CDPCKL · The Shape of the Universe (2 Peter 3:3-9)

The Shape of the Universe (2 Peter 3:3-9)

Many ancient cultures believed that the universe is made out of water. They did not understand that outer space is actually emptiness: when they looked up at the darkness of the night sky, it seemed to them as if the earth must be floating in the depths of a great ocean of darkness and chaos.

And so, to many of those cultures, the universe was a dangerous, disorderly place, full of gods and monsters and forces that absolutely dwarf the earth. So on one hand, in those cultures, there was a lot of fear that everything could end in a moment — some monstrous titan could end up crushing the earth the way we might step on an ant. But on the other hand, in those cultures, there was also a freedom in the idea that, if this happened, it would happen by accident, not as an act of malice or judgement — because our tiny earth is just too small to even be noticed by such great gods.

And the philosophers of the ancient Roman empire spent a lot of time debating about these things, because what we believe about the shape of our universe really affects how we live our daily lives:

For instance, clearly the universe is full of movements and forces far greater than we are. But are those forces conscious forces like gods, or unconscious forces like ocean waves? If those forces are like gods, do those gods even notice what we do on our little planet? If they do notice us, do they really care? If they care, do they care enough to get involved? If they do get involved, are they for us or against us, and are we able to interact with them or influence them in any way?

How people answer these questions makes all the difference in how they live!

Now, in the ancient Roman empire there were people all over the spectrum — just as there are today. Most of the common people were on the ordinary superstition level: yes, there are gods, and we have to work very hard to make them happy or they might squash us. But some had doubts that things are that simple. They figured that, if there are gods and if those gods are involved in human affairs, then they must be pretty small gods — in which case: why should we worry about them? Since they obviously do not have the power of ultimate judgement. But if there are gods and those gods are truly great, truly universal in their powers…then why would they ever bother to get involved in human affairs? — in which case: why should we worry about them? They may have the power of judgement, but they will never apply it to us.

The Romans who thought like this were basically agnostic: their answer to these big philosophical questions was “we dunno”. We dunno if there are gods, we dunno if anything we do really matters. And some of these Roman agnostic movements decided that — since we just don’t know — the smartest thing people can do is live the most comfortable life they can. Basically: if this life is the only life we get, then why spend even a minute of it in suffering? Our primary goal in life should be to minimize personal suffering and maximise personal comfort and pleasure.

So the culture of the ancient Roman empire was defined by the fear of the gods’ judgement on one hand, and a kind of fatalistic freedom on the other hand. Many people chose fear — which came with the benefit of believing that what we do on earth matters. Some chose freedom — which came with the despair of believing that nothing really matters. Most people lived somewhere in between these two extremes.

The Jewish people took a very different approach to these questions.

They began with their scriptures. And their scriptures told them that there is a conscious being that is truly universal in his powers — in fact he created the universe, that original universal ocean of darkness and chaos. But he did not leave it like that. The first chapter of Jewish scripture outlines how God spoke into that primordial ocean and brought the earth up out of darkness into light and order. He built a roof over the planet to protect it from the weight of the universal ocean and then pumped out the water so that dry land could appear, a safe place for mankind to live. And then he entered that structure so he could enjoy a relationship with the creatures he had created. In essence, he created the earth to be a temple and then filled it with his presence.

And so their scriptures led the Jewish people to some very different conclusions about the shape of the universe:

First, they concluded that there is truly only one God — and if there are other gods or monsters or titans in the universe, then they were all created by the One God, and he rules over them: they cannot harm the earth, not even by accident. This conclusion resolved the “fear of the gods” problem.

Second, they concluded that, even though this God is so universally great, he is also personally involved in human affairs. He cares about mankind. He cares about how we treat one another and how we treat this earth he has given us. And this conclusion resolved the “nothing really matters” problem.

The Jewish scriptures also led to a third conclusion: God is not just “involved” in human affairs, he actively guides the course of human history — sometimes intervening in radical ways.

And the earliest example of this is what we now call Noah’s flood.

