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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25 - 2 Peter, Jude: Building God's Chosen People to Resist Dangerous Teachers

Today’s Reading: 2 Peter; Jude

The Message

English Standard Version

Merry Christmas! I hope today brings you with family you love or a job which is helpful to those you serve.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Both Peter and Jude warn against people who want to infiltrate God's Chosen People with bad intentions.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

2 Peter

Peter to people with God's life-changing experiences:
Keep answering God's Invitation to know Him. Each quality you install leads to a better one. I'll never stop reminding you of this.
Everything we—firsthand witnesses—write is from God.
Not everyone is this honest. These people are absolutely the worst. They promise Life but provide enslavement.
Ignorant people will mock God waiting for the world to prepare for His Return. At that point everything will change lightning-quick.
Live wholly for God. Paul mentions this, though he is misinterpreted by the hooligan teachers.
Grow in grace and understanding. Glory now and forever!

Jude

Jude, James' brother, to those God loves and protects in Christ:
Keep fighting for the faith that sets our relationship with God right. Some are replacing God's Grace in Jesus. God punished people who did that in the past and will do it again with these teachers.
I'm sick of their underhanded methods! They are warts on our group. Sorry teachers have been around since Enoch. They lead people down paths of destruction through lust, selfishness, and cynical joking.
Build yourself for real Life, going easy on people's mistakes.
To Jesus be glory, majesty, strength, and rule forever and ever!

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Peter and Jude write to people who have had life-altering experiences with God.

We do ourselves a disservice when we make obeying God such a head-knowledge affair. God's Way is meant to be lived, not understood. Both of these writers want to encourage their readers to continue growing by living, not by reading and studying. Peter wants them to develop lives that live the Message by adding dimensions of faithfulness. Jude tells them to build themselves in faith through prayer, ready to receive God's Mercy. We should do the same.

Scriptures are not for our interpretation. They are the writings of people who were there.

The most reliable testimony comes from people who were present when the events took place. Scripture was written by people who were there when Jesus lived, died, returned from the dead, and ascended to be with God. We should not question their understanding or think we have more information which makes our opinions better than theirs. Scripture should be read and taken for face value. The writers had help from God's Spirit and their firsthand knowledge to write the truth. Any outside aid (like this one) should help us understand the text for today, not give reasons we should disregard it and act in a different way.

God will punish teachers out to make their name great at the expense of God's Name.

Peter has to boldly denunciate these people as exploiters because they are unwilling to teach people to set things right. Instead they try to make their name great, turning people into slaves to their doctrines. Both Peter and Jude warn that these teachers will be punished like God punished in the past. The teachers may not receive their comeuppance while living but they would when they died. They are different than Paul's opponents because they preached Christ. These people teach people to do whatever they want under the name "Jesus". Beware people who teach a doctrine of anything goes or strict adherence to rules. Neither help you set your relationship with God right. However, before we completely write them off as kooks who most people would disregard, remember that their message of doing whatever you want with God's approval is more popular than the discipline of God's Way because people want to do whatever they want to do. These ministers may want larger paychecks, more notoriety, and the earthly satisfaction that loose lifestyles bring.

God takes a long view of time.

God's timing is not the same as ours. Paul and Peter thought Jesus would return within their lifetimes or shortly after. Two thousand years later we are still here. One of the greatest struggles Christians have with belief in God and faith that He will set things right in the end is the fact that Jesus has still not returned. Yet Peter warns us that God does not work on our time. God's View is long-term—He wants the entire world to obey Him before Jesus returns.
There are groups of Chinese Christians who take an interesting view of passages such as these. They note the westward expansion of the Gospel—from the Middle East to Europe and Africa, to the Americas, then to Asia. They wish to return the Gospel to the Middle East by sending Christian workers from Asia into countries that would not allow missionaries and/or would be suspicious of Europeans. By doing this, they feel they will have completed the cycle—back to Jerusalem—and will facilitate Jesus' Return. Whether or not their goal will happen based on their work is unknown, but their means are laudable. Either way, the truth remains that God wants the entire world to obey Him before Jesus returns. We pray that that will happen soon!

What life-altering experiences with God have shaped your life?


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