Not Yet

          Through the ages, people have predicted when Jesus would return. It doesn’t seem to matter that Scripture clearly says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” Matthew 24:36 (NKJ). Even though we can’t know when, God reminds us over and over again of the certainty of the event with the wise warning, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” Matthew 24:44 (NKJ). With those things in mind, if someone were to ask us the question about the time of Christ’s return, we could answer with some certainty, “Probably soon, but not yet.”

           Why, then, do we have to be so watchful? What is God talking about when He tells us to “be ready”? The apostle Paul gives us this answer by letting us know that some things are going to happen before Christ’s return that could keep us from enjoying and participating in that day.

  •  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in thetemple ofGod, showing himself that he is God. Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NKJ), emphasis added
  •  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Second Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NKJ), emphasis added

          You see, before Christ returns, there will be a “falling away.” Matthew Henry explains that this apostasy is “in spiritual or religious matters, from sound doctrine, instituted worship and church government, and a holy life.” In other words, damnable heresies will infiltrate the Church in order to deceive the people of God and cause them to turn from the truth. People we never thought would stray from solid doctrine will espouse ideas contrary to God’s revealed truth. And who is behind all of this? Satan. This lawless one comes in “with all power, signs, lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception.”

          Now here’s the scary part. Those who fall for all Satan has put out there and turn their backs on the truth will receive “strong delusion.” They will “believe the lie” and be “condemned” for two reasons. First, they “did not believe the truth,” and second they “had pleasure in unrighteousness.” In other words, those who fall away will put forth arguments contrary to the truth revealed in the Bible, and justify their actions being perfectly comfortable with and glorying in their new lifestyle which the Scripture defines as unrighteous.

         Is it possible for us to be in that number of people who will fall away? Yes, if we aren’t careful and watchful. Thankfully, Paul ends this passage with hope. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught… may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” Second Thessalonians 2:15-17 (NKJ), emphasis added.

          The way to keep from falling away is to stand fast—be stationary, persevere—and hold—seize with all your might and strength—the precepts and ordinances of the whole counsel of what Gods’ word clearly teaches. We look forward to the glorious day of Christ’s return, but let’s not hasten it by being the ones who will fall away first.

________________________

©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.

 

~ by sanewriter on November 10, 2011.

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