Thursday, September 28, 2017

Peter and Paul Preached the Truth (2 Peter 3:14-18)

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 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.” (2 Peter 3:14–18, NASB95)

In these final words of his final letter, Peter takes this last opportunity to encourage us because of the great hope that we have to live according to that hope in our daily lives. At this time of his life most of the New Testament had been written. Only John and possibly Jude were yet to have been written, though even Jude has so many parallels to 2 Peter that it might have been written very close in time. The apostle Paul would have already have been put to death and all of his letters would have been spread and well recognized. Here, as Peter wraps up his time as the one given by Christ to tend to His sheep, Peter takes this opportunity to endorse the writings of Paul who would make up a significant portion of our New Testament and the majority of the teaching on how we are to live as those who have been saved by Christ.

In restating our need to be on continual guard against false prophets and teachers, Peter directs us to the truth which has been given to us as he had stated earlier in his letter by men who moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21). It doesn’t matter that we might not fully understand all that Paul or even the prophets may have written, what matters is that we know that these men spoke from God. It is then our task to study these words diligently, to continually hide them in our hearts, and to live by all that we learn from them as we rest in the great hope that they declare.

There will always be those who try to twist and distort words, just as there will always be those who welcome those same twisted and distorted words because they play into their own desires. Peter went to great lengths warning us about these false prophets and teachers, even telling us that they would make their way into our churches which we can clearly see today. But he also told us of the future that awaits them, and it is not good. So, knowing that these people are out there and that they are going to make every effort to wiggle their way into our lives, we are to be even more diligent to run to the real source of truth given to us by God through His true prophets and those who penned His inerrant and enduring Word.

We are Christ’s bride and we are called to live accordingly as His dearly beloved being prepared for Him without spot or blemish. We are not His bride singular, but we are as His church His bride and this means that there is also a great priority in His word that we live at peace with one another as we build into one another and stand together in the face of the resistance of the world. We are to be steadfast in our waiting, and continually growing in both the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These are Peter’s last words, and they are great words to encourage us as we together live with the great hope we have in Christ. It’s all about living for Him from now on until that great day when we step into His eternal presence awaiting that great feast when His bride is presented complete with every member present. That’s the time frame God has set, and we can be patient as we wait.

“To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

So, How Should We Then Live? (2 Peter 3:11-13)

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11–13, NASB95)

Francis A. Schaeffer wrote a book and prepared a historical documentary film series titled, “How Should We Then Live?” The retailers’ promo of the book reads like this, “As one of the foremost evangelical thinkers of the twentieth century, Francis Schaeffer long pondered the fate of declining Western culture. In this brilliant book he analyzed the reasons for modern society's state of affairs and presented the only viable alternative: living by the Christian ethic, acceptance of God's revelation, and total affirmation of the Bible's morals, values, and meaning.”

After walking us through the problems of and the eventual end of false teachers, Peter wraps up his letter by asking a question quite similar to that of Francis Schaeffer (and nearly a couple thousand years earlier). Since we know that the prevalence of evil will result in the eventual destruction of everything we see, how should we then live? Those who have suffered great loss because of a house fire have known the reality of their possessions going up in smoke. Peter reminds his readers that this earth and all of the heavens will be destroyed by intense heat. It will literally all go away. It will no longer exists, and all who have done evil on it will be judged in the process. Everything that they chased after would have proven to be a total and absolute loss. Their words would have proven empty. Their alters would have served them no good. And, their fortresses would have been worthless. Nothing that they saw as a foundation upon which to stand will remain, and everything that they stood for would prove futile. It will all have been a waste.

There is only one foundation that will remain, and it is Christ. He will destroy evil and He will establish new heavens and a new earth. This is our great hope. When Jesus left His disciples He told them, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2–3, NASB95) And in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 we get a picture of what it will be like on that day as well as what we are to expect.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”” (Revelation 21:1–4, NASB95)

The room of which Christ spoke were not limited to those He left on that night, but they refer to all who have been saved. We are that bride that adorned for her husband. Paul told us this in Ephesians chapter 5 as he compared the marriage relationship between that of Christ and His church. We read, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25–27, NASB95)

