Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heralds of Righteousness?

2 Peter 2:4-10 (ESV)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; [5] if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; [6] if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; [7] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked [8] (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); [9] then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, [10] and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,
So this passage brings you face to face with the wrath of God, but also the love that drives him to spare the righteous. Of course the heralds of righteousness that Peter here names are perhaps not the Sunday school heroes he would have us believe him to be.
I have to be honest here, reading this passage I begin to remind myself that it is anti-legoumena. Not so much because of what he says about Noah as herald of righteousness, but because of what he says about Lot’s soul being tormented. They were righteous, but only because of their faith in God, and in Lot’s case, he is much indebted to the intercession of Abraham which ought to be a lesson to us all in regard to our prayers.
Righteousness here can only be that of faith. The story of Noah reveals that he too was a sinner. He planted a vineyard and got drunk is the first thing recorded of him after the flood, and this probably would not be recorded except that he was so drunk that his son “saw his nakedness” which is code language if you will for took “sexual advantage of him.”
Lot? I don’t know how distressed he was. When I read the story it seems the distressing part for him is not what the people are doing around him, but that these visitors might find him out to be one of these people. He offers his daughters up to the crowd. That is hard for me to swallow no matter how many times I read this. I try to keep in mind society and all that, but it just doesn’t endear me to Lot. Then Lot gets drunk enough to impregnate his daughters shortly thereafter. Sorry, but I’m thinking this man engaged a bit in the lusts of defiling passion. The only difference being a relationship with God, one that God initiated. In other words the difference was God’s faithfulness to Lot, Lot being a member of Abraham’s house.
Our trust can only be in that righteousness with which God calls us righteous.

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