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A tolerant society?

Read 2Peter 3:1-10

One of my youth group used to wear a T shirt which said Jesus is coming look busy

The idea that Jesus is returning to the earth for his church, to judge the earth and to set up the new heavens and earth is today a rather derisory idea, belittled by the liberal elites, as another ridiculous fairy tale from the cooks and the literalists.

But their comments are nothing new to the church as this chapter shows us.

Peter sent this letter out to the Church in general to be read by everyone nearly 40 years after Christ had risen. He wanted to write it as he knew his time was short and it would not be long till he himself was killed for his faith, just like many of the apostle had or were to.

Yet peter had to endure those inside the church and those outside, mocking the idea that Christ was going to return, because he hadn’t yet and many believed he would in their life time.

Peter warned what they were saying

2Pe 3:3 First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts

2Pe 3:4 and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

How many do we hear today with the same words and you may be one of them.

Peter taught the early church the same as Paul and as Christ, that Jesus was returning back to the earth and that when he did that all mankind would be judged according to the works that they have done, Were they of the flesh or were they of the Spirit?

Scripture returns over and over again to the phrase the Day of the Lord, a day of terrible judgment upon all of those opposed to God

Here in this exert Peter likens it to a melting away of all that we know, to the presence of the Lord God.

You see Jesus Second coming is as important as his first coming which we celebrate in school nativities and as part of our cultural identity. Yet not many have heard of his second coming, I hadn’t

But by rejecting any idea that Christ will return then we cheapen the gift of Grace and we sit in danger of the Judgment of God and without the second the first means nothing.

In Jesus First coming, Jesus didn’t come to have human experiences but he came to live a perfect sinless life as a human. To do what you and I could not do.

Not to make a show of us, to say you can’t even do this, because we already knew that when it comes to God’ standard of right we just don’t get close.

Sin is self serving and that n where lies our problem because we love pleasing ourselves. When we do something so we can earn something back that’s a work of the flesh.

However Jesus came to live a life of works of the spirit, in that he served the Lord with all his heart all his mind and all his spirit and he loved his neighbour (you and me) as himself, he didn’t come to show u how bad we are, he came to show us how much God loved us, because

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

And by dying and then rising again he broke the barrier of our sin, so that we could fellowship with him close than brothers.

We made that barrier, we earned our sin, but God gave us this fantastic gift through his son, who made the blood sacrifice that was needed, the life that is required as payment for our sin. So by accepting that we are made righteous, good enough to go to heaven, to a mansion prepared, to be citizens of heaven. This was given freely, not because we were good, or that we will be good from now on, but because we accept him as our Saviour, as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords and finally as our beloved, who we would, if we have accepted him as such, attempt to love him back, through spending time with him, by serving him as a husband and wife serve each other and by cutting out those things which offend him.

But Jesus Second coming highlights the nature of God love for each and every one of us.

Schizophrenic God

I have read some newspaper columnists who comment on religious matters that nobody who is a Christian, apart from the mad sort, believe in the God of the Old Testament. Their seems to be so much judgment upon those who are opposed to God and his people. It happens to them either sooner or later and somewhat seems to stand in contrast to the tolerant version of God I have just explained so fully.

Some so called experts go as far as saying that God is schizophrenic. Two types of God, the angry one and the one that loves. If you have heard any of that stuff I’m sure it would have influenced your thoughts about coming to church or if Christians really have found it.

On the face of it their seems to be a change, in the God that Changes not. But the reason these people, who I might add have taken no time to find out, say such things is because they do not understand the nature of God or his love for all of his creation.

But God’s nature is a Holy God, this is his nature, sin cannot be in his presence and the law once broken is broken and a sacrifice has to be made to pay for this broken law.

This may seem barbaric but the laws of our land are no different, if you commit a crime then you must pay the penalty, sometimes with a fine, sometimes with community service and sometimes with prison.

But the cost of breaking any of God’s laws was death, and so the price must be paid because we have all broken them

Yet as I said before the Lord loves u so much that he got his son to pay that sacrifice for all of us from the beginning of creation to the resurrection and even to today, God’s plans for your salvation and mine have been intricately worked out and established.

This is the immutable Law of God, the wages of sin is death, and the Judgment of God that is seen In the old testament is this in action.

If you refuse to accept his atonement, his love gift for the thing you have done which condemns you well he does not condemn you, you condemn yourself because your way of escape has been paved but you refuse to take it.

