In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij returns to 2 Peter 2 to examine the encouragement and hope that the godly have of God’s future rescue and vindication. As Peter explains in 2 Peter 2:5-10, the godly can take comfort in God’s past examples of rescue as well as in God’s sovereign control.
This morning we are looking at 2 Peter chapter 2, and looking at acknowledging the judgment of God and the encouragement and hope for the godly today in Scripture.
Let’s take our Bibles and I wanted to read this morning from verses four to 10:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement, and especially those who indulge the flesh in corrupt desires and despise authority.
Let us pray. Lord thank You again for another opportunity to open up the word of God, to read it, to hear it preached. Lord, I pray that we be ready to receive it and that it would be the word of God that would be engrafted on our souls, and it would transform our minds so we would continually know what the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God is. Then I pray Lord it also would be the Word that encourages us, especially during times of difficulty and trouble and trials. It will be something we could hold to knowing the One who have said it, that we can trust Him in all things. Thank You for this time. In Christ’s name. Amen.
So this morning as we look at this passage of Scripture, I’ve been saying along the way that justice is part of the character of God. You cannot get away from it anywhere in Scripture. It is the habitation of God’s throne, righteousness and justice. And in His judgment, the Judge of all the earth will deal justly, fairly, rightly with everyone, both the saved and unsaved. The apostle Peter has already put before us three examples of sudden judgment so that all the world may take warning as to what ungodliness must surely meet with. Found in verse number 6, it says there:
and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them and example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;
Of course, that includes all people there. So in our world, we obviously see that our role has departed from God, from true religion, and it is seen everywhere – in our cities, in our towns, in our schools, on our college campuses, in the media, at all levels of government both local state and federal. The power of evil seems to be so great, so highly organized, so deeply entrenched in life. People mocking, dismissing, blaspheming God. Not only in their practice do they do that, but actually they do it in their ideology, in their theory of life. Many people are living with a level of hopelessness, which often settles one with the mindset of discouragement and despair. False teachers are often sought during times like these because they often give quick fixes to people’s problems.
In our text, we are encouraged to continue standing for God and truth, whatever the world may be doing. Why should we be encouraged? Well, consider Noah. Noah was not told to tell the people to just hold on and the circumstances will change for the better. No, he didn’t say that. That is often the message of false teachers. Neither did the apostle Peter here say – come to Christ and He will deliver you from your troubles. And if you do, your circumstances are going to change for the better. You could be healthy, wealthy, and fine if only you believe. No, he did not say that. Often that is the message of false teachers. Well, then how does the apostle Peter encourage and give hope to the saints? That’s the point this morning.
The first thing he does is he puts before us two examples of God’s past historic rescues. Then he points us to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. In our outline, we have been discerning the terror is awaiting false teachers. This whole section is about that. That let us to see that God determines to show His justice in the future and in the past. And God demonstrated His justice in the past.
Today we’re going to take a look at the other side of God’s justice, which is God’s rescue of His people. We can say it this way – God’s mercy towards people. So this morning we will look at how God demonstrates His rescue in the past. There’s two past rescue examples of the godly. We find it in verse number 5, the first rescue is that of Noah and his family. It says in verse 5:
and did not spare the ancient world but preserve Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others,
He preserve them. From the context of Scripture, we have been informed that the whole world had rebelled against God except Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives. Could you imagine living in a world that the entire population except for eight people totally rebelled against God? Only eight people in the world believed God. The world we now live in- it’s not doing so good. And when we look at our culture, we kind of get a glimpse at how it could have been back then to a certain extent, because Genesis 6:5 is still going on today:
the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
But back then, the entire population exhibited gross evil as they rebelled against God. Thankfully we can’t make that claim as of yet. There are still millions of Christians in the west and millions more in the rest of the world. Noah plus seven others, eight persons in all, were rescued by God. It says in verse five:
and did not spare the ancient world but preserved Noah,
He preserved him. This word preserved refers to the activity of a watchman, someone who guards over someone, who protects them, who preserves them, and then of course it’s been translated who saves them. So God gave Noah and his message to the ancient world for at least a hundred and twenty years. As our passage says, Noah was a preacher of righteousness. So that means that the ancient world was not left in ignorance. Noah ministered to people within a very unfavorable context. God places Noah in the godly hall of fame in the book of Hebrews chapter 11. I’d like you just turn over to Hebrews chapter 11 very quickly and just take a look at verse 7, which I’m going to just highlight there. I want to kind of bring out the character of Noah. See, Noah believed God. He believed God would do what He said He was going to do, without question. He took God at His word. And how many preachers and teachers has the Lord given this present world? Many teachers and preachers all over the world are preaching the gospel of Christ.
