From 2 Timothy 3:12-13, “Indeed, all who desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Then 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correcting and for training in righteousness, that the man of God (woman also) may be competent, equipped for every good work” (ESV – all emphasis is mine). These verses were given right after Paul described to Timothy what the conditions would be, and the attitude the world would have just before the end of this age.
Next, 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the “fiery” trial when it comes upon you, to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Then, 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
There was a father of a demon-possessed child that came to Jesus asking for healing. The apostles had tried to drive out the demon, but failed. Mark 9:14-29 tells this story, and the father was desperate. He called out to Jesus, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus responded to the father, “If You Can!” He tells the father that all is possible for those who believe. The desperate father cried out in verse 24, “I believe; help my unbelief!” The father was telling Jesus that, though he had faith that Jesus could heal his son, there was still a trace of nagging doubt in his mind. Jesus proved Himself to be stronger than the father’s faith, and healed the son.
For anyone who believes that once they accept Jesus as their Savior there will never again be any doubts – it’s time for a wake-up call. Jesus told His disciples that the world hated Him, and would hate them also. These are the ones that were with Him throughout His ministry, and witnessed many miracles that he performed. Yet, when the time came, they all abandoned Him. It wasn’t a surprise, as Jesus had told them beforehand they would do this.
Paul was an avid persecutor of anyone who belonged to the “Way” – what Christians were first called. Yet, after his conversion on the road to Damascus, he became just as zealous in preaching the gospel. His commission from the Lord was to take the word to the Gentiles. He is seen as possibly the most dedicated apostle right up to the end. His final letter to Timothy showed a part of his human side, and we can sense he was having some weak moments; but even so, he never gave up.
This is not to be seen as a condemnation, because all humans have a weak side. The only person ever to be able to fully stand against Satan was Jesus, Himself. He was weak physically from the 40-day fast, yet He was able to completely out-do the devil.
There was a moment when the “human” side of the Savior experienced tremendous grief; and some have said it displayed weakness. However, Jesus fully gave Himself to the Father’s will.
In Matthew 26:39, Jesus anticipated there would be a moment of being separated from the Father and Holy Spirit for the first time ever. When He said that, “…if possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will,” He was in no way backing down or refusing to complete His mission. He was verbalizing His dread of becoming total sin, and having to bear that alone. He knew it would be brief, but it would seem like an enormous task. In fact, there was no one else on the whole earth that could successfully be an atonement for all sin ever committed up to that time, and all sin that will be committed to the end of the Millennium.
In Matthew 26:42, Jesus prayed a second time, and was even more submissive to the Father’s will. He said, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink of it, Your Will Be Done.”
Some people have the misconception that, when we become a true believer and have the Holy Spirit within us, we will never have any further doubts. Go back to 1 Peter 5:8-9. The ones the devil is after are the believers. This is very evident even today. He already has control over those who fully accept this world over the Savior, so very little effort has to be given there.
His biggest challenges are the ones that sincerely have called out to Jesus to be their Savior (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). We have all sinned and need the forgiveness of the Lord (Romans 3:23). We truly believe Jesus died on that cross, and His shed blood was for our benefit – to cover and wash away our sins. With His resurrection the 3rd day, He completed the absolute necessary way to the Father that could be accepted (Romans 10:9-13).
Satan has more power than we would like to believe, and God “allows” him a certain latitude to tempt us. He knows all the tricks, and what each of us fears the most. God will never tempt us Himself, but allows us to be tempted (James 1:13-14). He will give us strength to overcome temptation if we will ask. Satan knows one human weakness is to have guilt feelings. He makes us feel that we have gone “beyond” redemption, even though the Father promises to never remember forgiven sin again (Psalm 103:12-13).
Sometimes, we have to remember to “forgive ourselves.” That’s easy to say but, in our mind, it is difficult to believe. We may have a bad dream about things past, and wake up in doubt. We slip and allow ourselves to think on things that we no longer should be concerned with. These are the times we need to call out to the Lord and ask for wisdom and strength. Our comfort is in having faith that forgiven sin is gone forever. The only sin we cannot be forgiven of would be to never accept Jesus, to leave this earth without having done so.
Satan has many lies that he lays on us, and he has had a lot of practice. For anyone who believes they can fight him on their own, it’s a losing prospect. We don’t have the strength and knowledge to fight him and his demons. We have to turn it over to the One who has already defeated him – Jesus the Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Satan realizes Jesus won, but he’s just arrogant enough to want as many as possible to join him in the eternal Lake of Fire.
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but not impossible. Daily Bible reading with a true translation that you can understand should become a routine part of our lives. Talking to the Father regularly keeps us in fellowship with Him. Our Savior stands with us in our prayers, and intercedes for us with the Father. Paul said to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That does not mean non-stop, but constantly recurring. After a time, it will become second nature.
Satan likes to tell us we are never going to be worthy, and don’t deserve to be forgiven. He is absolutely correct. However, for all who call on the name of the Lord, we have the promise that He took all of our sins and made us whole with His own blood. We deserve the punishment He endured, but our price was paid in a way we could never afford, never work hard enough to earn, and we will never deserve it.
Jesus paid for us totally and willingly (John 10:18). He and the Father are one (John 10:30). He has sent the Holy Spirit to be within all who have accepted Jesus (John 14:16-17; John 15:26-27 and John 16:7-14).
When Jesus calls His believers Home and we rise up to meet Him in the air (Rapture), we will be given new bodies and a new frame of mind. The evils of this earth will never be able to touch us again. Meanwhile, remember: He said we would have troubles, but never doubt that Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33). All who are truly awaiting the coming of the Lord have a Crown of Righteousness laid up for us. We will see it soon.
God purposely did not tell us when all this would take place. He expects us to continue “working” for the Lord daily. Everything He has said would be happening at the end of the age is taking place now. The next event on the prophetic calendar is the Rapture. Our goal is to be ready to leave when the call comes. It could be today.