2 Peter 3:16 – on this salvation era and Paul’s credibility

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”
2 Peter 3:15‭-‬16 NLT 

It is truly astounding the way rich Bible truths are anchored at the “3:16” point in nearly every New Testament book. This post continues my long exploration of the Three Sixteens. Today we are looking at the salvation which comes to us through the Lord’s patience, as described in Paul’s teachings. (If you missed the earlier posts, go back to the start and check them out: Matthew 3:16 through to 1 Peter 3:16.)

To understand the significance of these words, it is worth understanding the patience that Peter is referring back to (in verse 9):

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. This actually a response to the criticism mentioned in verses 3-4:
I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?

So what did happen to that promise? More than ever, the idea that Jesus would come and end all the pain and suffering of this Covid world is attractive. We who hope in Christ and the resurrection would probably welcome his return today! But unlike God, we are each so wrapped up in our own interests. The reason for the Lord’s delay is the salvation of souls.

With each day that passes, new believers are made, new children are born to the Kingdom of God. How gracious is the delay of this promise! God’s purposes in calling people to himself are not thwarted by the criticism that Jesus’ return should come right now. For the sake of mortal men and women, our loving heavenly Father is patient. And though he stands outside of time, we can be thankful for the passing moments from where we sit, and wait. More people are coming to put their trust in Him!

Verse 15 leads into 16, where Peter makes the interesting connection between Paul’s teachings and the rest of Scripture – giving weight to Paul’s letters and thereby declaring that they too are indeed God-breathed. Peter’s verse 15 agrees with Paul who wrote in Romans 2:4: “Do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Peter’s agreement with Paul is significant in that it sets the apostles’ teaching apart from that of false teachers, who denied the Second Coming of Christ.

As for Peter’s comment that some of Paul’s writings are “hard to understand”, I don’t think he is being critical. Rather, the opposite. He wants us to see the truth in Paul’s hard teachings. Just as Jesus spoke in parables – so that we might seek the meaning and exercise faith to understand the truth – so Paul’s teachings call on us to think!

John Piper offers this comment in a sermon on the passage:

” . . . even though Scripture is inspired, it is not all easy to understand. Verse 16: “There are some things in them hard to understand.” I would love to preach an hour on the implications of that sentence; but since I don’t have time, here is an outline of that sermon.
Point 1: Being inspired, the Scriptures reveal the mind of God.
Point 2: The mind of God is vastly greater than our mind and will often be perceived by us as strange and complex, not familiar and simple.
Point 3: Therefore, the Scriptures will sometimes be strange and complex and hard to understand.
Point 4: The continued selection only of what is simple in the Bible would be a sin in the regular preaching of the church, because Hebrews 5:13 says, “Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a child.”
Point 5: Therefore, preaching which aims to deliver the whole counsel of God in Scripture (and which does not presume to be wiser than the apostles) will sometimes be complex and will demand from God’s people the utmost in humility and mental effort.”

Praise be to our great God – who has revealed himself to us and patiently waits for more to be gathered into the kingdom of His Son.

Here is a song to finish with, reminding us of God’s Mercies which are new every morning. (Recorded by Matt Redman – Thy Kingdom Come Event | London, UK)

Image: Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Upon Him – acoustic version

Upon Him – acoustic version

If you haven’t discovered Matt Redman’s album, Let There Be Wonder (released early 2020), please seek it out. It has been a wonderful refuge for the soul in the midst of these turbulent days. Here is a beautiful acoustic version of “Upon Him”.