Well, that day will come when we stand before our Lord as His church—His cleansed and glorious bride without any spot or wrinkle. This is His promise and it is our hope, and no persecutor or mocker is going to take that away. We will have a new home specially prepared for us by our God, where He will dwell with us. Death will cease to exist. There will be no more aches and pains, no mourning or crying. All that we struggle with now will have passed away and we will stand perfected before Him. Revelations 21:5 says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

John’s description does not end there. We continue to read, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:9–27, NASB95)

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1–5, NASB95)

What an incredible future He has for us! And, John having been shown this was given these words by Christ for us. ““And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”… “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20–21, NASB95)

Remember Peter that Peter had just told us that to God one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. We are not to become discouraged because our days seem too long. Christ gives us the ability to stand. He gives us the ability to endure. And, He has given us these words as our great hope that He indeed is “coming quickly.”

In response, and as we’ve seen even in these last words or Revelation, these truths should impact the way we live. Knowing Christ and knowing His promise we are to live in response as people who know His truth and abide by it with hope moment by moment and day by day. “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God….”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Their Day will Come (2 Peter 3:10)

"(10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10, NASB95)

For those opposed to God the “day of the Lord” is not a good thing. This term or terms similar to it are used numerous times in the Old and New Testaments, and it could refer to either a near future judgment or a far future judgment or both. But when it is used judgment is included, and those who stand opposed to God are caught off guard when it comes. Ultimately all of these judgments will culminate in two remaining judgments. The first is at his return to establish His millennial kingdom and then another at the end when the final judgment is pronounced and evil is ended.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the near and the far because the cycles of rebellion in Israel were so cyclical that God intervened more than once to bring both the surrounding nations and His people into judgment as all of the judgments pointed to a great and final judgment. The end was not to be lost sight of in bringing about the present. An example of this can be seen in Isaiah’s pronouncement of the not yet powerful again nation of Babylon as recorded in chapters 13 and 14. Here are just a few of the verses:

“The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. Lift up a standard on the bare hill, raise your voice to them, wave the hand that they may enter the doors of the nobles. I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, to execute My anger. A sound of tumult on the mountains, like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! The Lord of hosts is mustering the army for battle. They are coming from a far country, from the farthest horizons, The Lord and His instruments of indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the Lord is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will fall limp, and every man’s heart will melt. They will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them; They will writhe like a woman in labor, they will look at one another in astonishment, their faces aflame. Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light. (11) Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. (12) I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir. (13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the Lord of hosts In the day of His burning anger.” (Isaiah 13:1–13, NASB95)

Oh, what a day! In 539 B.C. this great nation fell, or at least changed hands. The problem is that when Babylon fell that it fell quietly and seemingly overnight. Here is how the events leading up to it transpired according to the record of Daniel as he interpreted for King Belshazzar the handwriting on the wall.

“Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN.’ “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENĒ’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. “ ‘TEKĒL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. “ ‘PERĒS’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom. That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain.” (Daniel 5:25–30, NASB95)

A note in one of my study Bibles describes that night this way: “One ancient account alleged that Persia’s General Ugbaru had troops dig a trench to divert and thus lower the waters of the Euphrates River. Since the river flowed through the city of Babylon, the lowered water enabled besiegers to unexpectedly invade via the waterway under the thick walls and reach the palace before the city was aware. The end then came quickly, as guards, Belshazzar, and others were slain on Oct. 16, 539 B.C.” (The MacArthur Study Bible)

So, did Isaiah get some bad information or was he speaking of some other event? Clearly Babylon fell and it eventually disappeared as a once great nation, but its influence remained as it permeated much of culture. Babylon has also become symbolic of evil and even the rise of a great nation of evil (whether eventually real or figurative), and when Christ returns this great evil will be destroyed seemingly just as quickly as the early Babylon changed hands. Chapter 14 of Isaiah help to clarify the prophecy when we see words of Israel’s restoration that resemble other descriptions of that day following the tribulation period when Christ comes to establish Israel once again under His personal 1,000 year or Millennial reign.

