Monday, 26 June 2017
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure for if you do these things you will never stumble!!
For some time now I have felt constrained to examine 2 Peter 1: 5-11 with particular emphasis on verse 10, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure for if you do these things you will never stumble....." (NKJ)
Way back in the dark ages, in the summer of 1962 to be precise, as my 12th birthday approached I felt under considerable pressure to conform to the religious norms of my parents who were part of the "Brethren" churches at that time. No pressure from mum and dad directly, but an unending sense of being on "the outside" when I attended the many meetings which were forced upon me. One Sunday night at the "Gospel" meeting the preacher, Harry Greig, was speaking about Jesus knocking on the door of your heart, actually a misuse of Revelation 3 verse 20, and he went on to quote the addresses of 3 or 4 of the young people/children who were present.
For me it was a bit shocking when he said "Is Jesus knocking on 100 Brownside Road?".....my home address. I felt that I had to respond and when approached after the meeting I "gave my heart to Jesus" in an emotional response and because I felt that was what was expected of me. My most major sins, and some were seriously "major", were committed after this time and before I truly did make the Lord Jesus my Saviour and Master in 1971. But more of that later. Between these two times I faked a lot of Christian behaviour, people thought that I was a true believer and were not aware of an ever increasing sinful lifestyle which really sank low when I went to University.
I have a deep and loving concern for folk like me, who have gone through the evangelical system, "made a commitment", put their hand up at an appeal or altar call, responded to parental pressure and said the little prayer as directed or led, or one of many other actions or "courses" which have mistakenly been called "being Born Again". It is time for examination of the heart in light of the nearness of the return of the Lord Jesus and the shortness of the hour. "The night is far spent and the Day is at hand" Romans 13 verse 12. We need to be, and we can be, totally certain of our eternal life and salvation. But are we? The apostle Peter lays out in the verses 5-8 the normal Christian life and the fruitfulness that follows righteous, holy behaviour. He then contrasts with those who "lack these things" and categorises them as blind and having forgotten their cleansing.
But now the core verse, verse 10. Calling the readers "brethren" means that he is speaking to persons who are in the public, visible church and his "therefore" means because of what he has just written before, an action is needed. Be even more diligent to check out your call from God and your personal place amongst His elect people. The religious system, from ritualistic, through evangelical to charismatic and pentecostal is full of dear folk assuming that they have the real thing but living a life of defeat when it comes to the holiness that should be normal to us. Yes, there will always be battles against our fleshly nature but victory is the normal state of a true disciple of the Lord Jesus. When Peter, in 1 Peter 1: 16, quotes Levititcus 19: ", "Be holy for I am holy" he is outlining the normal state for a believer in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Maybe we need to take some prime time to examine and audit our hearts and ask ourselves... "just where do I stand with God?". Do I have a certain and complete assurance that I really know Him? Am I just following the religious and evangelical habits of a lifetime or keeping up appearances to please others, including aging family members? This is serious as time flies by. We need to be certain of our personal salvation and the security of our heavenly home and have a clear testimony to ourselves of the call of God through His Word to our souls.
Election is God's business, outside of time He made a choice. But He can, and has, delegate(d) sovereignty to us to make a choice ourselves which aligns with His will and choice. His sovereignty is infinite and He can delegate a power to choose to us without depleting His own personal sovereignty. Can you say without a shadow of doubting that you are one of the Elect of God. If you have truly surrendered to the Lord Jesus you should be able to strongly assert that and be able to walk the walk of faith in holiness.
I am applying this to myself examining my own heart in order that I might be more pleasing to Him but I can honestly quote 1 John 3: 19 - 23: " And this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us we have confidence toward God and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment".
In the summer of 1971 I truly did find the Lord Jesus as my King and Saviour and YHWH God as my Father, The Holy Spirit came inside of me and I was re-born as a new person. A pile of old magazines on a bedside cabinet seemed to represent aspects of my seedy life in which I felt trapped. But I remembered a childhood trip to a paper mill where a huge amount of magazines and newsprint was being recycled. I cried out, aware of my sinful condition, "..if only that could happen to my life!" The Holy Spirit quietly spoke directly to my mind and heart saying "If you will give me your life I will make it anew".
I immediately knelt by the bed and prayed the first genuine and natural prayer of my life..."GOD, I do not understand what it means for Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for my sins, but, if it is good enough for You it is good enough for me. Please take control of my life".
And as I surrendered He did take control. A dirty weight lifted from my shoulders, an unexplainable joy entered my heart and I began to sing little bits of hymns/songs that I knew and to dance around the room. The Lord Jesus has kept me singing and dancing through life ever since in good times and bad. He became my Lord and King, my friend and companion and, most of all the One who shed His lifeblood for me and took my sins on Himself to set me free. I am awaiting His imminent return.
I write this little article in an attitude of care and concern for the eternal destiny of all who read it but especially to challenge those of us who, like me, have lived a fake Christianity and need a loving challenge to go back to the basics of the Gospel. You have to repent and turn around, accepting that your life's condition is unacceptable to God but that He will accept you just as you are. Re-read my prayer. It was simple, unsophisticated and honest with God. That is all that is needed because He promises that if you draw near to Him, He WILL draw near to you. And He will put His Holy Spirit in you, never leave you, love you for ever and change your destiny and destination from eternal separation from Him in the Lake of Fire to the glorious future of Eternal Life in his Heavenly Home.
My prayer right now is that you will, in your own way, call out to the Lord Jesus and make Him your Saviour, Lord and King.
Blessings In Him,