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From Judgment to True Hope

Amos 9:11-15

11 “In that day I will raise up

the booth of David that is fallen

and repair its breaches,

and raise up its ruins

and rebuild it as in the days of old,

12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom

and all the nations who are called by my name,”

declares the Lord who does this.

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when the plowman shall overtake the reaper

and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

and all the hills shall flow with it.

14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,

and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

15 I will plant them on their land,

and they shall never again be uprooted

out of the land that I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

We deserve judgment. God brings hope. This is so often the message of God to his wayward people in the books of the prophets. And it is certainly the message of Amos.

Almost all of this book has been the pronouncement of judgment from God on the northern kingdom of Israel before their fall. Around 750 BC, Israel was living large. They were wealthy and felt safe. God chose to tell the nation that judgment was coming. And the judgment to come would be devastating.

What we know from history is that the northern kingdom fell to Assyria around 722 BC. The people were led away. They were scattered. They never returned to their land. And if all we had was Amos 1:1 through 9:10, we might feel utterly hopeless for this people.

But look at the ending of the book above. God will do something that nobody expects. God will restore, refresh, rebuild. God will bring life where death was the rule of the day. The power of this section works best when you have read through nearly nine chapters of judgment, well-earned, well-deserved judgment.

What does God promise? He will restore the fallen booth of David. Once again, though the united kingdom under Davidic rule has not been seen since 930 BC, God will sit a Davidic king on the throne. Does this mean that God is going to build an Israel that looks like the Israel over which Solomon reigned? NO, what God will do will be greater. In verse 12, the Lord gives us the restoration result, “that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name.” The restored booth of David will be greater than any Davidic kingdom, because the promised Davidic king will possess “all the nations.” This is the kingdom of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of David.

And what has God promised will come in this kingdom? Verses 13-15 show us a curse-less world. Crops will grow. Wine will be plentiful. Dwellings will be rebuilt. Safety, peace, genuine prosperity, the reign of the King, and an unshakable reward are all coming. God’s people had earned total judgment. God promised hope. And the hope God promised, the kingdom he brings and the Savior who reigns, these are greater than any hope Israel had ever imagined.

Today, the promised King has come. He is now seated on the throne of the universe. He has all authority over all nations. And we live in the light of his rule and in the true hope that his promises will come to pass. Find hope, Christian. Share the good news. Believe the promise of the kingdom of Christ that spans all the nations. Seek to glorify God by being a part of his kingdom now. Long for the return of the Savior that will bring all of this to perfect fulfillment.

Yet You Did Not Return

Amos 4:6

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,

and lack of bread in all your places,

yet you did not return to me,”

declares the Lord.

Revelation 9:20-21

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Yet you did not return. Yet you did not repent. These are the regular truths of lost humanity, even in the face of the true and holy judgment of God.

In Amos 4, five times we read, “’Yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. Those lines, spoken to the people of the northern kingdom, all follow different judgments of God on the land. Multiple times and in various ways, God had chastened the people. The hardships they faced should have drawn the people back toward the Lord. After all, the people had agreed to terms with the Lord in the covenant at Sinai, and that covenant included provision for such judgments should the nation turn unfaithful.

In Revelation 9:20-21 as well as 16:9 and 11, we see something quite similar. When the judgments of God are poured out on the people of earth in this prophetic vision, mankind does not turn from his wickedness. Instead, the nature of the lost is to double-down on sin rather than learn from hardship. So, in the end, the people of the world store up for themselves the wrath of God to greater and greater degrees.

Do not underestimate the capacity of mankind to press forward with wickedness even in the light of true judgment and destruction. If God does not work to change our hearts, we will, worse than a recalcitrant child, stiffen our necks and shake our fists until the Lord takes from us our very lives. Even in hell, the wicked will not be truly repentant. While they will bow to Jesus and know that they justly deserve their fate, none will desire to turn from their wickedness to embrace the Lord.

When you see the nature of mankind to be stiff-necked and rebellious, thank Jesus if you have faith. Only through his sovereign power is a dead sinner made a living saint. And if you are made a child of God in Jesus, your relationship with your God is not based on your works or your goodness. Instead, your hope, my hope, our only hope is the love of Jesus and his perfect grace.

