November 30 Wednesday
Reader: “He does not want anyone to be destroyed,”
Response: “but wants everyone to repent.”
Scripture: 2 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 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.
I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that 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.
Some thoughts: This is a portion of a letter written by the Apostle Peter to Christians who were living in a society and culture that laughed at Christian faith, criticized their morality as being “judgmental,” and mocked any talk of “Christ’s return.” They openly mocked the Christian life-style and values. Does this perspective sound unusually relevant? (Whoever said we have to make the Bible relevant? It seems to be quite relevant all by itself without our help.)
For many people, Christians included, this idea of the Lord’s Return seems almost like a fairy tale. If they believe in God at all, the general thought is that the world just goes on and on like always. When we die, it’s over . . . nothing more. We’re planted in the ground. That’s it.
Peter reminds his readers and us that God made the world and that he, as its Creator, will bring it to a conclusion. Sometimes I have to admit, I selfishly wish Jesus would return and end this whole thing right now. But here we are given some insight into God’s own loving heart and his reason for not ending it right now. Embarrassingly, it appears he has much more love for people than I do.
God’s view time is completely different from ours. What we do see multiple times here is God’s patience, his desire to give all people time to repent even though some people may regard Christ’s return as a “fantasy of epic proportions.” But God’s patience is not infinite. Judgment, the Day of the Lord, does come swiftly and without warning.
During these early days of Advent, do something a little different, ask one of your friends how they think the world will end. Then be ready when they ask you! The world needs to hear the gospel. It behooves us to always keep God’s biggest story in mind. Ask yourself, “what can I do, say, or be today that will register in eternity? Live today with the end in mind.
Music: “The King Shall Come” Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Prayer:Before the mountains were brought forth or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. Our Father, our Creator, your hand is the source of everything that is from the beginning and your hand will bring everything to completion at the end. We thank and praise you for your uncommon patience in giving each person time to repent and appropriate the saving grace of Jesus Christ. May there be many people in this season who turn their hearts towards you. This we pray through our Savior and Coming King, Jesus Christ. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp