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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 5)

 SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

 

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Please note MANY PASSAGES will be referred to in this lesson. As in all the lessons, the KJV text of each passage can be found at the end of this study. Please take the time to refer to them to come to a more clear understanding on the biblical teachings on these things.
As Christians, it is of utmost importance that we familiarize ourselves with Satan’s deceptive practices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan, the father of lies (John 8:43-45), uses deception as a chief tool to mislead people from the truths of God’s Word (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14). When we understand how Satan works we can more successfully guard against falling for His lies and counterfeit gospel message.
Let’s take a very quick look at some of the ways that Satan opposes Christ’s workings in the days in which we are living.

The Bible makes it very plain that in the time period described as the “last days” false accrediting miracles will be used by Satan to mislead many from the Biblical gospel message (Matthew 24:23-24; Mark 13:21-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Revelation 13:11-14; 16:13-15; 19:20).
These false miracles are very effective tools of deception for Satan, This is because of man’s fallen, carnal nature which is not satisfied with the exercise of faith in the Lord and His Word, but is only satisfied by witnessing supernatural miracles being performed (Matthew 16:3-4). This attitude flies in the face of true Scriptural faith that rests in “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Please note that… The “last days” is the time period in which we live today. It finds its beginning with the first coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).   Knowing that the “last days” began with the first coming of Christ, we can know with certainty that the existence of false deceptive teachings, and false accrediting miracles, existed since the days of Christ on earth and will continue to exist until He comes back again at His second coming.

This is why John teaches us that antichrists existed in his day as well as would exist in today’s time (1 John 2:18-19)

Folks, the existence of false miracles is not something new, but has existed for many, many years. We find the exercise of false miracles periodically performed throughout New Testament church history.

The most important aspect of this teaching, for this study, is that these deceptive practices exist in today’s time. Because of this, we must take these prophecies seriously and always put the current day “miracles” to the test of God’s Word (Isaiah 8:18-20; Matthew 7: 15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 4:1-3]. There is no excuse for a Bible believing Christian to not seek out the truth concerning these practices. To naively accept modern day miracles as being of God is to show a lack of understanding of clear Scriptural prophetic warnings from God Himself.

We should all be like the Berean Christians who, after receiving teaching from God’s Word, took the time to check it’s accuracy by comparing it with the Word of God (Acts 17:10-12).  This same principles applies to the modern day accrediting miracles that are taking place around us. That is the purpose of this entire series of studies, to help us to clearly understand the teaching of God’s Word concerning spiritual gifts. This will give us the foundational information we need to properly judge that which is taking place around us.

False teaching and the use of false accrediting miracles is a big deal in the eyes of the Lord. It is such a heinous sin that, in the Old Testament scriptures these practices are deserving of death (Deuteronomy 13:1-8) and at the final judgment will result, apart from the Lord’s gracious forgiveness, in eternal death (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 19:20) . It is easy for us to understand why this is such a horrible practice… it is misleading many to eternal destruction and separation from God. And that is why there is such a grave need for all of us to take it upon ourselves to judge the validity of these practices.

You might be wondering why I have included this section under the heading of “When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence?”. My thoughts centered on the need for us to understand that false miracles do exist in today’s time. There are those who argue that simply seeing these things take place proves that the Biblical accrediting miracles are still taking place in todays’ time and, therefore, they have not yet gone out of existence. My answer to them is this lesson.

Just because supposed miracles are taking place around us, there is NO SCRIPTURAL reason to assume that they are divinely originated, nor that they are of the same type of gifts as the accrediting miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other local church members of the New Testament accounts. There is another very Scriptural and plausible answer to these things…. they are simply the deceptive workings of Satan that the Bible clearly teaches will exist in our day and age.