So what does it mean to take God at His word? For Noah as well as for us, it includes at least several things. The first thing it means – believing God’s word with no visible evidence beyond what God said. Now if you look at verse 7, it says:
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen,
Now the term warned by God carries with it the weight of a serious command from heaven. It is a command not to fudge with, add to, subtract from, or minimize God’s warning in any way. That was the job of Noah. So Noah’s faith was backed up by his daily trust in God’s message without experiencing immediate results. In other words, he had to wait, and he had to wait quite a long time. If God wanted to delay His warning of judgment on the ungodly world, he was patient to wait for God’s timing. See, Noah believed that God would judge the earth by means and in ways not yet seen. Didn’t see rain yet. Never seen a flood where it went as high as the mountains and above the mountains. Never seen the devastation of the whole world yet. And yet the elements in which God pronounce good in the beginning will turn against unbelief and cataclysmic judgment, and he believed that even though he did not see the results.
A second thing it means to take God at His word in verse 7 is that he believed God by confirming it with internal conduct. Notice what it says there:
in reverence prepared in ark…
That means Noah’s faith was backed up by his daily attitude toward God. No grumbling, no complaining, no murmuring, no under the breath comments. He reverenced God. And be sure of this – faith without reverence for God is no faith at all. The conduct of Noah confirmed the meaning and the essence of faith found in Hebrews 11:1:
the assurance of things hoped for,
What was that? His and his family’s rescue and then the evidence of things not seen – the judgment of the flood that would come.
Also taking God at His word means believing God’s word coupled with the evidence of faith. Remember, faith always has works connected to it. It says in verse 7:
in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household,
Here we see that Noah’s faith becomes most remarkable in that he took God at His word by not sitting around. He had a busy life. He believed God’s word about judgment. He believed God’s word that he would deliver at a certain point in time and bring the judgment. But he also believed God and took steps necessary to save himself and his family. And what steps were those? He prepared an ark according to God’s blueprint. He had an impossible task and he could not have done it without divine help. You know what that means? That we have to quit being logical, because being logical will often bring you to despair. Being theological will bring encouragement because when God tells us something completely impossible, we have to believe Him even if there’s no results.
So Noah had to build an ark 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet high. It was about as long as a football field and a half and is as wide as football field. It was a big ship and it was being built on dry ground far from any ocean. It had never rain before and Noah obeyed God and began to lay the great ship’s keel. So he did something. Also he continued to preach repentance from sin and trust in God’s word and coming judgment. He also praise and worship God during that time. It tells us in Genesis 6:
but Noah found favor in the eyes of God and Noah walked with God.
So he worship God and then he persevered, undeterred by the mockery of others. Just imagine the jokes, the Noah jokes that came up when Noah was building the ark and preaching the gospel. People laughed at him every single day. But Noah surely looked to them like a madman. Yet he kept on being a fool for God. He kept on in the message. He kept on building the ark. We come to the New Testament, we find the same thing, for the message of the gospel to the Jews is stumbling block and to the gentiles foolishness. The question is – are we willing to be a fool for the sake of serving God, like Noah was? We know as Christians that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
So by Noah’s faith two things float to the surface. And notice again the double-edged sword of the gospel as a means of not only judgment. Because when the gospel goes out, it goes out really for two reasons – for judgment and it goes out for salvation too. It’s always a double-edged sword.