Lyrics:

Upon a hill, a perfect Saviour

Upon that day, the greatest love

The punishment that should have fallen on us

Upon Him, upon Him

Upon His head, a crown of thorns

Upon His heart, a broken world

The wage of sin, the weight of our transgressions

Upon Him, upon Him

Christ has died, we are forgiven

And Christ alive, we are the risen

And He shall come again   

Praise the King, praise the King

Upon our hearts, His name is written

The King of kings and Lord of lords

We’re pouring out a song of praise together

Upon Him, upon Him

Christ has died, we are forgiven

And Christ alive, we are the risen

And He shall come again   

Praise the King, praise the King

One name upon our lips, Jesus

No greater name than this, Jesus

And every knee will bow

Every heart confess

Jesus, Jesus

Upon Him Artist: Matt Redman Written by: Matt Redman, Andi Rozier & Jon Guerra © 2020 Integrity Worship Music/Said And Done Music/ASCAP (adm worldwide at CapitolCMGPublishing.com, excluding the UK & Europe which is adm by Integrity Music), Jaguerra Songs/BMI, Shatteredmusic/ASCAP (admin. at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) CCLI# 7138935 #MattRedman#UponHim#LetThereBeWonder#Acoustic @Integrity Music ​

Day 8/12: This is Love/Come Thou Long expected Jesus

Here is another great new song/arrangement by Paul Baloche on his album ‘Christmas Worship’ (performed with Kathryn Scott).

Heaven’s splendour left behind
The King of glory born to die
God and man to reconcile
You came to offer up Your life

This is love this is love
Incarnate King begotten Son
This is love this is love
You choose to make Your home in us

Worship fell that holy night
Angel voices filled the sky
Lowly shepherds raised their eyes
Following the star so bright

Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee


Copyright © 2013 Integrity Worship Music, Leadworship Songs

Day 5/12 – Salvation is Born (Christmas Songs Countdown)

This has to be one of the most beautiful (and unfortunately less well known) Christmas songs I know, which was published in 2005 by Sovereign Grace Music. I arranged it for a three or four part choir with soloist at some point during the Noughties, and we performed it at our Christmas services. (If you are interested, I could probably find the score.) Enjoy this message!

VERSE 1
Come let us worship, come let us adore
Jesus, Messiah, our Savior is born
Carol His glory and sing His sweet Name
Offer a life of thanksgiving and praise
VERSE 2
Join with the angels proclaiming to earth
Join with the shepherds in awe of His birth
Join all creation rejoicing this morn
The glory of God-become-man has been born

CHORUS
Come, let us adore Him
Jesus, the hope of the world
Come, worship before Him
Christ, the Messiah has come
Salvation is born

VERSE 3
Prophets foretold Him, the Promise of God
The hope of Salvation and light of the world
Born in a stable and born as a man
Born to fulfill God’s redeeming plan

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Salvation is Born by Greg Tulenko, sung by Shannon Harris from the album
“Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man”
© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Day 3/12 – Noel! (Christmas Songs Countdown)

Continuing the countdown of 12 great songs for the twelve days before Christmas, here is Chris Tomlin’s ‘Noel‘ sung by Lauren Daigle.

Before you listen, you may like to consider the origins of the word, NOËL. This word, signifying the holiday season, comes to us from the Latin verb nasci, meaning “to be born.”  The noun use (from natalis dies, day of birth) denoted a birthday, an anniversary, a commemorative festival, hence in ecclesiastical Latin the festival of the nativity of Christ, Christmas. In English, Noël has not been in standard use in the sense of Christmas, but it has been attested as a surname and male first name in England since the 12th century; it was probably originally used for children born or baptised on Christmas day. In the early 14th century, from its use as a word shouted or sung to commemorate the birth of Christ, French Noël became an interjection expressing joy.

Let’s give thanks today and hold on to the wonder of the Word who became flesh, and came to save us!

Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Saviour of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Songwriters: Edmond Martin Cash / Matthew James Redman / Chrisopher D Tomlin
Noel lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc

Day 2/12 – Candlelight Carol (Christmas Songs Countdown)

From Australian a cappella vocal group, Idea of North, on the album ‘This Christmas’ from (2012). The song is based on a carol by John Rutter (2001). Listen below or find more info here.

