Revelation 3: He that Overcometh… Will be written into the Book of Life
We learn that Jesus Christ will come “…as a thief… thou shalt not know what hour I shall come upon thee.” (Revelations 3:3) Because we do not know when Jesus Christ will come for the second time, John encourages us to overcome the world by following the commandments and being clothes with white raiment, for those who are faithful and pure in the Second Coming have been given a promise by the Lord; “…I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelations 3:5) In other words if we follow Jesus Christ and His commandments, He will be our Redeemer and will confess of our good works before God the Father.
Further promises are made about those who follow the commandments and not the ways of the world; “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God… and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelations 3:12) We learn that we will have a spot in the Kingdom and Temple of God and that we will also receive a new name.
Often times we ask ourselves; Where is God? Why is He permitting bad things to happen? But the truth is that God is always there, we just have to seek Him out!
“…I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him [eat dinner], and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelations 3:20-21) If we open the door to Jesus Christ, we can feel His presence. If we are diligent until the end, we too can sit with Jesus Christ in His Kingdom.
2 Peter 3: The Second Coming
Peter explains that in the Last Days many men and women will come saying; “…Where is the promise of his [Jesus Christ] coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4) These same people will question other things like; ‘Why does God permit suffering?’ However, in order to understand all of this we must acknowledge that God lives, and that by His power the earth has been “…kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)
We may not understand the ways of our God, however we must remember that time unto God is not the same time unto us. In fact, trying to understand eternity and time outside of the linear time we acknowledge is very difficult. Peter uses an example to explain how time is different for God; “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8). This does not mean that one day is exactly one thousand years for God, but rather to be used as an example of how different time is viewed by God. We as human beings are used to time in the linear form; that is, point A to point B… with terms like past, present and future. However, time in eternity is more like past present and future with no point A to B. My only guess would be that the past, present and future are all one.
Peter reminds us that; “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise… the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” (2 Peter 3:9-10) We will not have warning of His coming, but He WILL COME. Peter explains that “…some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned…” (2 Peter 3:16) Because of this, education is important; we need to be educated in all things both spiritually, mentally, and physically. Those who are unlearned may be “…led away with the error of the wicked…” (2 Peter 3:17) We should grow in grace and knowledge, so that we will not be led away by the devil.
1 Peter 1: Trial of Faith Precedes Salvation
Peter writes to the gentiles that are scattered throughout the world and explains to them; “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold….though it be tried with fire… be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7) Here we learn that the trial of our faith, even though it be difficult is what we will be judged on in the last days. Gold, silver, jewels… any worldly possession will not help us gain salvation. We must EARN our own salvation through the trial of our faith. Yes, it is true that Jesus Christ died for our sins and therefore granted our Salvation. However, we must remember that Jesus Christ gave us the ABILITY to gain Salvation, but never did we instantly gain Salvation for nothing, and this is exactly what Peter is saying.
Peter goes on to explain, that since the dawn of time Prophets have “…enquired and searched diligently…” (1 Peter 1:10) in order to obtain the necessary information regarding our Salvation, for this purpose having prophets is important. Peter explains that we need to be “…obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts of your ignorance… Be ye holy; for I am [God] holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” (1 Peter 14;16-17) Peter urges us to be obedient, and put our former lusts and desires in the past. As God is Holy, we being His children should also be holy. Why? Because ultimately God will judge us on our work.
Our Salvation was gained through the “…precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20) Peter invites us to be “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible…” (1 Peter 1:23) In other words, once we decide to follow Christ, we must do as He would do. We must work diligently daily, doing good works as He would also do.
James 4: Wars are Born of Lusts
James opens up this letter by explaining that wars come from the lusts of the world, and that when we ask God for things, they must stem from righteous desires. James explains that “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3)
Paul addresses the sinners of the world; “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) Those who love the world more than God, are enemies of God Himself!
James urges everyone to be humble, so that we might receive the grace of God; “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10) Those who humble themselves and submit themselves to God, will have the power to overcome the Devil; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
James reminds us that compared to God we’re; “…a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) Therefore we need to strive daily to perfect ourselves so that we can become like Him! James explains that anyone who knows good; “…and doeth it not, to him it is a sin.” (James 4:17). Therefore those who know good, but choose to do bad will be given their just reward.
Hebrews 12: God is our Heavenly Father
Paul writes to the Hebrews and explains that we should; “…lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Paul uses ‘weights’ to describe sin, and then tells us to be patient in the race of life. But one must consider how much easier that race could be ran, and finished with less to weigh us down!
Paul urges us to look; “…unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Paul explains that Jesus is our FAITH, and He put aside His life for US! We should look unto Him during our good times and our bad times, for He truly knows how we feel when we are sad, but also knows how we feel when we are happy. He can be there through the good and the bad, if we are also there with Him through the good and the bad.
Paul likens God our Eternal Father with our earthly fathers; “…we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9) Paul lays out our divine lineage; we are SONS and DAUGHTERS of God the Father! If we respect and love our earthly fathers, should we not love and respect even more the Father of our Spirit? Paul explains that in life we will go through trials and often times we feel like God is punishing us, either for our sins or to make us stronger; “…no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous… nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…” (Hebrews 12:11) In other words, being punished (or feeling like we are being punished) in the present is not fun. But God knows all, and He has a plan for us all! Therefore after we are punished we can grow and then receive the fruit righteousness, a heavenly peace.
Paul goes on to explain that in the days of Moses, there were consequences for rebelling against the word of God. Paul tells us that we have “…come unto mount Sion [zion], and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23) Essentially Paul is saying that we will be brought to judgment, God being the Judge of all, but presiding over a group of judges of men who were made perfect.
Hebrews 2: The Atonement
Paul writes to the Hebrews and asks them; “…if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation…” (Hebrews 2:2-3) Essentially Paul asks; if we know that our wickedness comes with punishment, WHY would we NOT accept SALVATION?
Jesus, “…by the grace of God should taste death for every man… to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10) Paul goes on to say; “…I will put my trust in him…” (Hebrews 2:13) and he encourages others to do the same.
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can ALL be Saved, if we so choose. Jesus Christ was; “…made like unto his brethren, that he might be merciful and faithful… to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [comfort] them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18) Jesus Christ knows our temptations, our fears, our suffering, our deepest desires; he suffered so that He would know how to comfort us in our times of sorrow and rejoice with us in our times of rejoicing!
Philippians 1: Everything Happens for a Reason
Paul opens his letter to the Philippians and explains that Timotheus and he are both bond servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul prays the Philippians may be without offence until the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness. He urges members to speak more boldly, as he has of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul explains that everything happens for a divine reason; “…the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12) The reason for his suffering and imprisonment was so others could be more confidence and speak “…more bold[ly]…without fear.” (Philippians 1:14)
Paul urges the Saints to “…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation… For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; “ (Philippians 1:27-29) Essentially Paul is telling the Philippian Saints to not worry about what will happen to them or be afraid of the evil. He explains that as followers of Christ, they too must suffer for his sake, however all things work out for a reason. Be not discouraged or upset by the adversaries who attempt to dismantle your belief in Jesus Christ!