Sunday, September 01, 2013

2nd Peter 2 - The mills of God

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot" (2 Peter 2:4-7)
We often live so absorbed in the moment that we loose sight of the greater picture of life painted by history. We see our lives today and believe that life has always been as it is and always will be. We don't see the judgment and punishment of God and we assume that such judgment does not exist or is relegated to a time long ago. God doesn't move to establish justice so we think He never has or will. However, Peter reminds us by way of history that God's judgment is never idle. If God did not spare the angles, certainly He will not spare the wicked. If God destroyed the ancient world in a flood, certainly He will destroy this present world by fire. If God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah in judgment, certainly He will judge the present world for its violence and wickedness. We need only to look at history to realize that, though His judgment delays, it will not be restrained forever. Someone once said, "The mills of God turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine."
"Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)" (2 Peter 2:7-8)
It's important to recognize Lot's response to the ungodliness in Sodom and Gomorrah, it wasn't anger or condemnation he felt for them, rather it was the oppression of his soul that he endured while living among them. What was the source of this oppression? Peter gives us a clue in the next verse when he says that God is able to rescue the godly from "temptation." Lot was oppressed, not because he disapproved of their behavior, nor because he was angry at their disregard for God's laws, but because of the lure of sin he felt as he endured in dwelling in their midst. My wife and I, along with our family, lived twelve years in Las Vegas. As you walked through those giant monuments to gambling you could feel the lure of sin, the lure of gambling, luxury, and licentiousness. It was that same lure of sin that oppressed Lot's soul, and his hatred was not for the people, but for the sin and its temptation that brings death to all who partake of it.
"then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority." (2 Peter 2:9-10)
Peter reminds us from history that God will not spare the wicked but will rescue the righteous. This is not to say that God does not desire the redemption of the wicked, for even as His judgement awaits them He continues to correct them that they might repent. Peter says that God keeps the unrighteous under "punishment" unto the day of judgment. The Greek word for "punishment" can also be translated as "to chastise". God continues to chastise the wicked that they may wake up and recognize their sin and repent while there still remains time. Even up to the very day of judgment, God will still be reaching out to the unrighteous that they may turn from the wickedness and receive the saving grace of God. On the other hand, for those who have received a righteousness that is found in Jesus alone, God has promised to rescue them from all temptation and to deliver them spotless before His throne on that last day. Though our souls may be vexed by the wickedness around us, we need not fear it, for, "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) Our hope is in Christ and it is "the hope of righteousness." (Galatians 5:5) Therefore, let the mills of God turn for, though He will not spare in judgment, neither will He turn away in deliverance.

David Robison

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