descendants are with us today) in a mocking way. These cynics imply that we are foolishly believing that there will really be a judgment. Why so long? Could it be a very long time from now or perhaps a few days, weeks, months, or years from now? The explanation usually given is that God has His own timetable. While this is true, I believe there is a much more compelling reason why we have had to wait for this blessed event. It's found in II Peter 3:8-9. In verse 8, we are again given a reminder: "But, beloved be not ignorant of this one thing…." Peter is cautioning us to not ignore one very important Truth. It is this: "….that one day is with the lord as a thousand years' and a thousand years as one day." God exists outside of time. God is timeless, eternal, the Great "I Am." We are governed by time; He is not. What seems a long time to us is not to God. If that is the case, why does He keep us waiting in our experience of time? Verse 9 gives us a reason. It is likely the one and only reason. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Do we grasp the immensity of His boundless love in this grand event being "put on hold" as it were? Have we considered that perhaps God desires greatly to bring into play His grand eternal plan? More than He wants to end sin and initiate eternal righteousness, could it be that He yearns to include as many of His creatures, as possible? He wants none to perish but all to repent! The real question is: why do we wait? Selah!  If you read carefully, it should be obvious that God would not ordain anyone to be lost. He gives them every opportunity to "come to repentance." Within His sovereignty, He allows them enough free will be able to make a choice. He even delays the Rapture, so that more can repent. However, His patience doesn't last forever!   Ron

Remember This!

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance…" (II Peter 3:1). Peter appeals to their pure minds and ours who are saved, minds being renewed by the purifying power of Scripture. He is telling them and us, in both letters, that there are some things that he wants all true believers to keep in mind. What is it that we are to aware of? Peter's answer: "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior…" (Verse 2). Give heed to what the holy prophets (of the Old Testament and possibly some contemporary with Peter and the others) reveal. While we are doing this, there is something else to keep in mind. "Knowing this first." (From Verse 3): while we are engaged with the teaching of Godly leaders and applying and obeying what we learn from them, we are warned of the scoffers. Continuing in Verse 3, "….that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…." Just as, in Noah's time, there were scoffers, in our days and to the last days, their descendants are present in our midst. The skepticism is obvious in their question. What they say amounts to mockery. Verse 4 gives the question: "….and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?' for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Verses 5-7 spell out the situation, then and now. In verse 5, we have the willing ignorance. "for this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water…." Trusting God or ignoring what He says is a choice. This choice has eternal consequences. Men and women that are enjoying their lusts don't want to believe what God says, because it means that they are accountable to Him and are in serious danger. It's a spiritual "head in the sand" attempt to avoid facing the reality of judgment. Verse 6 speaks of the world inundated "….Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished…." Just as certainly as the ancient world was caught in judgment, the judgment to come will catch multitudes without means of escape, unless they receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior while they can. Now is the only time that we can be sure of escaping judgment to come. Verse 7 gives us the warning issued "….but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Only eight escaped the flood and only those who know the Lord in a saving relationship can be sure of escaping the fire. Selah! Judgment could be a long way off or begin at any moment. Only God knows, we don't. Let's be ready and challenge others to be ready too.   Ron

The Fate Of False Teachers and the Ungodly-Part Six

Here again the most emphasis is on false teachers. (Nevertheless, the ungodly are also very much in mind). Verse 18 of II Peter, Chapter 2 exposes their craftiness."For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure…." They are convincing and persuasive. They are articulate and clever in their arguments. How do they allure? "….through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness…." They prey on people's desires for things like money, power, recognition, comfort, self esteem, etc. They are unrestrained in their efforts to win people to their teachings. A particular target for their schemes is "those that were clean escaped from them who live in error." The use of "clean escaped" has the tense of "those that are escaping; coming out of error." Verse 19a gives a clear picture of these false teachers and their condition. While they promise freedom to those that they are trying to get to follow their way, "….they themselves are the servants of corruption…." Verses 19b-22 describe the consequences and reveal the defining characteristics of false teachers and all ungodly people. "….for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." When anyone is about to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and finally and firmly turns away, he or she is worse off than if they had never realized their need. Selah! False teachers and their potential victims have only one way to escape an eternally tragic fate. Turn in the opposite direction, own their sinfulness, yield the control of their lives to Jesus and receive His salvation. Otherwise……      Ron