Candlelight Carol

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep on the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will rock him and sing him to sleep

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

The Bridge – Casting Crowns

Lyrics:

Oh, you lead us home

Oh oh

 

The world’s getting darker by the day

I’m on my knees but don’t know what to pray

The broken things that broken people do

But knowing just how far You came for me

Gives me hope for every soul I meet

There’s no one so far gone that You can’t reach

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

Your love is the bridge

You built with a cross

And Your truth is the light

That searches for the lost

Your grace won’t stop reaching

Your mercy won’t let go

‘Cause Your love is the bridge

And Your truth leads us home

Oh, You lead us home, Oh

 

You never told the broken they were whole

You spoke the truth that healed their broken souls

You’d never leave us here to fight alone

With love we earn the right to speak Your truth

It’s not just what we say, it’s what we do

I want to be a bridge that leads to You

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

No rescue so relentless

No greater love than this

Where sin leaves a canyon

Your love builds a bridge

 

Writers:

Mark Hall, Matthew West, Bernie Herms and Seth Mosley

Be Essential Songs (BMI) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com). My Refuge Music (BMI) (adming at CapitolCMGPublishing.com). Hickory Bill Doc / So Essential Tunes (SESAC) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) (C) 2018 Provident

When we all get to heaven

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 
1 Corinthians 13:12

I think we have been waiting for this song to be written. Imagine the rejoicing and the praises on that day – to sing and shout the victory! To see Jesus! Thanks to Matt Redman for this new expression of the hope in which we live each day, as Christ followers.
Blessings to those for whom this day is likely not far away.
xx

LYRICS:
One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears

One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory

One day we will see face to face, Jesus
Is there a greater vision of grace
And in a moment, we shall be changed
On that day

And one day we’ll be free, free indeed, Jesus
One day all this struggle will cease
And we will see Your glory revealed
On that day

Music video by Matt Redman performing One Day (When We All Get To Heaven). © 2018 Capitol Christian Music Group, Inc. http://vevo.ly/8ZTF28

Christmas: The arrival of Jesus, the Mighty Warrior

Today’s post is an excellent excerpt from at post at The Blazing Center, entitled “Jesus is for people who hate Christmas.”

“That, ladies and gentlemen, is the true meaning of Christmas. Wherever Jesus goes he brings the reign of God! Christmas is ultimately about the kingdom of God coming to this sad, broken, sin-marred world. Christmas is ultimately about a baby who would grow into a mighty warrior – a warrior who would crush Satan, undo sadness, defeat death, and ensure that it would be always Christmas and never winter.

Listen closely. For just a moment, tune out the Christmas music and television commercials. Do you hear that slow creaking and cracking noise? It’s the sound of Satan’s skull being slowly crushed underneath the foot of our conquering Savior.

Now we suffer. Now we experience cancer and migraines and anxiety and singleness and sadness and loneliness and poverty. Now we are afflicted by sin and Satan and our flesh. But not always.

Ultimately, Christmas should give the most hope to those who hate Christmas. Things won’t always be this way. As it says in 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Those are such sweet words. Christmas is a celebration of war! Jesus himself has declared open season on Satan. He came to destroy all the works of the evil one. He came to wipe away tears and heal broken bodies and lift up despondent hearts and drive out fear and destroy loneliness.”

The Mystery of Love (part 1)

Weddings do hold a great fascination for human kind. They consist of great joys, traditions, promises, losses and gains, endings and beginnings. They transport us through time, looking back, looking forward, remembering those who have gone before and those yet to come. They tie us to our families and they unite what once was separate. They provide hope as we express faith and love. They amplify our faith to the witnesses who gather, as we are reminded of the Great Designer’s plan for human kind to be joined as one, to live in love and commitment to one another. At my daughter’s wedding yesterday, I was reminded by the best man (in his humorous yet poignant speech) that a wedding day poses a great question to Christian couples: will this relationship honour Christ? The day is the question. The marriage is the answer.

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