They laugh at us. They ridicule us. They mock and make fun of us. We invite them to bible study and worship and they sneer and walk away from us. But we are not taken off guard or surprised by their actions. In fact, we expect them. This, because that is exactly what our Lord and Savior said would happen to those who chose to follow Him. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22). “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn. 15:18-19). Subsequently, we “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates [us]” (1 Jn. 3:13), but instead, expect and embrace it! “Blessed are you,” Jesus said, “when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12). “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets… Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Lk. 6:22-23, 26; emph added – DED).
And so, as for us, we go on our way “rejoicing that [we are] counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41), and praying for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:38-48; Lk. 23:34; Acts 7:57-60). And in the meantime we continue to seek opportunities to love, serve, and introduce our persecutors to the Lord God (See: 2 Cor. 5:9-21; Phil. 1:12-13, 4:22).
But what of them? The first thing that always strikes me as being so incredibly enlightening, faith-building, and bible-validating, is the fact that just as in the days of Jesus, when both the pagan and religious people as well as their leaders were willing to go to such extremes as murder in order to reject, deny, and try to disprove the absolute truth of God’s word, they themselves, by those very actions, simply fulfilled the exact truths they so ardently sought to deny, right down to the letter! (See: Matt. 26:45-56; Lk. 24:44-47; Acts 2:22-36, 4:18-31).
The same is true today for those who revile and reject us as religious lunatics for seeking to reach out to them with the life-giving, soul-saving, grace-laden gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They do to us, exactly what Jesus said they would, thereby completely validating and fulfilling the very truth they seek to deny, discredit, and disprove as untrue. If they truly wanted to prove the word wrong, then that would demand that no one hate or revile us any more today as Christians – and that’s not going to happen! God’s word is true. And ironically – laughably even for us – it is quite often the pagans and atheists who daily validate the very truth they seek to deny as they revile us, whom God uses to prove that truth and the fact that it’s still in effect for us! God is awesome!
However, the second – and far more frightening and terrifying – thing about that for them, is this; that while: “In regard to these” (the “lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” of the preceding verse) “they think it strange that you do not run with them into the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Ptr. 4:4-5). They can speak evil of us and our Lord all they want. They can reject our invitations to study God’s word together until they breathe their last. They can make all the excuses they want as to why they will not come to worship with us. They can deny, defy, dispute and detest the word of God until the day they die if they want to. That is their prerogative. That is their God-given freedom and choice. But one thing they absolutely cannot do, under any circumstances whatsoever, no matter how hard they may try or labor to deceive themselves into believing they can, is to escape standing before our holy and almighty God in judgment, and seeking to defend the indefensible words, and vile and vain excuses they have made in the process. Jesus very clearly and undeniably stated in Matthew 12:36: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
The Apostle Peter concludes his final epistle by appealing to just such people with the story of Noah. We all know the story of Noah. Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Ptr. 2:5) who believed God’s word and therefore, “moved with godly fear,” obeyed it by building an ark (Hebs. 11:7) specifically as God had commanded. Hence, he and his other seven family members were saved – by their faith because they believed enough to obey – when God sent the flood upon the ancient world just exactly as he had said He would do (Gen. 6+7). And those who reviled, rejected, and ridiculed Noah and his family as they built the ark and he preached the word, were then destroyed when God’s judgment was unleashed upon them. No excuses allowed; no justifications accepted. Rich and poor, young and old, male and female; all were swept away and perished without prejudice who rejected the righteous truth that Noah had preached while obediently building the ark. The spirits of those self-same, self-deluded and disobedient people are even now “in prison” awaiting the final judgment and their fiery, eternal, damnation destination (1 Ptr. 3:18-22). And there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop, evade, or avoid it (Lk. 15:19-31). That’s the way it is when one repeatedly and impenitently ignores and rejects the pleadings of God’s word through His faithful spokesmen who seek to share it.