Yes, I believe that all of the false accrediting miracles fall into three basic groups which all find their source in Satan and his workings…

1. If they are miracles that actually take place and supercede the natural laws of nature, then I believe they are the result of demonic enabling and oppression (or perhaps, possession). (Mark 5:3-4)

2. In many cases, I believe they are, in actuality, not genuine miracles at all, but simply illusions that are performed (much like that of a magician) purposefully to mislead others. If that is the case, they find their origin in Satanic workings. They are the result of Satan blinding and twisting the minds of the illusionist seducing them with the promises of fame and the riches of this world. (2 Tim 3:1-8)

3. Finally, there are some “miracles” that are performed by those who are misled, sincere in their beliefs and caught up in their emotions. But once again, these find their ultimate origin in Satan, who has kept them from the truths of the Word and is actively at work in their mind and psyche. It is this group of people that “two-fold more the child of hell” misled and unknowingly headed for the Lake of Fire, while believing they are secure in Christ. (Matt 23:15)

May the Lord graciously protect us from these workings of Satan as he lies in wait to make merchandise of our very souls through counterfeit teaching and miracles (2 Peter 2:1-3; Rev 18:12-13)

I would like to close this section of our study with two very sobering texts. They are found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Revelation 19:20…

Mat 7:21-23 KJV

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this text we see that there will be those who stand before the Lord at the final judgment making an argument for their acquittal. Their three part argument goes something like this… “But Lord, we HAVE DONE the will of your Father, and we can prove it! …
1. have we not prophesied in thy name? – we delivered a Scriptural message
2. and in thy name have cast out devils? – we successfully opposed Satan and His workings among men
3. and in thy name done many wonderful works? – we performed miracles that prove we were doing the work of God

Although all of these 3 areas of ministry appeared to prove their ministry was of the Father, in actuality they were lost individuals who would be cast into the Lake of Fire as rebellious, disobedient, lying, ministers of Satan. By God’s grace may He allow us to escape such an end.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

In this text we find the beast (ungodly political powers of the world) and the false prophet (false religious powers of the world) are facing their final judgment. Note how the false religions of the world are said to work miracles which deceived the nations. Once again, these miracles are proven to be counterfeit miracles that only add to their eternal condemnation (as those responsible for misleading multitudes of people).

In our next lesson we will take a look at several Scriptural principles to apply as we seek to judge the messages and miracles being performed by those who claim to be followers of Christ.

 

Additional Information(Verses Mentioned In This Study):

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Deu 13:1-8 KJV

(1) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

(2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

(3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

(4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

(5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

(6) If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

(7) Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

(8) Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

 

Psa 119:11 KJV

(11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 

Psa 119:105 KJV

(105) NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

Isa 8:18-20 KJV

(18) Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

(19) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

(20) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

 

Mat 7:15-20 KJV

(15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

(16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

(17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

(18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

(20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Mat 7:21-23

(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

(22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mat 16:3-4 KJV

(3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

 

Mat 23:15 KJV

15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

Mat 24:23-24

(23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

Mar 5:3-4

3) Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

4) Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.

 

Mar 13:21-23

(21) And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

(22) For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

(23) But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

 

Joh 8:43-45 KJV

(43) Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

(44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

(45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

 

Joh 17:14-17 KJV

(14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

(16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

Act 17:10-12 KJV

(10) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

(11) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(12) Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

 

2Co 2:9-11 KJV

(9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

(10) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

(11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

2Co 11:13-14 KJV

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 

1Th 5:20-21 KJV

(20) Despise not prophesyings.

(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

2Th 2:8-12

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

(12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

2Ti 3:1-8 KJV

(1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

(3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

(4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

(7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Heb 1:1-3 KJV

(1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

(3) Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

 

Heb 11:1-3

1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

 

1Jn 2:18 KJV

(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 

1Jn 4:1-3 KJV

(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

Rev 13:11-14 KJV

(11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

(12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

(13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

(14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

Rev 16:13-15 KJV

(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

(14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

(15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

(20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Be Sure You Are Saved

SIH STSTA ICON(Please note: Because of the long length of the following Bible study, although it is presented here as a single posting, it is recorded on the SIH YouTube video blog as a 5-part series.  To hear this entire Bible study in video form you will have to listen to all 5 video postings embedded below.)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?   And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.   (Matthew 7:21-23)

 

I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  – For those who have professed faith in Christ, these words are the most dreadful, terrorizing, crushing words that can be spoken.