We see this final judgment pronounced once again in Revelation as three angels speak from God. “And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.” Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”” (Revelation 14:6–11, NASB95)

Then sure enough, “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.” (Revelation 16:17–21, NASB95)

And then, “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong. “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’” (Revelation 18:1–10, NASB95)

Then in Revelation 19 we read of our Lord’s return. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”” (Revelation 19:11–16, NASB95)

What follows in chapter 20 is Christ’s thousand-year reign, which is followed by His final defeat of Satan, and then the great white throne judgment—the day when those whose names were not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire.

These are the great days of the Lord which will come upon those who live with a blatant disregard for God will find come upon them as a thief. Chapter 21 of Revelation begins with these words, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1, NASB95)

The mockers will talk to us as if we are fools, but we know better. Our Lord will return and when He does it will not go well. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1, NASB95) 

Monday, September 25, 2017

How Much Longer? (2 Peter 3:8-9)

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8–9, NASB95)

“How Much Longer?” This is probably one of the most asked questions when traveling with kids. If not, it is probably closely aligned with “Where are we going?” At least this is the case in our household. The where are we going was frequently answered with either, “To the bologna palace” or “To the moon.” And, the time question was frequently answered with “five more minutes.” My kids did get serious answers as well, but these were some of the ones used when we did not know exactly how long, we did not want to disclose, maybe did not even know ourselves, or were tired of being asked. I do tend to pull on a leg every now and then, and it is probably reflected here. I don’t want to get his wrong, so I won’t be specific about who said it or when. But, I was told that my grandfather was so good at pulling legs (with a wink in his eye) that people could only walk one direction around the mountain afterward.

But in all seriousness and in the face of being taunted for our Lord not having returned, Peter adds here a powerful statement about the difference in how we see time and in how God sees time. Sure, God can see it as we do. But He also sees it from His eternal perspective and, in seeing it, He sees every minute detail that fits in along the way.

We count time in minutes, hours, months and even years. There are even some, such as top-level athletes, who count it in fractions of seconds as well as scientists and theorists who attempt to count in ages and eons. But every single person who has ever lived has done some inside the framework of time and lives in the context of time.

These believers to whom Peter was writing had definitely been waiting for the return of Jesus for an extended period of time (from their perspective), and we today continue even now in that same wait. The mockers around them were very much aware of this, and they were using this apparent ‘delay’ on God’s part in an attempt to erode away at the believers’’ trust in Christ and the fulfillment of His promise to come again. The enduring word of God had escaped the mockers’ attention as we read in the previous verses. And, in these verses Peter writes so that his readers would not have this important fact escape theirs.

Here it is: “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.”

We get so focused on our time frame and the situations that surround us in our limited lifespan, that it becomes very easy to lose sight of the fact that our God exists outside of time. He created all that exists, and He put each of us into it in a particular place in time. But He is not constrained to either place or time as we are.

This does not mean that God is indifferent to the struggles we endure or the length of time that it takes for some things to come about or even pass. God knows us intimately just as He fully knows everyone who has gone before or who is yet to come. My favorite Psalm always has been and will most likely always continue to be Psalm 139. In the first 16 verses we read of His intimate awareness of and involvement in our lives.

"(1) O Lord, You have searched me and known me. (2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. (3) You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. (4) Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. (5) You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. (6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (7) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (8) If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (9) If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, (10) Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. (11) If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” (12) Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. (15) My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; (16) Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:1–16, NASB95)

Think about just this part of the psalm for a few minutes: You have searched and known; You know when; You understand; You scrutinize and are intimately acquainted; You know the word on my tongue before it is said; You have enclosed me; Your hand is on me; You are everywhere I am regardless of height or depth, light or dark; Darkness and light are alike to You; I am your wonderful work; I am skillfully wrought by You; Your eyes saw me before I ever was, and in Your book every single day of my lie was laid out before there was ever one of them.

This is how well our God knows us. He knows us from before to after, and there is nothing that isn’t known by Him. This can only be possible because our God exists outside of time, and He holds the fullness of time in His hands. And what seems like an eternity to us, is known by Him in the fullness of what really is eternity and He keeps it in perspective.

God does not panic. He is purposeful, and in this passage Peter reminds us of the great purpose behind anything that we might see as a delay. He wrote, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that was lost. God knows every single one of those individuals, and has known them before there was ever one day to them as we read in Psalm 139. With this knowledge, He and He alone is knowledgeable and wise as to when to bring the waiting to an end. Consider the patience that He has shown to you over the years.

