Monday, January 18, 2016
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).
May we hearken to these truths, lest we misunderstand and dislike the Holy Bible!
The God of Scripture is “longsuffering.” He is not currently pouring out His wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind. Had Israel’s prophetic program operated unbroken, that judgment would have surely come just after Calvary (Psalm 2:1-5; Acts 2:34-36; Acts 7:55,56; et cetera). However, God interrupted prophecy, delayed that judgment, and revealed the mystery program to and through the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus). An unprophesied (secret) period of “grace and peace” extended to all mankind (Gentiles), as illustrated by the salvation of wicked Saul in Acts chapter 9 (1 Timothy 1:12-16). The heart of that mystery program is “the Dispensation of Grace,” doctrines and other truths currently applicable, only until “the fulness of the Gentiles” comes in (Romans 11:25).
Peter had preached salvation and blessing to Gentiles through Israel and her kingdom (Acts 3:19-26; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Genesis 12:1-3). Through Paul’s ministry and Gospel, “the Gospel of the Grace of God,” Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, salvation and blessing is currently going to Gentiles without Israel and her kingdom (Romans 11:11-13; Ephesians 3:1-11).
God has offered grace to all; He has been longsuffering, tolerating man’s sins for 20 centuries! Why? “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” That more lost sinners (like Saul) be saved into the Body of Christ by simple faith in Christ alone, thus spared God’s wrath when prophecy resumes! Once our Dispensation of Grace closes, then and only then, God’s wrath and war will replace His grace and peace (1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, 2:1-13). When the scoffers Peter referenced asked about Jesus’ coming in vengeance, they were pitifully ignorant! The message of grace that Paul preached was the very reason why that wrath had not yet come!
Let us conclude this devotionals arc.
Special-edition Bible Q&A #225: “What about the ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement?”
(This 22-page article systematically discusses the dangers of mixing Law and Grace concerning Christian living.)