Scripture: “…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passions and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble…” 2 Peter 2:9b-10a
Observation: There is nothing like finding what to do by studying what not to do…
Analysis: Peter, being a Jew, sure knows all the disreputable stories from the Old Testament times.
Many times, I have wanted to get into the front of the Bible and check them out, but I never have gotten around to it.
There are a couple of things to glean from this section of scripture. I know that I need to be bold enough to recognize the promise for me AND to recognize the reality of where the other side of the promise may lie for me as well.
As to have sober judgment, I think I must hitch up my britches and see that “despising authority” isn’t a phrase that belongs to “those folks”; even as a so-called Believer it can be a “root of deception” in my heart.
I think that is a problem with understanding Grace. Like Peter wrote in the previous chapter, the power of God (Grace) exists to pursue godliness, or holiness, or righteousness. Grace does a lot more things. If I look at the other things that Grace does and forget or (gasp) ignore the call to Holiness, did I just thumb my nose at the Almighty? I reckon I did. I worshipped myself rather than Him, the created thinking a shortened version of Grace is better than the full Grace of the Creator—grading on the curve, right?
Bonhoeffer described it as “greasy grace.” Slippery and sliding, greasy grace has a fluid definition depending on who is wielding the dictionary.
Fierce personal transparency cannot settle on a shortened, vague definition of sin as it pertains to the man in the mirror. If I want to grow in godliness, like God wants me to, and deny sin, like God wants me to, then if takes some serious decisions.
Indulging passion is so easy. All I have to say is “Ah, what is it going to hurt?” and I am toast. Griping, grumbling, complaining, despising authority: “Ah, what’s it going to hurt—besides it is my constitutional birthright as an American.”
I want to daily be a Christian, nose to the grindstone sort of guy. It takes that kind of surrender to succeed.
Prayer: Father, it is such small step from preaching to the man in the mirror to preaching to others—not with honorable concern but with condemnation. Usually I get it backwards, easy on myself (if at all) and hard on others. Help me keep it straight and serve you all my days. AMEN