Whoever abandons the right path will be severely punished; whoever hates correction will die. (Proverbs 15:10 NLT)
Your journey into salvation isn’t over just because you have taken the first step. You still have much to learn, and the path leads through dangerous territory.
The apostle Paul asked the believers in Thessalonika to pray that, in his own missionary journeys, he would be “saved from wicked and evil people.”
Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. But the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are practicing the things we commanded you, and that you always will. May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:2-5)
Paul’s enemies wanted him dead because he left them to join Jesus’ revolution. And in every city, Paul would be confronted by people willing to do anything — even kill — to protect their wicked way of life.
Paul knew, however, that God can be trusted. Those who trust him, he will make strong and guard them from the evil one. What was essential was that believers would always keep walking in God’s ways — practicing the things Paul had commanded.
As they stayed on those paths — walking with Jesus in the Way — they would learn more and more about the love of God. They would understand the importance of enduring trials and not giving up. They would realize that Christ is the one who strengthens them to keep walking.
As you muster the determination to take each new step — difficult as it may be, impossible as the destination may seem — you find that Jesus gives you the strength you needed to make it.
When you are on a dangerous road, you need to keep moving.
For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see.
My Topical Index of the New Testament is live at http://wp.me/p2dmj-Tt.
I wound up with 4,462 entries on 19 topics:
Backsliding/Apostasy (292 entries)
Fear God (23)
Love others (163)
Salvation Future (131)
The great enemies of salvation are selfishness and indifference.
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home exhausted and hungry from a hunt. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew you’ve made.” (This was how Esau got his other name, Edom — “Red.”) Jacob replied, “All right, but trade me your birthright for it.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” So Jacob insisted, “Well then, swear to me right now that it is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his younger brother. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the fact that he had given up his birthright. (Genesis 25.29-34, NLT’96)
Today, though we often (justifiably) preach these verses to unbelievers, they also (primarily) are directed to believers — people who would say they have fellowship with God and have been completely cleansed of sin.
Question: So what does it mean for us to go on living, day by day, “in the light of God’s presence” and what does that have to do with Jesus’ blood cleansing us from sin? (v.7)
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:6-10 NLT’96)
I count ‘if’ five times in five verses.
An even better question: What are the implications for believers who are not living, day by day, in the light?
Cross-posted from kainos
Strong words today from Peter:
We may testify about the day Jesus saved us, but our behavior today tells the tale. If we are consumed with the world’s self-indulgences, we are no longer slaves to Christ but have become, once again, slaves to sin and corruption.
“You are a slave to whatever controls you. When people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them. They make these proverbs come true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and ‘A washed pig returns to the mud.’” (2 Peter 2:19b-22 NLT’96)
Let us die to self, brothers and sisters, and wholeheartedly pursue the Kingdom above all else.
Cross-posted from kainos