MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 7
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
We’ve reached the end of this journey down the Rapture Road with Nathan Jones and Vic Batista in this verse-by-verse study of the incredibly prophetic book of 2 Peter! You can start back at the beginning with Part 1 or listen in to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast (above).
Be On Your Guard
Vic Batista: I love how the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:17-18 leaves his readers with his final message to “be on your guard.”
“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Tucked into Peter’s closing verses is the call for Christians to correctly teach the Word of God, and so be like the Bereans, or end up leading ourselves and others astray. We allow Scripture to line up with Scripture, and verses are never to be taken out of context or twisted apart from their original meaning. That takes a lot of hard work but is essential to discerning God’s original meaning.
Nathan Jones: For example, it took me and my co-author Steve Howell two years to write our first book, 12 Faith Journeys of the Minor Prophets. We painstakingly took the time because we wanted our interpretation of the Minor Prophets’ faith messages to be true to the Word of God. We did write introductory stories with each chapter to provide a little slice of life for each of the Minor Prophets. We utilized a bit of historical fiction with the intros, but based them on the biblical clues to show what their lives were like, and we let our readers know that was the case. But, as for the remainder of each chapter, we provided the facts and figures of their lives, as well as the prophets’ messages and what application we could glean from those applications.
So, we tried very hard to write as biblically as possible because teaching the Word of God requires great trust. The Lord will hold us accountable if we go running off and not teach what the Bible actually teaches.
Losing Our Salvation
Nathan Jones: Some people interpret verse 17 which reads, “be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position,” to mean that Christians are able to lose our salvation.
Vic Batista: I personally believe that, no, we cannot lose our salvation. I know that various denominations teach differently. I believe in human responsibility. I believe, like it says in John 15, that as long as we are abiding in Christ and our relationship with Him that we have nothing to worry about. So, I don’t necessarily believe that you can lose your salvation. I know some churches teach that resulting in their church members fearfully doing good works, being so afraid that they may lose their salvation. This fear degrades their salvation into a works-based relationship, rather than what salvation was always intended to be — grace-based salvation.
Nathan Jones: I agree. I don’t think that we need to secure our position in Heaven with good works. Peter isn’t talking about losing our position in salvation. We should look at the context of this passage, and that concerns lawless men who will drive you away from your walk with Jesus and into error. In other words, people will start chasing after doctrinally unsound teachings or inadvertently follow doctrinally unsound teachings, such as having the need for maintaining great strength of faith or risk losing one’s position in Heaven.
After all, how much faith is enough faith to “stay saved?” Whatever happened to having even the faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20)?
Believe Acts 3:19, which says, “Repent then and turn to the Lord that your sins may be wiped out, the times of refreshing comes from the Lord.” This verse and others verify that your sins were wiped out once you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Hebrews 11:6 adds, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” So, when you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He exonerates you of your sins and blesses you with His salvation.
Look at Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Lots of passages exist in the Bible that strongly indicate that we cannot lose our salvation.
Now, bear in mind, even here at Lamb & Lion Ministries there are those who would disagree with us. Dr. Reagan, the founder and director of our ministry, believes one can lose their salvation due to continual abuse and rejection of Jesus Christ and by adopting a blasphemous lifestyle. Of course, does that beg the question as to whether that person was saved to begin with, or did they lose their salvation at some point?
This centuries-old debate, well, the Church is never going to come to an agreed-upon answer. Two-thousand years of debating eternal security leave the Chruch with still no conclusive answer. I believe the Bible falls strongly on the position that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, then we are forever saved. But, to be sure, abide in Christ. If you are worried that you might lose your salvation, then don’t leave Christ. Don’t chase after the world, but stay with the Lord. Problem solved!Nathan Jones: I believe the #Bible falls strongly on the position that when we put our faith and trust in #JesusChrist, then we are forever saved. But, to be sure, abide in Christ. Problem solved! Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: I can understand why eternal security remains a very challenging topic for so many, because sometimes you look at carnal Christians and conclude they sure are difficult to distinguish from those who are unsaved. And yet, God looks at the heart. We cannot judge by outer appearances. Once we get to Heaven, we will probably be pleasantly surprised as to who is there and who isn’t there.