If you know Jesus, remember the nature of mankind. We never stop telling the truth to the world. WE never stop calling people to faith. But we must know that only the Lord can change a human heart. If mankind is left to himself, he fights against God and all that is good.

Finally, if you do not know Jesus, stop fighting. If you have any desire to stop fighting, know that this is a gift of God. Repent. Believe. Trust Jesus. Be saved.

Prayers We Need to Pray

Psalm 141:3-4

3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;

keep watch over the door of my lips!

4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil,

to busy myself with wicked deeds

in company with men who work iniquity,

and let me not eat of their delicacies!

In the model prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” How needful this is. Our hope is not in our goodness. Yet we long to be changed, to be sanctified, to be done with sin. The promise of glory is before all who hope in Jesus. But the struggle of our day-to-day is real.

Where do I need to be delivered from evil? Where do you? We all face different temptations depending on our circumstances, our personalities, our unique gifts or weaknesses. For me, the words of the psalm above ring the bell of a place where I pray the Lord will guard and guide.

I see two temptations in verses 3 and 4 of Psalm 141. The first is so prominent in our day that I would have any believer pray it. We need the Lord to guard our mouths. One might also add the pen or the keyboard to that request. We are quick to sin with our lips. We are quick to hurt others with our words, to say things better left unsaid, to embellish our own goodness, to magnify the failure of others. This is my own need, and I surely pray that the Lord will set this guard in my own life.

In verse 4, we see a righteous prayer not to be taken in by the wicked. May we not fall in with their schemes. At first, this does not seem like something many of us are tempted toward. But look at the last line, “and let me not eat of their delicacies!” There is the danger. The wicked have delicacies, delightful things that we want. It is easy to envy the wealthy their wealth. It is easy to wish that we could have their seeming ease, their lack of worry, their worldly stability. Even if it is a lie, we can have our hearts tempted to wish for the goodies of those who seem to have it all. And that longing can become in us the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life.

May we learn to pray. May we rely on the Lord to guard our lives. May we never stop battling the temptations of our flesh. And may we have the joy and comfort of knowing that our hope is not in how well we win this fight; our hope is in Christ and his finished work alone.

Known and Foreknown

Romans 8:29–30

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Amos 3:1–2

1 Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:

2 “You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.

Upon what basis does God predestine people to salvation? That the Lord predestines is beyond dispute, as the word clearly declares this time and time again. But how does he do so?

In this discussion, we have two key options. Either the Lord predestines people based on his own sovereign will, a divine mystery not available to us, or he predestines based on his foreknowledge of our actions. The Calvinist will argue that God predestines people to salvation based on his own good pleasure. The Arminian argues that God only predestines based on his foresight of who will and who will not choose him. For the Calvinist, the argument relies primarily on the biblical truth that no person can come to the Lord without the Lord sovereignly drawing that person (cf. John 6:44), bringing a dead heart to life (cf. Eph. 2:1-4). The Arminian, opposed to the concept of divine election based on God and not man, inserts the concept of prevenient grace—an argument that god has graciously moved all humanity to a neutral position so that the final decision is still left in the hands of mankind.

One common Arminian argument for a foreknowledge or prescience view of predestination comes from Romans 8:29, which says that those God “foreknew” he predestined. Some believe that this verse is suggesting that God predestined to salvation all those he foreknew—knew beforehand—that they would respond to the offer of grace in Christ. But is this what is being said? Is this the only option?

Without settling the full argument in a tiny little post, I want to point out one verse from my daily Bible reading that shows that the concept of God’s knowledge of a people is something different than simply God having intellectual awareness. In Amos 3:2, God is speaking of the nation of Israel. God says of Israel that they are the only people he has “known” of all the families on earth. I believe this concept bears strongly on whether or not the foreknowledge of Romans 8:29 has anything to do with an Arminian understanding of predestination.