What was the first thing in verse 7? It says:
by which he condemned the world,
He was condemning ungodliness and unbelief by his righteous life. This word condemned is referenced here by a good example – to render ones wickedness more evident and condemnable. Noah contrasted against the rest of the world that actually condemned them. There’s an example found in the history of Athens, Greece. One of the finest men who ever lived in Athens was Aristides, who was called the just. But the town voted to banished him. One man was asked why he had voted that way and his answer was this – because I am tired of hearing of Aristides called the just. There is danger in goodness, for in its light evil stands condemned. That’s why people don’t like the gospel. They don’t like the gospel of light that reveals their sins. They don’t even like a righteous life that makes them look worse. And that was Noah’s life. The reason why Noah’s faith condemned the world is because of what he was told by God as yet unseen, came to be in every last detail to an unbelieving world.
Here we see personal righteousness contrasted with godlessness all around. Then the Lord said to Noah in Genesis chapter 7:1:
Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me.
So when people broke God’s commandments and violated their conscience, Noah kept that and didn’t violate his conscience. When other people were deaf to God’s word, Noah listened to God’s word. When other people laughed at God and the message, Noah believed it and reverenced God. So his faith condemned the people around him who disbelieved God and disregarded the warning. No, not one person responded to his faithful example or his righteous preaching. As the Bible says, eight persons were brought safely through the water.
Now you think about that for a moment. Here? he’s ministering all these years, receiving these opposition and persecution for what he was believing and preaching, which was the truth. So we really should never be surprised by unbelief. Did you ever feel disappointed when you enthusiastically shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with somebody and they outright rejected you? And you concluded after that that something had gone wrong with you. Well, you know what, that ought not to be.
It was a preacher, a welsh preacher, of days gone by, who at this point said – the idea that we ought to feel disappointed when people do not believe the gospel, that we ought to think that something has gone wrong, is altogether mistaken. The idea that the gospel is a message that must appeal to men and women is all wrong. By nature, people have always hated and rejected the gospel. The world in general has ignorantly refused to believe the only message that can save it and the only person Jesus that can save them and make them right with God. So yes, Noah was condemning ungodliness and unbelief, but there was something else he was doing. In verse 7 of Hebrews 11 it says he was confirming the way of salvation. Notice what it says:
and became an heir of righteousness which is according to faith.
So that means that with all the stuff that Noah did, he wasn’t being saved by his works. In fact, he was an heir of righteousness. This heir means one who receives his allotted possessions by the right of sonship. In other words, Noah became a child of God by faith, not by works. The inheritance in which Noah entered was not entered by self-righteousness, but by a righteousness that comes through faith in God or in Jesus Christ. It is an inheritance that God had provided for all saints the beginning of time till the end in Christ Jesus. So Noah and all true believers receive an alien righteousness, that is a righteousness not our own but that which comes from God and always necessary for salvation.
So the only way we can obtain a righteousness is by faith in Christ Jesus, a belief that he died for our sins plus a trust in Him alone for our salvation. And you know what that means? It means that Noah and every other heir of salvation is so only by virtue of having been one with Christ. If Christ is the heir of all things, which He is, there is no inheritance remaining for others unless they are united to Christ. Christ is God’s final word on salvation. It says that in Hebrews chapter 1. Just as God provided an ark to provide salvation for Noah and his family, which is a type of Christ, a type of rescue. And just as Noah was saved through water, so the believer is saved through or by virtue of Christ’s resurrection. God has provided salvation through Jesus Christ, death burial and resurrection. And in that sense, one is rescued from the condemnation of sin.
Now, let me remind you that all those who are children of God and fellow heirs with Christ. In the hour of judgment ,there is security only for those who have faith in Christ. No one else is secure. In fact, at that point you are hidden with Christ, as it says in Colossians,
for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
So we are forewarned by Noah that all God says will come true. We are also encouraged that God provides the way of rescue. The message and example we received from Noah is living by faith is unquestionably obeying God’s word, taking God at His word without question, and trusting in God’s timing for rescue.