I know that He has been incredibly patient with me. I have messed up some many times and in so many ways, and yet He continues to love me, grow me, care for me, and use me. I may not understand the ways at times or even the delays, but I do understand that He has it fully in control. And, as weak as I am, I am called by Him to trust Him with every breath and every step to bring me exactly to where He wants. He knew me when I was a young boy and a bus would come into our Navy housing tract and pick us up and bring us to a midweek church program. He knew me when I was in high school and even took up Transcendental Meditation for a brief season in search of answers. And, His Spirit kept me on edge during this time such that I did not continue, but was opened to something else. He knew me the day I attended a church during my senior year of high school and heard the incredible message of Psalm 139 and just how much He really knew me and loved me. Christ could have returned at any time before that date, but God delayed. And, He is still delaying today as He knows every single person who has been chosen and is called by Him.

I don’t know where you are in this season, but I know that our God is present and He is powerful. Someday His Son will return, and until that time we will all continue to live a certain number of days after which we will be judged. The only difference maker is salvation in Christ, and Peter said that this is why Christ has yet to come. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Know This - Judgment Will Come (2 Peter 3:3-7)

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:3–7, NASB95)

Watch out. Things will get worse. Before Christ returns there will be those who mock Christ, Christians, and our faith as they chase after what they want for themselves. The believers to whom Peter wrote two thousand years ago were in the last days just as we are today. Nothing has changed in this regard other than time and the growing disregard for truth that we’ve seen surface and resurface time and time again. Knowing this, as Christians, Peter wrote to us to encourage us to endure through it knowing that our hope is real and the wait is worth it.

Man’s perspective is generally based in what he can see, and when what he sees seems not to change and possibly even worsen it is very easy for man to lose hope. So, telling us that people are going to mock us as fools because our hope has not been fully realized deals head on with this perception of man apart from God and prepares us with the fuel that we need to continue the journey. Peter strongly reaffirms that Christ will return and that He will deal with these ambassadors of evil. But he also cautioned us to remain strong because it would likely not happen in a way that we count as soon.

When Jesus was preparing to leave He made it very clear that He would come back for His followers. He also made it clear that there would be a time of judgment. Both are true. As Peter was anticipating his own leaving and looking to those who would make things difficult for Christians, Peter used his last words to encourage believers in the truth that Christ was coming back and He will bring all this stuff to an end. Peter did not tell us how long we are to wait, but He did give us a firm assurance that God’s judgment of evil would come.

In the meantime, they may mock us thinking that they are getting away with it. But God’s Word makes it very clear that they aren’t. They may feel safe taunting Christians saying things such as, “If you’re so certain that Jesus is real, then, where is He?” By the time of Peter’s writing thirty years had passed, and Jesus had not returned. And the naysayers were growing bolder. It’s not hard for us today to imagine their bold taunting because we see the same kinds of taunting today as people jab at His not yet coming as some kind of proof that He won’t. These false teachers and antagonists of Christians pull no punches in their effort to try to demoralize and dissuade Christians, and Peter knew it would only get worse.

Pushing Christ aside, these false prophets boast in their own license and the pursuit of their own pleasures as they ridicule Christians for being faithful. They claim that history has proven their point. After all, look at the prophets and how long they had to wait, and still no King Jesus. “If Jesus was so great, then, where is He?” Having no fear of God, they taunt those who seek after Him as fools for looking to Him for so long only to die one generation after another. Nothing has changed.

Peter described their mocking with these words, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” Then he spoke of the very things that they neglect in making this statement. We read, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.” Standing as creations of God in the creation of God they miss they truth that He created all that they see and that has been seen. They miss the truth that God formed the earth out of water and that He even had judged man in the past for his great evil by a worldwide flood. They look to their own apparent freedom to do as they please, and they totally miss that it is God who created them and even holds everything together now.

They miss His persistent hand in all that has gone before them, and they are blind to the fact that He currently holds it all together even as final judgment draws closer and closer. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16–17, NASB95) It escapes their notice that God creates and sustains, and it definitely escapes their notice that God has also said that He will come to judge and destroy. Peter added, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” This is not something kept for those who believe, because we have a great hope to be brought into a new heaven and a new earth to be with Him forever. But those who reject Him, their end is equally certain and it is not good.

