By CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace
Conditions have changed.
Many trampers and hunters have been caught out by quickly changing conditions on the Tararua Range.
People can walk up a ridge in the morning in full sunshine, then return back to the base of the ridge at lunchtime to find ‘white out’ conditions.
They find themselves in the same place, but in radically different conditions. Those who aren’t prepared for the change face the terrible consequences.
Since 1970, 22 have tragically lost their lives. In 2 Peter 1, the apostle Peter reflects on the changed conditions for the Church.
At first, followers of Jesus were viewed with intrigue, then they faced opposition from Jewish leaders, and now, Peter writes to people who are scattered and facing growing persecution from authorities across the Roman Empire.
External conditions have changed. Internal conditions have also changed.
From a sense of fragile cohesion; false teaching has spread like gangrene in the churches. Peter is in the same place, writing to the same churches; but the conditions have radically changed.
Our churches are in the same metaphorical 'place' as they were before the pandemic, but societal, economic, spiritual, and emotional conditions have radically changed.
Peter's solution to face the internal and external conditions is to point people back to Jesus, through the gospel from the Scriptures (in verses 12-21).
They've seen Jesus (v16), and He is who the Scriptures attest to (v17); they trust the prophecy of Scripture given through human prophets, speaking God’s word empowered by the Spirit of God.
The conditions have changed. Peter doesn’t point the earliest Christians towards 'normal', he points them towards Jesus, His gospel and His Word. I believe if we think we are waiting for the conditions of Church or Society to subside so we can go 'back to normal' we’ll end up wearing shorts and a t-shirt in a snow storm.
As leaders in this season, we can be prepared for the conditions by knowing the One who walks with us through them; by knowing the One who is sovereign over the latest storm or change.
How do we know Him?
By sitting under Scripture together and asking for the Lord to speak and lead us from His Word by His Spirit.