Saturday, June 02, 2012

Does The End Affect the Middle?

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

Any guesses as to where we find this passage of scripture?  Nope, not the book of the Revelations.  This is Isaiah 65:17.  Isaiah refers to this concept again in Chapter 66:22, when it says:

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.

You may be thinking at this point, “How does this apply to my daily living?  I am dealing with issues right here and now, and talking about things I can’t fathom seems like a colossal waste of time.”

I would like to submit that this applies to all of us as believers in EVERY way, and applies to ALL areas of our lives.  Peter really brings this home in 2 Peter 3:3-14:

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 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, the home of righteousness.

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.

1.    Jesus is going to come back to earth. – v.4,8-9

a.    He is being patient right now, hoping that everyone will repent.

2.    The Earth and our current universe are going to be destroyed – v.7,10-13

a.    On the day of judgment – v.7; Rev. 20:11

b.    The Universe will disappear – v.10,12

c.    The elements will burn up – v.10,12

d.    The earth will be destroyed – v.10

3.    There will be a new heaven (universe) and a new earth – v.13; Rev 21:1

a.    The first heaven and earth had passed away – Rev. 21:1

The point of Peter’s reminder that these things are coming is to tell us how we should live as a result of this reality.  In v.11 and v.14, Peter tells us that since everything we see right now will be destroyed, we should live “holy and godly lives;” and “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with (God).”

Why, then, do so many of our current “theologians” in contemporary music and “hyper-grace” preaching keep trying to tell us to “quit trying so hard”, and to just accept the fact that “we all fall; we all fail; and God knows we can’t be good; but His grace just looks over our sins, so relax and just exist as you are.”?  The fact that we will probably “blow it” sometimes is no excuse to quit trying to get it right.  The fact that grace is on us is no approval to be comfortable in our sin.

The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, so we should be especially aware of godliness and holiness in our daily living.  The fight is increasingly challenging and intensifying as “The Day” approaches.  There is coming a day when men will not put up with sound doctrine at all (2 Tim. 4:3).  I would submit that this current trend of “no effort” and “just relaxing” in God’s grace is the seed of that destructive movement.

For those who will listen to the truth, no matter what they would like it to say, we need to remember that this world and its ways are coming to an end; therefore we must live holy and godly lives.  We must watch our doctrine closely and be careful as to what we give our approval (Rom. 14:22).

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