Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Explore the Bible: Our Great Salvation

I must admit, the study of Zephaniah, particularly the passages in this week's Explore the Bible study, Our Great Salvation, can be intimidating. I must give you fair warning that I would never claim to be an expert in verses that deal with eschatology. I must also point out that this week's study does not follow the Explore the Bible teaching plan. I have inserted several additional Scripture references in order to help us consider the original readers' context as well as the current and future context of the passages. Here are some themes I tried to weave into the fabric of the study:

Judgment:
  • There was the judgment described to the original hearers—Judah and Jerusalem and the nations to the east, west, south, and north (Zephaniah 1 and 2). 
  • God gave us the righteousness of his Son and gave His Son our judgment for sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:27-28) 
  • The world did not see God’s complete judgment during the devastating flood - there were sinners in the boat! While the destruction of the earth was devastating, it is nothing compared to what God is describing through the prophet Zephaniah. Zephaniah describes a time when all creation is dismantled and destroyed – the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, mankind, all nations, and the earth itself. All those who have denied Christ will stand before God for their final judgment, who, since time began, has offered grace to mankind, and a salvation plan which included offering His Son as a sacrifice for sins (Acts 2:23).
  • As believers living our faith this side of Heaven, we are disciplined and corrected by God when we rebel. Many times, as with the Jews, we ignore His discipline and correction. Eventually we will stand before God in judgment – the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our sins were judged in Christ on the cross. Our works will be judged by Christ at the judgment seat of Christ.  Who else better to judge than the One who took on our sin so that we might become the children of God!
Hope:
  • We have reason to rejoice if we are believers. God saves all who call upon Him—that is, all who worship Him in spirit and truth. We have the promise of abundant and eternal life, now and forevermore!
  • Someday the final curtain is coming down on this world in which we live. Man's little day will be over, and judgment will come for lost mankind. But God will restore His children, and we will find out that what we endured down here was actually a blessing in disguise. (Thru the Bible Commentary)
  • Revelation 21:1-8 describes when we, as believers, get to experience the complete fulfillment of the restoration described in Zephaniah 3:14-17.
  • The Lord’s eternal patience and grace is our opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to live above sin, and to express the hope and joy found in Jesus Christ
OR

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