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You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
2 Peter 2:21
21 For [gar] it had been [en] better [kreitton] for them [autos] not [me] to have known [epiginosko] the way [hodos] of
righteousness [dikaiosune], than [e], after they have known [epiginosko] it, to turn [epistrepho]
from [ek] the holy [hagios] commandment [entole]
delivered [paradidomi] unto them [autos]. KJV-Interlinear
21 For it would be better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn
away from the holy commandment delivered to them.NASB
First a couple of
review points.Peter is speaking to
believers, not unbelievers.
When he speaks of life
being better without Christ, he is not referring to a comparison between
unbelievers and believers.Going to the
Lake of Fire is never, under any circumstances, better than heaven.
The comparison here is
between ignorance and knowledge of Bible doctrine.
There are five classes
of people as far as eternity goes.The
first and second class belongs to unbelievers, namely those who are knowledgeable
of, or ignorant of God. The dividing line here is between those who have
reached the age of responsibility, and those who have not.
The people who have not
reached the age of responsibility belongs to infants, babies, children under
the age wherein they know the difference between right and wrong, of God and
rejecting God.That age can vary in
different cultures, perhaps between the ages of eight or ten to even the upper teens.Likewise, there are folks that are born with
various genetic or mental defects that prevent their assimilation of knowledge.
And then there are
those who grow up, become aware of God, and make a conscious rejection of Him.
As for those who make a
conscious rejection of Christ, the Lake of Fire is their destiny.As for those who do not grow up, as it were,
they are saved automatically when they die before they have any chance of
knowing the issues of life.This principle
we studied when we studied Davids loss of his first born child.The child died in infancy, and yet David
stated that he would see the infant in heaven one day.
This group of folks go
directly to heaven and there they will receive their just reward, as only God
can determine.They do not have to live
in this unfair world, and do not have to go through the sufferings that the
rest of us do.
The third and fourth
and fifth classes of people are believers.They all go to heaven because they have all believed in Christ.The difference between these three is their
relative spiritual growth.Some will have
no spiritual growth, some will have some spiritual growth, and the last group will
advance to spiritual maturity.
The first group goes to
heaven but receive no extra reward.The second group goes to heaven but receive only a partial portion of
their extra reward.The last group,
the mature believers, go to heaven and they not only receive their full extra
reward but they receive a portion of the reward that the others forfeited.You will need to review the Parables of
Christ for this study.
Now, as for those who
advance in their spiritual life, then regress backwards in their spiritual
growth by turning back to their former sinful state, they get hammered in
First, from their own
decision standpoint, it is more difficult to return to God, when you have
become disillusioned and fallen off of the spiritual path.That is an attitude that is difficult to
overcome.Second, when life gets tough
and you overcome it partially by your first advance in doctrine, then fall
away, then life just gets tougher.
This does not mean that
God disciplines you more and more, because there are lots of folks out there,
who lead sin nature driven lives and their lives are more or less prosperous,
as far as this world is concerned. But by living a spiritually dysfunctional
life, you are setting a pattern that leads to the forfeiture of your eternal
Eternal rewards are
measured by the phrase, exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything you
can think or ask. In other words these
rewards are so vast and great that they are beyond your imagination.
The infant child who
dies will be better off in heaven, than the adult believer who had turned
against God and doctrine.The brand new
believer, who has not had enough time to advance in their spiritual life, will
be far better off than the long-term believer who has turned against God and
Don t feel sorry for
someone who had died while young in life.They may very well be far better off than you, assuming that you
constantly ride the fence of indecision or of being convinced or persuaded with
regard to doctrine.
Far too often people
allow second guessing to enter into their learning mode. I don t believe that. Where does it say that? I don t agree with that.
When people should take
themselves less seriously, and simply continue their studies with an open mind,
then God will unveil the truth for them, and all things become clear. But time and patience solve that one, not
logic or attitude.Those who seek proof,
often find that they can never be convinced.
Stubbornness is your
worst enemy and humility is your best ally, when it comes to spiritual growth.
What is at stake?Your entire eternal future and the content of
The difference between
the Lake of Fire and heaven, is infinite.The difference between the reward for zero spiritual production and
mature spiritual production, is infinite.
If before you were born
into this life, you could have done something that would insure you vast wealth
and prosperity in this life, you would have made those arrangements for
yourself.But none of us had that chance
or opportunity.However, we do now have
that opportunity to insure for ourselves, a phenomenal eternal life in heaven,
by merely learning doctrine and growing up to spiritual maturity.
Being alive in this
world is wonderful, but being alive and being a billionaire would be better,
wouldn t it?
So, what of eternity in
heaven.Being in heaven will be
phenomenal for us all, but God has rewards waiting for each one of us.And these rewards are tied to your spiritual
production in this life.We do not know
what the specifics of these rewards are, but beyond imagination, makes for a
staggering blessing.Compare that to
getting nothing and there you have a vast contrast.
So now, will you be the
fool, and get all righteous about your eternity, or will you be wise and
embrace a wonderful gift that you really don t deserve, but will receive just
by growing up into a responsible spiritually mature believer?
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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