In II Tim. 2:1-5, Paul tells Timothy what the world would be like in the last days. Even a cursory glance at today’s culture and we can see that Paul painted a pretty accurate picture of current Western civilization. One should not be surprised. Man has always been in rebellion against God and the rise and fall of civilizations attests to this. Christians trying to be faithful in the climate of today’s culture may find themselves becoming very discouraged.
One may throw up his hands in disgust and exclaim What is the use in trying be faithful and moral? How can I raise my children to be faithful and morally upright in this climate? The antidote to this type of despair is found in II Peter 2:1-9. Peter tells of two men, Noah and Lot, who were faithful and stood strong in times which were much worse than our own. How did they stand strong? Let us learn at least three things from them.
They Were Preachers of Righteousness and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:5 NKJV) One cannot simply fold his hands and say Let the world go headlong into hell, they deserve it. Those of Noah’s and Lot’s day were doomed to destruction, but this did not stop either of them from wanting the lost to be saved and saying so. The Apostle Paul knew that all men were sinners who would one day stand before a righteous God to be judged by Him. This drove him to declare the Gospel vigorously. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. – (2 Corinthians 5:10-11 NKJV, emp. added).
They Did Not Become Complacent With or Accustomed To Evil and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) (2 Peter 2:7-8 NKJV). Have we lost the ability to blush? (Jer. 6:15, 8:12) I fear many have. That which would have burned the eyes and ears of our forebears we routinely and willingly watch on television, the internet and in theaters with very little vexation to our consciences. The modernist and liberals cry you can’t live a sheltered life. This is a fallacious statement. One need not play in the middle of the street to realize the danger of oncoming traffic. So also Christians can understand the dangers of sin and immorality without constantly exposing themselves to it through the popular media.
They Trusted God to Deliver Their Souls then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, (2 Peter 2:9 NKJV) Whatever may come of our culture, we can trust that, in the end, God will vanquish the foe and His children will be victorious. God is in control! Let us say with Paul …nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV).
Let us, like Noah and Lot, stand strong in hard times by declaring the righteousness of God, never becoming complacent and trusting God with the care and salvation of our souls.
~ Adapted from Paul Pyor