An Age of Much Deception
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
We live in an age of much deception. Anything can be faked. Anything can be altered and made to look different than it really is and in order to give a false impression. Sin is being glorified and coddled while righteousness and holiness are being frowned upon. Good is being considered as evil and evil is considered good, and evil people are turned into heroes while holy people are largely dismissed as being legalistic or hyper religious. Up is down and down is up and so many things are turned around.
A false (lie) gospel message is now permeating the church at large here in America and people are flocking to it by the hordes because it makes no demands for repentance, for obedience to God, nor for submission to Christ as Lord. It is all about what Jesus did and will do for us but it is not about what we are to do for him and in obedience to him.
Sin is being rebranded and called, “I messed up,” which minimizes it to something of a much lesser degree, much like, “I accidentally knocked over a glass of milk.” And that is if sin is even mentioned at all by any name. Many people are being taught that once they “believe” (not defined) in Jesus that God can no longer see when they sin but all he sees is Jesus. But if one reads the Scriptures it is quite clear that God still sees when we sin.
But the reason so many people are flocking to the lies is because they want to continue living in their sin but they want to have the assurance that when they die that they will go to heaven. So they reject the true gospel because the true gospel demands death to sin and living to righteousness, and instead they embrace the cheap grace gospel which gives them free license to continue in their sin guilt free.
But in order to accept the cheap grace gospel as the truth and to reject the true grace of God as a lie they have to largely ignore most of the New Testament. They have to “cherry pick” the Scriptures they like while ignoring the ones they don’t like and that go against the lifestyles they want to live. I mean, when I read the Scriptures and what they teach it absolutely astounds me that so many people can be accepting the lies as truth and the truth as lies, for the Scriptures do not dance around these subjects. They make what is required of us abundantly clear.
Sanctification by the Spirit
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 ESV
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
What is salvation? It is not just forgiveness of sins and a free ticket into heaven. When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).
For Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now be God’s possession and so we would now honor God with our lives. So sin is to no longer have dominion over us. We are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies to make us obey its passions, for if sin is what we obey, it ends in death, not life (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23).
And we are saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. And what is sanctification? It is the process of making or becoming holy, set apart (different) from the world and unto God and of being conformed to the likeness (character, nature) of Jesus Christ. So, this is not a one-time thing which takes place in our lives. We are saved (past). We are being saved (present). And we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for his bride and we go to be with him for eternity, provided that we walked by the Spirit and not by the flesh in this life and that we continued in Christ to the very end.
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
And what is belief? Well, faith is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ. And it is gifted to us by God and it is not of our own doing. So we can’t make it up. We can’t self-define what our faith should look like. The Scriptures define for us what our faith should look like. And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and as to our sinfulness, and as to our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience (Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1).
So, it is required of us to forsake our lives of sin, to die with Christ to sin and to live to God and to his righteousness. For, if we continue living in sin, in deliberate and habitual sin, and if we do not walk in obedience to our Lord and in his righteousness, then we don’t have eternal life with God. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
Living by Faith
Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
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