The Fate of False Teachers and the Ungodly-Part Five

Peter says much (under inspiration) about false teachers and the ungodly. Why? Because they turn people or try to turn people away from the Truths of the Gospel. Verses 15-16 of II Peter, Chapter 2 highlight their wicked ways.  Peter says this about them: "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet." Many false prophets and other ungodly folk never darken the door of a church that takes the Bible seriously. Not a few others, like a chameleon, do become part of a local church and seem to blend right in and appear to be real. Balaam was a prophet of God (He had the label, if not the content). There are ministers today that are considered to be ministers of God but, like Balaam, their heart is for themselves. Perhaps some start out right but back off when the claims of the Gospel begin to be understood. Their hearts are for riches, position, power, etc. As with Balaam, God intervenes, sometimes supernaturally. Their fate is not pleasant to think about! As to their victims, Peter points out about false teachers, in Verse 17, their worthlessness. Of these false prophets, Peter writes, "these are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest…." They teach others what appears to hold great promise but leaves their victims Spiritually thirsty and empty rather than refreshed. All their persuasive talk that kindles hope in the hearts of their listeners only results in their promises evaporating. Peter then adds, in Verse 17 regarding these deceivers, "….to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever." Selah! We need to be very wary of much teaching today. Much false teaching comes coated with Scripture. Careful study of the Bible is the only way to avoid the trap. Discuss any questions you have with someone who has spent years in the Word and loves and believes it. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light (understanding of Truth) in them" (Isaiah 8:20).      Ron

The Fate of False Teachers and the Ungodly-Part Four

All ungodly people have a tragic fate to look forward to unless they turn to Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior. False teachers have an even greater guilt. They have remained ungodly and have lured others (or tried to) into their false teaching. Their punishment may be greater, as well. Some of the nicest people you know (and some not so nice) will be forever separated from God, not because of their sin(s) per se but because of not receiving God's forgiveness, given to those who receive God's Son as their substitute and, as such, paid the penalty for their sin(s) on the cross. Reject God's Gift of grace and you remain ungodly. II Peter 2:12c-13a tells of their destiny. They "….shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness…." The last part of Verse 13 centers our attention on their deception. Some may be deceived themselves. Some may not deliberately deceive others. However, all of them deceive others to a greater or lesser degree. They  "….count it pleasure to riot in the daytime…." Their pursuit of sensual pleasure is not done only under cover of darkness but in broad daylight. Peter seems to have false teachers particularly in mind in these words: "….Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you." Jesus warned of tares among the wheat. He also warned of wolves in sheep's clothing. How many of these do we rub shoulders with in our local churches? The antidote to this is strong preaching and teaching of God's Word and clear-cut explanation of what it means to be saved. The first part of Verse 14 describes their degradation. "….Having eyes that are full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin…." The next part of Verse 14 tells of their designs: "….beguiling unstable souls." Taking up with Christians that are untaught in Scripture and with those among us that are on the verge of coming to Christ, they seek to indoctrinate them with their own Spiritually bankrupt teaching. These ungodly individuals live for their own sinful lusts. The end of Verse 14 exposes them and their desires: "….an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children…."  Selah! Be on guard, they usually look good on the outside. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly." (Psalm 1a)     Ron

The Fate of False Teachers and the Ungodly-Part Three (Parenthetical)

Bad Good People
 
Obviously, false teachers and other ungodly people are not "cookie-cutter" shaped. Some of the nicest people in the world (humanly speaking) are ungodly. Of course some bad people (again, humanly speaking) are also ungodly. What does it mean to be ungodly? First, it means ignoring God and His Word. Some may give some attention or even respect (in a limited way) to the Bible. Nevertheless, they will not submit to the Lordship of Jesus. Secondly, they live the way they want to (doing some bad and some good). The point is that they run their lives their way instead of God's way. They may be nice, evil, religious, atheists, agnostics, and not sure what to believe. They have this in common: God is not in charge of their lives and they haven't received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Most would not admit that they are as sinful as Scripture declares that we all are, apart from God's grace and mercy. Let me give you one small illustration. Jesus said, "….Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." (From Luke 10:27). Failure to do this perfectly is very sinful and very ungodly. God alone can forgive us and through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, He can cleanse from and cover our sin(s). Our human nature fosters ungodly thinking, desires and behavior. We will live as we choose, not God's way. For example, on a Sunday morning, how many will sleep in, relax, play golf, go fishing, etc. as opposed to going to a Bible believing church and listening carefully to what God is saying to them through the preaching of the Bible? Going to "church" on Sunday is one of God's ways. Not going is the way of the ungodly. Selah! Good works will not get anyone into Heaven, bad works will not keep them out, if they will receive God's salvation and surrender to Him. Are we Godly or ungodly?  Ron