Question:

Hello.

I was hoping to receive some help and answers.

With the shape the world is in, I can’t help but foresee Jesus coming soon. Frankly, I just read Matthew 24:1-31 and can’t help but feel fear. I struggle with a lot of things that I can’t seem to break. How do I turn away from sin? How do I stop lying, using foul language, and judging people? And my biggest issue is premarital sex. I fully know and understand I have to turn away from sin before it’s forgiven, but I can’t seem to fully let it go.

Also, I’ve been battling the thought of getting baptized again. I need some help on that matter. I was 9 when I first gave my life to Christ, but I’m not sure if I knew the literal eternal effect it has. I just want to be prepared for the day he comes. I don’t want to be fearful. I want to know with a full heart that I will get to hear those amazing words “well done my good and faithful servant.”

Thank you in advance.

Answer:

A fear that motivates you to remove the fear from your life is not a bad thing. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). But for it to work, you have to change.

The beginning of Matthew 24 is not about Jesus' second coming but about Jesus' coming in judgment on Jerusalem. See The Fall of Jerusalem. The things predicted in there by Jesus all came true. But what should concern everyone is that follows. "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will" (Matthew 24:44). Here Jesus is speaking of his second coming and the final judgment. Most of Matthew 25 emphasizes the point that we won't be able to predict when Jesus comes any more than we can predict the next time we will be robbed. But one thing is certain, he is coming again.

Somehow, we convince ourselves that since we don't know exactly when Jesus will come, then it must be later and we'll have time to change before then. A lot of people are going to be caught off-guard when time runs out, not only when Jesus comes but also when their lives come to an end. Unless Jesus comes really soon, there is another certainty: you are going to die. "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). But like the second coming, when you are young, death seems so far off because we don't know when it will happen. We always assume we will have more time, but look around you and realize that young people die. No one is guaranteed a long life.

Therefore, while your fear was based on the wrong passage, it is still a legitimate fear. You need to make your life worth something instead of wasting the time you've been given. "Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting. Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, 'I have no delight in them'" (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1).

Sin is a trap. Christians teach in order that those in sin "may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:26). The escape is there. God promises that it exists. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (I Corinthians 10:13). However, the way out requires a change in attitude and a trust in God who is trying to show you the way out.

Basically, it comes down to realizing that it doesn't matter what I think I want. The only thing that matters is what God says is right. Nothing else works. "What does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD'S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). That is the type of life the Apostle Paul lived. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20).

How do you stop lying? By realizing that you serve the God of Truth. Only truth will do in any situation, no matter how uncomfortable the truth might make you feel or impact your life.

How do you stop the profanity? By realizing that you serve the Most Holy God. You must conduct yourself in holiness, including your language.

How do stop judging others by your own standards? By realizing that you will be facing God in Judgment. You will be held to God's standards and you are far from perfect.

How do stop fornication? By realizing that Jesus owns you - body, soul, and spirit. "For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (I Corinthians 6:20). You don't glorify God by using what He gave you to corrupt yourself and others.

Response:

I will be saving this email. I'm so thankful that you were able to break these down for me. I’m going to do my absolute best in the coming days and weeks to correct my sinful ways. One step at a time.

Thank you so much.

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