Friday, March 4, 2016

Where the fire had already been

2 Peter 3:9-13 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Story-telling has always been a great “emotional word picture” to communicate a message and moral of the story. Take for instance the question of: Where do you go to seek shelter from the storms of life? The Bible teaches us that there are three kinds of storms in life: storms that we bring on ourselves (an act of ours), storms that God causes (an act of God), and storms that other people cause (an act of others). There are three origins for storms of life, but there is only one shelter. How can we illustrate this?

I read that early pioneers traveled across the vast plains of America as they traveled west. They would often find themselves in a sea of grass for miles-on-end. In the Fall of the year, the grass would turn brown and dry because of the sun and lack of water. What the pioneers feared most was to see a wall of fire coming their way. There seemed to be no escape with the wind blowing faster than they could run. But they devised a way to escape. When they saw the wall of flames coming, they would ignite the grass behind them. The wind that brought the deadly prairie fire towards them also blew the fire behind them away from them. They would then move into the center of the blackened area and when the large wall of flames approached them, it went around the burnt area and left them in safety. Thus, there was only one place of safety: where the fire had already been.
John 3:14-18, 35-36 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

We read in the opening passage from 2 Peter: “the day of the Lord will come … and both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” This “age of grace” will come to an end and there is the fire of God’s wrath coming upon this world and there is only one place of safety – the cross of Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ, through realizing that the fire fell upon Him should have fallen upon us, we find the one place of escape from the flames of Hell for our sins. Are you seeking the One who has endured the fire? For His presence is the only place of real safety and in the eternal love, joy and peace of God. There and only there, we can stand where the fire had already been.
In Christ, Brian

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