Posts filed under 'Perseverance'
An enormous amount of preparation normally goes into planning a wedding. Stressful and expensive months are spent in working out the details. Eventually the big day arrives. For many people — perhaps most — it is the largest personal celebration they ever experience in their lives. The two people getting married become the focus of everyone’s attention for the day. The bride and her dress become the focus of universal admiration. Even the plainest face can become an object of beauty for a day. Everyone celebrates as the bride an groom embark on their dream of a blissful life together…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 19
19:1 After this I heard the loud sound of a huge crowd in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God. 19:2 His judgments are true and righteous. He has judged the great prostitute, who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and he has avenged the blood of his servants whom she murdered.” 19:3 Again they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forevermore.” 19:4 The twenty-four elders and the four living animals fell down and worshipped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen! Hallelujah!”
19:5 A voice came forth from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all his servants who fear him, whether important or unimportant!” 19:6 I heard a sound like the roar of a huge crowd, and like the noise of a large waterfall, and like the sound of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! 19:7 We will celebrate and be overjoyed, and give glory to him. The wedding day of the Lamb has arrived, and his bride has made herself ready.” 19:8 She was given fine, bright, clean linen to wear, because fine linen represents the righteous actions of the believers.
19:9 The angel said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those people who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’” He added, “These are true words of God.” 19:10 I fell down at his feet to worship him. He said, “Do not do that! I am just a slave like you and your fellow believers who believe in the message of Jesus. Worship God, because the message of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
19:11 I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. The person sitting on it is called Faithful and True. He is righteous when he judges and goes to war. 19:12 His eyes are flaming fire, and many crowns are on his head. He has a written name which no one knows but himself. 19:13 He wears a robe dipped in blood. His name is “The Word of God”. 19:14 The armies of heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine, white, clean linen. 19:15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp, double-edged sword, for striking down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He crushes the grapes in the winepress of God Almighty’s furious anger. 19:16 Written on his robe and on his thigh is the name, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”
19:17 I saw an angel standing on the sun. He shouted to all the birds flying in the sky, “Come! Gather together for God’s great feast, 19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, commanders, powerful people, horses and their riders, and all people, whether free or slave, important or unimportant.” 19:19 I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against the one sitting on the horse, and his army. 19:20 The beast was captured, together with the false prophet who had promoted the beast by performing miracles to deceive the people who had accepted the mark of the beast and worshipped his idol. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. 19:21 The rest were killed by the sword which came out of the mouth of the one who sat on the horse. All the birds filled themselves by eating the flesh.
June 14th, 2007
Is love always kindness and niceness? Anyone who has had the experience of looking after a small child will know that there are times when showing love involves restraining the child from doing things which could be harmful, and reproving when the child engages in unhelpful conduct, so that the child can learn how to be good and how to succeed in life through approaching tasks in a disciplined manner. Loving someone also involves protecting them by keeping predators away. So a person who is motivated purely by love might limit the activities of the loved person and might show anger towards anything which is likely to harm the loved person…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 15
15:1 I saw another significant and amazing omen in heaven: seven angels with the seven plagues. These are the final plagues, because after them God’s wrath is finished. 15:2 I saw something resembling a sea of glass mixed with fire. Those who defeated the beast, its idol, and the number of its name, were standing on the sea of glass, holding God’s harps. 15:3 They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “The things you do are great and wonderful, Lord God, the Almighty! King of the nations, your ways are righteous and true. 15:4 Who would not honour you, Lord, and glorify your name? Only you are holy. All the nations will come and worship in your presence, because your righteous acts have been revealed.”
15:5 After this I looked, and the temple of God’s tabernacle in heaven was opened. 15:6 The seven angels who had the seven plagues came out, clothed in pure, bright linen, and wearing golden sashes around their chests.
15:7 One of the four living animals gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the anger of God, who lives forevermore. 15:8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power. No one was able to enter the temple, until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.