On July 8th, 1741 Jonathan Edwards delivered the historic sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It is a classic, and among the many notable quotes that it contains, Jonathan Edwards wrote, “That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.” … “The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”

Near the end of his sermon he turned his attention to the great opportunity that exists for all who are currently under judgment and who have been granted the opportunity for life. He continued, “And now you have an extraordinary Opportunity, a Day wherein Christ has flung the Door of Mercy wide open, and stands in the Door calling and crying with a loud Voice to poor Sinners; a Day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the Kingdom of God; many are daily coming from the East, West, North and South; many that were very lately in the same miserable Condition that you are in, are in now an happy State, with their Hearts filled with Love to Him that has loved them and washed them for their Sins in his own Blood, and rejoycing in Hope of the Glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a Day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoycing and singing for Joy of Heart, while you have Cause to mourn for Sorrow of Heart, and howl for Vexation of Spirit! How can you rest one Moment in such a Condition? Are not your Souls as precious as the Souls of the People at Suffield, where they are flocking from Day to Day to Christ?”

The call that Jonathan Edwards made in the face of impending judgment is just as relevant today. For those of us who have trusted in Christ we know that we won’t be left behind in that Day, but for those who have not trusted in Him for their salvation and had their sins washed in “his own Blood,” there is still hope because God has delayed. “How can you rest one Moment in such a Condition?” Don’t be swayed by the mockers.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Important Stuff, So Listen Up (2 Peter 3:1-2)

“This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” (2 Peter 3:1–2, NASB95)

Peter affirmed both the purpose of this letter and its critical importance. He wrote that this is the second time that he had written to stir up their minds by way of reminder. And even in the writing his two letters this was not the first time that these things had been spoken, but were in fact the things that even the prophet had warned about in time before. The prophets had warned about both coming judgment and the coming of the Lord.

“For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger.” (Isaiah 13:10–13, NASB95)

“Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:15, NASB95)

These words that have been kept for us are the Word of God, all of them. Whether they deal with salvation or judgment, following or rebelling, God or man, all of them are the truth given to us by God as He spoke through His apostles and prophets. And being given to us by Him, they are important for us to hide in our hearts and adhere to in our lives. In them we find shown to us God’s great love for us shown in big and small ways, and we also find God’s wrath for those who work against Him. In the Bible, we have consistency in the message.

In the last chapter, Peter had focused heavily on the dangers of the false prophets and teachers and the judgment that awaits them. In this chapter Peter transitions from the warnings against false prophets and teachers to the hope that we have in Christ as He brings all things to their right and proper end.

But before moving through a last sober warning and the accompanying hope, let’s review where we’ve already been. In the first four verses of chapter one he reminded us of the great faith that we share “by the righteousness of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” We share so much in Him, and we are to be continually reminded and encouraged in these truths. Then in verse 8 we have the words, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence” as we are encouraged in how we are to live in response to what He has done. Then in verse 9 we have a description of those who ignore these important applications of truth, calling these people “blind and shortsighted.” Knowing the dangers, in verse 10, he heightened the importance of our walking rightly by telling his readers to “be all the more diligent to make certain of His calling and choosing” of us. It is as we live according to how we are called that we protect ourselves from stumbling.

In verse 12 he stated that these things were so important that he would not quit reminding them until the Lord took Him home, which was something that he knew was going to happen very soon. Having reinforced these things in writing after having seared them in their ears, he stated in verse 15 that he trusted that they would be able to recall them after his departure (death). Second Peter is Peter’s last written words, and they carry with them the things that represented the greatest burden on his heart as he was moved by the Holy Spirit to care for us. So, when he states that these things were worthy of repeating time and time again we are well served to pay attention to them repeatedly ourselves.

With verse 16, Peter affirmed the truthfulness of his word by stating that he and the other apostles were personal eyewitnesses not only to the power and coming of Christ, but also to His majesty being revealed in their presence. In verse 19 he then wrote that what the apostles were testifying to was the same things to which the prophets pointed long ago. God’s plan had not changed, but with the coming of Christ is was made much more certain in that the Son had been revealed and salvation had been secured. What was pointed to had come to pass, and the apostles were eyewitnesses to it happening.

