Tuesday, September 03, 2013

2nd Peter 2 - Unreasoning brutes

"Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord." (2 Peter 2:10-11)
We must remember the context of this verse, Peter is talking about false prophets and false teachers and it is likely that Peter had certain people in mind: there were the Simmonites, the Valentinians, the Marcionites, and others. In fact, Eusebius records that it was for this very purpose that Peter came to Rome. The same Simon that Peter had rebuked saying, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God." (Acts 8:20-21) had gone to Rome to preach his special brand of heresy. When Peter heard this, he followed to correct the heretic and to preserve unaltered the message of God in Rome. Eusebius writes, "immediately under the reign of Claudius, by the benign providence of God, Peter, that powerful and great apostle, why by his courage took the lead of all the rest, was conducted to Rome against this pest of mankind." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 2 14:6)

Peter describes such men as daring and self serving, men who rushed into things they didn't understand and rebuked object of majesty they did not know, something even angles were better disposed not to do. They were men who had no regard for what they did not understand and who did not understand their place as men in the created order of God, both natural and spiritual. For even angles, understanding their place, show proper honor and respect for glories and majesties around them. For example, when the angle was standing to dispute with the devil over the life of Joshua the High Priest, he did not revile those majesties but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan!" (Zechariah 3:2) Even today, some think it "spiritual" to revile the devil, calling him toothless and other slanderous things. While it is true the devil is corrupt and evil and destined for judgment, we shouldn't presume to revile what we don't know and to slander beings of greater power and position than ourselves. One day we shall "judge angels" (1 Corinthians 6:3) but for now we have been "made a little lower than the angels." (Hebrews 2:9 NKJV) Therefore our rebukes should be simple and bear the Word of the Lord: "The Lord rebuke you!".
"But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed." (2 Peter 2:12)
What separates us from the brutes of the field is our ability to reason; we are rational beings that do not, or should not, live by our baser passions that wage war against the higher nature of our soul, that rational part of our soul. However, when we live by our passions and the lusts of our soul, then we are no different then they; we too are unreasoning animals to be caught and destroyed. God wants us to engage our minds, He has called us as rational beings, that our rational minds might rule over the lusts and desires of our flesh. Our flesh wants many things but we must rule over it; we must receive the Word of God by faith and apply it to the longings of the flesh that we might, as Paul said, "put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5 NKJV)
"suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;" (2 Peter 2:13-14)
Peter tells us that such false prophets and false teachers they have trained the heart for evil. We are all born with a conscience, and our conscience either excuses or convicts us of wrong. Paul writing of those who were without the law wrote that, "they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them." (Romans 2:15) It is our conscience that guards us from evil and guides us to do good. However, when we ignore our conscience, when we blow past the warnings of our conscience in our rush to sin, then our conscience is offended and its impact in our life lessened. By repeatedly offending our conscience we can come to a place where its warnings are silenced and there remains no longer any barrier to sin. Our hearts have been fully trained in sin and we no longer hear the cautious warnings of our conscientiousness. We are like those of whom Paul wrote who were "seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron." (1 Timothy 4:2)
"forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet." (2 Peter 2:15-16)
Sin has pleasure, If not, then we wouldn't sin. We sin, even as Christians, because we enjoy it, at least for the moment. Paul refers to it as "the passing pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:25) While sin is pleasurable for the moment, its long term effects are devastating. James write of the progress of sin, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15 NKJV) The conceiving of lust is sin and the maturing of sin is death. We all have a choice to make, either to live for the momentary pleasures of sin or for the eternal rewards of righteousness. We are like Abraham as he returned from the battle of the kings. Two men came out to greet him, earch with gifts for him. One was of the world, the King of Sodom, and the other was the eternal priest of Salem, Melchizedek, who brought him "bread and wine. (Genesis 14:18) Abraham had a choice, the riches of the world or the eternal riches of the Kingdom of God. Abraham chose the bread and wine and rejected the King of Sodom saying, "I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, 'I have made Abram rich.' " (Genesis 14:22-23) When faced with your choices today, how will you choose?

David Robison

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