Adam’s descendants had become consumed with pleasure and the violence needed to maintain that pleasure: they had no interest in justice for the poor or the helpless or anyone else but themselves. And so God intervened to bring justice back to the earth. Mankind sowed disorder, so God let them reap disorder: he reversed the work he had done in creation. He withdrew his special presence from the earth, and opened the windows of the roof he had built over the planet. This allowed the waters of the universal ocean to come pouring back in, drowning the earth once again in darkness and chaos — and yet God preserved one man and his family, bringing Noah safely out of the catastrophe that overthrew that civilization where he had lived.

The second recorded example of God’s radical intervention in history is found in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham’s nephew Lot.

There, again, we find a civilization consumed with pleasure and violence and injustice, and we see God intervening to bring an end to their corruption — except this time judgement comes through fire, not water. But again we find that God preserved one man and his family, bringing Lot safely out of the catastrophe that overthrew those cities where he had lived.

And we are already very familiar with the stories of Noah and Lot, because Peter mentioned them in Chapter 2 of this letter — his second letter to the Christians of ancient Roman Asia. Noah and Lot are evidence, Peter said, that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly while also holding the unrighteous for the day of judgement.”

And the reason Peter brought up these examples in the first place was to encourage his friends in Roman Asia. At the beginning of Chapter 2 he told them that false teachers are going to infect Christianity, and that there will be times when true Christians and true churches will actually find themselves outnumbered by false ones. And that was hard news for Peter’s friends to hear! — it was hard news for us to hear, especially since we can look around at global Christianity today and see that Peter was right.

So Peter brought up Noah and Lot to show us that even this terrible infection of false teaching is according to God’s plan. God has a purpose for all this. And Peter told us that it is not our job to cure the global Body of Christ; our job is simply to find our own small local place in God’s greater purpose and be faithful in that place.

Today, Peter is going back to the examples of Noah and Lot. He wants to remind us that all this is according to God’s purposes. But today he also wants to go a little further: he wants to explain God’s purposes. We were asking, back there at the beginning of Chapter 2, “Why does God allow false teachers to infect — and sometimes even dominate — Christianity?”

Today Peter answers that question.

[3] Above all, he says, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. [4] They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

Now, the way Peter wrote this has confused people sometimes, because he says “scoffers will come”, “they will say” — as if these false teachers have not already begun to infect the churches — when Peter has already made it clear that the infection has already begun.

But Peter is basically making a collective quote from the Old Testament prophets here. He is telling his friends, “Above all, you must understand that this is what the Old Testament prophets said: ‘In the last days scoffers will come…’”

We were asking why infection by false teachers is part of God’s plan, and this is Peter’s first answer: infection by false teachers is supposed to be an encouragement for Christians, because infection is one of the signs that we are living in the last days.

But this thing about “the last days” has also confused people sometimes, because if “infection by false teachers” is a mark of “the last days”, and if “infection by false teachers” was already happening in Peter’s time, then Peter must have been living in “the last days”…2000 years ago? And if “the last days” were already happening 2000 years ago, then what days are we living in: “the very very last days“?

Well…yes. When Peter and Paul and the other apostles talk about “the last days”, it is clear that their reference point is always the Old Testament prophets. The Old Testament prophets said, in many different places, that one day God’s Messiah would be revealed, and he would start gathering God’s scattered people back together out of all the nations into one holy kingdom, one holy nation — and they said that this period of time would be “the last days”.

So Peter and Paul and the other apostles looked at the Old Testament prophets, compared what they said with what Jesus is doing — gathering God’s scattered people into one kingdom, one nation: the Church — and they concluded that Jesus is the Messiah and that these are “the last days”. And they concluded that the last days are going to go on for as long as they need to, until Jesus’ gathering work is completed. And then: Judgement Day will happen.

So yes: we are living through the same “last days” that Peter was living through, and Christianity’s continued infection by false teachers is actually evidence that the last days are proceeding as they should. And so, Peter is saying: be encouraged!

But that is weird, right? That is like the coach of a football team saying, “Listen, when the score is 7 to 1 in their favour, and we only have three minutes left — be encouraged! That just means my plan is working.”

Uh huh. Yeah: next season that team is going to have a new coach! — unless:

What if this coach, in the locker room before the game, told the players in advance that the score would be 7 to 1 with three minutes left? And what if he told them that — when this actually happens — instead of falling into despair they should remember this moment, remember that he predicted the game would go this way, and remember that he promised that all this was part of his plan to win?

