Tuesday, June 9, 2009

II Peter 2:3b: Ready or Not, Here It Comes! Part I

I had occasion recently to confront someone about a particular sin in their life. This individual told me they were at peace with their situation (they profess faith in Christ) and that since God knows their heart they do not consider what they’re doing to be a sin regardless of that fact that the Bible calls it sin. Anyway, after lovingly calling this person to repent, waiting a week or two, and talking with them again I asked them “What does your pastor think about this?”

I’ll add at this point that what we’re talking about here is not a questionable issue where men of good conscience can and do disagree. This individual is living with their fiancĂ©. No gray area there—the Bible is quite clear that living together is wrong on several levels. This individual said “My pastor is ok with it.” I was incredulous so I called the man. He said “Well, it’s not ideal but we don’t live in a perfect world.” He said he would not call them to repent (both the person and their fiancĂ© are members of this pastor’s church). I called him a wicked false prophet. Now, that was probably not as diplomatic as I could have been and I’m not expecting a Christmas card from this “pastor” any time soon. However, the fact is that people who claim to speak for God and teach false doctrine will suffer judgment and should be held accountable for their unbiblical beliefs. There is a payday someday, and from God’s eternal perspective judgment is just around the corner.

Peter writes in the latter part of verse 3 concerning the final punishment of God on false teachers that sentence has been passed and their doom is sealed. First of all, he writes that “their judgment from long ago is not idle”. Notice first of all that God has rendered His decision and pronounced “judgment” on them. God has examined the evidence and pronounced them “Guilty”. He sees everything. He knows everything. There is no appealing his righteous decision—He has rendered His verdict.

Furthermore, this judgment has already taken place “long ago”. God knows who His sheep are and He knows from eternity past whom He will save and who He will pass over. There are people who are uncomfortable with the doctrine of election and the fact that God in His sovereignty chooses just like He chose in the case of Jacob and Esau but the fact is that God does whatever He pleases and does so while exercising all of His attributes—love, mercy, justice, goodness, holiness, etc. In other words, the issue of judgment upon these false prophets was settled long ago.

Their judgment is also “not idle”. Sometimes, in courts of law, a judge can pass a sentence that is later overturned. Of course, sometimes this is done for good reason but I’m sure there have been times where a guilty party escaped justice because a higher court overturned the verdict of a lower court. The verdict was rendered void. However, the judgment of God is “not idle” which translates the word “argos” (691) from which we get the name for one of the Noble gases, argon. Now the Noble gases are inert—they don’t combine with anything. You could say “They don’t work” and that is exactly the idea conveyed by “argos”—not working. God’s judgment will stand in contrast to a judgment that is “idle”.

While a pastor may proclaim something as good and right that God calls sinful and they may appear to get away with it for a time, we can be sure that God judges sin and will certainly judge false teachers. In a sense, He could almost be pictured as saying much as we would say when playing hide and seek as children—“Ready or not, here I come”. The question for all of us to ask is, are we ready?

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