Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.7 How Will We Be Saved???
We were blessed with a thought-provoking message this morning and I’d like to use its inspiration to share an often-neglected subject today!!! There have always been false teachers, preachers and prophets in the past, and they are still with us today! But we must understand truth, so we can recognize the subtlety of their deception. God’s truth ever stands, and we can stand in the power of His might, truth and sovereignty, resting assured in His provision. Peter gives us some great insight into this eternal conflict.
“Knowing this first,
that there shall come
in the last days
walking after their own lusts,
4 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.
5 For this they willingly are 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:
6 Whereby the world
that then was,
being overflowed with water,
perished:” 2 Peter 3:3-6
Peter knew that there were those in His day that rejected the creation account of scripture, and they are still among us today, and if we aren’t in the “last days”, I don’t know where we are. Our culture and the world around us, just like those that Peter refers to, have chosen to deny the presence and work of God in our world. They not only deny His creative work, but also His very existence and certainly His presence among us. Believers are ridiculed for trusting in “myths” and “fantasy” or “pie in the sky”, but we can “stand fast in the evil day”, knowing God has saved and redeemed us because He loves us, and has called us to continue to spread the Good News of The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Yet Peter didn’t stop there, He also reminded us that as God judged the world and destroyed all living creatures in the flood of Noah’s time, He is coming again in the final judgment of this world, for sin and unrighteousness! And He will judge the world according to His Son Jesus!
“Because he hath appointed a day,
in the which he will judge the world
by that man
whom he hath ordained;
whereof he hath given assurance
unto all men,
in that he hath raised him
from the dead.” Acts 17:31
One of Paul’s most concise messages was this message to the Athenians, proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus to the them—the point at which they ridiculed him. But the point that Paul makes is that the assurance of the power of God, is the raising of Jesus from the dead– the assurance that HE will judge the world by Jesus! And I can’t help but believe that day is closer than we realize. And as an old gospel song says, “this time it won’t be by water, but by fire!” And only those who are ‘washed in the Blood of The Lamb’ will be delivered from that fire. All because of God’s amazing grace and love, which Jesus accomplished at the cross. He was lifted up in death that we might live and not experience the judgment of God.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
that one day is with the Lord
as a thousand years,
and a thousand years
as one day.
9 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.
10 But the day of the Lord will come
as a thief in the night;
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.
11 Seeing then that all these things
shall be dissolved,
what manner of persons ought ye to be
in all holy conversation
and godliness,” 2 Peter 3:8-11
Peter reminds us of the coming judgment of God, and encourages us to be bold and faithful in godly living and conversation (our words and deeds!). We must focus on God and living for Him, and to His glory–whether anyone believes us or not. We are called to share The Gospel, knowing that only The Holy Spirit of God can change and transform hearts and lives! And born again, redeemed men, women, boys and girls will not undergo this ‘wrath’ of God.
“Much more then,
being now justified
by his blood,
we shall be saved from wrath
10 For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God
by the death of his Son,
we shall be saved
by his life.
11 And not only so,
but we also joy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom we have now received
the atonement.” Romans 5:9-11
Praise God it is the Resurrection Power that saves, keeps and delivers us from the wrath of God, and just as it did in the past, it is doing in the present and it will do in the future. To get to the real focus for today, let’s consider at a short passage in 1 Peter 4. First Peter was written to a people who were suffering for their faith, and he encourages them to press on, knowing that God is at work in everything around us, even our suffering. Peter also reminds us that we will give an account of our living and our service to Jesus, but without condemnation!!!
“For the time is come
that judgment must begin
at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be
of them that obey not
the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved,
where shall the ungodly
and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer
according to the will of God
commit the keeping of their souls
to him in well doing,
as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:17-19
Peter assures believers that even when we suffer for Our Lord, it is God to whom we can ever “commit the keeping of their souls”! Even as Jesus reminds us:
“And fear not them which kill the body,
but are not able to kill the soul:
but rather fear him
which is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Only God can destroy the soul in Hell, and those who refuse Jesus will recognize that too late, but they will bow:
“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name
which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:8-11
Jesus gave His life for mine/yours, and we can commit our lives, our souls and our future to HIM! He is a worthy God, Savior and Redeemer, and by the blood of The Lamb, we live! But what does Peter mean when he says that judgment must begin “at the house of God”? I’d like to share a few thoughts in response to that question.
