Tuesday, July 14, 2009

II Peter 2:4-8 God the Righteous Judge Part II

Have you ever had to give someone bad news? In my job, on several occasions, I’ve had to go to an auditee and tell them I’ve found a problem and I’m going to have to include it in our audit team’s published audit report. For instance, I found an auditee that was paying an estimated $50,000 per year for telephones that no one was using. You can imagine how happy they were to get that news. We as Christians have to bring bad news to people—they are suffering from an incurable spiritual cancer that is the result of their birth and their choice and they will die from it. However, we don’t just communicate this message with words. Our lives also provide a testament to the world of the judgment that is to come.

Peter, as we have seen in these verses, clearly demonstrates that God will judge sinners. However, as we observe in verse 4, He also “…preserved Noah…with seven others”. Now, why would God preserve Noah? Well, the short answer is because God was pleased to do so. He is God after all and doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. However, we notice in the account given in Genesis that while God saw the people on the earth only concerned themselves with how much meanness they could get into and how quickly they could get into that meanness (that’s from the Baldwin County Translation of Genesis 6) that Noah was found to be “a righteous man, blameless in his time”. Now, we know that all men are sinners (Romans 3:23) so the text couldn’t mean that Noah never sinned. Noah attained his right standing with God the same way any of us do—by faith. He didn’t earn his salvation by doing good works, going to church a certain number of times a week, or professing allegiance to a certain organization. He became righteous by faith. Noah and his family were saved from utter destruction by God as God was judging the rest of the wicked, sinful world.

We see then why God choose to save Noah and his family. Peter also tells us what Noah did upon receiving this revelation from God. Peter notes that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness”. The word translated “preacher” is the Greek word for a herald or town crier. The picture is of someone announcing the advent of a great king or one of relaying a proclamation for the king. As we read the text in Genesis, we see no sermons are recorded that Moses preached so in what sense was he a “preacher of righteousness”. We can imagine him building this huge ark—a sight that could be seen quite a ways off, I would imagine. I have to believe somebody asked him “Hey, Noah, whatchu doin’?” Of course, he would have told them and they would have asked why I imagine. At some point, the conversation probably turned to the fact that God was going to destroy the world because of the wickedness of the people and that Noah was being obedient to God by building this ark.

Therefore, by his obedience to the call of God he preached in his actions to the people around him. We don’t have any conversations recorded in Scripture as to what he said to anyone but it’s not outside the realm of possibility to suggest that he also told them what was coming. He may have even pleaded with them to repent and call on God. In any case, we see here a picture that looks an awfully lot like the time that we’re living in now, don’t we. People ask us “Hey, why do you think gay marriage is wrong?” or “You know, what’s all this big deal y’all make out of abortion? Why is that?” In our words and deeds, we should be testifying to the truth of scripture. People should see from our lives and hear from our lips what God has to say about this wicked world. In much the same way as Noah, we are privileged to have the revelation of God. Therefore, we each also have a responsibility to be a “preacher of righteousness” just as Noah was in his generation.

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