Diligent in Sanctification

"Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 

II Peter 3:14

Wherefore, beloved . . . 

Seeing that ye look for such things . . . 

And the question is: What things? 

The answer, of course, is to be found in the immediately preceding context. There the apostle refers to the coming of the day of the Lord, which He has promised. While it may appear to some that he is slack concerning the promise of His coming, He is really not slack at all; but longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance. That day of the Lord will surely come. As a thief in the night will it come. This is what we must expect. 

And when it shall come, there are two things we look for. When that day comes, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the very elements of which they are composed shall melt with fervent heat; and the earth also and the works that are therein shall all be burned up. And, secondly, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. 

Such are the things we are looking for! 

These are the things which He has promised! 

And His promises shall not fail! Our hope is well grounded! 

We expect this old world to pass away. Pass away it shall, not in the sense of an annihilation, so that nothing of it remains; but in form and fashion it shall pass away. All the elements of which it is composed shall be burned into a molten mass. The heavens, that starry firmament in which now resides the heavenly luminaries, shall be set on fire, and shall be melted with fervent heat. The earth with all that it contains shall also be burned up. Nothing in its present form shall abide in that day of the Lord. All the works of man, in which he now so proudly boasts, upon which now he sets his heart, which required all of his ingenuity and skill to build, shall perish. What fools they are who imagine that their houses shall stand for aye! 

As another year passes, never to return, and a new year has begun, so the cycle continues until the last year and the last moment that shall bring an end to time and development as we know it. In the last moment of the last hour all history shall have run its course, according to the counsel of the Most High. Then the world will have reached its highest achievements, and sin and corruption will have reached its apex in the Man of Sin; and then God's covenant will have been realized in the salvation and repentance of every last one of God's elect. Then the present cosmos, which has served as the stage upon which all these things will have been worked out to the end which. God has determined, may be done away. Then the new world, new heavens and new earth where righteousness shall dwell, may be ushered in. Out of the molten mass shall He bring it forth. 

This is what God has promised!

This is what we are waiting for, and, with hearts filled with living hope, expect! 

As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man! 

In the days before the flood, men were willfully ignorant, and mocked with the truth that God was coming in judgment to destroy the world that then was; and to purge the world with the waters of the flood, so that in it the righteous might dwell. Noah, the righteous, alone found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 

In the days before the final conflagration, men will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, living in the vain hope that nothing shall change, and that they can go on in their sin and corruption without fear of judgment. In those days they shall mock those whom they call "the prophets of doom," who warned them of the coming day of the Lord, a day of judgment and retribution. Until they shall see the sign of the Son of Man, and begin to call on the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, and vainly hope that somehow they can be annihilated and not have to stand before the great white throne. 

Not so, however, shall it be with God's beloved! 

Who have found grace in the eyes of the Lord! 

With hearts filled with hope, and eyes filed with holy expectation, they look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and in which the righteous shall dwell. 

Wherefore, beloved . . . 

Because this is true, because ye look for such things. . . 

Be diligent! 

That ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless! 

Diligent in sanctification! 

And sanctification, you know, is that work of God's grace in you whereby He delivers you consciously from the pollution and dominion of sin, and renews you in conformity with the image of Christ, and enables you to walk faithfully in all good works, which He has before prepared, in order that you should walk in them. Sanctification is that operation of the Spirit of Christ in you whereby a new spiritual-moral direction is given to you, according to which out of a regenerated heart your thinking, willing, desiring, yea, the action of your whole being, are brought into harmony with His truth and His commandments. Sanctification is that work of grace in you whereby you in principle begin to mortify the old man of sin in your members, and to put on the new man, which is the beginning of the new creation for which you now look in hope. 

In this be diligent! 

That is, be earnestly desirous of it, and with all haste follow after it! 

So that ye may be found of Him in peace! 

Without spot and blameless! 

Oh, the blessedness of them who shall be so found by Him when He shall come to renew all things! 

To be found of Him in peace is the positive way of stating what is negatively expressed in: without spot, and blameless. To be found in peace means that you are so discovered by the Lord when He comes again as being in perfect harmony with Him and His will. All the natural enmity, the rebellion and hatred of your old nature is removed. It means that you will be found of Him with all the love of your heart going out to Him, as being righteous as He is righteous, and holy as He is holy. It means that you will be living and walking as His covenant friend in the world, and expecting the judgment of His favor, which shall declare unto you: "Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom which I have prepared for you." And to be without spot and blameless means that He will find you unsullied from the world, free from all vice, wholly unblemished, pure in His sight. It means that you will appear before Him irreprehensible, beyond all censure. 

Oh, beloved, make no mistake about it, and do not fall in the blundering error that somehow you can of yourself bring about this relationship of peace, and that you can of yourself be so found as to be without spot and blameless. You must remember that sanctification, as is true of all of our salvation, is entirely God's work of grace in us. You must remember, too, that this work of grace is preceded by another work of grace in us whereby He has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. We have been regenerated unto a living hope. 

Regeneration is the first principle, the beginning of the life of the new creation which we expect Him to bring out of the old which shall pass away. It is this grace that cannot perish, while all else, even your old nature, passes away. And it is this grace of regeneration that is the casual ground of His work of sanctification within us. It dwells in our hearts, motivates our entire life, connects us with the living Christ Who is the Head of the coming new world. Out of the regenerated heart, from which proceeds all your thinking, willing, and desiring, yea, all the issues of your life, comes the holy expectation, the longing for the new. 

Therefore, because we are expecting the new, we will also be diligent, that we may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless! 

As the man who is expecting presently to move into a brand new house will not be so foolish as to spend his time and money in fixing up the old in which he dwells; so, in the spiritual sense, one who is truly expecting the renewal of all things will not continue to seek after and to pamper the old. He will be living always in the desire to be found by the Lord in His coming as ready to enter the new. Like the wise virgins in the parable, he will be watching and sober, with oil in his lamp, and see to it that it is burning. 

Oh, surely, the admonition to be diligent that we may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless, we will heed, but with much difficulty. The scriptures always approach us as still living in the flesh. and as we are so often overcome by the flesh. That is precisely why we need to be continually admonished. The Lord also knows how in much we so often fail. And we know also how strong the motions of the flesh in us are. We have the new life and expectation of the new in an old man that does not want to go to heaven, that does want to be found in peace, that has delight in corruption, that is not concerned with perfection. Living in the present evil world, we are often more concerned with the reproach of the world than we are of being found of Him in peace. And because our flesh loves the corruption of the world, and has no delight in a sanctified walk, while the new man in Christ delights in the Lord, there is a constant strife, a strife which becomes the more intense as we are able by grace to head the admonition of our text. 

Be diligent, therefore . . . 

Beloved! 

Also in this new year! 

Which you will find has really nothing new in it at all, except a new period of time. All the rest is really an old world, a world since the flood that is rushing to its final destruction, the conflagration. 

In that world, in which you are expecting the new, make haste to be holy as He is holy. . . . 

That you may be found of Him in peace! 

At His coming!

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