FIRST-PERSON: Scoffers -- then & now
NEW ORLEANS -- The church has been reminded throughout the ages by the apostle Peter that "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (2 Peter 3:3).
Scoffers are generally sitting down. As the psalmist notes, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of scoffers...." (Psalm 1:1).
They are deriding those who are trying. They are on the sidelines ridiculing the person who is running the race.
They do not have a solution.
And they follow their own evil desires.
They have thrown away the reality of eternal, objective truth in the universe. They have embraced the idea that truth is whatever one things it is. They have conveniently decided that their own impulses should rule the day. According to the proverb of the 1960s, "If it feels good, do it."
Every generation has endured scoffers. They were there when Noah heard God's call to build the ark. They were there when Abraham heard God's call to go to a land yet unidentified. Joseph's brothers scoffed at his visions. Goliath scoffed at David and his measly sling.
They will ridicule you because you display self-control, discipline and the courage of your convictions. They will make it all sound so silly.
And it gets worse as the end draws near. As Peter writes, "They will say, 'Where is this coming he promised?'" (2 Peter 3:4).
No matter, the second coming of Jesus is well beyond the scoffers' touts. It remains a fundamental teaching of Jesus and His church. It is not a throw-away doctrine. This truth is a part of all the ancient confessions of the church and of our own Baptist confessions.
Versus what scoffers may claim, the return of Jesus is not a story made up by false prophets. It is not a way to calibrate human calendars, nor is it about any person's date-setting agenda. The second coming of Christ to this planet is not a doctrine for kooks and clowns.
It is an essential part of our view of the world and human history. It is at the heart of what we believe about the nature of God, the nature of humans, and the nature of this universe.
This is how it reads:
-- The people of God have confessed through the generations that planet Earth and the far-flung universe do not belong to humans -- it all belongs to the Father in heaven. All things find their culmination in the will and purpose of God.
-- Human history is linear. It began in the heart of God and that is where it will find its completion. We are not spinning around in senseless and eternal circles. We have a beginning, as all science now confesses, and we will have an ending that will entail the falling of God's judgment on this rebellious human race that has so loudly and profanely resisted His will at every turn.
God is going to break into human history again as He did when He sent His Son and our Savior.
The only way to prepare for the inevitable end both of human history and of your own personal history is to confess Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son, as Lord and Savior.
The closer we get to the actual end of the world, the louder the scoffers will get. Hold on to the truth of God's conclusion to all this mess we are in. Jesus is coming.