Christianity at a Crossroads?

It seems as if Christianity is at a crossroads. Some promote “Christian nationalism” while others mix politics and the Christian faith. Christianity is being pulled into such conflicts as gender identity and racial, social and income inequality. How should the follower of Jesus navigate these conflicts?

Shortly before his death, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “What shall be the sign of thy presence and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3 Revised Version Improved Corrected) How would they know when Jesus had returned? In his response Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be thereafter. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:21,22 RVIC) Jesus’ return would be identified by a great time of trouble.

Daniel prophesied about this same trouble in Dan. 12:1, New American Standard Bible: “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.” Michael (Christ) would stand up (return) and begin the process of bringing “the sons of your people” (Jewish people) back to their homeland. The reestablishment of Israel fulfilled this. At this time, Jesus would also reward his followers, “everyone who is found written in the book” with a resurrection to the spiritual home he promised them.—John 14:2,3

Peter described this troubled time: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10, NASB) The returned Jesus is bringing this present evil world of which Satan is the prince, to an end so he can replace it with his earthly kingdom. (Gal. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:4) “But according to his promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth (Christ’s earthly kingdom), in which righteousness dwells.”—2 Peter 3:13, NASB
Meanwhile, there is a great separation taking place in Christianity. The parable of the wheat and the tares promises the tares (imitation Christians) would be separated from the true Christians, grouped together in bundles, and exposed as imposters. (Matt. 13:23-30,36-43) Similarly, Jesus’ parable of the dragnet describes a great separation between true, and imitation Christians at this time. (Matt. 13:47-50) The conflicts mentioned above are doing that separation.

Not everyone today, who says they are a Christian, is a true follower of Jesus. In this trouble, the true Christians will be separated from the false and receive the great spiritual reward God has promised. The imposters will have a chance for an earthly salvation in Christ’s kingdom.—1 Cor. 2:9; 1 John 3:2

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Precious Promises

To those striving to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the Apostle Peter writes that God has given “great and precious promises.” These are the promises that enable one “to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Pet. 1:4, New Living Translation) God’s promises are sure and steadfast, unlike those of fallen mankind, which often are made but too seldom kept. Our Heavenly Father’s words will not “return unto him void,” the Bible states.—Isa. 55:11

In our opening verse, Peter makes two important statements about the power of God’s promises. First, they enable the Christian to be a partaker of the divine nature and gain a share in the heavenly kingdom. Second, these promises assist the follower of Christ to escape the many corrupt passions and human desires so prevalent in the world today.
Continuing his lesson, the apostle reminds us of our responsibilities in order to receive the full benefits of God’s promises. He says, “Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”—2 Pet. 1:5-7, NLT

The precious promises of God are found throughout the Bible. Two Old Testament examples are these assurances: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Josh. 1:9; Isa. 26:3) From the New Testament, we have Peter’s concluding words of our lesson. “So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”—2 Pet. 1:10,11, NLT

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