Nathan Jones: First John 3 tells us that a person who is saved will produce spiritual fruit. Salvation should bring about a transformation in our lives, leading us to disdain sin. Once saved, we shouldn’t desire to lead a sinful life. Of course, we will occasionally sin because we are human, but as Christians, we live a life working towards becoming more Christ-like. Those who are saved exhibit the desire to give our lives over to becoming more Christ-like.
Now, for people who repeatedly live in sin and continue to follow after the world, these are called Carnal Christians. They beg the question, “Were they really Christians to begin with? Or, are they just cultural Christians who were never truly saved?” That’s a whole different scenario and question.
But, the Bible explains that true Christians will produce spiritual fruit. We will love the Lord and desire to become Christ-like. And, that’s a sure-fire way of externally recognizing if someone is truly saved. In the end, though, only God knows for sure.
Grow in Grace
Vic Batista: I really love the last verse in the book of 2 Peter, which is verse 18: “…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” In that verse I see such encouragement for our Christian walk!
Nathan Jones: Living so provides another example of how we can know if someone is truly saved. They love to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. They are listening to teachings about the Bible and applying them to their lives. They are reading the Bible themselves. They hold to regular prayer. They are seeking Christ-likeness. They are serving others. So, again, Peter reminds his readers about what a Christian should be doing, not out of obligation, but out of their heart’s desire to live a life worthy of our Christian calling.
Vic Batista: Because there are so many biblical study resources available to Christians who desire to grow in their faith, one can no longer use the excuse that there aren’t enough materials available. Even in remote third-world countries, people now have access to the Internet and cell phones. So, for those who really wish to grow in their biblical knowledge, there’s ample opportunity.
Nathan Jones: I’d say, even an unlimited opportunity! Imagine how just 100-150 years ago, many Christians were dependent on an itinerant pastor coming through town once a month or so preaching an hour or two-long sermon. That’s all some people ever had access to. You might own a Bible, if you could read, that is. Now we have high literacy rates like no time in human history. We can so readily study the Bible. We can tune into shows, radio programs, and podcasts. So many opportunities exist for us to grow in God’s Word.
We today are living out the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 which foretold that in the end times knowledge and travel would increase. We know travel has definitely increased, but so equally has knowledge.Nathan Jones: We today are living out the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 which foretold that in the #endtimes knowledge and travel would increase. We know travel has definitely increased, but so equally has knowledge. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: Yes, and that’s why we are living in such a blessed time. We can take advantage of smartphone technology. If you own a smartphone, then you can access an unreal amount of information such as Bibles, commentaries, and other Christian study books.
Nathan Jones: And, for those who are not readers, meaning you are a visual learner, then there’s plenty to watch. You can even watch our television show Christ in Prophecy. So much information is out there that can help you grow in the Lord.
We live in amazing times! When I was a kid, I used to think this time period was so boring. Wouldn’t it be great to live in the time of the Medieval knights or some era like that? I was wrong. We live in a time unlike any period in human history. Technology provides ample opportunities for spiritual growth like never before.
Vic Batista: As we wrap up this series through the book of 2 Peter, our desire has been for Christians to transform into mighty warriors for our Lord and Savior. We hope that you, too, have been growing in the Lord.
Before we go, we want to encourage people in their relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so important. And, for those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior, we will explain how they can start their relationship with Him.
Nathan Jones: Hebrews 11:6 explains, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Romans 8:1-2 promises, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In other words, when you place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and your Savior, and in repentance pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior,” then will be saved.
So, please, repent of your lifelong rebellion against God, and ask Him to save you from your sins. In return, Jesus will transform your life, and His Spirit will guide your path forevermore.
Vic Batista: I love how Peter closes in verse 18 with, “To Him be the glory, both now and forever, amen.” Now that you’re saved and equipped to withstand the false teachers of this world, give your lives over to giving God the glory due Him in everything you do. Give God the glory. And, praise the Lord!
