2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). They CANNOT be believed by the natural man that lives still in the believer. Galatians 5:17 says that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would". God's Law kills because it reveals our sin and unfitness for heaven. But the next verse shows God's fix: "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law". To be led of the Spirit is to trust Christ! If you do not know the joy of faith in Christ I cannot explain it to you - you will experience it for yourself when you receive faith to trust Christ!
Luther used to say "preach the gospel to yourself daily". Why? Because we forget every day! Every day when we arise the default position (indeed the only position) of our flesh is unbelief. It is far more serious than simply not believing. It's that we can't believe. The flesh - the old you before you believed in Jesus - cannot believe, and never will. This fact makes plain the miraculous nature of being born again, and why "free-will" salvation is an impossibility.
the conflict is raging still. The Book of Galatians lays out Paul's argument. The Law was given, argues Paul, not to give life: "for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law" (Galatians 3:21), but to sentence all to death, to conclude all humans under death "that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe" (vs. 23). God wants everyone to know they fail, so that they might trust Him to save them.
The followers of the world's religious systems fail to keep the rules. Whether, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever, all fall short. The trouble is, there is no mercy in Law. The Law cannot let you off and continue to be law.
If it let's you off the hook, it is not Law. This is why biblical Christianity is unique. It claims the just punishment due to us all was given to another in our place, to Jesus of Nazareth, the rightful heir of the soon-returning Throne of David. Isaiah said that God's righteous Servant would "justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11). Those who fail to trust Christ will have to give account and pay the penalty for their own sins. Flee! Flee to Christ as your sin-bearer, your substitute, your sin-offering, and you will enter into eternal life "blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8). Can your religion do that? I didn't think so.
But to return to the religious, the school men, who are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7) there is an amazing verse in 2 Peter. It is doubly amazing because Rome's claim to authority is Peter as the first Pope, and yet here is Peter in his own words giving authority to Paul the Apostle, whom Rome and the school men (Rome's theologians) fought and denied!
"And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15, 16).
Here is Peter himself warning that those who argue with grace, and specifically Paul's understanding of it, are doing so to their own destruction! There is nowhere to flee from Paul's gospel. Paul's Gospel is God's Gospel. His word is the final word to the world, Rome and all the purveyors of religious bondage! They wrestle to "their own destruction"! The authors of The New Perspective on Paul are the modern equivalent of The school men, and wrestle to their own destruction. If your claim to heaven is anything other than the righteousness of Christ being imputed (reckoned) to your account, you are, to say the least, confused. "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no way enter in to the kingdom of heaven" Jesus warned. Well? Does it?? If your faith in God is not grounded in the Holy Scriptures, that is, in Paul's explanation of imputed righteousness, you are wrestling to your own doom. The perfect offering of Jesus of Nazareth credited to your account is the only way out, your only escape from the punishment you deserve. Believe on the LORD Jesus, the Messiah, and you will be saved!
My aunt called yesterday morning. My father's sister is a lovely Christian lady who has encouraged me so much over the years. She and her husband spent years as pastors in Washington state and Alaska. Following a terribly discouraging day and night, my next morning was interrupted by her encouraging voice of concern and care. "Fear hath torment" the Lord said, and how true it is! Loss of salvation is the great fear of the believer. But beneath her love and concern for us were her own doubts as well. As we become more aware of our wickedness, God's mercy seems more unbelievable. For as has been said so often, the grace of God is so counter-intuitive, so . . unbelievable to the natural man: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
The Catholic "school men" as Luther used to call them, would constantly argue in favor of "works" salvation, that we could earn or merit salvation by adding certain things (Catholic things) to faith that would obligate God to give us salvation. Since they didn't feel faith in Christ was enough, earning God's favor was the only option left. They hated Luther because he was stealing heaven from them! This is what makes religion so sad - and dangerous. The Apostle Paul in his day had his own equivalent of the school men who constantly opposed him. Without faith in Christ, the only possibility of gaining heaven was by their own obedience, their own works. And when Paul insisted that "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse" (Galatians 3:10) they were naturally infuriated. The New Testament Book of Acts records several accounts of the Jews trying to kill Paul. And later in his letters to the churches