One of the strengths of AA meetings is admitting and coming face to face with your struggle. Before speaking a participant will say, “I’m [your name] and I’m an alcoholic. What if the world was one big SA meeting, “Sinners Anonymous. We would always introduce ourselves as, “I’m [your name] and I’m a sinner. Whether a person who has some assurance of “being saved from sin or one who has no such conception and truly scoffs at any such idea, neither is much interested in being publicly known or introduced as “a sinner. Yet the Bible from Genesis to Revelation fairly screams out the fact on page after page, “You are a sinner! What Paul writes in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, is the message of every book of the Bible. Maybe that is why so few read it.Peter in his second letter reminds us of two most unappealing pictures: a dog returning to his vomit and even eating it, and pigs once being washed relishing the idea of wallowing in the mud, slop, and garbage again. (2 Peter 2:22) It is a graphic description of people who having known something of Christ and the message of salvation turn from it back to a life that is a downward death spiral; rather than climbing out of the pig sty, they settle deeper into it; and what was once purged from inside them becomes their “delicacy again, though it is but “vomit. That downward spiral is faster for some, slower for others, but the direction is still the same.Just how large is the population that falls into this category of people Peter describes? There seems to be a far greater concern for those people in the world we perceive have never heard about Jesus and His message of salvation, than for the huge population who have once known of Him and have turned their backs on Him. There is much talk of reaching the unreached, which is certainly valid, but something less for the already reached who have tasted and stopped eating. For those who have experienced the joy of speaking the gospel into ears that hang on every word and to whom it is a new message, who would then delight in the hard work of discipleship or persevering with those to whom it is not new, of whom the picture of “dogs and pigs is accurate? In fact as we struggle honestly with our own sin we know Peter’s description is accurate even of those who know and love the Savior.
The great mystery of salvation is in the progression of it, and understanding the parallel truths that salvation is both ALL of God and His grace, and yet making every effort ourselves, as Peter says, to eagerly, earnestly, and urgently “make our calling and election [to salvation] sure. He says we do this as we make “every effort to add to our faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5) It is this mystery of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing all the while that it is God who works within you. (Phil. 2:12) Of this we need constant reminding ourselves as well as for the many we live around every day who have either begun the fight and need discipling, or who once considered the fight only to give it up and return to the pig sty; and now need our mercy. It is why Jude tells us to “be merciful to those who doubt, snatch others from the fire and save them; show mercy mixed with fear, so you do not fall into the “dog and cat spiral along with them.
This is what we are about at the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Day after day it is persevering work. Yet it is work with a sure promise; a work that keeps us, as such work will keep you, in God’s love (Jude 21). Dogs, pigs OR salvation?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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