Saturday, October 6, 2012

"The deliberately forget ..."

Why would anyone deliberately forget something?  Because they DON'T WANT to remember it!  Yesterday we read in II Peter 3:3-4 that "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say 'Where is this COMING he (God) promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'"  Peter describes these scoffers as people who want to pursue their own evil desires - desires that are contrary to God's will, to His law, to His righteousness.

In the late 1900's people in the church began to talk more about the return of Jesus to earth.  This was the birth of what some today call "Zionism," the belief that God had a plan for Israel and that the Jews would return to the land God gave to Israel before Jesus returned.  Satan knows that God has predicted and ordained his final judgment and defeat.  In the Garden of Eden God promised that the "Seed of the woman would crush Satan's head" (Genesis 3:15).  Satan tried to destroy the Jews before God's plan could be fulfilled.  As he had done in the days of Esther, he plotted to destroy the entire race of Jews.  World War II and the horrible holocaust where millions of Jews were killed was pure evil, but in the end it backfired.  The result was the world allowing the Jews to return to the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - forever!

Following the return of many Jews to Israel, the establishment of Israel as a nation and all the events since have made the discussion of end times a popular topic - and rightly so.  There are those in the church who believe that the Church has replaced Israel in God's plans.  But can God forget His promises to Israel?  We will talk about that in future posts.  For now we need to understand that the reason there are so many "scoffers" today is because of the teaching of many concerning the prophecies regarding Jesus' return, spurred on by the events surrounding the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.  This is the time Peter was talking about.  We are in the last days.  The words Peter wrote were written for those in his day, yet even more-so for us today.

The scoffers deliberately forget something that people, especially in the church, should know.  "They deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed" (II Peter 3:5-6).  Peter says that people deliberately forget, deny, push aside the truth of God's Word concerning the creation of the earth and the destruction of the earth with the flood in the days of Noah.  Many even in the church today believe the flood is a fairytale, that the earth and everything in it "evolved," that God is love and would never judge people.  They deliberately forget that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," and that we all deserve God's judgment.  They deliberately forget that God judged the earth with the flood and saved only Noah and his family.  They deliberately forget the TRUTH!!  And so they scoff and they make fun of those of us who believe that the Bible is literal, God-breathed truth.

So Peter goes on to explain what will happen in these last days:  "By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:7).  The present heavens and earth, the world WE live in, is reserved for fire, for God's just judgment. God created the world by His Word:  "Let it be!"  And God will destroy the world by His Word.  We will not destroy ourselves.  As certainly as God sent fire and brimstone down to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, His judgment is going to come upon this planet.  Those who do not know the true God, who do not confess their sin and believe in Jesus Christ will perish.  That is why we proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Preaching the Gospel is God's chosen means to save those who believe.

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (the eternal Word of God - John 1:1 - in the flesh - John 1:14), that whoever believes in Him would NOT perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  To those who believe Peter writes in verses 8-9:  "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

God's desire is that ALL would turn from sin and find forgiveness and life in Jesus, but He knows that no one will come to Him unless He Himself draws them to Him.  Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44).  God is using His Word today to draw people to Himself.  He is sending out people who know Him to proclaim His truth, found only in the Bible, and He is changing hearts and minds by His Spirit.  If you know Him today, it is because God Himself opened your mind and changed your heart and moved you to put your faith in Jesus Christ.  If you have not yet done that, but are reading these words, perhaps God will at this moment help you to understand these things and confess your sin and your need for forgiveness - moving you to believe in Jesus Christ.

Don't scoff and deliberately push away the truth.  These things have been revealed by God so that you might believe in Jesus Christ and be saved.  Come to Him today!!

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