2 Peter 3:1-9
Apologies for the late posting of this, we had to rebuild the site because of hackers.
3:1-3:9 – The Lord is not slow about fulfilling His promise
This section deals with a lot with the mocking that in this day and age is becoming much more commonplace than it was even 100 years ago. It isn’t a surprise, Peter tells us what is happening right in the text, right in verse 3. “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts…” I’m not going to say that we are in the last days for sure, but this is becoming far more prevalent today than in times past. As we get closer to earth’s final days, I’m sure it will get worse, too. Peter is saying here that even though these things will happen, it isn’t because the Lord is being slow. No, instead, He’s being merciful and patient–3:9 states that He is doesn’t want any to perish, although some will insist on that. NO! Christ wants everyone to repent and turn to Him in faith! The reality, and I think this is why He wept outside Jerusalem, is that not everyone wants to call Him their Lord. Tainted by the depths of their own depravity, they will not turn to Christ in faith and be saved.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether you realize it or not, and whether you agree with it or not, God loves you so much, that God the Son became a living human. We celebrate His birth every year at Christmas, which is named for Him. We love that time of year as a society, and because we are all sinful humans, we do everything we can to not let it go beyond the meaning of family in the world, and we fill it with all kinds of unbiblical things, but We cannot hide the fact that God became a man.
And that bouncing baby boy grew up! He lived a sinless life under the law of Moses (which is really His law anyway), and at the right time in history, willing and knowingly gave up his life as a sinless sacrifice as the Lamb of God for the sins of all those who would ever turn to Him! Did you catch that? He lived the life you couldn’t even if you wanted to, and then died the death that belongs to you even if you won’t acknowledge that. But if you will repent, that is change your mind about your sin, which is what that Greek word means, even just admit that it is a sin against a holy God, and then believe that His death on the cross was to pay the penalty for those exact sins, then it says in Romans 10 that you will be saved from the coming wrath of God, which is a really good segue into this section of text!
I broke the chapter down as follows:
KV2: Keep reminding yourself of the Truth (Jesus Christ)
…that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles…
1-2: Remember the Prophets and the Word
3-7: Mockers and mocking are not a new thing
8-9: The ultimate patience of Christ the Lord
KV2: Keep reminding yourself of the Truth (Jesus Christ)
…that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles…
Has anyone here ever had opportunity to work with counterfeit bills? I have as a retail guy and as a financial planner. The thing that they teach you first is not how to recognize a fake, but rather how to spot the real thing. In fact, that’s how they teach treasury agents to spot counterfeits. They learn the real McCoy so well that when a fake comes along, it becomes obvious. That’s what dealing with false teachers can be like, especially with skilled and subtle ones. We aren’t going to study them, they are not worth looking at. What we should be doing is learning all we can take in about the real thing, and the best way to do this is to learn everything we can about the Lord Jesus Christ for ourselves! Don’t even take MY word for anything, read the book for yourself! I can’t be saved for you! That has to happen to you personally like it did for me in 1985. And guess what Peter says the best way to do that is?
1-2: Remember the Prophets and the Word
If you said “Study the Scriptures,” you’re right on point, Beloved. Now I know to us folks that have been a BereanNation.com follower for a while, this seems elementary, but you know, I was a new Christian once upon a time, and I needed to learn about this too. In fact, I had one of those little New Testaments that they gave most public school kids in grade 5, and I read it cover to cover in about 3 weeks. I read it everywhere, from at work on Midnight shifts to at home, to at the farm, on the beach, like that. For about 3 months, I was a walking New Testament. Then I went back to my final year of high school, and things went kind of sideways, but that’s how it was. What I wish now was that someone had impressed on me the real need to be in the Scriptures constantly. Ultimately, I did learn that, and here we are, but I confess it hasn’t always been this important to me personally. I mean it can be hard, and I’m lazy, and because I’m an average individual like most of you, I know you are too. I get that this is not the easiest thing to do. But if we want to grow into that glorious stuff that Peter talks about in his first letter, we have to know about this, and discipline ourselves to pursue Christ in this fashion. Peter has been discussing false teachers and teaching, and he has arrived at this point, so let’s hop in and see what he says.