There’s a second example back in 2 Peter that is given to us for our encouragement, and that’s the rescue of Lot and his family. For it says in verses 7 and 8 of 2 Peter chapter 2:
and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,
Now picture these people as rebels against the law of nature and conscience, therefore against the Creator. Just imagine you were part of a very small number of godly ones midst a large number of ungodly ones and antagonistic ungodly ones. Lot was in the minority, and it took a toll on him. Because if you look at verse number eight, it says:
for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds,
Have you ever felt that way when you considered ungodliness and what’s going on in the world? See God gave Sodom and Gomorrah Lot as a righteous man. Their indecent conduct day after wore him out. Every day he saw their vile acts. Everyday, he heard their vile conversations from people who cared neither for law nor conscience nor the creator nor God. And the things that he saw and heard, it grieved him.
In our own day, we see the same things – vile perversions permeating every part of our society to the highest levels of our society. The righteous person should view them the way Lot viewed them, as loathing and with disgust. We should have that attitude toward what’s going on in the world. It’s difficult to live a Christian life in such an ungodly environment where you’re outnumbered, where your testimony is disregarded, and you receive little support or encouragement to live for God from anybody. Maybe you’re the only Christian in your family today, or at work, or in college with you. And it’s hard to stand alone because you feel outnumbered, and you feel your arguments aren’t sharp enough to combat some of the thinking. But take this encouragement from verse number 9 in 2 Peter:
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation,
You see, these trials that Lot suffered were the result of his commitment to God. Anytime we’re committed to God, the godly will suffer persecution. Lot was not willing to transgress the boundaries set by his Creator. And so did God rescue him? God rescued him. Yes, God knows how to rescue the godly, even though they are surrounded by temptation and evil and wickedness. The godly do not need to fear, but they just need to simply trust God. God saved Lot not because he was better than the Sodomites, but because his heart of hearts was right with God. He had entered the blessing of Abraham. However, through a series of bad decisions, Lot ended up in Sodom. Yet in spite of his failure and even his backsliding, he was a man justified by faith.
In our text with the evil angels, the people of Noah’s day with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, evil had reached such a point that God decided to pour out His wrath and judgment upon it. In each of those cases, the judgment of God put an end to these periods of wicked sinfulness. It showed that God acts and intervenes over and above all that developed and He controls it. How does He control it? He controls it in judgment and at the same time while rescuing the godly. That’s what He does. See, the Lord is on His throne controlling everything, working His plan. No matter how wicked the world becomes, God has not changed in His righteousness.
Now the Scripture really directs us to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. That means this – that hope for the righteous comes by being reminded of God being sovereign. Now, how so, you say? Well, God’s sovereignty is the encouragement and hope for the godly. Now saying that, there are several things that I want to bring to your attention. The first one is that it should remind us that hope for the godly is found in the ability of God. If you notice in verse 9 it says:
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation,
Meaning this – that God is able and He has the power to do it. God is more powerful than the things going on in the world. God is more powerful than the trials that are coming against us. God is more powerful than the temptation that is presented to us. In fact, this word temptation in this passage can be translated also trials. And usually what it is is it’s the test that believers experience as a result of embracing the gospel, as a result of living for the Lord, of following the Lord. You’re going to run into it, and it’s going to be the test of our faith when we do.
Now that doesn’t mean that followers of Christ will be immune from trials. In fact, the truth of the matter is following Christ could bring greater difficulty into one’s life, like emotional stress, like strife within one’s family, like verbal abuse from others, like the loss of income, or physical harm, and even physical death. It was James who said:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
So God often allows us to have these trials and these tests for this specific reason – to make us stronger in the Lord, to make us able to endure whatever is thrown at us.
