How Can We Endure in This End Time?

Erich Maag

The firm prophetic Word of the Bible, which shines as a light in a dark place (2 Pet 1:19), clearly shows us how we can live and endure in an ever-darkening world.

In the 1960s, the collapse of Christian values in our society began. Millions of people who had more or less professed Christianity (even if only for the sake of form) broke with the religious past of the West. This process is still ongoing today. The moral consensus was thrown overboard, and the consequences were brutality, decline in sexual ethics, devaluation of marriage and family, and abortion. Since 1973, one billion children worldwide have been killed in the womb.

Added to this is the growing seduction in the religious sphere. Many believers do not assess a message based on whether it conforms to the Word of God, but on whether it makes them feel good. In São Paulo (Brazil), for example, a self-proclaimed bishop named Ingrid Duque is wreaking havoc. Hundreds of people attend her gathering, and at the end, anyone can come to kiss her feet and receive a blessing. This is not free, of course, but costs 100 reais (about 26 dollars).

The confusion is increasing. What should we think of churches whose preachers claim that God speaks to them directly? Churches in which people fall over backwards because they are said to be “slain in the Spirit,” where tongues are spoken publicly, without anyone present who can interpret the sounds? Churches where a demon is seen behind every illness? Churches where the supernatural and spiritualism are so dominant that God’s Word is no longer considered especially important?

How should we respond and be firm in the faith? The apostle John answers, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:24). The apostles exhort us to be sober and vigilant, not to be driven and deceived by various and strange doctrines (1 Pet 5:8; Heb 13:9; 1 John 3:7).

Proverbs 1:3-5 shows the remedy for spiritual seduction, and points to right judgment: “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

This is about God’s Word and what it can do in a Christian’s life. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12).

The important thing is that we do not distance ourselves from God’s Word. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).

If the message of the Gospel is firmly established in our hearts, then we will always be connected to Jesus Christ. This spiritual unity is brought to us through the familiar image of the vine and the branches (John 15:4-5). The vine and the branches share an organic bond. They belong together. Thus, the Christian should remain united with the Lord Jesus through faith in God’s Word.

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25). In other words, we will live forever, in the glory of God, where there will be “neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev 21:4). But eternal life in connection with Christ also means something else: it is about the position that we have in Him, as long as we are born again. Nobody can take it from us; it is a gifted righteousness. We can’t contribute anything to it. There are no required works for us to manage. The Lord sees us through Christ Jesus, so we are in this position in perfection before the Father. Nevertheless, our condition may be far behind our position.

It may be that a believer makes no spiritual progress, or takes discipleship very superficially. For this, he will bear the consequences before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10), where our works will either burn or remain (1 Cor 3:14-15). A redeemed person may suffer loss relating to the crowns that the Lord has ready for every believer. It’s not about eternal life, but about the reward we can lose through the fire.

Our ultimate goal is the perfection and glorification of the Church of Jesus. The perhaps painful process of purification at the Judgment Seat of the Lord will produce a consummate and glorified Church. These believers will then participate in the Millennial government.

That’s why we encourage each other to keep asking what Scripture says. We want to study the Word of God and not lose the love of the truth (2 Thess 2:11). When this is the case, we will not get lost in the spiritual jungle of our time. For God Himself will save us from spiritual seduction and will guide us into all truth.

Midnight Call - 09/2018

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