There’s a War On

Since the Fall of man, the cosmic war has been going. Satan and his minions deceive and oppose God’s people.

Today’s reading: Daniel 9-10; 2 John 1

13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”                                                                    Daniel 10:13-14

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.        2 John 1:7

Daniel was in a time of deep mourning for three weeks. He fasted and prayed. God sent an angel to him, but, at first, he was more frightened than strengthened. The angel addressed him kindly and called him a man greatly loved. Daniel’s prayers had been heard from the first day of that three week period, but the angel had been opposed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

John, in this second epistle, warns his readers about the deceivers in the world. They are identified as those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. The Reformation Study Bible [1] notes observe that a heresy called Docetism taught that Jesus did not have a real human body but was some sort of phantom who only appeared to be human. John declared these false teachers to be of the antichrist.

Once again in these passages, we see the very real nature of the spiritual war going on around us. Satan and his forces wield a certain amount of power, but God does hear His children when they pray. He does send aid. He will judge all the hosts of wickedness and deliver His own safely to glory (Isaiah 24:21; Ephesians 6:11-12; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 17:8; 20:10).

There’s a war on, but God has all things under His control. Trust Him and obey His truth. As we saw yesterday, His children will be victorious over the world through Jesus Christ.

[1] The Reformation Study Bible, Sanford, FL, Reformation Trust, 2015, p. 2279

Being Certain of Eternal Life

Today’s reading:1 John 3:11-3 John 15

My selection: I John 5:11-12

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

My reflections: Death is the great universal problem of mankind.  No one escapes death, although most people long for life that is unending, full of love, peace, and joy (Romans 5:12).

But there is one way out, through Jesus Christ, the Word of God Who became flesh, dwelt among us, and in Whom is life (John 1:1-4,14-18).  The New Testament describes this salvation from death through Christ as being in Christ (Romans 8:1; I Corinthians 1:30; 15:22)  or, as John terms it here, having Christ. He is essential to salvation.

So we may say, the saved, those who have eternal life, are in Christ or have Christ.  These are not the only metaphors used to describe this relationship, but the conclusion is always that the relationship with Christ saves and without Him there is no salvation.

My challenge: Do you trust in Christ for your salvation?  Do you rejoice in the certainty of eternal life that is promised to you in Him?  Resist the temptation to rely on any other thing, such as your accomplishments, your church affiliation, your theological knowledge, for your certainty of eternal life.  As Augustus Toplady’s great hymn, “Rock of Ages”, says it:

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;

Helpless, look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

Tomorrow’s reading:  Jude 1-Revelation 3:13

A Truly Merry Christmas

Today’s reading: 2 Peter 2:1-1 John 3:10

My selection:  I John 1:7-9

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

My reflections: As we celebrate the birth of the Light of the World, Jesus, (John 8:12) notice some of the benefits of “walking in the light.”

1.  Nearness to God.  God is in the light (vs. 5) so walking in the light results, first of all, in living close to Him.

2.  Cleansing from all sin.  As light reveals sin, so it facilitates confession of sin which results in forgiveness and cleansing from sin.

3.  Fellowship with others. There is no fellowship to compare with the fellowship of those who are walking in the light. Nothing is hidden in the light, including our sin. Yet this makes for relationships which are open and honest, without hypocrisy or facades.

My challenge: As you celebrate the birth of Jesus today, remember He came to save His people from their sin (Matthew 1:21).  If you believe in Him, you will want to live a life that reflects what He has done for you in taking your punishment on the cross and freeing you from the guilt of sin.  Make a conscious effort to walk in the light, because, naturally, we love darkness rather than light (John 3: 19-21).  Walk in the light today, though your flesh resists it.  Hear God’s word. Trust Him. Obey Him.  Confess sin.  Be cleansed by Him.  Enjoy Him and all those who walk with you in the light. May your Christmas be truly merry as you walk in the light and grow nearer to Christ.

Tomorrow’s reading:  1 John 3:11-III John 15