Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. – 2 Peter 2:10-16
Three pastors from St. John and I just finished a 30 hour prayer retreat. We went to the luxurious digs at Camp Lone Star just outside of LaGrange, Texas. The accommodations were perfect for our purposes – we had our own bedrooms. We had a large room with a small table and chairs at which we studied various Bible verses, and spent time in prayer, reflecting on what we had just studied. It was an edifying and uplifting experience.
One of the things we shared during our time were the names of significant books that had shaped our ministry. C.F.W. Walther’s The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel was high on all our lists. I mentioned Waking the Dead, by John Eldridge. Another book that I didn’t share at that time, which, nevertheless is worth mentioning is People of the Lie, by M. Scott Peck. In that book he deals with the issue of evil from a medical/psychological perspective.
His take is that evil is epitomized by a brazen failure to accept responsibility for one’s harmful actions. Evil is shameless, unapologetic, arrogant, and “bold and willful” (to use Peter’s words).
I would rather believe that there are not evil people in the world. I would rather believe that people are just misguided and lost. Sadly, however, there are people who are dedicated to harming others, ignoring God’s ways, and “reveling in their deceptions” (v. 13). Sad. Sometimes -even more sadly – they are within the visible fellowship of believers.
God is not unaware of these evil people. There will come a day of reckoning. In the mean time, we have been warned. Let us not wink at sin or evil – no matter who enticing or cunning it may be. Thanks be to God that Jesus has defeated Satan, and that we have power over evil in the name of Jesus.