3 CommentsLeave a Comment
I did not know that Dr. Reagan believes that one can lose his or her salvation through continual abuse and a blasphemous lifestyle. But you also mentioned that he said “rejection of Jesus Christ.” If the latter were the case, then that person was never saved to begin with. I loved watching Dr. Andy Woods (DTS) discuss Hebrews 6:4-6 and relating it to the Kadesh Barnea paradigm on you tube. All those people who died natural deaths wandering in the desert had not lost their salvation, but had lost their blessing because of their fear and refusal to enter Canaan, wherein the Nephilim were seen. They had been saved by the blood of the lamb in Egypt. So they were judged by God and lost their blessing. But God continued to send them manna and care for them. I believe the same is true of Hebrews 6:4-6, but the persecuted Hebrew Christians who were sorely tempted to return to the Temple were only ABOUT to lose their blessing! The reason it was “impossible to renew them again to repentance” is because once a person is saved, he can’t be “saved again.” And Jesus didn’t “taste” death; He died and came back to life.
I am pleased that you took that position on eternal salvation.You are so right when you warn that teaching that one can lose it is basing salvation on works and not on grace.The enemy can so easily dishearten the believer condemning them when they fail as we all do of course.Jesus made us clean and set us free we were purchased by His blood.I know people teaching that we should be living under the Ten Commandments ;
Theonomy and it has caused dissension in our church.We need to be like the Bereans continually searching the scriptures for ourselves.Thank you for you faithfulness.We will soon be leaving here for our true home.live in Yeshua Suzanne.xxx
Ephesians 2:8-9 Read
These verses confront us with a list of spiritual-sounding words: grace, saved, faith, gift, works. Even those who have been in God’s church for many years and who may clearly understand each of these words individually are slowed down in comprehension when faced with such terms presented one after the other.
So, let us take a very brief Greek lesson. Here are the key terms contained in this scripture in English and Greek, the Strong’s Concordance reference number, and, to make the meanings clearer, other English terms translated in the New Testament from the same Greek words:
Grace (#5485): charis (khar’-ece). Also translated as favor, thanks, thank, pleasure.
Saved (#4982): sozo (sode’-zo). Also translated as make whole, heal, be whole.
Faith (#4102): pistis. Also translated as assurance, believe, belief, those who believe, fidelity.
Gift (#1435): doron. Also translated as present, offering.
Works (#2041): ergon. Also translated as deed, doing, labor.
Ergon is the original Greek for the English word “works.” It does not appear to be a very difficult, ambiguous, or confusing term. But what do the many people and churches who claim that works are not required perceive “works” to be?
Opinions vary. One group perceives works to mean the whole law in general. A second group perceives works as specific portions of God’s law, which they look upon as being “Jewish” or”Old Covenant,” or that they are just not willing to keep and teach. A third group, amazingly enough in their rejection of it, perceives this term as meaning works of charity in general!
Individuals or groups who choose to substitute the word “law” for the word “works” in Ephesians 2:8-9, and who thus say that New Testament Christians do not have to keep God’s law, do not appear to mean it totally and literally. Instead, most of them reserve the right to choose which parts of the law they wish to keep (“You shall not kill,” “You shall not steal,” etc.) and those that they do not wish to keep (“Remember the Sabbath,” holy days, tithing, clean and unclean meats, etc.). God has nowhere given authority to His people to be selective in these matters, thus this stance toward the law is inconsistent and even hypocritical.
The church of God has always agreed one hundred percent with those who say that salvation is a gift, and that a Christian cannot earn salvation by charitable works or by obedience to God’s law. However, obedience is a condition we must meet before God will give us His free gift of salvation. New Testament evidence is overwhelming on the matter. Here are just a few verses:
» And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)
» He who says, “I know him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)
» So He said to [the rich young ruler], “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)
» If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 2:8-9, does not say that works are not required at all. The purpose of his statement is to show that works do not save us, but that grace and faith do! In fact, the very next verse, verse 10, shows that God calls members of His church for the very purpose of performing good works: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
The apostle’s language is very clear. God desires us to walk in good works, and He has prepared our spiritual educational process so that we will learn to do them. Doing good works in the name of Jesus Christ is a major part of the purpose for the life of each true Christian. We cannot truly be Christians without them!