He was lingering in a Roman prison cell and facing an imminent death. Why? Because he insisted that the Gospel he proclaimed for the salvation of Jews and non-Jews (Romans1:16) had to include, not only Christ’s death for our sins, but also His bodily resurrection from the dead (2 Timothy 2:8-10; Acts 24:21). Without it, we, as believers in Him, couldn’t be sure that our sins had been forgiven (Romans 4:25), and we’d have no hope for a better life in the future (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

The “best life” for an unbeliever is now; The “best life” for a Christian is in the next life. Think about that. Where will you spend it – in heaven or in hell? Are you sure?

It was from this prison cell that the Apostle Paul wrote a brief letter to his son-in-the-faith, Timothy. The believers in Asia Minor, whom he led to the Lord, had forsaken him (2 Timothy 1:15). He wanted Timothy to pass on to other faithful Christians what he had received from Paul (2 Timothy 2:2), who had been taught by the Lord Himself for three years in the wilderness after his conversion (Galatians 1:15-18).

Sadly, there are many Christians who aren’t faithful to the Lord and His Word. They live carnal lives (See 1 Corinthians 3:1 ff) and walk according to the flesh (their sin nature), rather than by means of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-21; Romans 8:5-8). Such Christians grieve and quench God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Confession to God the Father is in order for such believers (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13) or serious consequences could follow: weakness, sickness, or a premature death (1 Corinthians 11:30; James 5:19, 20; 1 John 5:16). Keep this in mind – We have “potential years” and “actual years.”

“Sin (lawless behavior) will take us farther than we want to go; It will keep us longer than we want to stay; It will cost us more than we want to pay.” The passing pleasures of sin aren’t worth it when we consider that our flesh and bones may end up being consumed, perhaps by a STD (Hebrews 11:25; Proverbs 5:11). With 700 wives and 300 concubines, King Solomon may have died this way.

He advised others to live wisely. But then he didn’t follow his own advice, and for a period of time lived in vanity while trying to please himself. He concluded, “Vanity of vanities, all [that I’ve done to please myself] is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Later he wrote, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Let’s learn from the mistakes of others (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).

Because Christians still have a sinful nature (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25) and the potential to engage in all the lawless behavior that they engaged in before they were saved, the Apostle Paul warned believers to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

God chose the Apostle Paul to be the steward (household manager) of the “Dispensation of Grace” in which we now live. He was the major contributor to “Grace Teachings” for New Testament Christians (Galatians 1:15-7; Ephesians 3:1-7). The Apostles Peter and John, along with James and Jude (the Lord’s half-brothers) supplement what Paul wrote to Christians.

Being forsaken by the believers in Asia Minor must have been very painful to Paul. But he knew that the Lord had not forsaken him. Perhaps he thought of the Psalmist’s words, “When my father and my mother [or other believers] forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10). The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Even after claiming that they would never deny or abandon Him, Christ’s disciples forsook Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:56).

Until God takes us home to heaven by means of physical death or through the rapture, God has work for Christians to do (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10). We don’t (shouldn’t) retire from serving God; We won’t in heaven (Revelation 22:3). Christ wants to live out His life through the believer’s life (Galatians 2:20; 4:19). He wants us to be willing to be persecuted or even die for our faith, if necessary so others can be saved (2 Timothy 2:10; 3:12). Such believers can earn the “Crown of Life” (Revelation 2:10; James 1:12).

Jesus said, “You [disciples] did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16). “This fruit can be seen in Christlike character (2 Peter 1:5-8; Galatians 5:22, 23), a life characterized by good works (Colossians 1:10), a faithful witness (1 Corinthians 16:15), a pair of lips that praise God (Hebrews 13:15), and through generous giving of one’s money (Romans 15:28; Philippians 4:17).  – Dr. Charles C. Ryrie “So Great Salvation” p. 50.

James, the Lord’s half brother wrote, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Question: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? If not, why? What needs to change?

Older Christians, who have been through the “rough waters” or “storms of life” should assist Christians who are coming behind them (Galatians 6:2). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4). And remember – “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God wants us to be victorious over our three spiritual enemies: the devil, our own sin nature, and the present world system.

I, personally, want to live the rest of my days on earth as though each day that God gives me to live might be my last day on earth, or the last day of someone I love or know. Our lives are like a vapor that soon passes away (James 4:14). Missionary C. T. Studd wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

At the “Bema Seat Judgment” for New Testament Christians, Jesus, the righteous Judge (John 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:8), will evaluate our works and our motives and reveal why we did what we did (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Were they done in keeping with the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives (Romans 8:14), and with His power (Philippians 3:10; 4:13)? Were they done according to the rules that God set forth in His Word (2 Timothy 2:5; See Romans 3:8; 6:1)? Were they done according to the will of God (Acts 21:4-14)?  Did they bring glory to God or to us (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

Those works that don’t measure up to His standard will be burned up, but the believer will not lose his/her salvation (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). That’s amazing graceunmerited favor from God. Have you experienced it yet (Ephesians 2:8, 9)?

If you consider yourself to be a relatively mature Christian, are you passing on what you’ve learned over the years to those who are coming behind you? Are you setting a good example for them? Think of your children and grandchildren if you have some.

If you haven’t placed your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, Who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day, now is the time to do so. You have no guarantee that you will be alive at the end of today.

We’re here to assist those who are teachable, willing to change, and grow spiritually (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-4:8). If you have questions and/or comments, we can be reached here or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

For additional information:

What’s Free – Earned? https://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/whats-free-whats-earned/

Test Questionshttps://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/the-test-questions/

Three Spiritual Enemieshttps://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2021/07/08/the-blame-game/

Crowns & Rewards:https://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/about-our-motives-part-1-2/

Be Like Jesus – https://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2022/01/07/be-like-jesus/

C. T. Studd https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/only-one-life-twill-soon-be-past-by-c-t-studd-1860-1931/

Dispensations Charthttps://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2022/02/16/gospel-presentations/ https://www.kelseypeach.com/_files/ugd/08892a_ce5bb78881fa4f50a6c866dd9ab0adfe.pdf

Gospel Presentationshttps://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2022/02/16/gospel-presentations/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  

Used by Permission. All rights reserved.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s