God is gracious, longsuffering, and patient, and withholds judgment on sin. He waited until Noah had finished building the ark before sending the flood. Now He is withholding judgment, giving men time to repent and be saved (1Peter 3:20; 2Peter 3:9). However, the time will come when God will act in judgment. The judgment will come suddenly. Toward the end of the Day of the Lord, the heavens will be destroyed with a great noise and the elements will melt in the intense heat; the earth and everything in it will be burned up. God, in His omnipotence, will be in full control of all these coming events and has promised that ultimately there will be new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell (2Peter 3:10-13).
God brings before us, in His Word, the transience of all that we see around us and the brevity and uncertainty of life. The Lord will return for us at any moment. Before the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to take believers to be with Himself forever (1Thes 4:16, 17). Prior to the dissolution of all things, the Lord will have reigned on earth for 1000 years. In the light of all these things, we should consider carefully the way we live before God and before our fellow men. We should love God and seek to obey and please Him. In 2 Peter 3:11, we read, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” We are told in 1 Peter, that God is holy and we are enjoined to live holy lives. Holiness and godliness should permeate and characterize every aspect of our lives.
Ye ought to walk and to please God (1Thes 4:1)
We are sinners saved by grace (Eph 2:8), but still have the old man within and we will never be free from sin until we see our Lord and Savior as He is and are made like unto Him (1John 3:2). We might well wonder how, in this present life, we can be the people we ought to be. Enoch was a sinner, for “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23), and yet he so lived that he “pleased God” (Heb 11:5). He had faith in God, and “walked with God” (Gen 5:22). Enoch obeyed God and lived continuously in the presence of God and in communion with Him. Like Enoch, we live in an exceedingly sinful and wicked world which awaits the judgment of God and He wants us to walk, witness, and please Him in the situation in which He has placed us.
We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard (Heb 2:1)
To live as we ought to live, we must seek to be increasingly conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29). We need to learn the will of God by studying the Word of God and meditating prayerfully on it and on the message of the gospel. If we obey the teaching and leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we will grow spiritually and become more like the kind of people God would have us to be. If our minds are filled with the Word of God, the wonders of the glorious gospel and our own salvation, then we shall be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). Sin will no longer have dominion over us (Rom 6:14), and we shall lead lives which are increasingly separated from the world and to God (2Cor 6:14-7:1; Psa 1:1).
Men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1)
Prayer honors God for it shows that we are aware of our total dependence on Him. We are told that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); to “pray without ceasing” (1Thes 5:17); and to “be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6). If we pray in faith, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for that which is in accordance with the will of God as revealed in the Word of God, then our prayers will be heard (John 16:23; 1John 5:14,15).
In 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10, the Holy Spirit gives us an insight into prayer. Jabez was a man of faith and a man of prayer. He knew God was able and willing to answer prayer, that all blessings come from the One Who never changes (James 1:17), and that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). Concerning the brief prayer of Jabez, we read that “God granted him that which he requested” (1Chron 4:10).
To be more like the people God wants us to be we need to pray as Jabez did, for blessing that we might do His will. We should pray daily that we might go on to spiritual maturity and enter more fully into the enjoyment of God’s precious promises. We shall then know more of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts (Rom 5:5), enjoy fellowship with other separated believers, and show forth in our lives the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). By the grace of God, we shall, as we lead lives which are pleasing to Him, be used to spread the glorious gospel and be enabled to do those good works “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). If a believer lives in an atmosphere of prayer, and honestly seeks to do the will of God, then he has the promise and assurance that God will direct his life (Prov 3:6).
We ought also to love one another (1John 4:11)
God is love (1John 4:8), and love is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). It is the greatest virtue (1Cor 13), and permeates, pervades, and binds together all the other virtues and graces. God is eternal and therefore love is eternal. The source and cause of God’s love is in Himself, and “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
A child of God, having the life of God within him, should love God and keep His commandments (1John 5:2). Obedience to God is evidence of loving God and believers are commanded to love God and each other (John 15:17). The Lord said, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). The result of love is shown, ultimately, by deeds, and love will cause us to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb 10:24). We are to love with a love which is unfeigned and fervent (1Peter 1:22); without dissimulation (Rom 12:9); in deed and in truth (1John 3:18); and are to abound in love one toward another, and toward all men (1Thes 3:12). True love is unselfish, does not bear grudges, is kind, gives without looking for a return, is not boastful or proud, does not envy; true love perseveres in truth (1Cor 13). When the love of God is in our hearts and we seek to do His revealed will and glorify Him, then we shall increasingly be the kind of people God would have us to be.