How God Really Feels About Wicked People

Previously, I wrote concerning what Peter claimed about false teachers and what it took for even someone who has believed in Christ to be seen as wicked before God. What we discovered is that someone can come to Christ, then turn back and again be entangled in the things of the world. We learned together that as people we are given two options The first is to invest in the things of the world, which will not last. The second is to invest in our eternity by denying ourselves and pursuing Christ daily. If we, as people of God, get entangled by the sinfulness of the world (if we invest in this world), then we are actually wicked in God’s eyes. Because of this, our preferences don’t matter and it doesn’t matter whether or not we are accepted or praised by people. When I think about this, I have to also think of people who have not come to know Christ. While people who do know Christ can return to the sin of this world, people who have not known Christ are inescapably entangled in the things of the world. They are in this place where the only thing they can invest in is the world because they have not been given an eternal life to invest in. My heart breaks for these people because they don’t know Christ and Christ is the source of life. I have to wonder what God’s desire is for these people who do not know Christ. Is He indifferent toward them? Has He predetermined them for Hell? Or, does He desire that everyone come to repentance and gain eternal life?

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Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to develop a genuine understanding with a reminder, so that you can remember the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded. But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.[1]

 

As we think about Peter’s second letter, we might remember that in Chapter 1, Peter was sure to point people to the words of the prophets to prove the validity of what he was saying. He did not assume all authority, but instead pointed people to the Scriptures (which at his time was only the Old Testament). Here in chapter 3, he tells us that one of His purposes is to remind us about the words of the prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior. The command of the Lord is the Great Commission that we looked at as I wrote from Matthew last month. If we remember, Jesus commanded the people to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that Christ has taught us. Then he reminds us of his second chapter where he described that people will be corrupt and listen by their own standards rather than God’s while leading people away from God. Scoffers will scoff, he adds here, living according to their own desires and questioning the faithfulness and the goodness of God.

Peter offers some explanation about these scoffers. They seem to ignore the fact that God brought the world into existence, He has guided the world toward a specific purpose, and that God is keeping the world until the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly people. Here’s what I notice: There will be an end. This world and its depravity (fallenness) will not last forever in this state. The world will one day be judged and ungodly people will receive destruction. All of the investments we make in this world will be destroyed, and the only things that will carry on are those of us who know Christ and the rewards that we receive eternally according to our work for Christ on this earth.

Now, if God is going to do away with all sin, all evil, all suffering and everything that is ungodly. My question, and the question of many in Peter’s time, is: Why is God waiting so long to renew the earth? Peter encourages us to remember the eternal nature of God. One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. God is not bound by time like we are, and because of this, Peter argues that He does not delay as we understand delay. Instead, He practices patience because He does not desire for anyone to perish. God waits because he wants everyone to have eternal life. Peter says this specifically in the context of referring to scoffers. This means that God desires even the most wretched and wicked people to repent and receive eternal life!

Remember, Peter says this to remind his audience to remember the words of the prophets and the command of or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God desires that all people repent and come to salvation, so Peter insinuates that we should go and get them, no matter how bad, and share the great love of God with them. When we meet scoffers: we love them and share Christ with them. When we are around people who may know Christ, but who are still entangled in the things of the world: we love them and build them up. When we are at school, on social media, with friends, at work and with family: we always strive to love people and share Christ with them. When we get a chance to share the Gospel, we do it because God desires that all people repent and come to salvation. When we mess up, we remember the words of the prophets and the command of our Lord: we ask forgiveness and run back to the arms of Christ.

The entire world will one day be judged, but that time has not yet come, so we should always be about the Father’s business and strive to reach the entire world with Christ’s love and message of forgiveness.

[1] 2 Peter 3:1-9 (HCSB)

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