June 10th, 2007
A lot of experiences in life are sweet to taste at the time, but leave a bitter after-taste in your mouth. The joy of completing a marathon is followed by the agony afterwards and the days of aches and pains. The celebrations which come upon achieving victory in a war are followed by the grief and horror at the devastation and loss which has been caused. The joy of getting selected into a university course is followed by the hard work of years of study and examinations. The beauty of a red sunrise is followed by clouds and wind and thunder and lightning and rain and hail…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 10
10:1 I saw a powerful angel coming down from heaven, clothed in a cloud. A rainbow was above his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 10:2 In his hand he held a small open scroll. He placed his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land. 10:3 He shouted with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he shouted, the seven thunders spoke. 10:4 When the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Keep the things which the seven thunders said secret. Don’t write them down.”
10:5 The angel I had seen standing on the sea and the land lifted up his right hand towards heaven, 10:6 and swore by the one who lives forevermore, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it, “There will be no further delay. 10:7 At the time when the seventh angel will blow his trumpet, God’s mystery will be fulfilled, as he had told his servants, the prophets.” 10:8 The voice which I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, “Go and take the open scroll in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and the land.”
10:9 I went up to the angel and asked him to give me the small scroll. He answered, “Take it, and eat it. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.”
10:10 I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand, and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was bitter. 10:11 They told me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
June 5th, 2007
Eliminating poverty in a person’s life requires a lifestyle change, not just a change in the amount of money in the pocket. The person needs to have an ongoing means of generating enough money to stay out of poverty. The person needs to have adequate protection against that money being stolen by bandits or siphoned off in bribes by corrupt officials. The person needs to have access to adequate medical care to ensure that the money is not lost through medical expenses. The person needs to have sufficient motivation to work hard to keep earning money. A lot of conditions all need to change at the same time in order for a person to stop living in poverty…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 9
9:1 The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to it. 9:2 It opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke billowed out of the pit, like smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air turned dark because of the smoke from the pit. 9:3 Locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. 9:4 They were instructed not to damage the grass on the earth or any plant or tree. They were to attack only those people who did not have God’s seal on their foreheads. 9:5 They were to torture them for five months, but not to kill them. Their torture was like the agony induced when a scorpion stings someone.
9:6 In those days people will look for death, but will not be able to find it. They will want to die, but death will elude them. 9:7 The locusts looked like horses ready for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people’s faces. 9:8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9:9 They had body armour resembling iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was like the noise of a lot of chariots and horses charging in to battle. 9:10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to hurt people for five months. 9:11 The king which rules over them is the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,” and his name in Greek is “Apollyon.” 9:12 The first woe has finished, but two more woes are coming after this.
9:13 The sixth angel blew his trumpet. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar in front of God, 9:14 saying to the sixth angel who held the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are imprisoned at the great river Euphrates!”
9:15 The four angels were released. They had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, to kill one third of all humans. 9:16 The number of mounted horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number. 9:17 In my vision I saw that the horses and their riders had breastplates of fiery red, dark blue, and yellow. The horses’ heads were like lions’ heads, and fire, smoke, and sulphur came out of their mouths. 9:18 One third of humanity was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulphur, which came out of their mouths. 9:19 The power of the horses was in their mouths, and in their tails. Their tails resembled snakes, with heads which they used to inflict damage.
9:20 The rest of humanity, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the things that they were doing. They kept worshipping demons, and idols made from gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which cannot see, and cannot hear, and cannot walk. 9:21 They did not repent of their murdering, or witchcraft, or sexual immorality, or stealing.
June 4th, 2007
Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people as well. Whether you’re good or bad, you get to experience some happiness in life, but everyone gets to experience death, and everyone gets to experience grief and loss and unhappiness. Philosophers have argued for centuries about why bad things happen to good people, but it seems to me that bad things just happen, and you have to get over it. The question is, do bad things come from God, and could or should God be doing something to prevent them from happening?
The Revelation to John — Chapter 6
6:1 I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living animals saying, with a voice like thunder, “Come and see!” 6:2 I looked, and there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he went out as a conqueror to conquer people.
6:3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living animal saying, “Come!” 6:4 Another horse came, a red one. Its rider was given power to take away peace from the earth, so that people would kill each other. He was given a huge sword.
6:5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living animal saying, “Come and see!” I looked, and there was a black horse, and its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6:6 I heard a voice from the direction of the four living animals saying, “A litre of wheat for a day’s pay, and three litres of barley for a day’s pay! Don’t ruin the oil and the wine!”
6:7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living animal saying, “Come and see!” 6:8 I looked, and there was a pale green horse, and its rider’s name was Death. Hades followed with him. He was given authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, famine, disease, and wild animals of the earth.