Chapter 1 concluded with these words of critical importance as we today regard our Bibles and the words in them. He wrote, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:21, NASB)

Then came chapter 2 which was wholly devoted to the dangers of false prophets (and teachers) and the destruction they bring in pursuit of their own glory. These men proclaiming great things and seeking their own glory were, and are in reality headed to the end of the black darkness reserved for the devil and his cohorts. This is a place that Scripture describes will be marked by wailing and the gnashing of teeth. Over one-third of this letter is devoted to uncovering and describing them as we are encouraged to know and apply the truth of God so that we will not be deluded by them. These are the things (and more) that bring us to chapter 3 where Peter turns his attention to the last days in which we continue to await our Lord’s appearing.

Peter began by speaking of the importance of knowing and living according to the truth of Christ recorded in the Scriptures. Here at the beginning of chapter 3 he returns to restate that this is indeed the reason that He wrote this second letter.

In John 8:31-32 we read, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32, NASB95) And to those in the crowd who questioned Him, Jesus continued, “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47, NASB95)

The Holy Spirit brings God’s Word to life for us. What we once could not see, the Spirit makes us to see. And, what makes the difference is this most important truth that Jesus Christ was sent as the Son by the Father for our salvation. It you haven’t started there then don’t be surprised if the rest of what you read and hear sounds strange. We read in 2 Corinthians, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4, NASB95) But God’s Spirit opens eyes as well. If this is new to you, please shoot me a message and I’d be happy to talk with you more.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;” (2 Peter 1:2, NASB95)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

They Exchange Grace for Greed (2 Peter 2:20-22)

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”” (2 Peter 2:20–22, NASB95)

Having moved away from the things of the world toward Christ, these false prophets have now entangled themselves even more in the things from which they first sought to escape. The real issue here is that in coming to Christ they apparently did so on their own terms, and were never truly converted and set free from the enslavement to sin. Having heard the true gospel, they embraced something less and then eventually turned away even from that. In verse 1 we read of them, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1, NASB95)

In verse 1 we read that they were bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Here in these verses we read that where they wound up was worse than where they first begun. We saw this several posts ago in the example of Jim Jones, whose religious empire collapsed around him resulting in the deaths of nearly 1,000 people and his own suicide. The way of the false teacher ends in destruction, and Peter said that this end is much more drastic than the deception with which they first began. We have read in these passages that God is swift and sure with His judgment, and time after time He has proven this so. Even in those where the destruction has not been so obvious to us, we know that God is faithful in His judgment after their death, which is where the real final execution of the penalty of judgment is exacted.

Where we often struggle in this is with our own time frames and with what we can see. But later in this letter Peter will also deal with this when we read of His reason for delay in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NASB95) If He is slow toward each of Peter’s readers and us, not exacting judgment on us immediately then we are encouraged even to trust Him to be appropriate in His timing even with these false prophets.

But it will happen unless they are truly saved. And, Peter said of those who don’t that because of their knowledge of the truth they will be held accountable to the standard of that knowledge and what they did in abusing it, especially as it pertains to all that they deceived in the process.

For these false prophets, Peter said what happened to them was according to a true proverb or possibly two proverbs. The first of them, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” is found in Proverbs 26:11. “Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11, NASB95) Verse 12 of that proverb continues, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12, NASB95) These arrogant men are worse than a fool. They are like a dog that eats the very thing that it just threw up. They get so immersed in their lies that they swallow them themselves hook, line, and sinker. 

Jews did not hold dogs in high regard. Neither did they hold the animal of the next example, which is the pig. The source of this proverb is a little more uncertain. It may have been from the “Story of Ahikar,” (or Haiqar the Wise, the Vizier of Sennacherib the King) which was written in the late 5th century B.C.. As the story reads, Ahikar had 60 wives, but no son. So, he pleaded to God for a son. We read, 

“And he returned, and implored the Most High God, and believed, beseeching Him with a burning in his heart, saying, '0 Most High God, 0 Creator of the Heavens and of the earth, o Creator of all created things! I beseech Thee to give me a boy, that I may be consoled by him, that he may be present at my death, that he may close my eyes, and that he may bury me.’”