What can the word “known” mean in Amos 3:2? Can it mean intellectual awareness? No. Why? God knows all things. God has intellectual awareness of all peoples. No way can God say that Israel is the only nation of which he has had intellectual awareness.

How is Israel different than the other nations? Israel is a nation that has entered into covenant relationship with the Lord. They are set apart, not because of intellectual awareness, but because of intimate, relationship-based knowing. Remember that the word for knowledge is used euphemistically for the intimate relationship of husband and wife, and you will get the point. God is saying of Israel in Amos 3:2 that Israel is the only nation that he has known, the only nation that he has taken to himself as his own.

Now return to Romans 8:29. Those whom God foreknew, he predestined. In verse 30, we see that all he predestined, he subsequently called, justified, and glorified. Thus, all the predestined are saved. Nothing breaks this chain. And we must conclude that all the foreknown are saved.

Are all human beings saved? No. only those who are predestined are saved. Are all foreknown? It depends on what foreknown means. If foreknown means intellectual awareness, then all are foreknown and should be predestined to salvation. If foreknown means intellectual awareness, then the chain is broken. And note that no language in any part of this verse says anything about foreknowledge of particular actions or choices. That concept is inserted by the Arminian.

But if the “known” in foreknown means the same as known means in Amos 3:2, that God took them to be his own, then the chain makes perfect sense. Beforehand, God chose a people to be in relationship with him. Those he foreknew, took to be in relationship with himself, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Then he called them, justified them, and glorified them without any possibility of failure.

May a Christian Apply the Standards of God Even to the Lost?

Amos 1:3-5

3 Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Damascus,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they have threshed Gilead
with threshing sledges of iron.
4 So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
5 I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
says the Lord.

The prophecy of Amos begins with the Lord pronouncing judgments on lands that surround the northern kingdom of Israel. One might imagine the judgments of God falling on neighboring lands, encircling Israel, coming closer and closer until the northern kingdom is squarely in the sights of the Lord. With the first pronouncements, the people of Israel probably celebrated. But as the pronouncements drew closer and closer to Samaria, the people likely got more and more nervous.

For me in this reading, the thought that got my attention is not the slow and steady shelling of the lands around Israel until it is finally hit. Instead, it is the fact that God first pronounces judgments on Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. (A pronouncement is made against Judah as well, but that is not what grabbed my attention.) In Amos 1 and 2, God pronounced his judgments upon lands and peoples who never agreed to follow him or his ways.

One common misconception that I have recently heard voiced is that the people of God have no right to bring the morality of the faith to bear on those who do not know the Lord. If a person is not a Christian, some reason, we cannot attempt to impose the standards of the Bible upon them.

But look at any proclamation in the first 2 chapters of Amos and see what the Lord is doing. God is judging lands like Syria for their cruelty and evildoing. In the section I cite above, God judges Syria for their harsh treatment of Gilead. One might say that this is OK, because the Syrians were hurting other people . But stop and let yourself think of the point that God clearly makes here.

For what reason is God judging Syria? In simplest terms, God is judging Syria for their sin. This nation is crushing people, killing people, and this is wrong. Why is it wrong? Is it only wrong because you say so or I say so? No, that cannot be it. In Genesis 9, God is quite clear that murder is an attack on the very image of God. In Exodus 20, when God outlines his covenant with Israel, God shows us that to unjustly take a life is to go against the holy standard of right human behavior. The leaders in Damascus have treated people wrongly in clear violation of the standard of God. And the Lord has pronounced punishment upon them for this treatment. And this is just of God, even if the people of Syria have never heard the law of God proclaimed and even if they have never agreed to follow the Lord or his ways.

So, do we have the right to bring the word and standards of God to bear in our discussions with and our response to the lost world? Absolutely we do. Whether the world agrees or not, Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus commands all to believe in and follow him. To violate that standard is to oppose the one who has final and lasting authority. If this is not the case, then we must conclude that God did not have the right to judge the six surrounding nations outside of Israel and Judah in Amos 1 and 2. And I do not think we are ready to declare that God overstepped.