Why do these words carry within them such a dreadful message?  In the context of this passage, we find those who have professed Christ with their mouths, and have outward actions of hypocritical service, being personally rejected by the Lord at the Last Judgment.  In several texts of Scripture, we find the crystal clear teaching that those who are rejected by Christ during this judgment will be condemned to eternal separation from God and will receive the deserved eternal punishment for their sins.

(A few of the many passages teaching eternal punishment of the lost include:  Isaiah 66:24, Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 20:12-15)

 

Clearly, at the Final Judgment of the Last Days, there will be a distinct difference between those who are accepted by Christ and those who are cast away.  These eternal differences are very clearly described in Romans 2:5-9…

“…To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

“…But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 

(Romans 2:5-9)

 

This is why I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” are the most dreaded, crushing and terrorizing words that will ever be spoken by God.  In this lesson, we will be looking at how we can be certain that those words will not be spoken to us when we stand before the Lord on that Great Day of Judgment.

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
 (2 Peter 1:1-11)

 

 

THE STUDY:

 

In 2 Peter 1:1-11, we find very clear instructions on how each and every one of us can possess absolute assurance of our standing before the Lord.

 

1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,

The Apostle Peter is writing this portion of Scripture, reminding us that he is “an apostle of Christ”.  In other words, Peter has been sent as a representative of Christ to teach His truths and to accredit the message and place of worship (the local church) for New Testament believers.

 

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us

Peter is writing to those who are the recipients of the same, genuine, saving faith that he has received.  Please notice the phrase “have obtained”… this is an acknowledgment by Peter that a genuine saving faith is not a natural part of us, but it is something that must be received from an outside source, our God.

 

through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

This faith is brought to sinful mankind through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prior to this writing by Peter, we find instructions being given by Christ to those who were following Him for the wrong reasons.  In these instructions, we find they are told that they must place their faith in Christ. This placing of their faith in Christ is described as “a work of God”…

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”   (John 6:26-29)

2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Peter wishes for their grace and peace to be increased as they learn more about God and Jesus.

3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Again, Peter emphasizes that their salvation was a gift of God.  Peter explains how God brought them to salvation by gracing them with everything they needed to obtain spiritual life and to live a Godly life for Him.   God did all of this by granting to them an understanding of His Word which revealed Christ to them.

 

4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The obtaining of spiritual life (becoming partakers of His divine nature) and a Godly lifestyle (escaped the corruption of the world) are based upon the many promises found in His Word.  These promises are the basis of our assurance of salvation AND GO HAND IN HAND.  They are like two sides of the same coin… If He has worked in our hearts to become partakers of His divine nature, then He also worked in our hearts to escaped the bondage of sin and corruption of this world.

To know with certainty we have been saved by His grace, we must see evidence of having escaped from the corruption in this world.  In other words, we must see evidence of becoming a new creature in Christ…

Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

5) And beside this,

After explaining the very essence of the Lord’s workings in the heart that brings genuine salvation to mankind, Peter now begins to give to us information on how to be sure that He has intervened in our lives granting to us His salvation.

giving all diligence,

Peter emphasizes our need to take this subject very seriously.  We are to quickly and carefully deal with this issue in our lives.  After all, remember our opening text… there are many who have professed salvation that will be cast away at the last day.  It is possible to have mentally assented to Christ’s person and ministry without ever experiencing a saving faith that is the result of divine intervention.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THE DEMONS, who have a sincere faith in God.  Although their faith causes them to tremble, because it is not the result of God’s workings within them, they will be condemned to the Lake of Fire for an eternity.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”  (James 2:19)

Peter begins to itemize the changes in our lives that will clearly prove to us that the Lord has worked in our hearts and graciously given salvation to us….

 

add to your faith virtue;

In addition to our saving faith being received from the Lord, we will add to our list “virtue”.  What is virtue?   The original language helps us to understand that this grace is describing a consistency of service that is based upon love, appreciation and boldness.