6:9 When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed for preaching the message of God, and for telling people about their faith. 6:10 They shouted with a loud voice, “How long, Master, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on people who live on the earth?” 6:11 A long white robe was given to each of them. They were told that they should rest for a while longer, until the work of their fellow servants and fellow believers, who would be killed just as they had been, could be completed.
6:12 I watched when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a huge earthquake. The sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon looked like blood. 6:13 The stars in the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its figs when it is shaken by a great wind. 6:14 The sky was removed like a scroll being rolled up. All the mountains and islands were moved out of their places. 6:15 The kings of the earth, the statesmen, the commanders, the wealthy, the powerful, and all the slaves and free people, hid themselves in caves and behind rocks in the mountains. 6:16 They said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the sight of the one who sits on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb, 6:17 because the great day of their anger has come, and who can survive?”
June 1st, 2007
There’s nothing quite like first love. Apart from, maybe, second love, third love, fourth love, and all the other loves. But the rumours say that first love is the deepest, and so do the romance novels. Many people never recover from the feeling that first takes your breath away. The first time your heart beat faster and your face flushed and your mind was filled with that dizzy sensation. There are other sorts of love, like parent-and-child love and respect-love and even puppy-dog-love, but these other types of love aren’t as powerful or memorable or life-changing as first love…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 2
2:1 “Write this to the angel of the church in Ephesus: ‘He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, and walks amongst the seven golden lampstands says these things:
2:2 “‘I know the things you do, and your hard work and perseverance, and that you will not tolerate evil people, and have investigated those people who pretended to be apostles, but were not, and found them to be liars. 2:3 You have persevered and endured for my sake, without getting tired. 2:4 But I criticise you for this: you left your first love. 2:5 Remember what you have fallen from, and turn back and do the things you first did. If you do not repent, I will come to you and move your lampstand out of its place. 2:6 But I commend you for this: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 2:7 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. I will let anyone who prevails eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’
2:8 “Write this to the angel of the church in Smyrna: ‘The first and the last, who was dead, but has come to life, says these things:
2:9 “‘I know your sufferings and poverty, although you are rich, and the insults of people who claim to be Jews, but are not, being a synagogue of Satan. 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil is about to throw some of you into prison, to test you, and you will be tortured for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 2:11 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Anyone who prevails will not be harmed by the second death.’
2:12 “Write this to the angel of the church in Pergamum: ‘He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:
2:13 “‘I know where you live, where Satan’s throne is. You are loyal to me, and did not abandon your faith in me when my faithful witness Antipas was killed amongst you, where Satan lives. 2:14 But I criticise you for this: some of you follow the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak how to make the people of Israel stumble, by eating things sacrificed to idols and indulging in sexual immorality. 2:15 Some of you also follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 2:16 Repent, or else I will come swiftly to fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 2:17 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some hidden manna to anyone who prevails, and I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone, which no one knows but the person who receives it.’
2:18 “Write this to the angel of the church in Thyatira: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like flaming fire, and feet like polished brass, says these things:
2:19 “‘I know the things you do, your love, faith, service, and perseverance, and that you are doing more now than you have done before. 2:20 But I criticise you for this: you tolerate that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and entices my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 2:22 I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her will be afflicted, unless they repent of what she does. 2:23 I will kill her children, and all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each of you according to your actions. 2:24 To the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not agree with her teaching, who have not studied what some people call “the deep secrets of Satan,” to you I say that I am not putting any other burden on you. 2:25 Stay true to what you believe until I come. 2:26 I will give authority over the nations to anyone who prevails and keeps doing the things I command. 2:27 That person will rule them with an iron rod, shattering them like clay pots, just as I received authority from my Father. 2:28 I will also give that person the morning star. 2:29 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
May 28th, 2007
It’s a fair thing, before signing up to become a follower of Jesus, to ask what the long-term consequences are going to look like. For most people the first flush of the relationship is all about a depth of love that they have never experienced before and an amazing new type of freedom, and an astounding type of forgiveness that takes away guilt and fear. It’s about discovering for the first time that you’re a member of the royal family, and the heir to untold privileges and wealth. But if that’s all that you can see, you need to look a bit harder, because it’s also about signing up for a life of service. Once you’re a follower of Jesus, life is no longer about you…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 1
1:1 This is a Revelation about Jesus Christ, which God gave to show his servants the things which will happen soon, which he made known by by sending it with his angel to his servant, John, 1:2 who is now describing God’s message, and what Jesus Christ said, and everything that he saw.
