Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Eschatology and Sanctification Part 2

In my last post I wrote that it is important for our sanctification to study what God has revealed concerning the end times. This post I would like to begin to show how this study will benefit us.

In the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien, the characters never know what the end will be. In the darkest days, they have no idea if they will triumph over their enemies. Will the Evil Sauron prevail? Are they doomed to fail in their quest to destroy the One Ring?  They have no confident answer to these questions. Their hope rests upon the thinnest of threads. All they can do is to bravely press on, and if all fails, they can at least make a courageous last stand.
 Imagine if this was the case with Christians in this world. We are a small and weak people. Our task is great. Our opponents are strong. The devil is powerful and cunning. We are no match for him. The church is assaulted by false teachers and teaching. The world tempts and seduces the church to embrace her lies and sins. The devil and world seem to be winning. We die and seem to be no more. If we look at what we can see with our eyes, we can grow weary and hopeless. It seems to be a lost cause. But as we study the end times as God has revealed them, we see by faith a different picture. God reveals to us the He will raise us from the dead in a new and glorious body. God will bring  defeat to the devil and all those who follow his ways. None will escape the Lord Jesus Christ, the great King of Kings. God will persevere His church, no matter what her enemies can and will throw at her. The truth will prevail. We may lose some battles, but the war is won. We fight a defeated foe. It may not seem like this is the case, but God's words reveals a different situation. Romans 16:20 says, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." The clearer our views of the end times, the greater our confidence, our hope and our courage.  In Psalm 73, the psalmist is gloomy because the wicked seem to have it good. He laments that it is of no use to be good and godly.  A godly life is vain. God doesn't seem to care about the good I do and the wicked that the ungodly do. But the psalmist's mood changes when he goes into the temple and remembers what will be the end of the wicked. In the end God will punish them and sweep them away forever. He and all the righteous will enjoy God  and live with Him forever. Here in this psalm we see an example of how a right and clear understanding of last events will bring clarity, hope, joy, peace and confidence.  This is what is seen in 1 Cor 15:57-58, which comes after Paul's explanation of the resurrection of believers. There Paul ends with this practical encouragement, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." This is a good benefit to those who diligently study eschatology.


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