Do not be confused here. I am not at all suggesting that any lost person who obeys the basic morality of God will somehow earn his or her way to heaven. In Adam, all humanity fell. All of us are already guilty of violating God’s holy standard. No amount of law-keeping will earn us heaven. We must have Jesus and his perfect atoning work on our behalf if we are to have life with God. Neither am I pressing toward making Israelite civil law the law of every nation. But, and this is the point, we still live in God’s world. We all still live under the “all authority” that Christ claimed for himself (cf. Mat. 28:18). And so, when God says murder is wrong, it is wrong for the Christian and the lost person alike. When God says adultery is wrong, it is wrong for the Christian and the lost alike. All of God’s ways are right, and no person on earth has the right to live in opposition to the commands of the God who made us.

So, yes, believers have not only the right but also the responsibility to apply the word and ways of God in every situation. And, yes, we must reject any claim that we cannot bring Scripture to bear, even in situations that involve those who have never surrendered personally to the lordship of Christ. Christian, do not fall prey to the false argument that says that you have to keep your Bible to yourself. Your Bible is the expression of the will of the one, true, ultimate, complete, and final authority.

Giving is Good

3 John 5-8

5 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6 who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

On Sunday, our church hosted a dear missionary family serving the Lord in Ecuador. It was so sweet to hear them share with us about the work that God is doing through their ministry of offering seminary training to indigenous pastors, even those who cannot read printed text. We, of course, reminded our church that this team needs our prayers and our financial support.

How fascinating, then, that my reading for today took me through the short epistle of 3 John. Here we see John commending a church for welcoming, supporting, and sending out faithful people who were taking the gospel into new places. This is holy Scripture, the voice of God, reminding us that sending is good. In fact, contributing to the work of faithful missionaries is partnering in the mission itself. John tells us, “we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth” (v. 8).

From time to time, you will actually hear Christians putting down giving. Some will argue that it is sheer laziness for Christians to “merely” give to missions. And I would agree that we should encourage believers not to think that writing a check is the final fulfillment of Christian duty to the Great Commission. But may we not ever deny the biblical claim that sending missionaries, giving to their support, praying for their wellbeing is in fact partnering with them on mission.

Every one of us is under the authority of Jesus. Every one of us is called by Jesus—who has all authority in heaven and on earth—to make disciples of all nations. And all of us are wired and gifted differently. Some are front-line evangelists. Some are prayer warriors. Some are financially blessed givers. Some are behind-the-scenes servers. All are needed to take the gospel to all nations for the glory of Christ.

So, Christian, find missionaries you trust. Love them. Give to support them. Go and encourage them. Pray for them regularly and let them know that you are doing so. Meet their needs. Give to them beyond meeting their basic needs that they might experience the comfort of knowing they are loved and supported by folks far away. Do not put down giving, because giving is good.

Darkness Not Darkness

Psalm 139:11-12

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

When we think of darkness as we study the Scripture, we tend to think of a moral metaphor—dark equals evil while light equals good. But this is not the only symbolic use of darkness. Darkness hides. Darkness obscures. Darkness is the refuge for the evil who wishes to hide his actions. Darkness is a threat against the safety of the innocent. Darkness is dangerous.

In Psalm 139, David has been rejoicing and marveling in the fact that God is all-present and all-knowing. God knows him inside and out. God knows David’s thoughts before he thinks them. God knows David’s words before he speaks them. God surrounds David, no matter where he goes.

Then, in verses 11-12, David speaks of darkness. The darkness cannot hide David. God sees right through it as if seeing in the noonday sun. And both negative applications of darkness can be applied here to help us to see the goodness of God.

Consider darkness as the shelter for the evil. When we want to do wrong, we want to hide. We want to say, “You can’t see me.” We want to avoid being known. But God sees. God knows. God is there. God is able to penetrate our deepest disguises and to do so without any effort at all.

We must let this fact impact how we think about our sin. We are not hidden from the Lord. No matter where we go or what we do, we are not hidden from his sight. We cannot do evil in a place where it is not visible to the God who made us.

