Well, this will probably be my last post for a little over a week. We are having Vacation Bible School every day next week starting Monday, June 7th. Gene and I are teaching 5th graders, Reagan will be going to her age appropriate class, and Gracen will be staying with Gene's mother. Our VBS is from 9:00 to 12:00 every day and Reagan also has swimming lessons a few afternoons. By the time we get home, it will be time for me to get a little housework done and start supper, not to mention prepare the following day's VBS lesson, so I am not going to try to work in computer time too. I may try to pop on the computer at some point and at least post a weekend wrap- up because on Saturday we are having a family reunion in Georgiana, AL in honor of my Granny's birthday. We are leaving around 10:00 tomorrow morning and I am really looking forward to seeing all the family. Unfortunately, Gene is now unable to attend because the church scheduled a visitation blitz for VBS at the same time. Oh well! I will be riding with my parents now, and that means more fellowship time with them.
I wanted to share one more thought from the sermons I have been listening to on 2 Peter by Francis Chan. I have mentioned all the character traits that should be evident in a believer's life according to 2 Peter 1:5-8. To save time, I won't type the entire verse, but the character traits listed were faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Remember, according to verse 9, the degree that these qualities is increasing in my life will show by my fruitfulness and effectiveness in my Christian walk. Makes sense.
Verse 9-11, however, were really eye-opening to me. They say, "For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if your practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom our our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
So if you lack these good qualities you are in sin and basically you are so nearsighted you are blind. Isn't all sin due to nearsightedness? You make a bad choice because you can only see what is right in front of you, the immediate pleasure the sin will bring for the next few minutes. You can't (or refuse to) see the consequences of your choices...consequences that will come months or even years down the road. So you go ahead and you choose the sin, forgetting that you were washed clean....not just from the penalty of sin, but from the sin itself.
2 Peter 2:20-22 talks about "returning to sin or living in sin"..."For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last stage has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herslef, returns to wallow in the mire."
I guess this has really gotten to me because for years we have worked with teenagers and college students and they are at the age where they fall into sinful patterns and then question their salvation. They come to me or Gene for some kind of reassurance that they are truly saved and we can't give them that. Only God knows the heart. Don't we all know someone who we thought was saved and then they just walk away from God and the church I would like to look at people and think they are saved, but according to 2 Peter 1:5-8, and many other places in scripture, if you are truly a believer then you will have "fruit" in your life. You will be displaying the character traits listed, not that it was an exhaustive list. You will also be unable to live in known sin. God through the Holy Spirit will convict His children. It will be a conviction that will lead to repentance, meaning you turn away from the sin and return to Him.
These verses in 2 Peter 1:9 and 2 Peter 2:20-22 are referring to people who hear the gospel and "get it" for a little while. They start coming to church, they attend faithfully, they serve, maybe they even serve on a church staff....but then for whatever reason, they fall back into a pattern of sin. They stop going to church and stop acknowledging God. The Bible says that they are in worse shape than before they heard about Jesus. They are not saved, even if they lived like it for years. If you can live in sin, then you never truly "got it". You can play church for years, but that doesn't mean that you are saved. Christ coming to live within, CHANGES you from the inside out. There will not be a question.
I love 1 Peter 1:11 that says..."In this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the heavenly kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." My pursuit of these character qualities matters. I have never really thought about the reception that I might receive when I enter heaven. I want it to be a "rich entrance". What about you?
If you are out there reading this and you are wondering if you are saved, then a great book of the Bible to read is 1 John. There are many verses in that book that tell believers exactly what our lives should look like. Read it over and over again. Read it every day for a week or for a month and start to compare your life to what you are reading.
Let the Word change you. I know I want it to change me.
Until next time...
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