And what if this coach has done this exact thing several times before, would that make a difference?

Well, the point Peter goes on to make is that God has done this exact thing several times already:

[5] But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

Apparently these particular false teachers were raised in the Roman agnostic tradition that says God is really too big to get involved with mankind, he has better things to do. They were raised with a fatalistic view of the universe: the idea that the universe just kind of runs by itself, like a machine; it has always been this way, and it will always be this way, nothing we do really makes any difference in the big scheme of things. And even though they call themselves Christians now, they are refusing to accept God’s view of reality. They are refusing to give up their agnostic fatalistic view of reality — because this fatalism is exactly what sets them free to follow their own evil desires. This fatalism is exactly what gives them the courage to be experts in greed, as Peter has said — because if there is no Judgement Day then, really, we can all do whatever seems good to us.

But Peter is saying they deliberately ignore the evidence. Basically, these people want to believe that the only true meaning in life is to minimize personal suffering and maximise personal comfort, and so they refuse to give up the view of reality that justifies their behaviour. They claim that the scientific evidence supports their perspective — but the truth is they are deliberately selective in what evidence they look at.

Because, as Peter has said here, it is obvious that the universe was not always like it is today. The earth was not always like it is today. God spoke the universe into existence, and then brought order out of chaos with just a word. And reason tells us that what has been lifted up out of chaos can potentially fall back into chaos.

And as Peter goes on to point out, this idea is not just theoretical, it is proven by experience:

[6] By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

This is clearly a reference to the time of Noah, when God withdrew his special protective presence from the earth and allowed chaos to come flooding back in.

And since this has happened before, reason also tells us that it can happen again:

[7] By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

And this is yet another reference back to Lot’s experience. Peter has already said in this letter that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. Now he is saying it again: the final judgement is going to be a judgement by fire.

And the reason Peter says this is because — once again — he is making a collective quote from the Old Testament prophets.  After the flood, God promised he would never again use water and chaos to bring judgement on the earth. As a result, the next time judgement was needed — at Sodom and Gomorrah — God used fire instead. And the later prophets of the Old Testament really picked up this idea and developed it: they kept making the point that God himself is a holy consuming fire, and that when he truly arrives in judgement at the end of time…an all-consuming fire is going to be the result.

And, by the way, this is actually an important theological shift from water to fire.

See, every religion in the world understands that water and fire are cleansing elements. That is why every religion in the world uses elements of water and fire in their worship — this is something we all have in common.

But our scripture has a deeper understanding. Yes, water and fire are both cleansing elements, but in the conceptual world of our scriptures, the cleansing that came from water was the result of God withdrawing.

We find this very clearly stated in Genesis, Chapter 6, where God looks at mankind’s corruption and says, “Okay, nemind. I am not going to stay back with these people forever. In 120 years I am going to leave and let everything fall back into disorder.” Then he sets the countdown to judgement going, and those 120 years were “the last days” of Noah’s time.

But the cleansing that comes through fire is the result of God arriving. The Old Testament prophets looked at the future and they saw that God was going to have to bring judgement again. But God had already promised that he would never again bring judgement by withdrawing from the earth — therefore, the prophets understood, the next judgement would have to be the kind of judgement that comes through God’s arrival on earth: which must result in fire.

So the prophets predicted that, one day, God would look at mankind’s corruption and say, “Okay, nemind. I am not going to let these people go on like this forever, when the time is right I am going to arrive and bring everything into proper order.” They predicted that he would set a countdown to judgement going, and that those years would be “the last days” of earth.

This is why Peter says here that the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire: these are “the last days” of earth. The countdown is running, just as it was in Noah’s day. Jesus’ Church is being built as a sanctuary against judgement, just as the ark was built in Noah’s day; God’s people are being gathered into that sanctuary, just as the animals were gathered in Noah’s day.

All right. So to summarize a bit here: these particular false teachers are saying that there will be no Judgement Day because God is just not that involved with mankind. And we can tell that God is not that involved because the universe just keeps on running the way it runs. Change — if there is change — happens slowly, and really has nothing to do with us.

