Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Letters Of A Changed Man: A Study Of 1st and 2nd Peter. Day 24, Those For Whom Blackest Darkness Is Reserved, Part One

Peter has been explaining to us that some of the worst judgment God will ever hand down is going to fall on those who have led people away from the truth. It's easy to see why this is so. God loves every human being with all His heart. Anyone who turns a human being away from what is good is going to incur His wrath. You can put yourselves in His shoes by thinking about your own children whom you love. If someone were to lead your children away from a good and fulfilling life into drug addiction and homelessness, wouldn't you want that person punished to the fullest extent of the law? Wouldn't you want that person to suffer as badly as he or she has caused your child to suffer? I think this must be how God feels toward those who bring to ruin the lives of people who might instead have found their way to the light of the gospel. God created us for a relationship with Him; the worst thing anyone can do is cause someone to turn their back on Him.

In yesterday's study Peter gave us the examples of the wrath that fell on the ancient world through the flood and on Sodom and Gomorrah by fire. The Lord saved out of those calamities only the people who believed on and trusted in Him. If He brought such harsh punishment on those who perverted His word and broke His laws in the past, we can be sure that punishment is coming on those of our modern day who are doing the same. "This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord." (2 Peter 2:10-11)

The spiritual realm is a busy place. It would stun us to know just how much activity goes on in the unseen world, with God's faithful angels fighting for us against the forces of darkness. I think we'd be awestruck into an amazed silence if we knew only a portion of the battles that have been won for us that we were never aware were even being waged. We have been rescued countless times from plots that were formed against us by Satan and the fallen angels. The Lord Jesus said that Satan's only purpose in dealing with mankind was to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10) But thanks be to our powerful God who fights for us and whose angels keep watch over us! If Satan had his way, you and I would not be alive and breathing right now, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We don't have to live in fear. Jesus was surrounded by probably more demonic activity than anyone else on earth while Satan brought to bear everything he had against the Son of God in an attempt to prevent the salvation of mankind. Many scholars believe this is why Jesus performs so many exorcisms in the gospels, because dark spiritual forces were at their peak while He was present on the earth. But did Jesus walk through this world in fear? No, and we don't have to either. Jesus knew nothing could take Him out of this world until the appointed time, and this is true for us as well. As I once heard someone say, we are immortal until the appointed time comes when God intends to take us home to be with Him.

Peter says that some human beings are so rebellious against all forms of power and authority that they even heap verbal abuse on the angels. Considering the faithful angels don't even curse the names of the fallen angels, it's presumptuous for a human being to do so. But this reveals the attitudes of their hearts, for they regard no authority over them. This is why Peter says, "But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish." (2 Peter 2:12) He says, "People who feel no sense of awe for God or for the beings God has created are like creatures on the lower end of the food chain who have not been given brains capable of feeling emotions or of reasoning things out. They are as incapable of spiritual reasoning as the fish I used to draw into my nets. Like creatures created primarily for consumption, those who refuse to use the brains and the emotions God gave them will be consumed by judgment."

God created us in His image to be able to commune with Him and so that both He and we could enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying relationship that is like no other. To settle for anything less is to fail to fulfill our destiny. We are the crowning glory of all that He created, and to refuse to take our place as the children of the Most High God is to lower ourselves to a level we were never intended to inhabit. A day is coming in which He will say to all who have said no to the very best He has to offer: "Have it your way. I wanted the best of the best for you, but you didn't want the best for yourselves. You didn't want to know Me or even acknowledge My existence, so in the judgment I must say to you, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:23)

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