Waiting for New Heavens s and New Earth

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.

2 Peter 3:13-14

The day of the triumphant return of our Lord Jesus Christ should be the most earnest yearning of every Christian. Instead of asking God to fix things in this corrupt world, the believer should pray for the second coming of the Lord to materialize soon. We have the promise of new heavens and new earth, so why do we cling so much to the old? So our attitude should focus on preparing to receive Him as Peter says: in peace, without spot and blameless.

At present, the world suffers convulsions. Every day, the news tells us about conflicts, natural disasters and diseases. Almost every continent has some form of violence, whether it be war, gangs, drug trafficking, terrorism or common crime. Almost every day earthquakes of appreciable magnitude occur in different parts of the world. Elsewhere, storms or droughts put the population at risk. The emergence of potential epidemic outbreaks such as Ebola or Zika also cause alarm among the world’s population.

Added to all this are the social inequalities that exist between rich and poor countries or between different ethnic groups in the same country. And many claim to curb injustice in the world. In that sense, they make an effort to improve or demand that the conditions of the planet in which we live are improved. Whoever has not placed his trust in God probably does not know that there is something different and better. Then you can understand the concern of these people about it because their only hope is what they know.

Even unbelievers turn to believers to pray to God in moments of crisis. What I find inconsistent is the position of many Christians to follow the game of who is responsible for things to go wrong. Why pray for things to be settled in a world that is dominated by the evil one? Why establish friendship with the world when that means to be an enemy of God? It is written that all these things would pass. The people of the world may be scared; but Christians had already been warned about it.

Let us not fall into the trap of the enemy, time is over, let’s watch and pray in the right way, which is according to the will of God. Let us pray, first of all, that those who do not know the good news of the gospel will repent of their sins and receive in their hearts Jesus Christ. Let us pray that God will allow us to stay away from the things of the world and live in holiness to prepare for the glorious coming of our Savior and King. Let us pray for Him to come back soon and let’s watch while we wait for him.

The injustices of this world will not end as long as the evil one dominates. The only way to stop his dominion is when the King of kings and Lord of lords comes. Let’s understand that once and for all. Let us remember this great promise: new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. And in the new heavens and the new earth will reign righteousness because the righteous King, the King of glory will rule with His saints. May that be our focus from now on and until He returns triumphant and victorious. God bless you.

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The Unfading Crown of Glory

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:4

When we read only what I Peter 5:4 says, we might be very happy to see that a glorious reward awaits us when the Lord returns. It is a beautiful promise to hear this: And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Now who will receive this crown? The Bible says that God will give the unfading crown of glory to those who bring His Word to others. That could lead us to think that then the pastors already have it guaranteed. Without taking it so lightly, it is necessary to meditate in detail the whole context of 1 Peter 5:4.

To do this, let us see what the previous verses say, 1 Peter 5:1-3, The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

The sheep are of the Lord, not ours. He puts them under our care, not that we take advantage of them. I will tell how God made me understand that great truth. By the end of 2005, I had sold my house and bought another, which was twice as far from the church as I was congregating. In my old house, I was a leader of a very successful cell group. For two years a new generation of disciples with leadership capacity had been raised in that group. My biggest concern was that my new home would be far away at all.

That’s when the question came out of my mouth, what am I going to do with my group? The answer of God did not wait. I felt a voice inside me saying: “Your group? It’s not your group, the sheep are mine, not yours.” At that moment I realized the terrible recklessness of my words. I understood that this cell group was not my possession but God had put those people in my care for a while and that time was over. My house had been bought by another leader of the church and I gave the group to him.

In my new house, I started the task of starting a new cell group from scratch. To obey God brought the blessing that in a very short time, the new group surpassed in size and quality the first one. I was with them until God moved me from the church where I was to new responsibilities. As I had learned the lesson the first time. At no time did I think to take the sheep with me. I just said goodbye to all the members of the group and left them in the hands of their new leader.

Peter is very clear in the requirement that we must fulfill in order to reach the unfading crown of glory: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. Let us remember that our mission is to serve, not to serve us. Our greatest reward is not material but the unfading crown of glory that the chief Shepherd will give us. God bless you.

