Reader: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think.”
Response: “No, he is being patient for your sake.”
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:1-10
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.
Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Isn’t it interesting that there are so many references in the Last Testament to the return of the Lord? Those first century readers of Paul’s and Peter’s letters, as did Paul and Peter, believed that the return of the Lord was imminent in their lifetime. In turbulent times our thinking must always begin with “What is true?” Peter reminds his readers to focus on truth. What did the prophets say. What did Jesus say. Apparently there were those who ridiculed the truth of the Lord’s return saying things were always the same, (a circular view of history). Our day certainly has no lack of mockers of the Christian faith. Paul writes in the book of Romans how these kinds of people deliberately suppress the truth and live by their own made up rules. lThey have their own truth! With the attacks on the Judeo-Christian perspective on life, on marriage, on the life of those babies waiting to be born, and the sexual identity confusion, our age is no different than Peter’s, and we continue to be in the last days. What is completely ignored in our society is the recognition and submission to the power of God’s word. He spoke the world into existence and he will speak the final judgment into occurring. Peter clues us in on God’s view of time. A day as a 1,000 years and 1,000 years as a day is another way of saying God’s dealing with time is completely different from ours. It’s in an entirely different dimension. What we do learn is that God is patient wanting everyone to repent and not face the final judgment. But Peter is very clear. In God’s dimension of time there will be a moment when he will again speak and judgment will come instantly, with a great sound and without warning. Peter wants people to be prepared for that moment when heaven’s timeframe engulfs this world and the heavens above and the earth below are consumed in fire and what we know of this place is no more. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!
Music: ““Comfort, Comfort Now My People” Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln NE
Who can tell what the day may bring forth? Cause me therefore, gracious God, to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I know not but that it may be such. Cause me to live now as I shall wish I had done when I come to die. O grant that I may not die with any guilt on my conscience or any known sin unrepented of, but that I may be found in Christ, who is my only Savior and Redeemer. For it is in his name I make this prayer. Amen. ―Thomas à Kempis, 1380-1471