1: This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,
- Peter isn’t letting us forget that this is his second letter. In his first letter, he discussed the gospel in living terms, and implications for the believer today. Here, he is explaining the reason we need to Study the Scriptures, and learn the gospel and face these false teachers when they arrive, which for most is hopefully not often. What does he say we should do?
- “…I am stirring up…” The Greek word for this phrase is diegeiro, literally meaning “awakening from sleep,” but here is used more metaphorically for “awakening the mind.” Why must he do this? I believe it to be because we ae all sleepy and lazy, and forgetful people. Heck, half the time, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, or things like my name, or important things like my wife’s birthday or our anniversary! Thank the Lord I have help with all those things. So what is Peter actually awakening?
- “Your sincere mind.” Those of you that were a couple of weeks ago able to attend the discipleship conference will appreciate this. The word “your” in the text is the second person plural. Without actually saying it, Peter is telling us that the body of Christ is a community! He is addressing the church as a group! Everything we do individually has corporate application, Beloved! The word we translate as “sincere” defines “unalloyed” or “pure” unmixed substances, and in the New Testament is used for moral and ethical purity. Somewhere in the etymology of the word itself, it can mean “tested by sunlight,” which I take at least partially to mean “as seen in the light of day,” but also I think may relate to the last chapter of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:1-2.
- “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every worker of wickedness will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them aflame,” says Yahweh of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall…”
- Yes, THAT sun. The Lord Jesus Christ in the day He comes to set up His kingdom. All this just for the word “sincere.” The word for mind is best defined as “the faculty of thinking,” according to Vine in his Expository Dictionary. “By way of reminder” actually occurs in the middle of the phrase in Greek, and is thus a prepositional phrase that simply refines the meaning a little. Recall how forgetful we can be. As evidence, I just had to remind you.
2: that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles,
- What is Peter’s prescription that he is bringing by way of reminder? “Remember the words spoken beforehand.” See? Forgetful! The only way I can even do that these days is to look them up constantly. It’s a good thing that I most often always have a Bible handy, and I have done some memory work over the years as well. Combine that with the Spirit of God bringing to mind the Scripture I may need at the given moment, and it helps me.
- What words specifically is Peter talking about? There are two kinds: First, those spoken by the holy prophets. Would any of you long-time BereanNation.com guys like to take a crack at what they are talking about here? [wait] It is literally talking about the Old Testament prophets here. From Isaiah to Malachi, and anyone else outside of those individuals…and one other guy, who the Lord said was the greatest of them all, John the Baptist, who the Lord also identified as the last Old Testament prophet, in that his ministry occurred before the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We should know what they said, when they said it in terms of historical context (helps to understand it if we can set it in history), their target audience (establishes context, which can also influence meaning), and the actual words they used (because God has used their words to speak through them to us). Are their prophets outside of the territory I have mentioned? Sure, Moses was a prophet, Samuel, and others as well. So how do we know that? We READ THE SCRIPTURES, Friends.
- What else are we to pay attention to according to Peter? The words of our Lord and Saviour! We read about those in the New Testament, and that was written by the Apostles and other writers that had the special distinction of being used by God to speak inspired words and reveal Jesus Christ. We don’t even know all of their names, like the author of the book of Hebrews. We need to know these things the same way! Historical context, target audience, the words used, like that.
Why would Peter say something like this? You may remember that early on I said I wished that someone would have impressed on me the need to read the Scriptures daily? Well, someone did, and it was Peter, and he did it right here. Of course as a young Christian man trying to figure all of this out on my own, I didn’t get it, and I was told by most of the Pentecostals I fellowshipped with that God makes things easy for people all the time, and I didn’t know enough to realize that it is through much trial that we enter the kingdom of God. If you want the context of that quote from Paul, it was on the occasion of his being stoned if I’m remembering this properly.
As it turns out, we are forgetful, and Peter’s prescription for this is to be constantly studying the Word of God. Who knew? Well, he did. And the Lord told him to tell us. Probably to get us ready for the next paragraph.