Patience and Prayer

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James 5:7-8

Those of us who are waiting for the glorious coming of our Lord are aware that we do not have a date. It is written that only the Father knows the day and the hour, so no one can say when it will be. The same could be today in a few days, months or years. In that sense, we should not be anxious, but clothed with patience and watching over in prayer. Let’s be ready for that great day as if it were to happen tonight; but without despair. It is clear that time only runs in one direction, and that moment is getting closer and closer.

How should our patience be? James puts it this way: See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. It is likely that for those of us who have always lived in cities we find it difficult to understand the patience of farmers until they can harvest the fruit of the land. The agricultural process occurs for a period of time that can take from several months to several years, depending on the type of plant that has been planted.

In any case, even before depositing the seed in the soil, the farmer must prepare the land in order to condition it for sowing. Not all seeds are fertile, hence it is necessary to select them. Then a whole series of stages of caring for the plant is planted, which includes applying fertilizers, pesticides and adequate water, pruning the leaves so that the plant grows in the right direction and produces the desired fruit. As the farmer waits for the fruit, his financial resources are likely to be scarce.

At the end, when the abundant harvest arrives, the farmer will receive the joy of having in his hands the fruit of his patience. Likewise, believers who await the glorious coming of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, when we see Him descend from the clouds with His holy angels, we can say that it was worth having the patience to see such a great moment. And just as the farmer spent time to watch over the well-being of his field, believers should spend time watching in prayer until Christ comes.

In the natural, the farmer does not always reach what he expected. It happens sometimes that, even though he puts all his effort to obtain the fruit of his work, events that are beyond his control could prevent him. Nature can act against the farmer, either by a drought, excessive rain or pests that destroy his plantation. Even the fruit may not be of adequate size or its quality is poor, which causes its price in the market to decrease and this man stop winning and even lose what he invested.

However, in the spiritual, our waiting for the coming of Christ will not bring losses. No matter what happens in the natural world or the spiritual hosts of evil oppose. The Lord will come without a doubt, at the right time, which we do not know; but of which there is no doubt. Let us wait for Him with patience and watching in prayer, for He will come as a thief in the night and the great moment draws nearer and nearer. God bless you.

The Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14

Despite not being one of the best-known biblical passages, Titus 2:11-14 is a clear summary of the Gospel. Paul speaks of grace for salvation, but also speaks of the requirement to have access to grace, repentance, which expresses it as denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. He also speaks to us in this way about conversion: we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. In verse 13 he talks about what gives a title to this message: Blessed hope. That hope we will have when the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ occurs.

On the other hand, Titus 2: 11-14 is also a wake-up call for all of us who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. He paid a heavy price for our salvation, so once saved, we must stop living according to the parameters dictated by the world, to walk from there to the end according to His holy will. Let us always remember this about the Lord: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

So, as we await His glorious coming, let us do as He tells us in Matthew 24:44-47, Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. The blessed hope of those who love the Lord implies a great reward.

That reward is what Santiago calls the crown of life. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. The Bible does not promise that our waiting will be easy, we will have trials, persecutions, tribulations, temptations and afflictions; but if we resist all that, the promises of God will be fulfilled in each one of us. Blessed hope has not been sacked by our Heavenly Father.

To some of us life might be a little harder than normal. If you are one of them, you could ask, how long should I wait? Revelation 1:3 says to you, Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. And Revelation 22: 7 reassures him, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

The day of the glorious manifestation of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is ever nearer, let us keep in holiness for Him and we will be called as Revelation 20:6 says, Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. God bless you.

The Crown of Righteousness

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

It is gratifying, at the end of our day, to be able to say something similar to what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. In short, Paul was satisfied with his duty and was sure that his Lord would reward him and all who loved the Lord’s coming.

The crown of righteousness is one of the four crowns that have been promised to believers. The other three crowns are: the crown of life, the imperishable crown and the crown of glory. On the crown of life James 1:12 says, Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

From the imperishable crown speaks 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Finally, 1 Peter 5:2-4 speaks of the crown of glory, Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Each of the four crowns has a requirement in order to receive the award. In the case of the crown of righteousness, the requirement is to yearn for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and consecrate ourselves to Him. The apostles and millions of Christians over two thousand years have lived their lives with the fervent yearning to see Jesus Christ Descending from heaven full of glory and clothed with the great majesty of His condition as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Word of God does not lie, and no doubt they will all receive the crown of righteousness.