1:3 Blessed are the people who read and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and obey the things that are written in it, because the time is near.
1:4 From John, to the seven churches in Asia. Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits before his throne, 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us, and released us from our sins by his blood, 1:6 and made us into a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father. To him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
1:7 See, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who stabbed him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Yes, Amen. 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is and was and will come, the Almighty.”
1:9 I John, your brother and companion in adversity, and the Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was exiled on the island of Patmos because of preaching God’s Word and talking about Jesus Christ. 1:10 The Spirit came upon me on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet, 1:11 saying, “Write on a scroll the things that you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
1:12 I turned to see the voice that spoke to me, and as I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. 1:13 Near the lampstands was someone who seemed to be the son of man, wearing a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 1:14 His head and hair were as white as wool, white like snow. His eyes were like flaming fire. 1:15 His feet were like polished brass, refined in a furnace. His voice was like the thunder of a waterfall. 1:16 He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.
1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He put his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, 1:18 and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of death and Hades. 1:19 Write down the things which you have seen, the things which currently exist, and the things which will happen in the future. 1:20 The meaning of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands is this: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
May 27th, 2007
Life is like a battle against the world. The world usually wins. When you’re old enough to go to school, you can choose to maximise your learning by studying hard, or you can choose to be lazy. Laziness usually wins. When you get caught doing something wrong, you can be courageous and own up and take your punishment, or you can be cowardly and come up with an alibi. Cowardice usually wins. When you get a job and start earning money, you can spend that money on yourself, or you can use it to help others. Self usually wins. For most people, life is just a string of minor battles, nearly all of which end in surrender and ignominious defeat.
John’s First Letter — Chapter 5
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. Everyone who loves the parent also loves the child. 5:2 We know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. 5:3 Loving God means obeying his commandments, and his commandments are not oppressive. 5:4 Anyone who is a child of God defeats the world. Our faith is the victory that has defeated the world. 5:5 Who is it that defeats the world? It is someone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 5:6 Jesus Christ is the one who came by water and blood, not just by water, but by water and blood. The Spirit tells us about this, because the Spirit is the truth.
5:7 There are three witnesses: 5:8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree. 5:9 We accept evidence given by people, but the evidence given by God is greater, because this is the evidence which God has given about his Son. 5:10 People who believe in the Son of God know that this is true. People who do not believe God are calling him a liar, because they do not believe what God has said about his Son. 5:11 God has said that he gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 Someone who has the Son has life. Someone who does not have God’s Son does not have life. 5:13 I have written this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you can understand that you have eternal life.
5:14 We are confident in approaching God, knowing that if we ask anything according to his will, he listens to us. 5:15 If we know that he listens to us when we ask, we know that we will have the things which we have asked him for.
5:16 If you see a fellow believer committing a non-fatal sin, you should ask God to give that person life. This applies to non-fatal sins. There is a fatal sin, and I am not saying that you should pray about that. 5:17 Everything that is wrong is sin, and not all sins are fatal. 5:18 We know that people who are born of God do not sin. The son of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them.
5:19 We know that we belong to God, and the whole world belongs to the evil one. 5:20 We know that the Son of God has come, and has enabled us to recognise who is the true God, and we belong to the true God through his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and he is eternal life.
5:21 Children, stay away from idols.
May 23rd, 2007
It’s easy to think up problems with someone else’s plan, particularly if you’re naturally pessimistic. It’s easy to see all the things which could go wrong, and it’s easy to spot possible character flaws in other people which might cause you to question their motives. With a little bit of practice, anyone can become a seasoned skeptic. The only problem is that, by concentrating on critiquing the immediately verifiable facts, the skeptics are missing the big picture. The train is out of control and will soon be hurtling into some disastrous oblivion unless someone does something about it…
Peter’s Second Letter — Chapter 3
3:1 Dear friends, this is the second letter that I have written to you, to provoke you to think seriously by reminding you 3:2 to think about the messages spoken by the holy prophets in times past, and the instructions of our Lord and Saviour communicated through the apostles. 3:3 Most importantly, understand that in the last days cynics will come, doing whatever pleases themselves, 3:4 and saying, “Where is the second coming that he promised? Since the time when our ancestors died, everything has continued as it has from the beginning of creation.” 3:5 They deliberately ignore the fact that the heavens were created long ago by the voice of God, and the earth was made from the water and surrounded by water. 3:6 Then the world was flooded by water, and destroyed. 3:7 The present heavens and the earth are destined by the same voice of God for fire, which is being kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly people.
