Reader: “He does not want anyone to be destroyed,”
Response: “but wants everyone to repent.”
Scripture: II Peter 3:1-18
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.
Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.
Have you ever heard of the word “uniformitarianism?” Remember it the next time you do crossword or play Scrabble! Big points (24)! Put simply it means―all things continue the same without interruption. In other words, the world continues on and on, bungling its way forever with good and bad stretches. If we are not careful, we can be lulled into thinking that there will always be wars, disease, and strife. You may be feeling that way today. Where is God in this?
In this passage, Peter addresses an issue his readers are facing. There were those who were mocking the promise that Jesus is coming again. They were firm uniformitarians! Many people in our world today would hold the same view. The thought of Christ returning, bringing this world to an end and establishing his kingdom, is nothing more than a fanciful thought. Actually, it really is not on anyone’s radar. Peter is challenging his readers and us with the falsity of that perspective or belief. He then proceeds to lay out his case.
First, he challenges his readers to remember what the holy prophets of the Old Testament said and what Jesus himself said through the apostles. (Jude 1:17 says the same thing. Jude and II Peter have many similar phrases. They were apparently aware of each other’s writing.) The scoffers then and now deliberately forget what God did at creation. Bottom line, the only Uncreated Being (GOD) created the heavens and the earth and everything that exists.* Not only did he create, he is still active in his creation. God is engaged in our world today, November 29th, lest we be tempted to think that he is not involved in the events of this morning, this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow.
(*I highly recommend the book, Is Atheism Dead, by Eric Metaxas)
And why does God care? In Peter’s words, “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent before the final judgment.” With judgment comes destruction. The world is going to be totally destroyed and God will create a new heavens and a new earth. As you and I face the pressures and problems of this day, Peter’s words are those of encouragement and truth. How so? Fear and uncertainty can tug at us daily. We are unsettled. I see people all around me “off center.” Conflicting information abounds! Who do we trust? Peter gives us godly help. While we wait for the great day of the Lord’s return, do your best to live a peaceful, pure life that is righteous before God. Notice how the events of the day don’t pull us off course when we are centered on Christ? Our perspective is consciously eternal. What’s taking so long for Jesus to return? The Lord is giving people time to repent, but it won’t last forever!
Be at peace and live in the Truth. Uniformitarianism is a lie! Jesus is coming back.
PS. According to Peter, apparently Paul’s letters to various churches were considered Scripture already.
Music: “Advent Hymn” Christy Nockels
O Lord Jesus, so many things swirl around us pulling at us in varying ways. We worry about what is happening in the world. At times we are fearful and lose focus. Many voices tell us conflicting things. We are often disappointed at those who are leading us, either in our country or in our churches. It’s hard to find and hear your voice at times. Thank you for these words of Peter reminding us that you are in charge of this world. Your hand is at work even now in the events that transpire. Give us the perspective that they are not unravelling but unfolding under your masterful hands. Help us to live in peace this day and in purity of heart, resting in you our Lord and Savior who with the Father and Holy Spirit reign one God who owns all of time. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp