As adults we all know that there are certain painful things in life that are good for us. There are surgeries that are painful but necessary for our good. We have all tasted medicine that is awful, but we endure it because it is good for us. These words like many others in Scripture are strong medicine and it doesn’t taste very good. This is not a happy passage, not one fun to read or preach for that matter. These are strong words, hard words, difficult things to say. We are not used to people speaking in hard ways. We live in a time that has experienced the feminization of discourse, a time that is afraid to offend, afraid to come off harsh or insensitive or intolerant. But as I have said before, Peter, is a good pastor who cares about the sheep in his church so he writes to warn believers of the dangers of false teachers who deny Jesus both in their doctrine and in their actions, lifestyles that are filled with immorality and following after the passions of the flesh. The first three verses of chapter 2 which we looked at two weeks ago give the main idea behind the rest of chapters 2 and 3. There are false teachers who have crept into the church, as there always have been and always will be. They are promoting two things, sensuality and defiling lusts of passion, and destructive heresies that deny the truth and despise authority, especially the authority of God’s Word. Peter ends that summary by saying, “their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” The reason he says that is because one of the most common traits of false teachers and those who have given themselves over to sin and evil is that they live as if there is no judgment, no time of accounting, no consequences to their way of life. This is our world. It doesn’t believe God judges sin or holds us accountable. There is no final, fearful punishment. God is only a loving God, not a God of wrath or judgment and He would never send anyone to hell. This reminds me of the famous definition of liberalism: "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a Christ without a cross." (H. Richard Niebuhr's description of Protestant liberalism). But the godly can fall into a similar trap or begin to despair over God’s lack of justice or care or concern. Psalm 73 is a very clear example of this error of thinking. So Peter reminds them of how false such thinking is. To do that he gives three examples from the OT of how God did visit judgment and punishment on the wicked and two examples of how God saved the righteous, rescued the godly. Peter backs up his statement in verse 3 with proof. These are portraits or snapshots from the OT picture album of those who failed to finish well and those who did. Let’s start with the three negative examples. I have a saying that isn’t very nice but actually applies well to this text. Nobody is useless, they can always serve as a bad example.
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