Hal Lindsey published The Late Great Planet Earth when I was in college. It was an exciting book and my friends and I ate it up. We went to hear him, and others like him, speak whenever we got the chance. We were convinced Jesus was coming back very soon. Well, here I am forty years later and He hasn’t come back yet. In truth, my understanding of the scriptures about the end times has changed since then.
One of the things I get now that I didn’t then is that the scriptural teaching about the end times is hard to understand because they are things we can’t grasp without God’s help. That makes it easy for people to twist what is written and make it mean things God didn’t intend. (By the way, I’m not saying Hal Lindsey did that. I just don’t agree with his interpretation anymore.)
Now, while Peter is talking about the end times in this passage, he says people twist other parts of scripture too. So how can I know what the truth is? How do I know that I understand it correctly? How do I know what someone else says is true? How do I know my pastor, Bible teacher, favorite Christian writer, theologian, or apologist are right?
I know the Holy Spirit guides me and gives me discernment when I read the scripture. But am I hearing what He’s saying? I also trust the giants of the faith that have gone before me, but they don’t all agree with each other.
If I get it wrong or follow someone who gets it wrong, it will end in destruction. Peter’s not talking about small disagreements. Twisting the scripture is wicked.
Thankfully, Peter gives us some guidelines to avoid being carried away by the errors of wicked teachers.
Be on guard. Question new teachings; don’t accept everything I hear and read. Read the scripture for myself, pray about it and ask God to show me the truth.
Grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Grace comes from God so I must spend time with Him to receive it. Grace is undeserved forgiveness for my sins; I must repent and confess my sins regularly.
Grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I must learn as much about Him as I can and the best way to do that is to spend time with Him. Read my Bible a lot and pray a lot. Walk with Him by my side all day.
Acknowledge that He is Lord. Submit myself to Him in every area of my life.
Remember He is my Savior. He died in my place, took my punishment and freed me from sin.
Remember He is Christ – Messiah, the promised one from God. When He does come back it will be in triumphant victory as the conquering King.
Stay true by staying focused on Jesus. And that is always the core truth. Stay focused on Jesus.