3-7: Mockers and mocking are not a new thing
Mocking Christians is as old as the church. On the day the Church was born in Acts 2, verse 13 tells us that everyone that wasn’t interested mocked the believers that were speaking in other human languages, exclaiming to all that were listening that they “were drunk.” People generally tend to make fun of things they don’t understand, particularly when they are out of the ordinary, and this activity qualified. The point here is that this isn’t new, and Peter has some things to say about them and their blind state.
3: knowing this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
- Peter begins to explain the point by ranking this as what is most important here. In the last days, mockers will come with their mocking. Let’s have a look at this to see if this applies.
- Let’s actually turn to Acts 2:14-17. “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;” We’ll stop there for now, but this is the answer that Peter gave to the men that were insisting that these believers were drunk. He quotes the Old Testament prophet Joel, and tells them that what they are seeing is the fulfillment of this prophecy Joel gave hundreds of years ago. How does it start? “In the last days.” If you have ever wondered if we are in the last days, it was Peter himself that declared it to be so. In fact, John, in his own letters to the churches, said we are in the last hour. I’m willing to bet that they didn’t expect that hour to last 2000 years. So as then, also now as for mockers and their mocking.
- What else do these people do? They follow after their own lusts. The particular word translated as lust here is a form of epithumia, with really denotes actual coveting as an action, as opposed to covetousness as a lifestyle principle. It is possible to have the action without the driving principle, so I can reconcile that. It tends to want things it cannot have because they are unlawful for the one doing the lusting. A common one while I was growing up was a then-controlled substance called marijuana. It was then illegal to possess, and especially not legal to use or sell. But people could still get it, and a lot of my peers at the time sought it. Call me weird, but I believed my dad when he told me he’d put me in the ground if he ever caught me with it. Besides, booze was better, and I could get it more easily, and I wouldn’t go to prison if I got caught, I would at most have to get my dad to pick me up, and he was cool with me drinking even before I was of age.
- Both of those are examples of what I’m speaking of: Wanting what you cannot have because it is something you just want, whether its the buzz of being on weed, or booze, or whatever. There are other things that you just want because you want them. That’s what this is talking about. But these mockers all seem to have the same issue. Next verse.
4: and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
- They are spiritually blind. Just like the modern-day equivalent of those Pharisees that taught Israel in the days of Jesus, these false teachers teach those who profess Christianity and life-debt to the Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, these men lead people astray. In two places in the Gospels (Matthew 15:14 and Luke 6:39), Jesus calls such individuals blind guides of the blind. In the end, both teacher and student will fall into a pit, and unless God has mercy, that is where both will remain. And what is it that they teach?
- They teach that Jesus isn’t about to return, if they have Him returning at all. “It’s okay, we have time, several things have to happen before Jesus returns, we have time to get ready!” Even I have at times forgotten myself and thought like that. How does Jesus speak about this? In very strong terms:
- And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you prepared?’ So is the one who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
- This is the position, at any rate. The Lord Himself is calling Bovine Scatology on this, Beloved. We need to realize what a lie this really is. No one is guaranteed another 60 seconds. I’m not kidding. As one of the small contracts I have to keep the bills paid, I run headlines for a news agency in Colorado. I read on average between 600 and 800 headlines a day. If you had any idea of this new things called SADS, or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, young healthy athletes are dropping dead in the middle of the day, in front of people, with what they call no apparent reason. I think there is a reason, and I have thoughts as to what I think it is, but I don’t want to have my livestream banned on any of our channels, so I will keep that to myself. Beloved, you DO NOT KNOW when your life will end as a rule. And what if on the way home, God requires YOUR soul? How would you be then? Someday, death will find EVERYONE! And you don’t know when, so live like it matters. I’m not done the point, but neither is Peter, so we’ll move on.
5: For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
- Let me paraphrase what I think Peter is saying here. It goes something like this: “Look, you can believe whatever you want. But if it doesn’t match with the present reality of the Lord returning for you, they the only one you’re hurting is yourself, and I don’t want that for you. No matter who you are.”
- Peter is telling us that in taking this particular position and living like its the truth, they are ignoring consequential and factual realities. Those consequential and factual realities are discussed in this verse and the next.
- The one that is discussed here is that the word of God tells us that LONG ago He created the heavens, and then He created the earth out of water and by water, which I think we may take to mean that God used component parts of water to create the earth and that He used water in some way to do it, and I have no real idea of the process or the means, but it IS God that created it. The consequences here are shown in the next verse. But those are the facts.