But Peter is saying that these particular false teachers are deliberately choosing to believe this because they do not want to believe in a God who might interfere with the pleasures of their daily lives. They are deliberately overlooking evidence from the past that says sometimes change has happened very quickly, very suddenly, and with earth-shaking power. And they are deliberately overlooking evidence from the ancient prophets that says there will be a sudden, catastrophic change in the future, on the day Christ returns. And Peter is saying that these false teachers are actually part of the ancient prophetic evidence!

That is the real poetic irony here, by the way: by denying the reality of Judgement Day, these false teachers are actually proving the ancient prophets right about Judgement Day, because their denial fulfills the ancient prophecies about the presence of Judgement Day Deniers during “the last days” before judgement!


So we can see now why Peter says, “Above all you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come…” He is saying that, when the score is 7 to 1 with three minutes left, when we are out-numbered and surrounded just like Noah was, just like Lot was — that is exactly the moment when, above all, we need to remember the ancient prophecies and know that the countdown clock is on our side, not theirs!

And we can see how this would have been an encouragement for the Christians of ancient Roman Asia.

But how is this an encouragement for us, all these centuries later?

Because — to be honest with you — by this point in history it really looks like these false teachers have a strong case: the universe does just keep going on and on and on. And here we are, still waiting for justice, still waiting for vindication, still waiting for God to prove that he really does care about what goes on here. There are times when we wonder, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?”

Why is the countdown taking so long?

Well, our Father knows that we are only human. He knows that discouragement and doubt are more common to us than we sometimes care to admit. And so he commissioned Peter to tell us why the countdown is taking so long:

[8] But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Now, Peter is quoting here from Psalm 90, which was a prayer written by Moses. And we actually read this psalm together today, beginning with our Call to Worship, through our Prayer of Confession and our Promise of Forgiveness, and our Benediction is also going to come from the same psalm.

And if we were to go back and read through Psalm 90 from beginning to end we would find that even Moses struggled with the same discouragement and doubt that we do, and we would find that Psalm 90 is the story of Moses’ journey from faith to doubt and back to faith again.

Psalm 90 begins with the reality that we worship the God who created everything!

But we don’t want to just be created by him, we want to be loved by him. We long for him to be really involved with us, like little children longing for their father’s attention. But we are so small, and he is so big. Why would he bother with us when he has so many more important things to deal with out there in the far reaches of eternity?

But then we find out that he is involved with us! We find out that he does love us!

And then we find out that this is scary.

Because, just as a wise human father can see right through the secret motivations of his two-year-old, our Heavenly Father sees right through us. He really is a consuming fire, a light that reveals all our secret sins! And on one hand we know we need the discipline that follows that terrible revelation — while on the other hand we want all discipline to end.

And this is why we cry, along with Moses, along with every generation of God’s children, “Relent, LORD! How long will it be? How long must the uncertainties of this life last?”

And the answer that Moses finally comes to in Psalm 90 is this: it will be for as long as it needs to be. Because our Father loves us, the discipline of this life and this age will not end — it must not end — until the need for it is past, until we have all finally gained the heart of wisdom, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

That was the message of Psalm 90.

And the reason Peter has just pointed us all back to Psalm 90 is basically because he wants to repeat Moses’ answer here:

[9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.

He is not purposely delaying just to make everyone miserable, like the false teachers are suggesting.

Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

In Peter’s first letter he told us not to be surprised by the fiery trial that has come upon us from without: the rejection we experience from people outside our Christian communities. In this second letter, Peter has been telling us not to be surprised by the fiery trial that has come upon us from within: these false teachers who call themselves Christians.

And Peter has made it clear that these fiery trials are actually expressions of our Father’s discipline for us as his children.

Now no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful! But our Father knows this. He knows we are just little kids who cannot see the big picture, who will not see the big picture until the last Day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. So he is patient with us. And he is asking us to be patient with him. Through Moses and Peter he is telling us to trust his character as our Father. Of course we want to hurry up and get it over with! but that would actually be bad for us, and bad for all the other lost sheep out there in the world who are still waiting to be found and gathered in.