“Then there came to him a voice saying, 'Inasmuch as thou hast relied first of all on graven images, and hast offered sacrifices to them, for this reason thou Shalt remain childless thy life long. But take Nadan thy sister's son, and make him thy child and teach him thy learning and thy good breeding, and at thy death he shall bury thee.’”

“Thereupon he took Nadan his sister's son, who was a little suckling. And he handed him over to eight wet-nurses, that they might suckle him and bring him up. And they brought him up with good food and gentle training and silken clothing, and purple and crimson. And he was seated upon couches of silk. And when Nadan grew big and walked, shooting up like a tall cedar, he taught him good manners and writing and science and philosophy., so he adopted his nephew.”

Great, now he had his son. But, how does the proverb quoted by Peter apply? Well, as the story goes as the vizier grew old he bestowed his favor on his adopted son, and they continued to pour into him such that we read at the end of chapter 1, “And he took Nadan his sister's son with him and seated him in a parlour and set about teaching him night and day till he had crammed him with wisdom and knowledge more than with bread and water.” Chapter 2 then goes on with 66 verses with each one of them beginning with “O my son!” which was then followed by a different life instruction. The last verse of chapter 2 read, “There are four things in which neither the king nor his army can be secure: oppression by the vizier, and bad government, and perversion of the will, and tyranny over the subject; and four things which cannot be hidden: the prudent, and the foolish, and the rich, and the poor.”

Chapter 3 then begins, “THUS spake Haiqar, and when he had finished these injunctions and proverbs to Nadan, his sister's son, he imagined that he would keep them all, and he knew not that instead of that he was displaying to him weariness and contempt and mockery.” Well, as it turned out Nadan did not heed the advice of his uncle and he even conspired before the king to bring down his uncle and take his place. Then in chapter 6 the tables turned and things collapsed on Nadan. We read,

“And Sennacherib the king said, 'Take him, I have given him to thee,' And Haiqar took Nadan, his sister's son, and bound his hands with chains of iron, and took him to his dwelling, and put a heavy fetter on his feet, and tied it with a tight knot, and after binding him thus he cast him into a dark room, beside the retiring - place, and appointed Nebu - hal as sentinel over him and commanded him to give him a loaf of bread and a little water every day.”

CHAP. VII, “Striking similes. Ahikar calls the boy picturesque names. Here ends the story of Ahikar. AND whenever Haiqar went in or out he scolded Nadan, his sister's son, saying to him wisely: 0 Nadan, my boy! I have done to thee all that is good and kind. and thou hast rewarded me for it with what is ugly and bad and with killing. '0 my son! it is said in the proverbs: He who listeneth not with his ear, they will make him listen with the scruff of his neck.’”

Then Ahikar proceeded to scold Nadan verse after verse about the things that he had done and the consequence of them. In verse 28 of that scolding we read, “0 my son! thou hast been to me like the pig who went into the hot bath with people of quality, and when it came out of the hot bath, it saw a filthy hole and it went down and, wallowed in it.” The end for Nadan was drastic.

“my boy! what shall I say more to thee than these sayings? for the Lord knoweth what is' hidden, and is acquainted with the mysteries and the secrets. And He will requite thee and will judge betwixt me and thee, and will recompense thee according to thy desert,' And when Nadan heard that speech from his uncle Haiqar, he swelled up immediately and became like a blown-out bladder. And his limbs swelled and his legs and his feet and his side, and he was torn and his belly burst asunder and his entrails were scattered, and he perished, and died. And his latter end was destruction, and he went to hell. For he who digs a pit for his brother shall fall into it; and he who sets up traps shall be caught in them.”

“This is what happened and (what) we found about the tale of Haiqar, and praise be to God for ever. Amen, and peace. “This chronicle is finished with the help of God, may He be exalted: Amen, Amen, Amen.”

Nadan had been shown greatness and he rejected it, exchanging it for his own desire for glory. This proverb was evidently quite popular and was likely known to Peter’s audience, and whether or not it was what Peter actually quoted from its lesson certainly is consistent with the words of this passage.

