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How To Save Yourself From This Untoward Generation
"Fear is a great guard and preservative from evil." - Matthew Henry
"All children of God should possess a holy fear that trembles at God's Word(Is. 66:2) and causes them to turn away from all evil(Prov. 3:7, 8:13). The fear of the Lord is not, as is often defined, merely 'reverential trust,' but includes an awe of God's power, holiness, and righteous retribution, and a dread of sinning against Him and of the consequences that may follow. It is not a destructive fear, but a controlling and redeeming fear that leads to moral purity, life, God's nearness and blessing, and salvation." - The Full Life Study Bible
In Acts 2:40, the Apostle Peter exhorted the people with these words - "...Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
What exactly is an "untoward generation"? How would you recognize it? Is yours one today?
It is a crooked, perverse, ungovernable, and disorderly age or race of people. Simply said - it is a generation of people who are not easily guided or taught. They will not go - "toward." Their crooked way is the way of the serpent. They - walk in the slime of sin...are ignorant and blinded with vanity...choose the winding path of sin over the straight path of godliness...are drunk with pride and evil desires...neglect their known duties to God and man...give God lip-service...and are careless, indifferent, and selfish. They are characterized as having uncircumcised ears...blinded eyes...a stiff neck...fat and godless heart... stubborn soul...and filthy life.
Peter exhorts all believers to "save yourselves" from such an influence of evil. In other words, use all effort and diligence to keep yourselves from the opinions, plans, designs, and feelings of such. Separate yourselves from all who walk contrary to God, are wedded to sin, and are marked for ruin.
How can this be done?
Obviously, it will take the grace of God and the power of the Spirit.
However, there are four steps that you can take as a believer to remain unspotted from this present age. They are as follows:
1. Make Sure Your Own Salvation
Philippians 2:12 says - "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
The Apostle Paul admonished the believers to - "work out their own salvation " - thoroughly and with great pains...by acquisition of the truth...using wholesome, serious, and wise cautiousness...having a keen and ceaseless outlook...with utmost care and diligence...while exemplifying self-distrust, tenderness of conscience, and vigilance against temptation and foes. They were to carry out to perfection or to the goal...work out by obedience... complete...and work on to the finish to secure their salvation. This required a recognition of the dangers at hand and a preparedness to meet them. So many had fallen from the faith. Hence, they needed to sharpen their vigilance - recognizing the deceitfulness and treachery of their own hearts. So much was at stake here. It was imperative that - on a daily basis - they subjected their spirits to God's Divine power...crucified their flesh... abstained from even the appearance of evil...and learned to do well.
2. Be One Who Trembles At God's Word
Isaiah 66 :2 says - "...but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word."
It is absolutely imperative that every believer receives God's Word not as the words of men but of God. This causes them to react to His threatening words with sobriety and reverence and even to tremble in the midst of His awesome majesty and purity and dreadful justice and wrath.
3. Hate Evil
Proverbs 8:13 says - "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."
Hatred to evil will cause any man to abandon its evil way. Hence, every believer must get a hold of "the fear of the LORD' and let "the fear of the LORD" get a hold of him. It will teach him to hate all sin and view it as being displeasing to God and destructive to his soul. It will cause him to call sin "sin" and have a holy dread of it.
4. Depart From All Evil
Proverbs 3:7 says - "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
Each believer must guard against self-conceit which obstructs mental and spiritual improvement. This vain conceit causes utmost ruin if not stopped. It causes a heedlessness to the means of instruction and improvement...a spirit of contradiction...hasty judgment...a false security and confidence in one's own opinions...and a total neglect of the counsel of God. Nothing hinders true wisdom from affecting our lives more than an attitude that we have already arrived. What is desperately needed to oppose this pride is "the fear of the Lord" which provokes a departure from self-confidence, self-conceit, and other evils.
How can we possibly "save ourselves from this untoward generation" in which we find ourselves today?
For one thing, we must "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." The "fear of the LORD" is a necessary requirement. Without it, the goal will never be accomplished.
In closing, we leave you with some final remarks from The Full Life Study Bible - "As believers saved by grace, we must work out our salvation unto the end. If we fail to do this, we will lose the salvation bestowed on us. We do not work out our salvation by mere human effort, but by means of the grace of God and the power of the Spirit given to us. In order to work out our salvation, we must resist sin and follow the desires of the Holy Spirit within us. This involves a continual, sustained effort to use every God-appointed means for defeating evil and maintaining Christ's life...Working out our salvation is so vital that it must be performed 'with fear and trembling.' "
May God Bless His Word.