“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’…But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them!” -2 Peter 3:3-4, Jude 1:10-11
Scoffers are as old as Noah’s day; they have always existed from not many generations after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden. Just prior to the earth-wide flood, these had grown into a massive or even universal majority. Scoffers are very prevalent throughout both Old and New Testament history. They frequently appear in historical accounts covering the ages which incorporate the entire history of the Bible from creation to the completion of the first century of the modern era. They characterize the fallen nature of humanity and the utter depravity of sin.
The Scriptures also tell us that scoffers continue, of course, into the age of the church and up to today. They are a prominent feature in what the Bible describes as the “Last Days.” In fact, scoffers and their open and blatant scoffing is a featured recognizable mark of the time immediately preceding the Lord’s Return – the time in which we are now most likely living.
The meaning of scoffing and scoffers is found in the common vocabulary; scoffing in general about any and all things. However, when you draw from its use in the Scriptures, it always denotes those who jeer, disrespect, and deny the truth of God, that is, who He has revealed Himself to be, who we truly are, how God relates to His creatures, and how He saves or punishes them.
Psalm 1 divides all mankind into two and only two kinds of people: the righteous and the wicked. There are no neutral categories. The same holds true throughout Scripture, and the Great White Throne Judgment of Matthew 25 brings the final division of everyone into either sheep or goats; the sheep enter eternal life, and the goats are sent away to eternal destruction.
We live in a day unlike any other in history with access to instant and constant information of what is transpiring in most of the world. Consequently, scoffing is on full display. Since there is little news today in the mainstream media about God’s kingdom and the activities of His church, much of the secular news and entertainment now features scoffers of God and His followers. There are followers and worshippers of God throughout the world, but they are seldom on display and their teaching is never fully disclosed in the media or the news. Such is regularly censored by the networks and press.
Just in most recent days in America, the open scoffing of God’s truth in regard to His commandments and the willful violation of them is seen in policies openly promulgated by politicians and their supporters for things like unrestricted abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, acceptable extra-marital sexual activity, even adults with children, et cetera – flaunting, celebrating, and approving of actions which deny the One true God.
Scoffing has become a mainstream preferred activity by those who are most visible in a television and Internet age: entertainers, politicians, teachers and professors, prominent figures of all walks of secular life. You can observe that such are drawn to engage in the activity of scoffing so instinctively and so incessantly that they reveal unwittingly the true energy and motivation of their scoffing: the arch-enemy of Jesus, Satan. He, of course, hides himself like a cunning chameleon behind many diverse or sophisticated masks, so he is almost never acknowledged by most scoffers of the truth as it is in Jesus. Yet, the wise followers of the Lamb see his presence looming in the language, vitriol, and protests of the scoffers themselves.
To a certain extent, the manifest scoffing saturating our culture and the society of the world has a muting effect on the witness and testimony of the believer. He or she becomes reticent to dramatically show forth Christ by word and life character to minimize or shield any scoffing toward themselves. There is sometimes a desire, when under the scrutiny of the unbelieving world, to “fit in” with such a lifestyle and not be a “sore thumb,” so to speak, drawing more attention to yourself or creating guilt for the unbeliever by your own godly walk. Examining yourself, your language, and your behavior regularly to ascertain whether such fears are negatively affecting your clear witness of being an authentic Christ-follower is incumbent on you in sustaining your Christian footprint in your world.
It has become ever more difficult to give a clear message of salvation to skeptics in a scoffing world. Some desire to present a “nuanced” witness to the gospel message so as not to drive away unbelieving friends and cohorts with a too-direct approach. In Acts 15, Paul takes a “nuanced” approach to gain a hearing from unbelievers by speaking of the “unknown” God, but he eventually broaches the fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead which drives away some of those skeptics, while reaching others.
In assessing how many have actually drawn closer to actual redemption over many years of nuancing, you have to take stock of when you must choose to cut to the chase of clearly presenting Christ and His truth in line with the rapport you have established with them. You can only nuance for so long without losing them to the world, the flesh, and the devil. At some point, one must wonder whether your own testimony of a godly life, minus a clear verbal witness, has produced a desire in them to become a believer as yourself.
Psalm 1 is a succinct encouragement to the believer to take stock of your life in a world which is replete with scoffers at every turn. The promise of their dramatic increase today is being fulfilled before your eyes. It is a marker of the last days. Read 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, among others, to confirm this in your mind. Your happiness, your being truly blessed in the midst of such a world depends on your hearing the Psalmist in Psalm 1 and adhering by the Holy Spirit to his instruction. Delight and meditate day and night in God’s Word, and be recognized by your producing spiritual fruit!
“I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied, a mind to blend with outward life, while keeping at Thy side, content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.”
(Third verse of Anna Waring’s hymn, “Father, I Know That All My Life,” 1850)