Now in considering the hope for the godly concerning the sovereignty of God, that God is able, there are several things that could be included underneath that. The first one is this – that our good God will always provide us with a way out. Now, where is that recorded in scripture? Well 1 Corinthians 10:13, it says:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
Not only does God provide a way of escape, He gives you the strength to go through it too, to endure it so we can produce the results God wants to be produced in your life. But remember that God is able to give you that way out. He is able and He does strengthen you to endure it.
A second thing is that our good sovereign God will protect His righteous ones from committing apostasy. They won’t step away from Christ. They won’t reject the Lord. Just consider Noah and Lot lived among the wicked and were confronted by evil people everyday. And they were outnumbered and they passed the test. They were in the minority. They stood alone and they did not apostatize. In other words, God is able to keep you. When everything around you seems to be falling apart, when you seem to be so weak that you can’t take another step spiritually, God enters in and He holds you so you don’t give up the faith, so you don’t just throw in the towel and just say well I tried christianity. I think I’ll try something else now. No, you’ll never give up Christ. The Lord is able to hold you and keep you.
And then thirdly, it would be that our good and sovereign and powerful God will rescue His godly ones out of the ultimate judgment and destruction that is coming, which is really where Peter is going in the whole epistle of 2 Peter. It says in verse number nine:
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation,
Now, I believe the main point of our passage is that the Lord God will ultimately rescue us, His godly ones, not away from trials, but out of the final trial. You can translate the word from, which is the Greek word ek, either out of or away from. I believe here it’s used in the sense of God will rescue us out of it in His timing. Noah and Lot were delivered out of ultimate destruction. Before Sodom and Gomorrah was judged by God and turn to ash, God took him out. Before the flood came, God sent Noah and his family into the ark that he had built. See, God took him out. So the promise here is that our loving Lord will not allow sin and evil to harm us in any vital or eternal sense. The Lord knows how to deliver His children from the power and the polluting and the condemning effects of sin and evil. It’s just really when we say there’s no condemnation in Christ, that’s it. So then the Lord knows how to save His children from the ultimate judgment and destruction that is going to fall upon sin and evil of the unrighteous and the unjust of this earth.
There’s a very interesting shift in verse number 9 of 2 Peter chapter 2. The apostle Peter shift from using the term Theos, which is God and in its place uses the term Kyrios, which means Lord or master or the one who has legal power or authority over someone. In verse four he says if God, in verse 5 – if God, in verse 6 – if he which means God, in verse 7 – if he which means God, but in verse 9 – then the Lord. I think that’s important shift. He knows how to rescue. In religious usage as a designation and personal title for God and Jesus Christ, the Lord is a translation of the Hebrew adonai, which in public reading of Scripture replace the tetragrammaton of yahweh without the points – yhwh, which equal the Lord. Now the Legacy Bible that’s going to be translated by the Master Seminary, they’re supposed to put back in the text yahweh. So that will be coming up, which should be there in the first place. Adonai was really used because the Hebrews didn’t want to use the real name of God.
And just saying that, you remember back in 2 Peter here in chapter 1 verse 10, the saints of God are bidden to make their calling and election sure. And this by adding to their faith the other graces enumerated in 2 Peter 1:5-7. They are assured that if they do so, they shall never fall. For an entrance shall be administered to them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Look at Peter 1:11. I want you to notice how it’s written.
for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
See, that is what the saints are to look forward to. That is what our hope is. Our hope is not we’re going to come under judgment and God’s going to leave us there in the final judgment, but that we have an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now again, notice the order which Christ titles are mentioned. It is not our Savior and Lord in our texts, but our Lord and Savior. In other words, according to Arthur Pink, he said – He becomes the Savior of none until the heart and will unreservedly receive Him as Lord. That’s the lordship controversy, if you heard it in the past. Some people say well I received Jesus as Savior and sometime later on I recommitted my life and now He’s my Lord. No, you were never saved yet. A lot of people do that – I rededicated my life and now Jesus is my Lord. No, that order cannot be reversed. Jesus has always been the Lord, the Master. And He is the Savior.
