Beware! The conflict of lawless people vs. God’s people began in the Garden and continues to this day.
Today’s reading: Ezekiel 45-46; 2 Peter 3
9 “Thus says the Lord God: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord God. Ezekiel 45:9
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18
God had a special message for the princes of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel. They were not to abuse their power bringing violence and oppression on the common people. On the contrary, there were to execute justice and righteousness. They were to abide by the same laws as everyone else. There was to be no privileged, royal class in Israel. This applied to worship and to the transfer and ownership of property. Thus, there was to be no exempt class; no lawless people were to be tolerated, not even princes.
The political situation was considerably different for the Church between Ezekiel’s day and Peter’s day. God’s people did not live in their own designated land but were dispersed among the Gentile nations of the world (1 Peter 1:1). They were subject to the ridicule of scoffers who openly doubted that the Lord would fulfill His promise to return. These scoffers conveniently ignored the evidence of God’s power and presence in the Creation and the Flood. This made it easy for them to conclude that the promised “day of judgment and the destruction of the ungodly” would never happen.
Peter reassures his readers that the Lord is not time-bound as we are and that He will carry out all His judgment on His schedule. Meanwhile, he charges them not to be carried away with the error of lawless people, these scoffers and others given over to the lust of defiling passion and the despising of authority (2 Peter 2:10). Instead, they are to focus on growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These two qualities, grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, are bound together. By His grace He has made Himself known to us. By the knowledge of Him we grow in grace, being ever more assured that our faith is not in vain.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, resisting the instability which can come through the on-going conflict of lawless people vs. God’s people.