6: through which the world at that time was destroyed, being deluged with water.
- The consequences were that God destroyed the earth with water! He drowned most of the planet. We need to look at that. Genesis 7. We’re going to look at this. I’m reading this from the new Legacy Standard Bible, by the way, and I really like the text. Yes, I still use the NASB, I started this study inadvertently in the LSB, sorry. But not sorry! LOL
- “Then Yahweh said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean, two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep their seed alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” And Noah did according to all that Yahweh had commanded him.”
- Why did God destroy every other land animal on earth? (I guess it was a good time to be a fish!) Because they were only evil continually in their hearts. How do we know? The word of God! Look a few verses earlier in chapter 6:5-8: “Then Yahweh saw that the evil of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And Yahweh regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And Yahweh said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh.”
- What are we saying here? It turns out there is an equation involving chasing your own desires that equates with being evil in your heart, doesn’t it? As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man, said the Lord Jesus in Matt. 24:37. What is it that we are really doing when we are chasing over and over what we want instead of living for the kingdom of God and looking for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ like it really matters? It means that we are sinning in our hearts, Lord help us to repent of that right now. We know these folks. These are the people that are unapproachable about their sin. They shout out lines like “Well, that’s just the way I am!” without thinking that maybe the Lord would have them discipline themselves in those areas with His grace helping them. They make loud accusations about how others are trying to change them. They’re right, because they see that sin is destroying them. And brother or sister, if you find yourself saying that, realize that someone who loves you in Christ is trying to HELP, and change you for His glory. Offering up excuses about how you cannot change is moronic, too. OF COURSE YOU CAN’T! Changing your nature is a sanctifying act of God, and all you need to do is submit and cooperate with Him! Don’t be one of the blind fools that won’t turn when shown your sin. ESPECIALLY if it is your pastor, because before God, I’m telling you he is caring for your soul. And he has to give a report to the chief shepherd about all who are in his care. Don’t make him give you a poor report card, because it isn’t a faithful pastor that will be the one in trouble. It will be on YOU and on your own head. Moving on, of necessity, there is MUCH more I can say.
7: But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
- This verse is an updated statement of consequential fact. Last time it was water that destroyed the earth. Because of the sinful hearts of men, it will be destroyed again. There’s a song I heard in the late 1980s called “It won’t be water (but fire next time)…” Beloved, why on earth would anyone want to risk that because of hubris in their heart? I admit I don’t truly understand, but I suppose someone has to be reprobate. That day where everything will be destroyed by that day’s burning fire might be the rising of that Sun of Righteousness in our hearts, but to others it will make them call out to the rocks and hills and mountains to cover them from the wrath of God and the Lamb. How have you built your house? Was it from the gold, silver, and precious stones that heat and pressure make more beautiful, or was it from the easier objects of wood, hay, and straw that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3? Let it be the former. Let your work face the fire, and let it stand the text.. I’m speaking to believers?
For those that have not yet believed, how long do you think you can wait? You literally don’t know if you will be alive 60 seconds from now. The only time you have is NOW. Don’t waste it. Repent and believe the gospel! We’ll say more about that in a minute in our final paragraph for the evening.
8-9: The ultimate patience of Christ the Lord
At the beginning of this last paragraph, I will pause again to ask: Do you understand how much God actually loves you? And he demonstrated that love toward us while we were yet ENEMIES! I was a lost, hurt, broken individual, and a thorough sinner to the core! I didn’t want God! I wanted a young lady! I wanted a relationship! Because I was radically depraved like everyone else, I didn’t understand that properly. I was chasing all of that and success and wealth on my own, and the best way I could see how to do that. I was doing fine on my own, just ask me, right? Beloved, I was an enemy of God, following after MY own lusts and desires of my heart. I repeat, I was His ENEMY! And I didn’t even KNOW it! Oh sure, I had read the Bible, I acknowledged it as a source of good and moral thought, although I would have at that time used different terms. And then Jesus Christ called my name, figuratively speaking. He got my attention through my job at the time, security guard, as I patrolled the street in front of the paper mill in my hometown that was at that time being modernized. A gentleman whose name is Greg was eating his lunch on the Credit Union lawn, reading a large leather-bound book. And the question occurred to me, and I spoke it aloud: “Excuse me, is that a Bible you’re reading?”