Darkness is also dangerous, even depressing. Sometimes we feel hidden. Sometimes we feel like we fade away from being important to anybody. Sometimes we may wish to be known, but we feel like nobody sees us, nobody knows, nobody cares. But God sees. God sees through our darkness. Nothing can obscure his sight from us. He knows where we are. He knows what we need. He knows our hurts and hopes, our struggles and dreams. Even better, he, because he made us, knows exactly what we actually need and not merely our sin-warped desires.

God sees you in the dark. Let that call you to remember that darkness of any sort cannot hide your sin.

God sees you in the dark. Even more in keeping with the context of this psalm, let this comfort you if you know the Lord. You cannot be pulled away from his loving gaze. You cannot be dragged away to someplace he cannot find you. You cannot feel something he does not understand. You cannot melt into obscurity as if you do not matter to him. God sees you, and this is glorious.

Faith Overcomes the World

1 John 5:1-5

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Belief is easy, right? Isn’t this one of the objections that used to be raised against Christianity’s claim of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? But stop and think about what belief entails. Think about what happens in a lost world when one truly believes. I think you will see that belief is not easy. Salvation is free, but it is never cheap.

As John wraps up his epistle, he ties together multiple themes of the letter: faith in Christ, obedience to God’s commands, and love of the church. All through this letter we have seen a call to believe, a call to obey, a call to love. We have seen that the one who believes is saved. We have seen that one who is saved will love the brothers. WE have seen that the one who is saved will obey the commands of God and turn from sin.

In verse 1, John says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” There is salvation by grace alone through faith alone. The one who is born of God is not defined by having earned that birth. Faith in Christ, faith alone, saves. There is no hint here that anything is added to faith to cause salvation.

Also in verse 1, John tells us, “and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” The saved love. Particularly, the saved love others who are born of God.

In verses 2 and 3, John points out to us that we know that we are born of God and love if we keep God’s commandments. In a beautiful addition, John reminds us, “And his commandments are not burdensome” (v. 3).

Then, in verses 4 and 5, John points out that our overcoming the world is made clear in our faith. Believing in Jesus overcomes the world. Faith, true faith, conquers.

Take away a couple of notes here. First, know that the saved are the ones who have true faith in Jesus. Are you saved? Do you believe? Have you believed in who Jesus claims to be and what Jesus has done? Have you rested the weight of your soul’s eternity on his finished work alone? Have you entrusted your soul to Jesus for salvation?

If you assume yourself to be saved, ask yourself some probing questions in the other two categories. Do you love other Christians? If your life has no connection to the local church and no love for other brothers and sisters in Christ, you should be concerned. Examine yourself in light of God’s commands. Is your life marked by obedience to the word of God? I am not saying that it must be marked by flawless obedience, but it is not hard to measure whether or not the word of God is your standard as opposed to the lusts of the flesh and the ways of the world. And if your life is not marked by love for Christians and obedience to Scripture, you should be concerned that perhaps your faith is not true.

Salvation is a free gift, but never cheap. Faith is simple, but never easy. This is why John can tell us that our faith overcomes the world. The world hates our faith. The world hates the idea that we would trust in Christ alone and allow for no other way for people to determine their own sort of salvation. The world hates that we would think that the body of believers is somehow different than the rest of the globe. The world demands that we applaud their disobedience to the commands of God and even join them in their evil practices. So, no, faith is not easy. But, faith, true faith and faith alone in Christ alone, saves.

Loving the World

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. What does that mean? Is it a call to dislike all people and all things that are not God himself? No. But the call not to love the world is a call not to center your life around that which is ungodly. The desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life are things from the world. These are not to be our focus, our center, our joy.

The desires of the flesh can be obvious—e.g. sex, drink, laziness. Many things that fit the desires of the flesh are not ungodly things if in their proper context. Sex is good in the bonds of biblical marriage—one man covenanted to one woman for love and companionship for life. Drink is not evil until it moves one to drunkenness or does harm to the life of another. Rest is not wrong until it becomes sloth. But when we become enslaved to physical desires for anything, we are lusting for things above the Maker and Giver of all good things. Then we are in trouble.

