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Just Be Sure That You Have Faith & Holiness
The Scriptures tell us that we have been "chosen...to salvation" - "to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ"(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). We are "not appointed...to wrath" but to "obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ"(1 Thessalonians 5:9). The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Thessalonica as consolation against the terrors of apostasy. The Holy Spirit wants to take these same words and use them today to show us how we can and will make it to the end.
2 Thessalonians 2:12 reads as such - "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." As we look around in our world today, we must all agree that there seems to be more opposition to the truth and more ungodliness than ever before - even in spite of the fact that the Gospel is being preached in such liberty.
The Apostle Paul spoke to the Christians in Thessalonica and said - "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ"(2 Thessalonians 2:13).
How wonderful it is to read that we are destined to partake of the same glory as Jesus in heaven. We are not set "unto wrath" as the obstinately impenitent but that we might "obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." A good way to describe what we finally "obtain" can be found in Malachi 3:17 which says - "And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
It is so wonderful to think that we as Born Again believers have been taken out of the world - so to speak - and placed in the way to glory. We have been chosen to life rather than "wrath."
Many at this point would love to throw around the word - "election" - and totally relinquish any responsibility on our part in making it to the end. We have been "chosen...to salvation." That means that we have been "chosen" to be delivered from all evil of body and soul. When looking around at the present-day church, we see that some have "not arrived" at this point yet. In fact, they fall very short of this goal or end.
Just because we have been "chosen...to salvation" does not mean that we have the liberty to live as we please.
Notice what Paul the Apostle said to the Thessalonian church - "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth..." This is where alot of people are lost along the wayside.
Paul made it very clear that there were two sides to this "salvation" - a Divine side and a human side. In other words, what he was saying is that we are all elected to be holy and that there are two means that will get us to that place. One is the "sanctification of the Spirit," while the other is the "belief of the truth."
We are made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit. That means that we must walk in cooperation with Him and His will for our lives. He produces an inward holiness in each one of us and then leads us to an outward conformity to God. When this sanctification process is ongoing, we find that our will becomes fused with God's will...our affections become settled more and more on divine and spiritual things...and we sense a definite implantation of all grace in our heart - moving us to live as God would have us to live - in power and strength against all temptation and sin.
We are also made holy through the "belief of the truth." In contrast to those who "believe not the truth"(2 Thessalonians 2:12), we hear the truth...believe it...and then walk in it.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:14, we see that Paul implied that it is by the preaching of the Gospel that we are "called" to "salvation," and it is also the means of carrying that purpose into effect.
In other words, if you have no time for God's Word, then you can be assured of one thing - you will not make it to the end! Using the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit produces holiness and faith - "...sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth..." - the two things necessary in order to reach "salvation" or "obtain...the glory" of Jesus.
Let's look at two prayers that Jesus prayed in the Scriptures. One was for Peter, while the other was for all of His followers.
Luke 22:32 records the Lord's words to Peter - "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."
Why would Jesus feel as though He had to pray for Peter if Peter was already "chosen to salvation"?
The answer can be found in Paul's words to the Thessalonians - mentioning that we are "chosen to salvation" - only "...through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth..." Peter's attachment to Jesus was going to be severely attacked by Satan. His faith was in danger of failing altogether or he was in danger of apostatizing or falling utterly or entirely away from God. In order to make it to the end of "salvation," it was necessary that his "belief of the truth" was in good standing or firm.
Let's look at the other prayer that Jesus prayed for all of His followers - "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth"(John 17:17).
Why would the Lord pray such a prayer?
Could it be because He knew that in order to "obtain" His "glory" or make it to heaven, they would need to be holy? Hebrews 12:14 says - "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." The "truth" of God's Word in their hearts and the complete surrender of their wills to His will - as spoken in His Word - would be the means of sanctification. It would cause them to become more like Him and less attached to the world...get ascendency over evil thoughts, passions, and impure desires...and become more and more weaned from earthly objects.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul made it plain and clear - "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." However, in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, he said - "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."
We must have holiness and faith working together in our lives if we plan on making it to heaven some day - escaping the "wrath" of God and "obtaining" His "salvation."
In order to do that, we must "not sleep" but "watch and be sober." This entails not being careless and secure... not having an unconcerned state of mind...not having a worldly apathy to spiritual things...and not allowing spiritual faculties to make us insensible to danger. On the contrary, we must keep awake...be always on the alert...have all spiritual senses about us...refrain from carnal indulgences...be calm and sober-minded...be temperate and abstinent...and constantly keep all desires and appetites after the things of this world within due bounds.
The Lord Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. He prayed for all believers that they would be made holy through the Truth of His Word.
We have been "chosen...to salvation." However, we will only reach this goal "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth..." That - in turn - will happen only if we "watch and be sober" and "not sleep."
Be sure that you are always operating in Bible Faith and always walking in holiness.
May God Bless His Word.