Greg explained to me that I was a sinner, but Jesus Christ was more than a great moral teacher, He was in fact the Saviour of anyone that would turn to Him for help! He probably didn’t know this, but Greg was actually saying that I had to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. About a week later, God saved me as I placed that faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for me. It’s difficult to explain what happened next, but I can tell you that I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Look, God the Father Himself loves you, and His Son loves you, and the Holy Spirit loves you too, and all you have to do is admit you’re a sinner as you ask forgiveness from God for that sin, and then trust that His atoning sacrifice on the cross was enough to pay for YOUR sins personally. Then live like that matters. Easy to say that, but difficult to do without the Holy Spirit living in you, which should happen if you truly were saved.
This contributes to the mocking mockers when people do NOT live like it matters. In fact, they begin to blaspheme. Where is the promise of His coming? Doesn’t matter to YOU, does it? You’re not living like it made any difference at all, hypocrite! You know, like that! And these days, they’re straight up mean about it. What they don’t realize is that none of this is Christ’s fault. With that, let’s jump in to this, because we will discover that Christ is indeed more merciful and patient than we can even imagine.
8: But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
- Peter starts out with a huge simile here. Some have over time suggested this as “evidence” for the account of Genesis creation days being longer than one day, but the fact that this is a simile makes that wrong. The verse here does not say that 1000 years IS a day, and that a day IS 1000 years. The word “like” makes this a type of metaphor that we call a simile (which are metaphors that use “like” or “as” for comparison purposes). An example of this would be: The camera is like your eye because it sees things. The camera is not your eye in this metaphor, and that’s pretty clear.
- What Peter is actually saying is that God is outside of time, Beloved. Time has no relevance to Him unless he gives dates, and I find no dates as we would understand them. What I do find are date references, like “in the reign of Caesar Augustus” or like that. Time has importance in specific cases where God has made statements about happenings, but apart from that, time has no relevance for God. This is important to the entire consideration.
- We are limited and finite creatures. God is not. He is the creator of everything, and if He didn’t create it, it isn’t here. He has ultimate authority over the creation and everything that happens in relation to it. And how does this all-powerful, all-seeing, ever-present everywhere God choose to deal with us? We’ll get to that in the next verse, but with patience–for YOU! Waiting for YOU to turn to Him! Beloved, we have trouble waiting in a lineup of 30 seconds or more, or an extra minute for the meal! We want what we want and when we want it! It is not so with the Lord. Don’t let it escape your notice that time has no relevance to God, and He certainly is not controlled by you or your agenda, because he isn’t some sugar daddy or credit card in the sky, Beloved. Next verse.
9: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some consider slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
- No, Beloved, He is patient, not slow as some people think of slowness. I get this. When the doorbell rings, I’m very often the first one out of the chair before anyone can move. I could suggest that’s because I used to be a goaltender in hockey, but that’s only partly accurate, and it isn’t really true. Yes, I used to get put in goal, because I couldn’t skate, and I’ve made some pretty big saves, but I’ve let just as many or more in. I know better than to think of people that take more time to react as slow. We are not talking about trigger muscle latency here. When dealing with people, what I am learning (too slowly for my own standards LOL) is that you need to take time to let things register for THEM. Or did you think the Lord was only working on YOU?
- Time is not relevant in the case of God’s promises, except for where He has made it relevant by His own words. Peter tells us that the key activity that runs all of this is PATIENCE. The Greek word here is makrothumeo, which means literally, “to be long-tempered.” Longsuffering as required. Why? Because God will not tolerate sin, but to interact with the human race means he must for a time suffer it in His creations. But it isn’t His desire for us. The word translated “wishing” here is the adjectival form of boulomai, meaning it applies to the “any,” which is NOT the word pas meaning “all.” The word should probably in this instance be translated as “any specific person.” God isn’t given to choosing words He does not intend the meaning of, so that has implications for the text. God is “patient toward you, not wishing for any specific person to perish but for all [pantas, a form of pas, meaning ALL] to come to repentance.”
