Evildoers foster rebellion against God;
the messenger of death will be sent against them.
Such a person looks at life from the perspective of me versus everyone else. He is in rebellion against everyone because he sees everyone as competitor. The competitor may be someone over him; thus he looks at the competitor as an oppressor, someone whose chains must be thrown off. The competitor may be an equal, whom he sees as a combatant fighting to get ahead of him. The competitor may be under him, whom he regards as someone trying to undermine him. That is the way life is to him each person seeking power for himself. Rules are created by those in power to restrain those below them from rebelling. And so he rebels. He does not merely question authority; he seeks to undermine it.
Such a person must understand that his rebellious spirit and behavior brings the restraint he abhors. The more he rebels, the more competition will rise up. He is now seen as a threat to peace; certainly he is a threat to those over him. Whether those in power are good or evil, they cannot abide rebellion. The cruel messenger is the representative of the authority who comes to restrain the evil man. Whatever oppression he may have felt before, he certainly feels the weight of bondage now.
There is such a thing as righteous rebellion. There are righteous causes that call for rebellion against wicked rule. But be clear about that cause and especially your motive. Rebellion can seem glamorous. It stokes the ego. It allows you to gloss over your own sin as you focus on redressing the perceived wrongs committed against you. It can embitter your soul so that you see life as you versus everyone else, including your Maker.
Rebellion is the mark of the unsaved soul. If that soul is not willing to bend the knee to the righteous Authority who paid the greatest price to win the rebellious and to deliver them from bondage, then know that someday it will be not the messenger of peace who comes to him, but the cruel messenger of wrath.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:18-20).
2 Corinthians 2
1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
Forgiveness for the Offender
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Ministers of the New Covenant
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.