We see the same Noadic illustration utilized once again by Jesus, as He too sought to use the story of Noah as an attention-getting and potentially life-saving illustration of His coming in judgment. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39). Those today who reject, revile, and ridicule faithful Christians and our repeated attempts to appeal to them to join us as we build up our knowledge and prepare to meet the Lord in judgment, choosing instead to indulge in this world and all it has to offer for the brief time they’re here (Jms. 4:13-17; Mk. 8:34-38; 1 Jn. 2:15-17), will be destroyed when the deluge of God’s righteous wrath is revealed from heaven, just as surely as their self-deluded counterparts of Noah’s day. No excuses allowed; no justifications accepted. Rich and poor, young and old, male and female, pagan and religious but disobedient alike; all will be swept away and perish without prejudice who reject the righteous truth that Jesus and His handpicked apostles – including Peter – preached (Acts 17:30-31)
And what of Peter’s appeal to Noah’s story in that concluding chapter of his final epistle? In verses 1-3 of 2 Peter 3, he reminds us as to the reason why so many people will become “scoffers,” claiming that God is not real and/or doesn’t exist and therefore can’t possibly be coming back in judgment. They don’t want to hear about (and subsequently have to accept and be answerable and responsible to) the heavenly truth and biblical standard of “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come,” any more than Felix the governor did (See: Acts 24:24-25). And so, like a little two year old playing a self-deceived per-version of the game of “hide and seek” (which, by the way, seems completely logical to them at the time), they seem to think that if they cover their own eyes (to the existence of God in this case), that somehow they (and/or their sin in this case) can’t be seen! This wanting to live for their own lusts and self-satisfaction is at the absolute and utter heart, soul, and root of all atheism, as well as its satanic and septic stepchild, the evil and soul-destroying evolutionary hoax. In order to live their sinful and self-absorbed lives without fear or anxiety, they must get God, His holy standard, and any expectation or idea of His heavenly end-of-time judgment out of their earthly picture – or else. And so they try.
But in their child-like and absurd attempts at self-justification, they must willfully, deliberately, and foolishly seek to avoid and reject certain undeniable facts. In verses 4-9, Peter brings up Noah’s story as an example of the fact that all things had definitely and absolutely not continued as they were from the beginning of creation, despite their deliberate and deadly attempts to deceive themselves and others into believing that they had. God, with just a word, had come in judgment just as He had said He would on the people of Noah’s day – there was no honestly denying that. And just as surely and certainly, and by the infinite power of that exact same word, He was absolutely coming in judgment again! In verse 10, the verb translated “will come” in the Greek is emphatic; i.e., whatever else did, did not, does or does not happen, the surety of His coming is absolute, irreversible, and unchangeable. One can deny it, defy it, or fight it to the death. One can deceive themselves and millions of others into thinking and living as if it is not going to happen. They can claim, doubt, shout, cry, write, and seek to justify their position of poison persuasion until the end of earthly time. Doesn’t change a thing. Not one iota (Ps. 119:89). Anymore than the people of Noah’s or Jesus’ day could who refused to listen to those godly men preaching God’s truth back then. There was Noahscape from God and His righteous judgment then; and there will be Noahscape from it now – no matter what.
Judgment is coming, that you can count on. Time doesn’t change it, and no man can evade or avoid it – no excuses, exemptions, or exceptions. So they better start living right and leaving lust behind. Serving God instead of satisfying self. Seeking God while He may be found (Isa. 55:6-7). Learning, loving, and living God’s word before it’s too late, just as Peter pleads with them to do (2 Ptr. 1:2-11).
And this is why all of us as New Testament Christians and members of the Lord’s one, New Testament church of Christ (Ro. 16:16; Eph. 4:1-6) must continue to patiently plead both with, and for, those who revile and reject our respectful attempts at their repentance and redemption (1 Ptr. 3:8-16); because no one – not even Satan himself, despite all his otherworldly power as the prince of demons and darkness – can evade, avoid, escape or out-swim the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15). If one does not become a child of God through full and faithful obedience to God’s holy and righteous word (Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Ptr. 3:18-22), and then remain that way (2 Ptr. 2:1-22), there will be, Noahscape!