 

and to virtue knowledge;

Next on the list is “knowledge”.  This is the learning of truths from the Word of God and our life experiences as we walk with Him.  Being a Christian involves being a student of the Lord, ever learning more about His person, work, and truths.

 

6) And to knowledge temperance;

We now add to our list “temperance”.  This is describing self-control, or the competence to use our abilities in appropriate ways while abstaining from using them in improper ways.


and to temperance patience;

Now we come to “patience”.  This is the willingness, and ability, to “bear up under” a load or burden.  It is pictured by a donkey that stands still while his master places more and more cargo on his back.  He doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t kick it off, he doesn’t rebel, he willingly accepts the load being placed upon him.

 

and to patience godliness;

“Godliness” simply describes reverence of mind and spirit.  It is living a life dedicated to, and motivated by a desire to, bring honor and praise God.

 

7) And to godliness brotherly kindness;

The list continues with “brotherly kindness”.   This is possessing an affection for our physical and spiritual brothers.  It is a love that stems from a recognition of obligation to love, those to whom we are associated.

 

and to brotherly kindness charity.

And our list ends with the most noble of all these changes, “charity”.  Charity is a willingness to sacrifice ourselves to those to whom we ARE NOT OBLIGATED.  It is choosing to give of ourselves for those who do not deserve the gift.  This is the type of love displayed by Christ as he hung on the cross for all of us.  We were rebellious, hateful and dishonoring to Him, yet He chose to give His life for us.

 

8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter now explains to us that, if we can perceive that these graces exist and grow in us, our knowledge of Christ is not worthless and void.   Remember from verse 1 of this text, Peter’s teachings are not concerned with those who have never professed Christ, but he is dealing with those of us who profess a knowledge of Christ.  He has just given to each one of us a listing of proofs that our knowledge of Christ is God-given and has been accompanied by a God-given faith in Him.

 

9) But he that lacketh these things

Peter now describes the condition of those who are professing Christ but not exhibiting this combination of graces in their lives…

is blind,

Although he is professing faith in Christ, he must be spiritually blind.  Obviously, he is not being able to perceive the necessary work of God that supplies faith (vs 1-3), the true nature of salvation which includes becoming a new creature (vs 4), and the many varied graces that accompanying true salvation (vs 5-7).

and cannot see afar off,

The one who professes Christ, but lacks these gifts cannot be perceiving the future that awaits God’s people.  Their professing faith must not be allowing them to possess “the substance of things hoped for” nor “the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).  Their faith cannot grasp the precious promises given to them in the Scriptures (vs 4).

 

and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Those who claim faith in Christ but lack the graces listed for us by Peter, must possess a faith that allows them to have forgotten that their sins have been cleansed by the Lord. By implication, their faith has not resulted in the Holy Spirit indwelling, nor a change of heart and mind, or else they could not forget what the Lord has so mercifully done for them.

 

It is extremely important to notice that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a truly saved person to be:

1. spiritually blind

2. unable to understand and trust in the promises of God by faith

3. forgetful of his salvation and the work of grace God has performed in their heart.

That is Peter’s very point in this verse. He is relating to us that those who profess faith in Christ, without these gifts, are clearly lost individuals who have never experienced God’s gracious saving intervention in their lives.  Although most are sincere about their profession of faith, they are sincerely wrong, unsaved and headed for rejection by God and eternal judgment from Him.

Peter has just taught us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a person to be genuinely saved and not exhibit the above list of graces in their lives.   This is why he directly relates the evidence of these graces to evidence of the Lord’s workings in our lives…

 

10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

This is an issue of genuine salvation resulting in entrance in His kingdom (vs 5-8), versus a false profession of faith (vs 9).  We are called upon by the Lord, through the writings of Peter, to be very careful about this issue.  We are to not delay dealing with this issue, nor are we to be sloppy and careless as we examine our own personal lives.

