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.

Hope or Vanity

Is it worth it to follow God? That was the question that I asked in a message on Malachi 3:13-4:3. You see, at the end of Malachi 3, we saw that there were some people who were claiming that following God was vain, useless, worthless. Why? They were upset that it looked like good people were not being rewarded by God and bad people were not being judged by God. And these folks believed that, if God was not making their lives better, God was not worth following.

The answer in Malachi from God was one of eternal perspective. God said that a day was to come when he would make it clear who had been his follower and who had not. In 4:1-3, God talked about the day of the Lord, a day of coming judgment and reward. God promised he will do justice. God promised he will reward those who have honored and feared him.

But what about the New Testament? Are we to think like Malachi? Or are we who are in the New Covenant to expect that things are different today? Should we assume that, regardless of what happens after we die, we get our best lives now?

In my reading through 1 Corinthians, I was reminded that Paul preached a nearly identical message to Malachi. Take a look.

1 Corinthians 15:19 – If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

When Paul faced those who were denying the concept of the resurrection, both that of Jesus and the future resurrection of all believers, he said this is a big deal. In fact, Paul points out that hope in this life alone would be vanity for the Christian. It is meaningless to live for this life and not for the one to come. No matter how good we may or may not get things now, hope in this life alone would make us of all people most to be pitied.

Malachi acknowledged that life is hard in the here and now. But he said that following God was worth it for the hope of eternity. Is that Paul’s message too?

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Paul says that we can know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. How? If you look back over the chapter, you will see that Paul pointed to the day of Christ’s return. Paul pointed to Jesus raising the dead, giving all believers new, eternal, resurrection bodies, and completing the arrival of his kingdom. Paul pointed to what will come in eternity future, and he said that it is because of that hope that we can know, in a hard here and now, that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Following God is worth it. Sometimes it is a real joy in the here and now. Sometimes it is really hard with joy deep down holding us together. But in the light of eternity, in the light of the judgment, in the light of Christ’s return, we can know that it is truly worth it to follow and obey Jesus, to honor and fear the Lord. That message did not change from Old Testament to New. So, let us set our minds and hearts on the eternity to come which proves to us that laboring in the Lord today is worth it.