3:8 Do not ignore this one thing, friends: for the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 3:9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promises, as some people think of slowness. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to be destroyed. He wants everyone to come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved in intense heat. The earth and everything done in it will be revealed. 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed like this, what kind of people should you be? You should live holy and godly lifestyles, 3:12 awaiting and looking forward to the coming of the day of God, which will cause the heavens to be vaporised by fire, and the elements to melt in the intense heat. 3:13 We are waiting for the new heaven and the new earth which he has promised, where righteousness lives.
3:14 Dear friends, while you wait for these things, do all you can to ensure that you will be found faultless, pure, and living peacefully. 3:15 Think of the Lord’s patience as meaning salvation, just as our dear brother Paul wisely wrote to you, 3:16 talking about these things as he does in all of his letters. Some of the things he says are hard to understand, and ignorant and indecisive people ruin themselves by twisting the meaning, as they do to the other Scriptures. 3:17 You have been warned in advance, dear friends, so be careful to avoid being led astray by the errors of the cynics, losing your own balance. 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever.
May 18th, 2007
The former Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong has written a book called “Jesus for the Non-Religious”. Mostly, the book is a criticism of the supernatural and miraculous elements of traditional Christianity. The writer considers that traditional beliefs are incompatible with a modern worldview, and the miraculous aspects of the accounts of Jesus need to be stripped away to ascertain what he really stood for. But what do you end up with once all these things have been taken away? You end up with no more than a man who said some good things. If that is all he was, then why would anyone go to church every Sunday to hear about him?
Peter’s Second Letter — Chapter 2
2:1 There were false prophets amongst the people, just as there will be false teachers amongst you, secretly introducing destructive opinions, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. 2:2 A lot of people will follow their degeneracy, and as a result, the way of the truth will be abused. 2:3 They will greedily exploit you with misleading words. Their condemnation from long ago will wait no longer, and their destruction will sleep no more.
2:4 God did not spare angels when they sinned, sending them down to hell, in pits of darkness, to await judgment. 2:5 God did not spare the ancient world when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly, but protected eight people including Noah, a preacher of righteousness. 2:6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by covering them with ashes, making them an example to people who want to live ungodly lives, 2:7 while saving righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the depravity of barbaric people 2:8 (because that righteous man living amongst them was tormented day after day in his righteous soul by the barbaric acts which he saw and heard).
2:9 So the Lord knows how to save godly people from hardships and to punish unrighteous people until the day of judgment, 2:10 especially people who indulge in the contamination of their sinful cravings and despise authority. Brazen and arrogant, they are not afraid to abuse angels; 2:11 whereas angels, although stronger and more powerful, do not bring abusive condemnation against them before the Lord. 2:12 These people are like unthinking animals, born to be captured and killed, insulting things which they do not understand, and they will be destroyed in the midst of their depravity. 2:13 They will suffer injuries as their reward for injuring others. They take pleasure in overindulging during the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions while they feast with you, 2:14 while their eyes are full of adultery, and they cannot stop sinning, seducing indecisive people. They are well trained in greed, offspring of a curse.
2:15 They have left the straight road and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing, 2:16 but he was reprimanded for his disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet. 2:17 These people are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them. 2:18 By appealing to sinful human cravings, they speak empty conceited words to trap people who are almost escaping from the wrong type of lifestyle, 2:19 promising them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of corruption, because people become slaves to whatever overpowers them.
2:20 If, after they have escaped the contamination of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again trapped in it and overpowered, they are in a worse position than they were originally. 2:21 It would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment given to them. 2:22 The thing which has happened to them is accurately described in the proverbs, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” and “The pig that has washed returns to wallow in the mud.”
May 17th, 2007