Sunday, 2 February 2020
… and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 2 Peter 2:10
Peter had just noted the unjust whom the Lord has reserved “under punishment for the day of judgment.” He now highlights those people saying, “and especially those who walk according to the flesh.” The term “walk” signifies the conduct of life. It is their usual manner of living and acting. Therefore, to “walk according to the flesh” is to walk in a manner which is contrary to a moral and godly life.
Peter then further describes such an immoral and ungodly walk by saying, “in the lust of uncleanness.” The word translated as “uncleanness” is a noun. Thus, it is walking in the lust which causes the uncleanness. Peter then says that these same people “despise authority.”
This is a catchall phrase. Those Peter refer to despise not just one level of authority, but all authority. They despise the governmental authority which they reside under. They despise the authority of their master, or employer. They despise those appointed by law to protect and defend the populace. They despise the authority within the church. They despise all authority, heavenly or earthly. And this state is reflected in the next words Peter uses. He says, “They are presumptuous, self-willed.”
It is obvious that anyone who thinks he is above all authorities will be presumptuous. He will be daring in his conduct, bold in his words against those who he should show humility towards, and he will be impudent when asked to conduct himself in a respectable manner. Further, being self-willed goes hand in hand with that. He will be arrogant, impatient with others, unyielding even when shown to be wrong, and dogmatic about things which he may not even fully understand.
Finally, the verse ends with, “They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries.” This follows naturally with what has already been said. When such people despise authority, and when they are presumptuous and self-willed, they will show contempt for those appointed over them, or those whose responsibility it is to ensure they act in accord with the rules and laws of the land.
However, the word Peter uses literally means “glories.” In other words, though it may be speaking of natural authorities, and though they may be included in the thought, it is probably more intended to describe heavenly beings – angels, Jesus Christ, and God. There is a contempt for any authority which exists in the spiritual realm. Hence, such people will use the name of Christ or the name of God in a reviling manner without batting an eye.
Life application: In this verse, we have the evening news in a nutshell. It appears that little has changed in the 2000 years since Peter wrote this. Instead, they have gotten worse. Not because of the already wicked heart, but because of the availability of access and communication with those who act in the same manner.
Whereas trouble in earlier times was localized and contained, today people in the US can stir up trouble in Egypt. Someone at his computer in France can email whatever perverted thing he has dreamt up to people in 100 countries. Disobedience and the despising of authority are practiced and expanded upon in blogs and at news centers around the globe.
TV shows have gone from wholesome family values to complete perversion of both word and thought in less than two generations. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Israel is condemned for its restraint in combat while those who perpetually attack her are called the victims – and the lie increases with every biased broadcast of the presumptuous and self-willed commentator.
The lawless left challenges the authority of duly elected officials. Those who are in the minority, and who are elected to do their jobs, simply pack up and leave their post when they disagree with the majority – never considering their duty to the people who elected them.
Those who legally bear arms are called criminals, while those who illegally misuse them are said to have been brought up in sad circumstances and should be given light treatment.
Societies promote abortion as if the life conceived has no value, but they forgive murderers who rape and mutilate their victims before killing them.
All of this twisted and unhealthy thinking can be traced back to despising of the ultimate authority – The Lord God. The nations rally now, but He will be vindicated. The time of Christ’s reign is approaching where all uncleanness will be removed.
Lord, Your word speaks of hard issues which we often fail to take to heart. We forget that You aren’t only a loving and gentle Creator, but that You also are holy, righteous, and just. Better for us to put our hope in You and Your cross now than to attempt to stand on our own state, that of lacking any true righteousness, on the great Day You have prepared. Amen.