We are being asked to live by faith in our Father’s character. And even if we are not yet sure we can trust our Father’s character, we can at least begin with trust in our Father’s long track-record of making promises and keeping them. Again and again he has led his people to a place where the score is 7 to 1 with three minutes left on the clock, and every single time he has led them through desperation to victory.

And Peter is telling us that this is going to happen again, one more time.

Okay. So we started today by asking, “Why does God allow false teachers to infect — and sometimes even dominate — Christianity?”

And Peter has answered us: first, this terrible infection is actually confirmation for us that God’s plans and purposes are still on track. And, second, this terrible infection is actually part of our Father’ redeeming discipline for us. God allows false teachers to exist because they actually confirm God’s promises and help discipline us in our faith. Confirmation and discipline: this is why God allows these infections.

Okay! Okay. We get it. And we know — we know by the power of the Holy Spirit — that we can accept this answer because we trust our Father’s character and his track-record.

But still, just like little kids everywhere, we want to know why. Abba, why? Why did it have to be this way? In a universe as massive as ours, with a God as infinite as ours, there must have been a million different ways he could have chosen to discipline us. Why does our discipline have to come through rejection by the outside world, and betrayal from within?

Well, Peter actually answered this question for us in his first letter. The reason we are disciplined in this particular way is because this is how Jesus — our older brother — was disciplined. Jesus was rejected from without, and betrayed from within; and the bible tells us that it was through this discipline that he learned obedience, and, once made perfect, became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. And as Peter said in his first letter: To this you were also called: to follow in his steps.

Friends, what else is the Cross of Christ but the moment when there was only one righteous man left on earth, surrounded and completely out-numbered by the terrible infection of evil?

That was the shape of Jesus’ discipline — and because we are his little brothers and sisters, that is the shape of our discipline also!

And that is the shape of the true Gospel. The Cross proves that the power of God is not demonstrated through the power and prosperity and pleasure of Christians in this age.

That idea — the idea that the Gospel is most clearly preached when Christians are in charge, when Christians are rich and comfortable — that idea is the anti-Gospel, friends! And that is why the anti-Christs of our world love to preach this idea: because they actually hate the Gospel, they hate the idea that sharing in Christ’s sufferings is actually a blessing.

But the Cross proves that the power of God is actually demonstrated most clearly when Christians remain faithful in the face of rejection, betrayal, defeat, and even death. The Cross proves that the Gospel is actually most clearly preached when the score is 7 to 1 with three minutes left to go — that is when we are actually closest to Christ, closest to victory and vindication.

That is why our discipline as God’s children takes the shape that it does.

But still, every week here at CDPCKL we do try to get practical. We always try to figure out how all this can be applied to our lives today. And so far in Peter’s two letters we have found that the application is pretty direct, because our situation here in Modern Asia is almost exactly like the situation of Christians in ancient Roman Asia.

So what practical effect is this understanding of the shape of the universe supposed to have on our daily lives? What difference does all this make?

Well, it makes all the difference, actually.

The nations of our world, the religions of our world — even the secular philosophies of scientific and political and economic theory — are all defined by the fear of judgement on one hand, and a kind of fatalistic freedom on the other hand.

Many people in our world tend toward the ordinary superstitious fear side: yes, there are gods, and because there are gods what we do in this life matters. But that also means we need to work very hard to make our gods happy or there will be punishment. This is the kind of fear we often see in Hindus and Taoists and in the radical environmental movement.

But many people in our world tend toward the fatalistic side: the universe just runs, and nothing we do really matters — which results in despair unless we get to do whatever we have the power and the courage to do. This kind of Nietzschean, nihilistic fatalism is what dominates most of the secular West today.

Most people oscillate between these two extremes: the desire for meaning (which comes with the fear of judgement) on one hand and the desire for freedom (which comes with the despair of meaninglessness) on the other hand.

As Christians, as the heirs of the Jewish scriptures, we have been saved from that terrible oscillation between fear and fatalism. Throught the true knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we have true freedom. As Christians, we know our lives have meaning, and this keeps us from the despair of meaninglessness. And as Christians, we know that we are God’s beloved children, and this redeems us from the fear of judgement.

And obviously this makes all the difference in the way we live our lives.