Please note especially, Peter does not say be sure that we have placed our faith in the Lord.  Why?  Because there is a faith based in this world that is shared by demons and the many lost people (James 2:17-20). Nor does he say that we must be sure we are sorry for our sins.  Why? There is a type of sorrow that comes from our flesh and will condemn us to eternal spiritual death (2 Cor 7:10)

The issue is making sure that the Lord has called us to salvation through the workings of the Holy Spirit and chosen to save us in His divine counsels.  This is all a part of His preceding workings in our lives that produced faith and a new nature within us.  If He has worked within us, then we can know the faith that we have exercised, and the sorrow for our sins which we have experienced, is genuine and will result in our eternal salvation.  If He has not worked within us, whatever faith and sorrow we have experienced has proceed from our flesh and is absolutely vain.

If we examine ourselves carefully, and find these graces within us, we can be absolutely certain, beyond any doubt, that we are eternally secure in Him; and, thus we will never fall into His hands of punishment and wrath.

But the inverse is also true, if after our period of self-examination, we find that we do not possess the graces listed in Peter’s teachings, we can know assuredly that we have never experienced God’s work of grace in our heart.  We are yet in our sins.

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Vs 6 – “If these things be in you”  – Please note that the listing of items that we have studied is not a list of outward actions that are performed… it is a list of attitudes and graces that the truly saved have within them….

1.  a possession of God-given faith.

2. love, appreciation, and boldness as motivators for service to the Lord.

3.  the learning of truths from the Word of God and our life experiences as we walk with Him.

4.  self-control

5.  the willingness, and ability, to “bear up under” a load or burden for Christ.

6. desires to honor and to bring praise to the Lord through our actions.

7. an affection for our physical and spiritual brothers.

8. a willingness to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of others without being obligated to do so.

The proof that a Christian has been genuinely saved by the grace of God is found within the saint.  It is a change of their very nature that is exhibited by the above listed gifts.  This is the true basis of our confidence that He has intervened and granted to us a saving faith.

Please keep in mind, a work of God’s saving grace in the heart is not proven by an outward profession of faith, nor outward acts of goodness and service to the Lord. The text at the beginning of this study clearly proved this principle.  There, we saw men who were making professions of their faith in Christ and outward actions of service to the Lord.  And yet, they are clearly rejected by Christ.  If this is the case, then how do works enter into this subject?   They enter into our teaching in two ways…

First of all a changed lifestyle, including outward actions, is the natural result of the change in nature and the new found graces that the Christian possesses.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”   (Galatians 5:19-26)

However, a changed lifestyle can be counterfeited as we saw in our introductory text.  Therefore, the outward actions of man cannot be looked upon as the sole basis of confidence of a genuine conversion.  They must be taken in the context of what is taking place in the heart that motivates the outward actions.  This is the only reliable evidence of genuine saving faith.  Only self-examination by the individual can find the true motives and graces behind the outward acts of service to Christ.

Secondly, a Christian’s works can be very effective in giving evidence to others of our genuine conversion, however, because those around us cannot know our hearts, they can never be absolutely certain of our spiritual condition.

What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”   (James 2:14-26)

 

So when it comes to our testimony in other’s eyes, we can only live our lives consistent with our verbal testimony of faith.  As others around us see that our actions are consistent with our verbal testimony, it will aid them in understanding we have been genuinely saved.

One last point, since each individual is the only one who can be certain that a genuine work of faith has taken place in their heart, we must understand that we are to be very careful in making judgments about the spiritual condition of others.  As human beings, we can easily misinterpret hypocritical acts of service as proofs of genuine conversion… the Jews attitudes about the Pharisees is a clear example of this error.  Likewise an inconsistent life based upon spiritual immaturity, can easily be mistakenly seen as an indication of a lost condition.  This is a frequent occurrence in the lives of Christians, and it is proven by the many teachings in the Word about the need “to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ” (ie to become mature in the faith).

Although difficult, and certainly imperfect, at times judgments about another’s salvation must be made. A few examples of this include:  candidates for baptism and/or church membership, choosing a mate for marriage, choosing partners in business ventures, and so on. In these cases great diligence, Holy Spirit leadership, spiritual discernment in an examination of their spiritual fruits, much prayer, and a realization that we are limited in our ability to discern these things must always be kept in the forefront of these judgments.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

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