See, this is what the false teachers have not done. They have not submitted to Jesus as Lord. They had a head knowledge of the truth and then apostatized. There had been a reformation outwardly in their lives, but no regeneration in the heart. For a while, they were delivered from the pollution of the world, but with no supernatural work of grace having been formed in their souls, the lusting of their flesh proved to be too strong. And that’s usually what happens. People say – I tried that, I tried Jesus, but I want to go back to my old life. I had lot more fun back then. A lot of times they do that while saying – well I made a profession of faith in Jesus. But there’s no evidence of godliness. They are just deceiving themselves there.
In fact, look at the text in chapter 2 verse 20. Look at what it says:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
Then look at verse 22. Now what happens is that they were again overcome and return to their former matter of life:
It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallow in the mire.
See their apostasy is described in verse 21 of chapter 2:
For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
Which refers to the discipleship made known by the gospel. You just don’t make a profession of faith, but you’re discipled to become more like Christ the rest of your life. That’s what the gospel says. The Lord knows who are His own, who have been bought with the price of His precious blood, those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who have not submitted to Christ as Lord, but who trust Him as Savior alone are deceive actually, because they think to themselves they’re pretty much still the lord of their own life. God’s sovereignty is an encouragement to us in that God rescues us. He gives us a way out. God keeps us from committing apostasy. Then we know in the final judgement we are rescued at the right time because of what Christ has done, because of His righteousness, not our own.
The second thing that we can get encouragement from that will bring hope to the godly is we’re reminded of the justice in the righteousness of God in verse number 9 again of chapter 2:
and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement,
So in this case after death, the unjust and the ungodly are reserved in a state of punishment until the day of final judgement. That’s what makes life so serious and biblical evangelism so crucial. If a person goes out from this life as an ungodly person, that person is being reserved in punishment until the final day of judgement, the great white throne judgment in revelation chapter 20. There are two thoughts that could come together in this passage. The first one could be that God can be keeping the unrighteous for the day He will judge them in the end and that’s included. It also could include that He’s holding them in some kind of temporary torment, even in this life. For example, it was Douglas Moo who said this – that sin always has terrible consequences for health, for the mind, for the body, for relationships. So it’s a form of punishment. Sin always has some kind of thing connected to it that’s going to bring grief into someone’s life. Sometimes it could be a loss of sound mind, a loss of a physical health, a loss of relationships.
So the Lord knows how to reserve the unjust in the day of judgement to be punished. The Lord will deal with sin and the ungodly. He will deal justly. He will deal fairly. He will deal righteously with everyone, both the godly and the ungodly. Yes, those who preach freedom to live in one sins as they choose, they will find out that their freedom was slavery. Their freedom to live as their own lord will end in being judged by the Lord. In verse 10 of 2 Peter chapter 2, it says:
especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
So again, the false teachers are denying the Lord God their Creator who made them. And as creator He owns them. The false teachers claim to be part of the household of God, but they refuse to submit to the master of the house, which is Jesus Christ. In other words, they’ve never taken Jesus as Lord. They deny their sovereign Master in that they do not obey Him, as it says in verse 10. They despise authority because they are their own authority. Jesus is not their Lord. And also they deny the Master in their teaching and their behavior by their sinful lifestyle. But look what it says in verse 10 – they indulge the flesh. When you tell somebody – hey indulge yourself, that means dive right in and enjoy the whole thing. That’s how they looked at their lifestyle, to indulge because they have freedom in God to do anything they want. It was the book of Jude that brought up the same point, where Jude said this:
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
There it is right there. He brought it all together. They actually turn the grace of God into sin. Now the grace of God does lead somewhere. Where does it lead to? When somebody is saved by God’s grace, where does it lead? Titus says this:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
In any age you live, that’s where God’s grace brings everyone. If someone’s not led there, maybe they were not led there by God’s grace.
So living under the lordship of Christ always always includes obedience to the gospel of Christ, where Jesus is Lord and Savior, and then also ongoing pursuit of holiness. Anything less than that denies Jesus as Lord.
