“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;” – 2 Peter 3:15
All through the New Testament we are given the promise that “those who endure to the end will be saved.” In the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 Paul talks about us running a race of faith. However, he says that not all who run will make it to the end to win the prize. The truth of the matter is that this race is not to the swift, but to the persistent. It is not a race of speed but of endurance.
Let’s face it. There is an other gospel being preached. One of ease and cost-less pleasure. One where god’s role is to serve you, your wants, your desires, your logic, and your will. This gospel, when examined for what it truly is, places you on the thrown and God at your feet. The true gospel which affords you true salvation is not an easy one, and it is not without cost. Christ paid a very great price for us, not that He might serve us but that we might serve Him.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2
Jesus made it very clear that to follow Him would require sacrifices and that all who do will suffer trial, tribulation, and persecution. He even states that He warns us in advance that this will come so that when it does we will not be offended and give up, knowing that even though the journey is hard and the path be narrow and difficult, the destination is grand and well worth every trying step.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:16-18
You can not serve two masters (Matthew 6:25), nor can you love God and the things of the world (1 John 2:15, James 4:4). You can not follow Christ while following after the lust of the flesh, money, possessions, positions, preeminence, pomp, people, relationships, desires, self, or gain. You must lay it all down, pick up your cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Yes He may choose to give you some of these things as He wills for His glory and for use in His service as you fallow Him but if you are pursuing these things then you are not pursuing Christ. Blessings may follow us as we follow Christ, but Christ will not follow us as we follow blessings. Therefore, pursue Christ and His will alone and let the rest fall where it may. In other words, “seek Ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” – 1 Timothy 6:3-7
Any gospel that is based on pleasing your flesh, desires, earthly goals, or personal ambitions is not the gospel of Jesus Christ who plainly told us that “our treasures are not of this world; for where you treasure is, so will your heart be” (Mathew 6:20-21). If you treasure earthly rewards, then your thoughts and actions will always be driven by fleshly ambitions and your heart will be ever found in pursuit of worldly gain. However, if you treasure heavenly rewards, then your thoughts and actions will always be driven by righteousness and your heart will be ever found in pursuit of heavenly gain.
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:” – Hebrews 11:32-35
So don’t be sold a lie that focuses your faith on selfishness, ease, and gain. Don’t loose your eternal rewards in the pursuit of temporary ones. Christ did not die to make you heir to this kingdom, but to His. So set your heart on greater things and endure until you see them.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 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;” – 2 Peter 3:10-15