God has declared that He will deal seriously with those who deceive His sheep. As we walk before Him and hide His word in our hearts we need to be diligent ourselves to be on guard for false teachers. They are around. They are polished. They are persistent, and they will destroy. God’s Word has been given to us to guard us against such men. It is only in His Son that we have life and it is by His Word in the power of His Spirit that we are to live. And to twist the well-known words of a lawyer from years past, “It it doesn’t fit, we must REJECT!”

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Turning from Dry Wells, Empty Clouds and Darkness (2 Peter 2:17-19)

“These [false prophets] are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:17–19, NASB95)

The danger of false teachers is a big deal. The words that Peter has used concerning them and that he will use in the next verses makes this fact quite clear. The damage that comes to people who are swayed by their enticements is vast. When people disconnect from truth and align themselves with their falsehoods the doors to destruction swing wide open.

Peter calls them “springs [or wells] without water.” Think about the huge disappointment that a thirsty traveler would have when finally arriving at a long awaited and greatly thirsted after well, only to find that it had gone dry. That’s how empty the false teacher’s words are and how disappointing the outcome when someone winds up at the end of their path and finds out just how wrong their journey had been. They have no spiritual water to give to the thirsty soul. Jesus Himself declared that there is only one well from which we can drink to receive living water. This is what He told the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13–14, NASB95) False prophets can’t give this. Their well is empty and their water is worthless.

He also called them “mists driven by a storm.” While portions of Texas are currently undergoing flooding because of the huge amount of water dumped on them by a storm, our part of the country is buried under clouds of smoke with nothing to offer in the way of water to put out the raging fires. I think of this last picture as our skies are darkened and the sun is occluded by the smoke and think about just how empty the promises are of these well-spoken false teachers that have been so prevalent throughout time and even today. They mask the truth and darken the eyes of their hearers as they are swallowed up by their words of allurement. They might offer freedom from oppression, acceptance of their aberrance, or offers of opportunity and prosperity. There is no limit to which these evil teachers will go as they seek followers who will forward their own vain desires.

These false prophets offer refreshment that people might enjoy for a season, but the end when their storm has passed is ultimate darkness. Peter said that the “black darkness” has been reserved for them. Jude said of them, “These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 12–13, NASB95) Jesus described this black darkness using the same description three times, saying, “but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12, NASB95; see also Matthew 22:13; 25:30) He also described it as “the fiery furnace” (Matthew 13:42) or simply that place where there would be that same weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Looking to the rest of Scripture we see that the place reserved for these false teachers in none other than hell. And, the book of Revelation tells us their certain end. “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” … “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10, 14–15, NASB95)

These false teachers are a big deal and we need to be on guard against them. God has given us a measuring stick and that stick is His Word. He has also given us the only way and that way is in His Son. Anyone who strays from the Word and preaches anyone or anything other than Christ is not to be listened to. It doesn’t matter how good what they have to say might sound. It doesn’t matter if they are playing to our greatest fleshly desire. It doesn’t matter at all what they offer or how polished they seem. If it is not the truth of God’s Word and it is not centered in salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ we need to close our ears and turn them away. They are not from God, and their end is judgment lest they also hear the truth and believe.

These evil men prey especially on weak people. They go after those with anxiety and offer peace. They go after those with broken lives and offer family. And they go after those estranged and offer acceptance. Their bait is effective as they go after people looking for an escape or release from their past and a new beginning. And, those who are snared, having thought they had finally escaped, eventually find that they had only been trapped again. The weakness that was used to lure them in, becomes the chain that keeps them.

The harsh reality is that these false teachers cannot offer deliverance because they themselves are slaves to the very same corruption from which they seek to offer release. They are in bondage and all that they can offer to those who follow them is the same bondage.

But the great news is that not one of us needs to remain in that bondage. There is hope. There is freedom. It is not found in the ways of the false teacher, but only in the One who came in the fullness of grace and truth. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34–36, NASB95)

Jesus Christ is the One and only Son of God. He is our salvation and freedom. He, being fully God took, on the form of man to give His life for the forgiveness of our sins, and He took it back up again to return to the Father demonstrating His power over death and His ability to give us the life that God promised. All we have to do is turn to Him believing that He is and ask Him to forgive our sins and save us like He promised He would do, and Scripture declares that He will do it.

Jesus also said, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32, NASB95) What the false prophets are unable to do, Jesus has promised to do which is to give us true freedom in His truth.