This morning, let’s have a look at 2 Peter 3:1-9, and later on, we’ll visit 3:10-18 and complete our tour of Peter’s letters. I must admit that this is my very favorite chapter of Peter’s… awesome! It clearly and directly tells us what the point of everything else is. Why did he go on in chapter 2 about false teachers? Why the big build up? Where is all of this really headed? Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s find out!
Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
2 Peter 3:1-2
Here’s the set up; he wants to encourage us to wholesome thoughts, reminding us of the teachings of the prophets and of the Lord, given through the Apostles. In the last chapter, Peter spoke as a prophet bringing us God’s indictment of false teachers, not for us to point accusing fingers, but for us to avoid being fooled and to remain firm in our walk with Christ. Here he is telling us that he is trying to influence our thinking towards wholesome things… but this is the introduction, not the conclusion.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 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.” 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. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 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.
2 Peter 3:3-7
As is always the case in the New Testament, the “last days” are spoken of as having come already; we are today living in the “last days” just as Peter’s readers were living in the “last days” back in the first century. Oh, how I grow weary of the teachings of some today that things have changed, and of their bellowing that writers like Peter meant this only for us! Read your history! There were these “scoffers” in Peter’s time, there are such “scoffers” now, and there have been in the centuries in between… and every generation has thought itself to be the last. Peter then points out that God created everything in His own time, and that He has done various things throughout history at the time of His choosing… and the return of Jesus Christ will also be at the time of God’s choosing. Yes, He is coming back, yes, he is coming back to judgment… just as soon as the Father gives the word.
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. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9
God’s perception of time is much different from ours, for God is not subject to time or space. We, who live but a short while in the body, think two thousand years is a very long time… but to God? It’s nothing! Just think, dear friends… If Jesus came back in Peter’s day, Peter would have rejoiced… and you wouldn’t have had an opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus at all… ever. Are we so selfish that we would deny this opportunity to unborn generations? Relax, and be patient! Know that God has this all figured out the right way, and you will spend eternity with Him. No amount of our time compares with the length of eternity! For now, let’s be about serving God and thinking wholesome thoughts.
And… don’t your dare miss the next, and concluding episode of 2 Peter, posting later today!