Okay, okay, I hear the moron in the back row waving his hand around and shouting, “How does a Calvinist reconcile this with universalism?” First, we know from other very clear passages that not everyone will be saved. Judas, for example, was never one of the chosen people, despite his deliberate inclusion among the 12 disciples by Jesus. From this, we know Judas was not saved, so salvation is not universal. Pretty easy logic. That means Peter in this text (one of the original 12 disciples, and that’s germane to the discussion, because it means Peter understood Judas was not a believer) cannot be referring to universalism, because he knows that isn’t true. Context, right? I can hear your unspoken objection too, by the way. Doesn’t this mean that limited atonement is not true? No, it doesn’t mean that either. I’ve explained for years that I don’t like that terminology because it is was made to fit the TULIP acrostic, and it isn’t what the argument states. It does not say that God limits the number of people He will save, does it. Not a question. The argument is a pretty solid one, and it comes from the passage in Malachi 1:2-3: “I have loved you,” says Yahweh. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares Yahweh. “Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have set his mountains to be a desolation and his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” Do you see that? He loved Jacob. He uses the original given name of Jacob, translated “the usurper, or the rascal,” and if you know his story, you know it’s true. But he HATED Esau, his older brother, and the passage given speaks of the consequences of Esau because he earned the ire of the Almighty. I checked, and the Hebrew word here for “hate” is the actual word for hate, not “loved less.” And I’m with Spurgeon on this. I don’t really have a problem with God hating Esau, a sinful man like me. God should hate those who stand against His ways. Where my problem enters is when He says he loves Jacob, that rascal. That sinner. You have to understand that it is humanity that is in the wrong here. WE are the sinners who broke God’s holy standard (because God sets no other kind). He SHOULD bring us as a species to justice, to use the current language on the subject. He would be completely within His rights as the offended party if he rolled up the entire universe and killed everything in it, because it is what we criminals who live here who have committed what Dr. Sproul called “cosmic treason” deserve! No, the problem isn’t that God hated Esau. It’s that He loved Jacob! He is completely within His rights to condemn every single one of us to the hell of fire! The truly amazing thing is that He saves anyone at all, and if you, like myself, are one of those He has found and saved WHILE WE WERE HIS ENEMIES, AND TRAITORS AGAINST HIS KINGDOM, you should be, like me, incredibly grateful to Him for His Mercy and Grace! God wants NONE of us to perish! However, He will not interfere with the free will He has given us as a gracious gift, because in the end it ensures that everyone gets exactly what they wanted.
So how then does one resolve this very apparent conflict between the doctrines of grace and the clear free will of man? I can’t. This might not be any consolation, but no one else can either. Some things cannot be resolved at the human level by humans. We as a species are not that smart. Things like this, or the trinity as another example, can only be resolved by God Himself at the divine level. Personally, I look forward to the explanation. It is good to be able to look forward to things like this.
And that’s what I saw in the text this time.
Next study, we will be finishing off the text of 2 Peter! After that, we will be moving into that great set of letters that John penned, and then Jude. I haven’t decided yet what to do after that, but I’m leaning to going into Revelation, because I have had some changes in actual worldview since the last time I went through this. That is likely an understatement, and I’m not trying to be a smart donkey here. There is so much, I don’t know what exactly to do with it.
The prospect both excites and intimidates me at the same time, so we’ll see what happens. Now as always, I am taking a few weeks off to prepare myself to go through 1 John for more than one reason. The first of this is that I am a multi-vocational pastor. I do what I have to in order to pay the bills and look after my family. Please do NOT take this as appeal for money, I wouldn’t presume to ask. You should all be sacrificially giving to your local bible-based church where you are first. I have more hours over the next three weeks or so because the boss is going on vacation. That has the potential to cut into the study time I have to prepare. Second, as I have indicated before, we aren’t following some pre-made lesson plan here. We’re doing the work ourselves, and that reading and study takes real time. And I’m a fast reader, but not as fast as I used to be. Man, how does that work? The older I get the better I was, right?
At any rate, see you all next week for the conclusion of 2 Peter 3:10-18!