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Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 2 Peter 3:15 (NIV).
Sometime in the late 30s AD, Paul traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Peter, James, and the other Apostles. It was a two-week meet-and-greet. Some people think it was Paul inquiring of Peter of the latter’s experiences with Jesus. Others think it was the Apostles inquiring of Paul how he came to faith.
Years later, Paul and Peter met again. The church had grown rapidly through Judea, Samaria, (modern day) Syria and Arabia, and was moving into Asia Minor. At this second meeting, Peter and Paul agreed to present a unified message to potential converts. Peter would continue witnessing to Jews; Paul would witness the message to non-Jews.
That message? The same one Jesus had entrusted to His disciples. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. The only way to heaven that God has given to us is through faith in Christ. Believe in Christ and live.
That’s the same message we hear (and share) today. Over thousands of years, it is the message that gave rise to Western civilization as we know it. It is the message that spurred the creation of long-lasting representative republican democracy. It is the message that keeps the spark of hope burning among new converts in Africa, Iran, China, and a hundred thousand other improbable locations. The work of those early disciples, recorded in bits and pieces through the New Testament, continues in us today.
Someday, in heaven, I’d like to talk with Peter and Paul and ask if they’d share some of the things they talked about. What I know about the words (and work) God spoke through them has made a huge difference in my life. Not so long ago, I was a shallow, callous, profane, and hypocritical younger man. God had been working on me for years, but it took Him stripping me down to my core for me to finally pay attention.
And the message that got my attention was the same one Peter and Paul had been sharing all those years ago. Believe in Jesus and be saved. It really isn’t any more difficult than that. In the times when we feel most desperate, realize that God isn’t done with us yet. That, as long as He gives us fresh breath and new days, we get to share that same message with others in what we think, say, and do. Like Peter and Paul did. Like you and I can today.
For further reading: Romans 2:4, Galatians 1:18, Galatians 2:6-10, Ephesians 3:3, 2 Peter 3:16
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your saving grace, for Your servants of old and now, for giving me today to share Your message of salvation.
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