It is God’s holy nature which brought judgment but it is love for each and everyone of us which gives us the Grace of the new testament.

The problem has been is that this Grace has been preserved in our society, n our churches and sometimes in our hearts, especially in the secret place, as tolerance.

The tolerant society

We live today in a tolerant society, so they say, this means to us that we must respect the views of others, no matter how different they are as long as they don’t cause harm to others.

The definition of tolerance is TOL'ERANCE, n. [L. tolerantia, from tolero, to bear.] The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring.

It has a permanence to it. It is something we will always do, we will always bear it no matter what.

This is often attributed to the way Christians should act, and t is often considered of God. As society changes and itself accepts more and more fringe behaviour as acceptable then so should the church and so will God. Because the opposite of tolerance is intolerance and this is the behaviour of racists and bigots.

And because there is never any judgment as there is in the old testament on those who do wrong then we start to compromise more and more. What our fathers taught us as wrong we say is right and as a society we say we must not judge..

Maybe you do believe in God, but you have done things, and constantly do them and then you say well this is me and God tolerates it so I am okay, everyone else is doing it.

The idea that Christ will return means less and less, the power of this act is lost and each man does what is right in his own eyes.

Live a good life, I give to the poor, I have followed the law and I am good to my family. Maybe you say to yourself well I attend church, I come to mid week meetings, I sing in the worship, but there are something’s which I cannot believe and soon we are tearing whole sections out of the scriptures, out of our hearts.

And some time you have said in your heart “where is God”, nothing happens, nothing changes, as David wrote, how long will my enemies stand over me.

But what you have perceived as tolerance, as a god who is moving with the times, who says it might have been bad then but its okay now, isn’t being tolerant, he isn’t just writing it off. He cant write it off, there is an immutable cost to sin.

Because what you see as getting away with it is in fact something else. Peter lets us into it.

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Longsuffering

You see God isn’t being tolerant, he isn’t just letting people off, nor is he being intolerant, nor should we, because the opposite of tolerance I not intolerance,

No Our God is Long suffering, so what’s the difference

LONG'SUF'FERING, a. Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked.

TOL'ERANCE, n. [L. tolerantia, from tolero, to bear.] The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring.

The difference is that Long suffering is not permanent, it has a time limit, it says you have a lifetime to seek out the salvation given freely to you, to discover that doing what seems right to you, isn’t right for you, and to find out that all the tolerant roads do not lead to a heavenly reward.

and because it does The Second coming of Christ has a greater significance because it highlights that one day your chance will be up.

His inaction is not a vindication for your sin, it is a chance for you to get your House in order. Oh friends if we were dealt with according to what we deserve, then who could stand. But praise the Lord he doesn’t, instead he sets before us a path of righteousness and gives us the chance to get on it, or for us to loose enough rope to hang ourselves

You may say I would prefer it if God was Tolerant instead, but tolerance may seem like a higher plain of thought but it isn’t.

Tolerance is the act of the coward who cannot stand up for what he believes or who doesn’t have any confidence in what he thinks, what he says or what he has to offer. The tolerant seem to think that everyone is right, but they cant be, this is anarchy. The tolerant doesn’t stand for anything, he cowers and when all of society says it is tolerant then it is the blind leading the blind.

No our Lord is longsuffering, He knows that when those who set against him or preach another gospel, or who commits the vilest sin, he doesn’t tolerate it, he doesn’t forgive it, he instead has compassion on the person, he knows it’s the nature of the flesh, he worries because of the judgment to come and he does all that he can to help them on to the right path.

Which of these shows the greatest Love. The one which turns a blind eye and says “well if it makes you happy” or the one who cares enough to guide you unto salvation.

Well you live in society, with neighbours who shun each other, with people who blindly walk past muggings.

Or do you want to turn to Christ, who has done what he can to save you from the Judgment to come.

The Jews see the messiah’s two comings as two separate characters,

The first coming is ben Ephraim, after Joseph the suffering servant, who bore all of the things his brothers did to him and yet accepted them back and loved them.

And the second as Ben David, who knew no peace in his life, who fought the enemies of God, bring the Judgment down upon all who provoked the righteous anger of God.

Jesus is returning,

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up.

Will you accept the gift of God or will you condemn yourself?

Remember God is not a tolerant God, letting you off for everything, he is a longsuffering God who waits for you to change your mind and turn to him.

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