If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Joshua 14–15, Psalms 146–147, Jeremiah 7, Matthew 21. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Jeremiah 7.
I believe in the doctrine of eternal security. If God has saved you, then you are saved forever and never need to worry about being eternally lost (see John 10:27-28). This doctrine can be misinterpreted and misapplied, however. If a person thinks that being “saved” means merely praying a prayer to get out of hell, that person has an incomplete view of biblical salvation. Salvation does require calling on the Lord in faith (Rom 10:13), but faith is accompanied by repentance—a turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ as Lord (see Acts 26:20). You don’t obey Jesus to be saved but everyone who is saved has a desire to obey Jesus. But many people think that if they pray to receive Jesus, they are set for life. Their hope is in God’s promise, yes, but they have been misinformed or have misunderstood that promise; therefore, they misapply that promise to themselves.
Jeremiah seemed to be facing a similar kind of misapplication. It is true that God had promised to dwell among his people in the Temple. It’s true that he promised to be with them and fight for them. But apparently some false prophets were telling the people that these promises were absolute. Verse 4 warns the people not to “trust in deceptive words” (also verse 8); those deceptive words were about “the temple of the Lord” (x3)! In other words, God’s people thought they could live however they want. They could treat people unjustly (v. 5b), take advantage of the vulnerable (“the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow,” v. 6a), do violence to the innocent (v. 6b), and even commit idolatry (v. 6). Verse 9 recaps these sins and then asks—incredulously—if God’s people will do all these sins then, verse 10, “come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?”
God’s promises to Israel were based on a covenant. They were to look to him in faith but that faith meant giving him exclusive worship and service, obeying his commands, and doing what is right in God’s eyes. Their struggles and failure to do these things meant that the curses of God’s covenant—his judgment—would fall on them instead of his blessings. All of this was to illustrate how impossible it was for anyone on earth to obey God’s will on our own (see Galatians 3:21-27). Those like Jeremiah who truly believed in God’s promise were able to serve God just as we are. Like us, they were saved by grace not by works. Those who thought they could stand on God’s promises without trusting in and worshipping God had distorted God’s word and were subject to his judgment.
Jesus warned us that many people think they belong to God but will be disowned by God on the day of judgment—not because they lost their salvation but because they never had it (see Matthew 7:21-23). They are like the people Jeremiah prophesied against in today’s passage. They think they are safe in the promises of God but they’ve never really become true worshippers of God by faith. While we should not become so fearful and introspective that we constantly question our salvation even though we are following Christ, we should also not allow a good doctrine like the promise of eternal security blind us to our true spiritual state before God. If we act like good Christians on Sunday but live unrepentant, sinful lifestyles the rest of week, then we are like the people in Jeremiah’s times who falsely trusted “deceptive words.”
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.