One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is in the film A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise is interrogating Jack Nicholson. I love Nicholson’s retort to Tom’s very loud demands for the truth—“You can’t handle the truth”. Apparently, there are a lot of people in this world who can’t handle the truth. People spend money on cosmetic surgery to deny the truth that a 50 year old is never going to look like a 20 year old. They spend money on therapy because they can’t handle the truth that most of the time what their problem is has nothing to do with stress or not getting their way enough when they were kids but their problem is rooted in their sinfulness. In fact it is for this reason that during these last these last days we see the prophesy fulfilled that Peter made in verse 3 that “mockers will come with their mocking”. In verse 4, Peter goes on to explain what their mocking consists of and in doing so reveals the attitudes of their hearts.
First of all, as we’ve seen today, God’s word is mocked. Those who mock the loudest are the false teachers (chapter 2) who teach false doctrine and lead others astray. Peter identifies their first argument against the truth of scripture as a denial of the “promise of His coming”. Now, scripture is crystal clear about this fact—there is coming a day of judgment when God will execute justice and punish sin. It is prophesied in the Old and New Testament. There will be no appeals and there will be no hiding. God will judge sinners for their sin and their rejection of Christ. Therefore, what these people are really saying in their first mockery is “Judgment has not happened so it’s not going to happen”. It follows then that the Bible, in their opinion, is just a mythical collection of fairy tales meant to scare children and weak minded individuals into behaving themselves. Modern, educated people know better.
Their first statement, then, is a mockery of the truth of God’s word. Their second statement presents their evidence. They assert that “all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation”. If, they reason, there was going to be a judgment, it would have already come. In their minds, nothing ever changes. I would say our national economy would be one example of the total lunacy of their position. We are never, and I do repeat never, going to go back to the kind of economy we had before the Great Recession. The job market is forever changed. In the area of technology we see their position of “Nothing ever changes” falls completely apart. From the internet to digital video recorders to cell phones this is a completely different world that it was even 10 years ago. In fact, you would have to have your head buried in the sand to not recognize how much things change and, especially today, how quickly they change. Therefore, their idea that things are stable and therefore there is not judgment coming simply doesn’t make sense.
However, as we thinking about their mockery of the truth it’s pretty easy to see what motivates them. If they acknowledge that God is who He says He is and His word as being authoritative then they have to submit to it. That is why they mock the truth. They shake their fist at heaven and yell at the God of the universe “You ain’t the boss of me”. They reject the truth to their own doom. Therefore, it is paramount that we proclaim and teach the truth. As Psalm 119 says, God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It is our responsibility to ensure that we share the light with all those around us.