Tuesday, I spent the better part of the day in the midst of the Tennessee Legislature. As I met with our state senator and representatives, I left with an encouraged, but burdened heart. These elected officials work in the midst of outright temptation of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). At times, I could sense the oppression just lurking around the corner. Yet, that is the world we live in. How should we live in these days of apostasy, debauchery, and decline? Jude 20-21 gives us a clear remedy:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Your most holy faith is the body of absolute truth found only in the plenary, inerrant, inspired Word of God. All the enemies of Truth will tempt you to turn away from the Truth, to doubt the Truth and to become cynical of the Truth. Just as tall superstructures are built upon a solid foundation, we as believers must build an edification superstructure of truth that will stand the temptations of Satan, the world, and the flesh. This is a daily construction need until God calls us Home.
What a great need this is—praying in the Holy Spirit!! Just as building is present tense, so is this verb praying. If we are to accomplish God’s work, God’s way, and in God’s power at home, church, school, government, and work, we must habitually pray according to the Scriptures as the Spirit prompts us (Romans 8:26-27; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18). There, we will find wisdom and direction in the face of this declension.
What does it mean to stay in the love of God when I know God loves me eternally and unconditionally (1 John 4:7-19)? You keep yourself in the love of God by walking in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:9-10). When you walk in His love, you will not be distracted by evil. Love combats the cold onslaught of Satan and apostasy and keeps your heart warm, tender, and zealous for God, His people and the Truth (2 Corinthians 5:14)!
Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life reminds us to keep looking ahead, to keep our attention fixed on the soon return of Christ! Mercy is me not getting what I deserve as a sinner (Romans 3:23), which is hell, because Christ is my substitute on the cross, the payment for my sins (1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, I am not saved by my good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but by Christ’s perfect work. Therefore, I am secure in Christ and can look to eternity with great assurance (Ephesians 1-2).
So, in the midst of these last days of bad news, corrupt government, lawlessness, fear, pain, sorrow, apostasy and world upheaval, live out Jude 20-21. You will exchange your burdened heart for an encouraged one. Build, pray, love and look!
Additional study: How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?