Judgment begins “at the house of God” because our sin has been judged at the cross. God saves our lives and souls from sin at the cross! The cross of Jesus brings us to God as His Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, births us into His Kingdom.
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access
into this grace
wherein we stand,
of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
“There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
2 For the law
of the Spirit of life
in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
Praise God we are made free from condemnation and wrath; but we must remember that we are at war with the “prince of the power of the air”, the one who is ever against us in this world, Satan. He hates us, and all that God intends to do in, through and with us; and we will suffer persecution of one sort or another when we choose to live our lives faithfully before God. You can choose to blend in with the world, and loose your ‘saltiness’, and dim your ‘light’ so it won’t shine the light of Jesus, but when we choose to follow The Lord and His Word we will encounter opposition.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Not a message that we hear often, but Paul told his son in the ministry, that suffering would be the norm for those who follow Jesus faithfully and “live godly in Christ Jesus”! Just as Peter told those he wrote to, we are to live in light of eternity, not our temporal circumstances! When we march to the beat of a different drummer, others will notice, but they won’t always like it. And in these days of “tolerance”, people seem to expect tolerance to be given to everyone except those who believe in the historical, biblical, Word-of-God Christian faith; those of us who believe that God hasn’t changed His Word or “the rules”!
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:6
Only One way then! Only One way now–and that way is Jesus! When we are saved by His grace, through His death, which bore our sin, and condemnation, while His righteousness was imparted to us. Judgment is a reality; experience it yourself, if you reject Jesus; or you can receive the gift that God offers in Jesus, “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. (See Col. 1:14)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Judgment begins with us, we who have been to the cross and accepted the substitutionary judgment that Jesus took for us at Calvary! But the rest of Peter’s question is the saddest of all things to me—there are those who will refuse the gift of God. As Peter put it:
“if the righteous scarcely be saved,
where shall the ungodly
and the sinner appear?”
When God offers the gift of salvation, those who reject His gift will face the consequences of their choice. They won’t stand before the cross and receive grace; they will stand before the throne of God and receive the just reward of their own choice!
“For what is a man profited,
if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come
in the glory of his Father
with his angels;
and then he shall reward
according to his works.” Matthew 16:26-27
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
The believer will give an account of his working out of his salvation, because our sins are under the blood of Jesus; but the unbelieving will stand before God and give an account of every word and deed without the blood of Jesus!
“And I saw a great white throne,
and him that sat on it,
from whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away;
and there was found no place
12 And I saw the dead,
small and great,
stand before God;
and the books were opened:
and another book was opened,
which is the book of life:
and the dead were judged
out of those things
which were written in the books,
according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead
which were in it;
and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them:
and they were judged
according to their works.
14 And death and hell
were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written
in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
“…….I will recompense them
according to their deeds,
and according to the works
of their own hands.” Jeremiah 25:14b
So Peter’s question isn’t talking about ‘working’ for our salvation, but the difference of having our sin paid for in Jesus, or paying for our own sin our own self—which is eternal death in the Lake of Fire. But we who belong to Jesus will be the recipients of His promises and His eternal presence. All this by God’s grace, and we can walk in the confidence that God is working all things to His glory and our good! We can keep our eyes on eternity, by the power of His Spirit working in us—regardless of our circumstances.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage
again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit,
that we are the children of God:
17 And if children,
heirs of God,
and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with him,
that we may be also glorified
18 For I reckon that the sufferings
of this present time
are not worthy to be compared
with the glory
which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:14-18
There is no comparison of this life to the eternal life with Jesus in glory! And when we are called to suffer we can have total confidence in our God who is in control of it all.
“Nevertheless I am continually
thou hast holden me
by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me
with thy counsel,
and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth
that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo,
they that are far from thee
thou hast destroyed all them
that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works.” Psalm 73:23-25
We can count on God’s faithfulness regardless of our circumstances. What are you trusting in today? Will you choose forgiveness and redemption through Jesus or will you choose to reject HIM and pay for your own sin. And may we who know Him, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” May we joyfully and confidently proclaim with the Psalmist!
“But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works.”
Amen and Amen. Won’t you trust HIM and “declare all” HIS works to a lost and dying world. Eternity is ahead!