Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Good news: the end of the world is just the beginning

Photo by Karsten Fischbach,
courtesy of www.photoxpress.com
Hello again fellow God-lovers (and those who are still a bit unsure!) Are you feeling a little more passionate these days? That's what we are talking about in A Good Bible Study today! It's A Passionate Love: The Relationship Between God and You.

We've talked about many words in scripture that mean "passion." Most of the time the terms have referred to God's love for us, or our emotions or actions; but in 2 Peter 3, Peter describes the Day of the Lord and yes, it's a day reflecting great passion!

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." 2 Peter 3:10 NKJV

Can you imagine the level of heat required to literally burn up and destroy the earth? Yikes. God says it's a fervent heat, a heat of passion.

What then? The earth is gone. Are you and I gone, as well? The answer for some of us is yes. But, if you are interested in sticking around for what follows, read what Peter says in verses 11-18:

"11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?"

Good question! I know most of us think we have all the answers. Be more good than bad, right? How's that working for you based on God's definition of good (perfect) and bad (see the 10 commandments, and remember it refers to thoughts as well as actions) Still confident?

Peter continues:

 "You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."

Peter says there will be a new heaven and a new earth for each of us who love God and accept His forgiveness offered by His Son, Jesus Christ! What a deal!

However, Peter continues to remind us that forewarned is forearmed. We can either plan for this day, or we are planning for our own destruction. Like Benjamin Franklin said: a failure to plan, is a plan to fail.

In other words, you can keep on pretending that everything is going to continue on, business as usual, or you can accept that God has an ultimate plan for your life, and for this earth and all it's imperfections.

Peter agrees, saying, "14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." NIV

So there you have it : grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter isn't suggesting that on our own power and strength we somehow make ourselves perfect, blameless or spotless in God's eyes. It's the sacrifice that Jesus made, that purifies our self-centered hearts.

It comes down to this: do you believe in God, the real God, not one made up for your own convenience? Do you believe God is the ultimate authority on right and wrong?  Do you believe you can ever be good enough, all the time, every day, to earn the badge of perfection?

In that case, do you accept that you need a Savior to pay the price of your imperfection? Do you accept that Jesus in all His perfection paid the price for your lack? Do you gratefully accept His gift?

Yes? Then will you spend the rest of your life loving Him for it? Following His example as best as you can? Seeking a new relationship with God who loves you so much, He sent His willing Son to clean up your sin so you can enjoy an eternity of peace, love, and joy in a new earth and heaven?

The only answers to these questions are Yes, or NO. There is no kind-of. Do you want a passionate love?

Here's how the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines "fervent" or passion:

Synonyms: ardent, blazing, burning, charged, demonstrative, emotional, fervid, feverish, fiery, flaming, glowing, hot-blooded, impassioned, incandescent, intense, passional, passionate, perfervid, red-hot, religious, superheated, torrid, vehement, warm, warm-blooded, on fire!

Or . . . you can keep living as you have been:

Antonyms: cold, cool, dispassionate, emotionless, impassive, unemotional

You choose.

Let's pray: God I want to be spiritually on fire! There is no middle ground that interests me. Fill me with Your passionate, incandescent, torrid excitement for living a life with You! A servant of Jesus, amen.
Love, Karen

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