Our Stubborn God
Many of us have never thought of stubbornness as a positive quality. In fact, the first definition listed for "stubborn" in Merriam-Webster is "unreasonably or perversely unyielding. MULISH" Yikes! But the second listed definition is this: "justifiably unyielding. RESOLUTE." Now that is a different case all together. That is the kind of stubborn our God is. Justifyably unyielding in displaying his glory. Resolute in saving His people. Would we want anything less? Here is an excerpt about our stubborn God from this week's sermon. To listen to the entire sermon, visit our resources page.
Sermon Text: 2 Peter 2:1-20
The question that remains is this: What is this rescue that Peter speaks of? After he gives us those three examples in v.4-8 "If God has done this…" he concludes in v.9 “then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” What is this rescue? It cannot mean that God will rescue us from every form of harm and suffering. Peter is writing this from prison. Why is he there? Because of the false teaching of the world. He will be executed because of false teaching. And it wasn’t just Peter who suffered harm, the whole church was suffering. The popular sport of Rome at this time was to feed Christians to the lions, or set them on fire as Roman candles to light to the streets at night. Rome had an abortion policy for Christians: they could be aborted at any stage of life—at birth, as small children, as adults and as the elderly. Christians suffered tremendously. Likewise, in the examples of Noah and Lot, Peter doesn’t say that they did not suffer. Peter explicitly tells us in v.7-8 “…if [God] rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard).” Lot’s soul was being constantly being tormented day after day.
Dear believer, God has not promised you that you will not suffer harm in this life for Him. He actually promises the opposite. Acts 14:22 says, “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Any teacher who teaches different is a false teacher. God does not promise to rescue us from all harm.
What then, is this promise of rescue?
First, God rescues you from the power of sin. The promise in 1:3 dominates the rest of Peter’s letter. He says that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him.” That is a promise that you will never be left in your sin like the ungodly are. You have been granted, Peter uses the past tense verb, everything you need for your spiritual life in Jesus Christ. Sin no longer has dominion over you (Romans 6:14). That doesn’t mean that you won’t sin. It means that sin can no longer be your master. You have a new Master, a good Master, who will keep you from being enslaved. His hand is upon you. He’s exercising restraining grace upon you all the time. That is not so with the ungodly; God gives them up to their sin. But you will never be given up to your sin. 1 John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Second, God rescues you from the penalty of sin. The greatest terror in this passage is that God did not spare the fallen angels…He did not spare the ancient world…He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah. And what Peter is drawing our attention to is that there are only two kinds of people in this world:
1) Those whom God will not spare.
2) Those for whom God did not spare His own Son.
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
You see the reason why Noah and Lot were spared and not the world they lived in was not because they were better men. It’s because Jesus Christ, the Son of God took their place. Jesus was not spared, so that Noah and Lot could be. That’s what the cross was, it was God not sparing His Son.
How complete is this rescue? Peter’s examples are so fascinating because they perfectly reveal how precious is the rescue Christ provides Notice how Peter describes Lot: v.7 “if [God] rescued righteous Lot”; v.8 “for…that righteous man”; v.9 “his righteous soul” He says it three times so we don’t miss it. But do you know the story of Lot? He was Abraham’s nephew. They parted ways because the land wasn’t large enough for their flocks. He chose to live in Sodom. When the events of Sodom and Gomorrah unfold in Genesis 19, we discover that Lot displays moral weakness and [shockingly] poor judgment when he offers his daughters to the immoral Sodomites in the place of the angels. Furthermore, the angels had to drag him out of the city, because he hesitated. After his deliverance, his daughters got him drunk and incest was committed.
Now however we try to explain or justify or even condemn Lot’s behavior, Peter is absolutely stubborn in calling this man righteous. Three times. The Scripture doesn’t condone his behavior. That’s not the point. The point is the completeness of Lot’s rescue. The gospel is the full rescue for sinners.
Dear believer. You are just like Lot. What is a Christian? Martin Luther said that we are “simultaneously saint and sinner.” You are righteous just like Lot, not because you never sin again, but because your relationship with God has fundamentally changed because of what Christ accomplished. You have been justified not because of your feelings, not because our fruits, but by faith alone. His perfect righteousness has become yours, your sin became His. And that fact is a stubborn fact. It’s so stubborn, dear believer, that God who sees all the sin you committed this week, can say “Look at that righteous woman, that righteous man, that righteous soul.” That’s how complete your rescue is. The Father loves you. He has spared no expense, no not even His own Son to rescue you from the great trial that is coming. Let your soul find solace in that stubborn fact. If God is for you, who can possibly be against you?
If you are reading this now and if you are ungodly like how Peter has been describing; if you are pretending like some other religion, some other philosophy, some other gospel will rescue you; if you have not repented of your sins and trusted in Christ with your heart, soul, and strength, you are heading for an unspeakably horrifying future. Isn’t Christ the kind of Savior that your heart longs for? One that would willingly stand in your place and suffer the wrath of God for your sins? This is not a make-believe gospel. This is not a myth that the world will try to sooth you with. These are the hard facts of this reality. You are a great sinner. God is infinitely holy. How will you stand before Him on that day if He didn’t spare the angels, if He didn’t spare the ancient world, if He didn’t spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Your only hope is to cling to Jesus Christ. Jesus offers you Himself as your rescue. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
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