2 Peter 3:1-18
Assurance is hard to come by. We hope the economy will get better, but there is no guarantee. We hope for good health, but sickness comes. We hope our relationships will be strong, but many time we struggle and hurt those we care about. Some of the things we hope for either don’t happen or don’t happen on our time schedule. When Jesus was talking to His disciples about the hard times they would experience when He would be betrayed, falsely convicted, and killed on a cross He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33) Jesus is our source of peace and hope. Peter was there when Jesus said those words. Now at the end of 2 Peter, he is writing as “reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking” and to remind them what the Word of God says (2 Peter 3:1-2). By searching and studying the Word of God, we can live with assurance that God is in control and hold the future in His hand.
Peter warns the reader that there will be “scoffers” in the last days. Scoffers are individuals who show contempt for the Word of God and the people of God. During the time of the writing of 2 Peter, these scoffers challenged the second coming of Jesus saying, “Where is this coming he promised?” (2 Peter 3:4) Peter is continuing to defend the faith and the Word of God and offers the answer to this question. He reminds the reader that God created the Heavens and Earth. He is in control of creation and sets the timeline of history by His pleasure and plan. Peter describes how this creation is being reserved for a day of judgment and will see the destruction of ungodly men.
These scoffers question God’s timing and the validity of the claim that Christ will come again. The way we experience time is different than the way God experiences time. Peter writes, “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.” (2 Peter 3:8) This verse is sometimes used to interpret the length of days of the creation account in Genesis. In the context of this passage, Peter is not explaining the length of creation, but how God is above time. We live in the confinement of time, but God does not.
Peter then writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Once Jesus comes again, the opportunity for people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Him will be over. For this reason, Peter writes about God’s patience with those who don’t know Him. Believers in Christ live to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world while looking forward to His coming.
Peter describes the “Day of the Lord.” New Testament writers used the term “Day of the Lord” to point to Christ’s final victory and the final judgment of sinners. (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary) Pastor Hank will be describing this day during his series through the book of Revelation.
Since this day of judgment is coming, Peter describes the kind of people we should be when he asks the question, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” (2 Peter 3:11)
Peter answers this question:
- To live holy and godly lives. 2 Peter 3:11
- Look forward to the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, 14
- Speed his coming by sharing the Gospel with all nations. 2 Peter 3:12
- Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. 2 Peter 3:14
- Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men. 2 Peter 3:17
- Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
Peter’s love for the church is evident as he writes to “stimulate” the church to wholesome thinking and action. Relying on the Word of God leads to assurance that God is in control. His is neither early nor late. He is perfectly on time and His purposes and His people will endure whatever future holds.