“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Weeds never become wheat, and wheat never become weeds; that’s not how the parable goes (Matthew 13:24-43). We are called to bear witness to both, but whereas, the wheat hears and receives the Good News, the weeds reject the message. “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3–4).Indeed, God wants all people to be saved; We know from scripture that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6), but we also know from scripture, from Jesus’ own mouth, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). The apostle Peter was speaking to the righteous in Christ when he wrote: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9); that was not a message to the lost. The godless man who makes a death bed confession may go into eternity a pauper, but he was wheat nonetheless; likewise, think of the apostle Paul, then Saul, one day prior to that fateful trip to Damascus.
Human beings are temporal, linear; we put one foot in front of the other; Monday and Tuesday precede Wednesday, so it comes as no surprise to me that we have been debating this truth, since the beginning. God does not save people against their will, nor will He populate heaven with rebellious subjects (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18; Luke 10:18). Even exercising our will, whether or not to choose God, is not entirely our own. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life” (John 6:44-47). Check out what Jesus says in verses 45 and 46, “Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.” Was Jesus merely referring to Himself here, or is Jesus referring to those sent to Him by the Father? I contend the latter is true; I believe Jesus was actually talking about us, the righteous in Christ. Consider what the apostle writes to the Romans about the potter and the clay (Romans 9:16-24). What relief, knowing that my eternity rests entirely in God’s capable hands; otherwise, I might have cause, if not a minuscular one, to boast before my Heavenly Father on Judgement Day (1 Corinthians 1:29; Ephesians 2:9). Or just lose it, all together.
Now, please indulge me, while I change gears a bit. The Holy Spirit came to me again in a dream last night. I was at a church service somewhere (I don’t know where); the sanctuary was packed. An old man was delivering a message, and all the people in attendance seemed captivated by him. At first, I laid down in a pew to hide, but then all of the sudden, the Spirit rose within me, and I jumped to my feet. Words then poured forth from my mouth; the Spirit rebuked the speaker boldly and concisely. God caused quite a scene, but after an initial hush falling over the others in attendance, as one might expect in such a situation, I don’t recall much else about them. I wish I could remember what the man was saying, but whatever it was, the message really angered God. The man speaking was maybe Satan, or an emissary, and as I exited the church, alone, his henchmen followed in pursuit. Although it was daytime, the world felt like nighttime, and there was no one else to be found, anywhere. Perhaps, they were all inside. The opening paragraph nearly wrote itself this morning, and the second flowed almost as easily, and although I don’t understand exactly how right now, I feel strongly that the dream fits into the post.
I do struggle sometimes with the dreams and visions I receive, and the actual encounters, which involve anything demonic, are quite disturbing. I am grateful that God always meets my need in each and every situation. There was a reason the Holy Spirit rose up within me and spoke as boldly as He did. I could never have done that myself, not even in a dream. But there are times, like this morning, when I question my sanity. In fact, if it wasn’t for my encounter with Jesus, I might have already checked myself into a hospital by now. I struggle with the knowledge that there are weeds all around me; I struggle that there are people who will not only reject Jesus in this life, but they hate Him so much that they will reject Him in the next. I actually question whether the inhabitants of hell would embrace Him if for no other reason than to escape torment. And regarding the dream, I don’t know if it was of a future time, or a reflection of today, or it may have been both, but what I do know is that it put me in mind of autumn and the coming harvest.
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