This verse is on my mind constantly.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Luke 21:36 KJV
The context of the verse is important. By the fig tree parable, the kingdom of God is near. And it sure looks like “that day” is not supposed to be a surprise, a trap.
And he told them a parable:”Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:29-36 ESV
How can I know whether I will be accounted worthy to escape? I have thought about it a lot, and decided it has nothing to do with my works apart from God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isaiah 64:6 KJV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Friends, I think the answer is love. Even great works that help others don’t do me a bit of good without love.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13 ESV
Love is the new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
John 13:34 ESV
It is the proof of discipleship.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 ESV
The command and the proof together.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV
God is, in fact, love!
God is love.
1 John 4:8
So, how do I know whether or not I have love? How do I know if I have enough love to escape the coming things?
What is my attitude to the lost?
I think the Bible makes it clear that saving the lost is His most important priority. Is it mine?
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 NIV
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 2:21 NIV
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
Ezekiel 18:23 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 ESV
Yes, I can say I am concerned about the unsaved. In the past when others would mistreat me, I could hold a grudge or resentment a long, long time. But now, I can forgive in minutes or hours what used to take me days, weeks and months to forgive. I am much quicker to think about their possible horrible eternity than how I was treated. Thank God! Unforgiveness is fatal!
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:14-15 ESV
I have recently walked up and down my block, praying for the people in each house. God has given me love for the unsaved. But I’m not perfect. Do I have enough love to be accounted worthy to escape? I hope so!
Am I keeping His commandments?
This scripture is so clear it almost hurts.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:3-6 ESV
I’m not saved because of my works, but there has to be some evidence that I do believe. My life needs to show to others that I believe in Jesus. I don’t think I will fully understand this “not by works / must have works” truth fully this side of eternity, but it is real. I’m not saved because of my works, but there must be some works to show that I’m saved. 🙂
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
James 2:18-26 ESV
Am I keeping His commands? This one, the work of God, yes. I believe Jesus is the only way I can make it to heaven, and that He will take me there.
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
John 6:28-29 ESV
Am I keeping His commands? Let me give an example, smoking. I have smoked cigarettes much of my adult life, on and off. In the past, quitting wasn’t that hard, really. The last time I quit I carried an open, half-empty pack in my pocket for a couple weeks. If I decided I wanted to smoke again, I wanted them handy. But this time, quitting is seeming impossible. I have bought pack after pack of “my last pack ever” cigarettes. What’s going on?
Sexual sin is a common male failure mode in the Bible. David committed adultery with Bathsheba then had her husband killed. IMO Samson’s sexual sins led to his downfall. (Samson 2.0) Lot got his daughters pregnant because he was so drunk he didn’t know what was going on. (Righteous Lot) Hey, me too. The last time I quit smoking was because most of women on the dating websites wouldn’t go out with smokers, and I wanted to get laid. (Thank God I came to my senses and repented! (Lemming Theology))
I have come to realize that all my previous times of quitting smoking were because I wanted something for me. More money in my pocket. More breath in my lungs for the Army physical fitness tests. Sex. If God was happy that I wasn’t smoking, great! That’s a big bonus! But my primary reason wasn’t to please Him (I’m ashamed to write), it was to please me in some way.
This time is different. My sinful flesh has no reason strong enough that it wants to quit at all. It is fighting the real me with all it has. Some time ago I wrote this post: The Best Part About Romans 8:1. I have even more understanding now of
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
and the blessed,
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”!
This time I am quitting to please God, and it is being a real flesh/spirit battle for me, from which I am learning a great deal. I notice that this verse says “put”, not “have put”.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:13 ESV
I am fighting this by sowing to please the Spirit.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:8 ESV
If I don’t give up, I’ll win!
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:7-9 ESV
So, am I keeping His commands well enough to be accounted worthy to escape? I hope so!
Do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ?
Again, John is very clear.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
1 John 3:11-12 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
1 John 4:7-9 ESV
Love for each other is the new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
John 13:34 ESV
Am I loving the body of Christ? Well, the purpose of most of my recent blog posts is to be an encouragement to my fellow believers. Is this, and other ways I show love, enough to be accounted worthy to escape? I hope so!
How is my fear level?
I admit, when I first came to the conclusion that these are the last days, I had quite a bit of fear about the things that will come on the earth. (Why I Believe These Are the End Times) But fear doesn’t come from God, for believers.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 ESV
(But fear is sometimes a valid salvation tool.)
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Jude 1:23 ESV
As I have studied and prayed and learned these months, my fear about what is coming has gotten less and less. One day recently I had the BANG! on my inside that everything is progressing according to the Father’s plan! Everything! (See, See, SEE! (That You Not Be Troubled!))
Is all my fear gone? Honestly, no.
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:31 NIV
I am very aware that there is a God, that I’m not Him, and that it is His call where I spend eternity. I want to shun hell and gain heaven, and I have done what need to do. But my flesh is still selfish, lazy and unregenerated. My faith is in Him that He will do as He said He would do, but I don’t think these last few butterflies in my stomach are going completely away until I see Jesus face to face. That He would choose to die that I might live is still too wonderful for me to have fully grasped, it seems.
Nevertheless, for the most part I have love, not fear. Is it enough to be accounted worthy to escape? Oh, I hope so!
My mind is not yet completely renewed, and has a hard time accepting how I’m going to finish this post.
Yes, I believe I will be accounted worthy to escape those things that are coming. I have hope. And because my hope is very real to me, I have faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Faith pleases God! He rewards those who seek Him!
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
I’m using my words to do me good!
“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:37 BSB
Part of my mind can’t believe I wrote that, but my spirit is jumping up and down, saying, “Daddy! Come get me!”
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15 ESV
Are you ready to meet the Father?
Are you following God's plan for your life? You should. Your plan sucks. It really, really sucks. Suckage Maximus. Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Jesus is coming. Are you ready to meet Him? Give your life to Jesus Christ. Time is running out.