Are we the believers of the twenty-first century ready to receive the crown of righteousness? It is a question that confronts us all. Are we longing for Christ to come or do we ask Him to stay in heaven for a while so we can continue to enjoy our “wonderful” world? Is our longing His coming or the only thing we want from Him is that He make us prosperous and happy on earth and that He continue as He is at the right hand of the Father? If things get worse in the world, are we willing to suffer for Christ or our longing is to get us out of trouble? The coming of the Lord must be above all things to those we love. God bless you.

Completely Sanctified

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

When we are going to participate in some important event, we always prepare carefully. And more if we have an active participation in it. We try to be clean, well bathed, with our hair well combed, we use a good perfume, we put on our best clothes and we wear shoes that shine clean. We Christians will be participants in the most important event in human history: the triumphal and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. For this occasion, we must look more impeccable than ever, being completely sanctified.

It is clear that in order to see the Lord, we must go to Him in full dress of holiness. That total and complete purity is impossible to achieve in our corrupt humanity. Self-effort is useless because our nature is sinful and sin is the opposite of holiness. And just as our salvation is received by grace and not by our works, our sanctification needs divine intervention. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.

God has various resources available to bring us to our complete sanctification. In 2 Corinthians 7:1 we read, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Fear of God does not mean to be afraid of running from Him, but to be afraid of being far from Him. The fear of God is to obey and respect Him, is to recognize His lordship and majesty over our lives. When we submit to God, even the devil flees from us.

In the fear of God, we must put on our side and that means to bend our will and submit to His. Then comes the loving response of God that helps us achieve sanctification. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. Our sins were made white in the blood of Jesus and, in His name, we are justified and sanctified by the Spirit of God.

The same Holy Spirit who convicts us of sins so that we may repent and be ready to receive grace, acts in the process of our sanctification. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 we read, But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Our part in this process is to bring faith, is to believe God that we can overcome obstacles and reach the goal.

We see that sanctification must be of our whole being: and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not to think that we should only have our spirit clean because God is Spirit. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the holy does not dwell in an unclean or filthy place. Our soul, which includes our emotions and our will, must also be completely decontaminated to receive our Lord and King Jesus Christ in His glorious coming. God bless you.

The Coming of the Lord

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

The theme addressed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 has been the subject of much doctrinal discussion within the Christian church for the last 200 years. Whoever does not search the Word of God or study the history of the church might think that what most Christians believe today about the coming of the Lord was exactly what the early church and Christianity believed for two thousand years. Certainly, for all Christians, the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ should be the most anticipated event of our earthly life.

A large part of the present Christian church firmly believes that before the terrible events that the Bible calls the great tribulation arise, the Lord will come secretly for His church in what many call the rapture. And as the word rapture, as interpreted today does not appear in the Bible, those who justify this event nonetheless call it rapture, in a clear reference to what it says in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17: we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them. The question is whether the church always had that belief or not.

Indeed, just as many Catholics mistakenly think that their church has always believed in the pope’s infallibility, Mary’s Immaculate Conception, or her role as co-redemptory, many Christians think that she has always believed in the rapture. However, the principle of this doctrine dates back to the year 1830, when a 15-year-old girl named Margaret McDonald in Port Glasgow, Ireland received a special “revelation” according to which the Second Coming of Christ would take place in two stages; the first to gather a group of “ready and selected” believers who would be taken to heaven to meet the Lord before the appearance of Antichrist, or before the Great Tribulation.

Now, the Bible says nowhere that Jesus Christ will return in two stages. And Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. By 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3 we see that before the coming of the Lord will come apostasy and Antichrist.

Finally, Revelation 1:7 denies the secret coming of Jesus Christ, Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Let us await His coming, conscious that it will be a victory, whether or not we are part of the beheaded of the great tribulation. God bless you.