But, still, let’s get really practical:

Okay: so we know that Peter wrote this letter to help us recognize these false teachers when they show up.

He started by telling us to always test everyone’s behaviour and teachings, comparing them with the writings of the apostles and prophets.

He then told us that these false teachers will always have a bad relationship with authority — so watch out for that, watch out for teachers who have set themselves up to operate independently.

He also told us that these false teachers will always have a bad relationship with the 10 Commandments, especially the 10th commandment that forbids greed — so watch out for teachers who try to redefine God’s laws; watch out especially for teachers who try to tell you that your greedy desires are not really a problem.

Today Peter just gave us yet another way we can recognize these false teachers: by what they say — and do — about Judgement Day.

False teachers are scoffers about Judgement Day. They will either deny that judgement is a reality, or — if they are too smart to deny it openly — they are going to minimize it. When they do actually preach from scripture, they going to avoid the passages warning mankind about Judgement Day, and they are going to focus all their time on the passages that support their own faith in “Positive Thinking”.

So watch out for that.

But even if they are smart enough to hide their scoffing about Judgement Day, even if they are very clever in their preaching about Judgement Day, we will be able to recognize them by how they live, because as Peter said right at the beginning: they are going to show up scoffing and following their own evil desires. Because the truth is this: people who do not believe in God’s ultimate judgement do not actually believe that there will be ultimate consequences to their actions. And people who do not believe in ultimate consequences always always end up doing and pursuing whatever they think will improve their own personal lives. And isn’t it funny how ”personal improvement” is always always centered around the accumulation of personal power and prosperity and pleasure?

So watch out for that.

But even if they are smart enough to hide their own greed for power and prosperity and pleasure, we will be able to recognize them because they will be teaching others to be greedy for power and prosperity and pleasure.

So watch out for that.

So today’s first practical application is this: watch out for teachers who talk and live as if Judgement Day is no big deal. Watch out for teachers who preach that it is our Christian calling to accumulate power and prosperity and pleasure. These people are anti-Christs preaching an anti-Gospel.

So do not let them have a voice in your churches. If they already have a voice in your churches, and if you are in a position of authority in your church, then make sure to cast them out. If you are not in a position of authority in your church, and if those in authority are blind to the infection, or unwilling to do something about it…then it is time for you to leave and seek out a church with mature shepherds who stick close to the apostles and prophets.

But there is also a second practical application here for us, and this second application is sort of like the opposite side of the first application. Our second application is this: let us rejoice when we see the truths of Christianity mocked by false teachers. Let us be encouraged when we are called upon to take up Jesus’ Cross of rejection and betrayal.

This is how Jesus himself once said it: “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”

So our first application calls upon us to flee from those who teach us to pursue power, prosperity and pleasure — because they are actually teaching us to reject the Cross of Christ, to reject our Father’s good discipline.

Our second application calls upon us to embrace the Cross of Christ, to accept our Father’s good discipline. Because this is, in fact, how we learn obedience. This is, in fact, how we learn to resist infection by these false teachers.

And there is a tension in all this. Because even as we learn to resist this infection, part of our resistance to infection comes through the infection itself.

It is just like what happens when our bodies fight off a virus: if we survive the infection, then our body is immune to that particular infection — we are safe.

And the thing about the Body of Christ is this: it will survive these infections. That is God’s promise.

And so — I want to be very clear here — we do not rejoice in false teachers and the terrible infection that follows them, we resist it!…but at the same time we do rejoice when they show up, we rejoice even when we find ourselves out-numbered and surrounded, because that just means that these really are the last days, that our Father’s plan is still proceeding as it should, and that, somehow — by God’s grace — we have been found worthy to participate in the Cross of Christ that saves us.

Brothers and sisters, here we are, standing together on the threshold of the year 2021. We do not know what lies ahead of us —

No. Scratch that. We do know what lies ahead of us. Because we are the children of God! We have been gathered together here from the ends of the earth, we have been brought into the ark of salvation, the ark of Jesus’ Church, and these are the last days. So we know exactly what is going to happen next! — and we know that no matter how long it takes, we are going to survive.

And we know this because this is what the LORD Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the LORD Almighty.

And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the LORD Almighty.


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