Twin Routes To Disaster
Judgement may not seem an encouraging topic for a devotional. But Peter intended it to bring courage to those who thought that evil might win – and were so downhearted that they were tempted to give up following Jesus. Peter’s own experiences had shown him that the Lord can rescue His people from major troubles (Acts 5:17-21 and Acts 12:1-11). That was also true for Noah and Lot (2 Peter 2:5-8); such Old Testament examples are intended to encourage and warn us to stay true to the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:1-6).
In his description of those who are under God's wrath, Peter identified two character defects that drag people to hell, unless they repent and are saved. The first is ‘following the corrupt desire of the flesh’, and the second is those who 'despise authority'. It is important that as believers we should be alerted to identify those parts of our sinful nature which Satan may tempt, in order to pull us away from following Jesus.
We (including the most powerful preachers, wonderful worshippers and even the apostles) all have a sinful nature (Romans 7:14-25). We are all too well aware of the repeated experience of sinning, especially when we know that we should not. We are born sinners (Psalm 51:5) and have been further corrupted by the world and the Devil as well as our own desires. To ignore that fact, and allow ourselves to follow what seems 'natural', is like crossing a busy road blindfolded - it will end in disaster. What matters is making the choice not to follow what corruption commands, because we know we belong to Jesus (Romans 8:12-14).
A second set of alarm bells should ring when people despise authority, and become a law unto themselves (2 Peter 3:17). However camouflaged, it is a mind-set that is so self-centred that it cannot see anybody higher than themselves. This is dangerous in any business or profession, in politics or the church. Not only will it inevitably hurt other people, but it cannot give the first place to Jesus - who is Lord of all – and has established authority chains in society and the church (Romans 13:1-5). The hell-bound, and the Devil himself, have lawlessness deeply rooted in their belief system and it totally validates God's judgement (1 John 3:4). But Christians also need to use this truth as a mirror (James 1:22-25), asking God's help to see if any of this evil has seeped into our character. In addition, when we see friends and colleagues caught up with following corruption naturally and despising authority, we can see how much they need Jesus; and so our prayers and spoken witness may be life-saving (Jude 1:22-23).
© Dr Paul Adams