As you wait
We are all waiting for the return of Christ as he promised. But, how well are you waiting?
Are you impatient and giving up on faith to follow mere natural instincts, or are you encouraging your faith to remain faithful to God’s purposes for your life? Just as the saints of the Old Testament had to faithfully wait for the initial coming of the Emanuel, so we too must faithfully serve him as we wait for his second coming. If we are not active in following his desires, then we will naturally gravitate to serving our own desires. The problem is that we fail to realize that our natural desires are all too often actually contrary to what God would have us to do with our daily lives (see Gal 5:16, 17).
A Call to Persevere
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God of Mercy and justice. I gave 120 years to the people of Noah’s day for them to repent at Noah’s preaching before the flood came. I sent the prophet Jonah to the people of Nineveh, who preached for three days through the streets of that great city and they repented. People forget that I gave Pharaoh and his nation 9 chances to let my people go before I sent the angel of death to take their first born sons. People forget that before I destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, in essence I gave them a second chance when Abraham defeated an enemy army to save them along with Abraham’s nephew Lot who had all been taken captive. People also forget that I could have sent ten thousand angels to save my Son from the cross and just let you go to hell. But in my mercy and grace, I didn’t.
I AM the faithful God of love who takes care of you with my love in this lifetime until that day when I come back to take you home to be with me. I AM the God who faithfully told you this through my apostles so that you would believe me and take me at my word. I have faithfully given you my warnings if you would just believe me. I AM the God who will wait for you to realize my mercy and respond to it. But don’t wait too long.
Heaven is not a reward
So many times we think that heaven is some kind of reward that people can earn by good works or abstaining from wickedness. This is how religions portray it. Verse 21 says quite clearly that God’s love and mercy will bring us to eternal life by faith. Heaven then is simply the place where God lives. Those who have faith are placed in Christ through salvation and thus we will join him where he lives forever. God’s Word promises those who believe this that we can know now where we will spend eternity and we do not have to wait and see. If you are in Christ by his sacrifice for you in faith, then you will wake up one day to find yourself with him where he lives. If this earthly life is all you believe in, then you will wake up one day to find yourself not with him to your eternal regret. As I have mentioned over and over throughout my posts, we only have this life to make this choice to respond by belief in the promises God gives us in his Word.
Romans 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”
Rom 11:32 “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done by by his mercy he saves us…”
Eph 2: 8,9 “For by grace are you saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast…”
The thing about mercy and grace is that they are gifts that must be appreciated by us. They are gifts that we must receive and depend upon if they are to be utilized and beneficial to us for eternity. What are you waiting for?
More to come,