So false teachers knew the truth. However, they turned from it. They are professors in word, but reject the authority of the Creator and actually deny the redemptive offer and purchase. They say no to the one who has the power and authority. And it’s not like they were ever genuinely saved. That’s why in the Matthew passage of Scripture, when they say Lord Lord haven’t we done this this and this. The Lord says – depart from me you workers of iniquity. It is that they have not had Jesus Christ as Lord.
And then there’s one last thing which encourages the godly and its God’s mercy. The good Lord delays His ultimate judgment. Why does He do that? Look at look at 2 Peter 3:15. Look what it says there. It says:
and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;
Why does God delay? He delays for this reason. He gives people plenty of time to repent and be saved. See that’s encouraging, to know that God’s mercy is still out there. So if you have family members that are still unsaved, pray for them and witness to them. There’s still time. There’s still time. Regard the patience of the Lord as salvation.
Then also verses 9 and 10 of chapter 3, where it says:
the Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
In words, in the mercy of God God has given time to repent. Just like Noah’s preaching, just like the righteous life of Lot, God is giving time to repent. Just remember this – christianity offers an explanation for what God is doing about the problem of evil. Jesus Christ is the central issue when it comes to the problem of evil because He solves the problem. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to bridge the gap between a perfect God and imperfect people stained by evil. God has not been sitting idly by while humanity goes from bad to worse. Jesus came into this world of suffering and evil and died for sinners like you and I. Jesus came to free us from our bondage to evil and to ensure that one day all evil will face God’s perfect justice. So God’s justice is exhibited in the rescue of sinners. He’s always in that work. He will always be in that work, providing forgiveness of sins, providing redemption through the blood of the cross.
So the right conception of what Scripture and saving faith is really found in the Old Testament, which the apostles preached. They hadn’t no New Testament yet. And what is that? Isaiah 55:7:
Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
See that’s what God does. God has always been in the business of saving ungodly, unholy, wicked, evil people like us. He’s always been in that business. I thank the Lord He’s been in that business. So conversion then is turning from sin unto holiness, from self unto God, from Satan unto Christ. It is a voluntary surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a consent to depend upon Christ’s works to save us, not ours, a willingness and a readiness to obey Him, and the will to yield to His authority no matter what, even if we’re standing alone like Lot. So when we say that no false teacher or unregenerate person is subject to Christ as Lord, we mean that his will is not the rule of life. He doesn’t want to please Lord or obey Him or honor Him or glorify Christ. That is not the dominant aim or disposition or the striving of their heart. What is the ultimate dominant aim of one who rejects Christ, who remains unregenerate and of course ultimately in our context falls teachers? It’s found in verse number 10:
and especially those who indulge the flesh and its corrupt desires and despise authority.
The person becomes their own god. They become their own authority. So the apostles not only emphasized the lordship of Christ, but also they made surrender to it essential to salvation.
So thinking logically will often bring discouragement. I’m not saying thinking logically is wrong, but when we come to God’s Word – when you’re thinking about the gospel of salvation, it’s not logical. We need to start thinking and keep thinking theologically because theology will encourage you, because you’ll have to depend on God’s truth and not the mind of man.
So the Lord’s past, present, and future rescues and judgments are an encouragement and a hope to His children. He knows how to rescue the ungodly. He knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment. And the Lord God is on His throne, controlling everything, working His plan no matter how wicked the world becomes. So then God’s children can fully trust that what our Lord has done in the past and in the present, He will accomplish in the future. This is our encouragement. This is our hope. God rescues because we cannot rescue ourself.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You this morning. Thank You Lord for the Word of God. Thank you Lord for the examples that You’ve given in Scripture, not only of judgment but of rescue. Lord, let us this morning take encouragement with us. Let us hope in things that the world’s not hoping in, they’re not trusting in. And Lord, I pray that You would give us the ability during trials to not only grow in our faith, but to be able to endure them and come out the other end stronger and trusting You more and understanding You more theologically than we ever have in our life. And I pray this this morning in the precious name of Christ. Amen.