Each day I study Proverbs because there is one for each day of the month. There is a particular verse I like in today’s Proverb, 29:16, When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

All we have to do is look around, and we can see this is our world today. Wickedness is on the rise, people have lost the ability to know right from wrong, and sin is becoming more and more vile. BUT, the righteous shall see their fall. I get much comfort from that last part. If all this wickedness isn’t bothering you, then you need to repent and get right before God, while you still have the chance.

If you’re one who loves the LORD, living in this present age grieves you, yet at the same time, gives you hope, for we know the end is near and the LORD will be coming and put an end to all this wickedness, and HE will rule with righteousness. Yet we still have the opportunity to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, and hopefully, some will repent and be saved.

It would be nice if ALL would turn their hearts to God, because the price for ALL sin has been paid in full. God, in His graciousness, takes no joy in the death of a sinner, and He is not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance. That’s HIS will, however, He has given each of us free choice, and the Bible tells us the majority will NOT choose God. How sad that is! Imagine: your ticket to everlasting life has been paid in full, yet many will refuse that gift. WHY?

Well, the answer is simple: people have been deceived by the devil ever since the Garden of Eden. Only a small fraction of mankind cries out to know the LORD, and to all who call upon His name, He will in no wise cast out. It’s a very satisfying thing to know, that even though those who cry out to God will still continue to sin from time to time, they will grow to hate sin more and more each day. And that’s what grace is for, to help those who are reaching out for God.

You may be one who is struggling in your walk with the LORD, seemingly doing fine one day, just to fall on your face the next, and of course the devil gets in your face to assure you that you’ll NEVER meet God’s standards, no matter how hard you try, that you might as well just give up and quit, because you’ll NEVER be good enough to please God. Been there, done that! AND YET….. the grace of God so vastly overcomes sin and the lies of the devil! Take this example from John chapter 21:1-17 This is a bit long, but it NEEDS to be in order to get my point across. But you’ll be glad you took the time to read it. At the end of verse 17, I’ll start explaining why.

1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. note
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Now do you remember in Matthew 26:34-35 when Jesus said Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed? Then look in verse 75 what happened.
34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Peter had all good intentions, but his flesh won out over his spirit, like what happens sometimes to all of us. But wait, God has the solution to that!

Let’s go back to John 21:15-17 and read it again. Here Jesus and Peter had a conversation, with Jesus asking Peter in verse 15, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” At this point I have to ask “these WHAT?” Well, up to that point, Peter had been counting FISH; a hundred and fifty three GREAT fish. Had Peter not counted them, I would have assumed Jesus was referring to the other disciples. Now, the word Jesus used was the Greek word, number 25, “Agapeo”, meaning of persons, to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly: of things to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing. “The GOD kind of love”.
Peter responded with “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” But the word translated “love” in his response, was a DIFFERENT word, the Greek word number 5368, “Phileo”, meaning, to love, to approve of, to like, sanction, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend, to show signs of love, to kiss, to be fond of doing. The best way to understand “phileo” is, “I like you, you’re my friend, I’m fond of you.” Nowhere near “agapeo”, the GOD kind of love, but still showing tenderness. It’s important you notice the difference between the “love” that Jesus asked for, and the “love” that Peter responded with.

In verse 16, Jesus once again asked, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapeo) thou me?” And again, Jesus used the word “agapeo”, and Peter responded with, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.” And like before, he used the word “phileo”. That’s NOT what Jesus asked him! Now watch what happens!
In verse 17, Jesus asks “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me?” Only THIS time, Jesus used the word “Phileo”, meaning “do you at least just like me? Are you my friend, are you fond of me? It says Peter was GRIEVED because Jesus said to him the third time “Phileo thou me?” And Peter responded the third time, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.

I really want you to understand this: Peter knew he had failed Jesus when He needed him the most. And he was sorry. Peter was being honest with Jesus, he knew he didn’t love Jesus with the kind of love Jesus loved him with, but it was the best he had to offer, kind of “Lord, you know all things, you know I’m your friend, I’m fond of you. I wish I could say I love you like you love me, but this is the best I have, take it or leave it.” And Jesus was responding, “I’ll TAKE it!” And He told Peter to feed his lambs, feed his sheep. He restored Peter’s assignment.

Yes, judgment is coming, and maybe you’re afraid of it. But if you are loving God the best you can with what you have in you, then you have nothing to fear whatsoever. You have been judged righteous, not because of anything you’ve done, but because of what JESUS did for you on the cross. The devil may have knocked you down many times and beat you up, but as long as you keep getting back up, you’re an overcomer, and that’s exactly what God is looking for! All glory and thanks be to God for His mercy!