The desire of the eyes can go right along with the desire of the flesh. Sometimes in our world people let their eyes and their imaginations take them where their flesh is not able or willing to go. Thus, it can be all the same categories. But ask yourself where else your eyes lead you away from the Lord. A lust for entertainment can walk you away from God. A hunger to see what should not be seen can destroy. Even an imbalanced hunger to see beauty, if it dominates your life, is deadly. For example, the person who lives life for vacation, for seeing the next mountain vista, historical site, or glorious gallery, if that desire is not held in proper check, may well be living for the desire of the eyes.

Pride of life contains anything that exalts ourselves or our desires in this life above the Lord. Where do you put yourself forward? Where do you demand to have things your way? Where do you boast in who you are or what you can do? Where do you fear that others will not see you and your greatness? Where are you dominated by the opinions of others? Where do you clamor for attention? Where do you think you are great, better than others, deserving more than God has given you?

Loving what we can feel, can see, or simply what we want others to think of us is so easy. And it is deadly. Loving these things is a love of the world that, if we are not careful, may prove to us that we do not love the Lord we claim to follow.

What is the solution here? Is it guilt? Is it self-loathing? No. The solution here is to set our eyes on Jesus. Set your minds on things above. Love the Lord. Know and honor the Father. Think about eternity. Live for a glory that is to come and not the pride and experience of the here and now. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a nice meal or a vacation, but an honest person focused on the word of God can see when he or she is given too much to the things of this world. An honest evaluation will help you see whether your vacation is a God-honoring rest or a this-worldly demand to build your travel resume so that others will be awed by your accomplishments.

We need to love the Lord. He is glorious and kind. The Father has loved us. All who know Jesus have been given to him by the Father as a gift. We are made into children of God. Our hope is in the Lord who loves and saves us. Our purpose, our value, our meaning is found as we magnify him. Yes, God has made all things, sights and experiences, and shown us how we can honor him when those things are either properly experienced or properly declined. But nothing will truly match the soul-satisfying joy of actually, honestly wholeheartedly loving and following our God.

Do Not Forget the Flood

2 Peter 3:1-7

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

We are a forgetful people. The old saying reminds us that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Certainly, those who forget history are apt to fall into the same follies as generations before.

How forgetful are we? We forget global catastrophe. In 2 Peter 3, Peter points out that scoffers will arise throughout the period of time known as the last days. Those scoffers will mock the belief that the Lord is bringing this world to any sort of end or that any judgment will fall. And we want to be careful not to go down their path.

Notice, in verse 5, scoffers deliberately—on purpose—forget creation and the flood. They hate the concept that this world is made by God, for God’s glory, under God’s governance. They hate the notion that God would ever judge mankind for our wickedness. And they refuse to acknowledge that, in a single day, destruction quite literally rained down upon the world and wiped out an entire global population except for Noah and his family.

Before we chalk this up to men long ago and their failure, see the call of God for you and me in verse 7. WE too live in a world where men continue to forget the flood. WE too live in a world where men intentionally ignore the evidence for creation. We too live in a world that mocks the Christian hope in the return of Jesus. God says to us, “But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (v. 7). We must not let ourselves forget that, just as Noah experienced the flood, so too our present world is in line for a coming cataclysm from the Lord, this time one of fire and not water.

Our world will not stand as it now stands. We cannot say whether this change will come in a day, a century, or a millennium. But mark this as true: The day will come. God will once again wipe the sinful from the face of the earth. God will preserve his own. And when this second day of judgment comes, all that follows will be right. God will lift the curse and cleanse the world. All will be made new. Sin will be judged and eliminated. The saved will be changed, incapable of future sin, living in joy and true life with the Lord forever.

Why remember? Because many forget. Why remember? Because you forget. You and I often live in this life as if this is the end. It is not. This life is barely the front porch on the house of eternity. Remember that God is the one true God. Remember that Jesus is Lord. Remember that God created this world. Remember that God destroyed it once. Remember that he has promised to do it again, this time with fire that will judge and renew. Remember that the flood was a physical, literal truth. Know that the coming future judgment is a physical and literal truth. Remember so that you are not discouraged by scoffers or mislead by those who do not know or care for our Lord.