Reading: 2 Peter 1-2
Summary: Peter’s second letter is very generally addressed; “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” (2 Pet. 1:1). Even so, it is thought to likely be for the same recipients as the first letter (see 1 Pet. 1:1). If this is true, they may already be experiencing the severe persecution foretold in the first letter. Now his attention turns to encouragement to solidify their faith and then also to be aware of false teachers. In trying times there might be a tendency to be susceptible to both their messages and claims.
The history of Christianity is stained with the blood of persecution. It has always been that way since the death of its founder and our Savior, to Stephen—the first Christian martyr—down to the present day. Followers of Christ, at least in some places, are still tormented for their faith.
The greater tragedy—yes, I said “greater”—is that of un-tormented Christians. It’s greater because Jesus Himself said that if the world hated and persecuted Him then we should expect to be hated and persecuted as well (John 15:18-20). It is tragic and sad and unjust to the extreme for followers of Christ to be tormented. It is also a reality of which Jesus warned us.
No, un-tormented Christians is a greater tragedy. By un-tormented I do not mean those who are living faithfully in favorable circumstances where life as a Christian is at the least tolerated and perhaps even promoted and encouraged. There’s no persecution here. Neither ought there to be feelings of guilt—it’s precisely what we’re told to pray for (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
Rather, I mean in the sense of Lot, whom the Bible says that, while living in Sodom and Gomorrah, his righteous soul was tormented as he “saw and heard the immoral things that people did” (2 Pet. 2:8; GWT).
Modern American culture has been described as “Sodom’s second coming.” Take a moment and think about it. If that’s not an accurate assessment, it’s not far off. Our entertainment, for instance, is absolutely saturated with immorality in ever-increasing degrees of lewdness and obscenity. Forget the flood of homosexual characterizations in television and movies, what about all the adultery and fornication that has become the expected staple of our programming? It’s so commonplace we’ve had to move on to other, attention-grabbing sins. It’s but the tip of the veritable moral iceberg that is sinking—at a rapid rate—the vessel that is this country (and even the body of Christ itself?).
Where are the cries of anguished torment? Truth be told, professing followers of Christ have become so acclimated to the moral climate that no torment remains for their soul.
Yes, it’s a far greater tragedy that those wearing the name of Christ upon seeing and hearing the immorality that people do around them are not tormented in their soul, but entertained.