2 Peter 3:12 As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
Pastor Adrian “Golden Throat” Rogers quipped: ""You can save a lot of time by waiting on God.""
Isn’t that the truth? So often we get in a rush to timestamp Christ’s return or force his hand when all things are not ready in his perfect timing.
Waiting, though difficult, is key to our Christian lives. The basic posture of the Christian life is waiting. Whether we're waiting for a spouse, child, job, etc. It's all training us to wait for heaven.
Let us remind ourselves here that we're not waiting for the end of the world but for its rebirth. We're not waiting for “pie in the sky,” but for Jesus, the resurrected King, on the earth. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
""Christ will appear a second time to save those who are eagerly waiting for him"" (Hebrews 9:28).
Also, thankfully, we're not waiting for Jesus to become King of kings and Lord of lords. He already is! All the world seems to be waiting for something big to happen someday. Knowing this fact, our aim is to tell them about that day and help prepare them for it.
""Let justice roll down like waters & righteousness like an ever-flowing stream"" (Amos 5:24). Nothing is truly sorted until the Day of the Lord. “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!“ (Isaiah 13:6). In Christ is safety. But it still comes.
Are you preparing actively, patiently, and intentionally for the return of the Lord? Share the Gospel. Love the church God has placed you in to his glory. Read Romans 12 and reflect on it.
“The day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11).
Father, how easily we, like little children, get impatient for your coming day. Lord, our souls cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” But, Father, truthfully, we often pray for this but we aren’t anticipating it and living holy lives as Peter tells us here. Thank you that your grace is sufficient even for this task. Father, guard us from date setting, but may we be about your business today for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:13 "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."
Here lies another promise of God himself. Not Lennon's "Imagine" but God's promise. God does not lie about how difficult it is to do life in this world. But what is promised exactly as we face this reality?
(By the way, as an aside, I would encourage you to read a classic devotional by Charles Spurgeon entitled “Faith’s Checkbook.” He takes 365 promises of the Bible to God’s people and applies them. Older English, but you can find it free online.)
First, a “new heavens and a new earth.” God promised a wonderful creation when Jesus comes again (See: Isa. 65:17; I Cor. 2:9; Mt. 19:28; Rom. 8:17- 23; Rev. 21:2). The old world will be changed and made “new” in the sense of renewing or reviving, bringing to greater life. The idea is that the creation remains heaven and earth, but its glory and richness of life are so much more.
The refining fire will purge the present creation of all the effects of sin: no more curse.
Second, these new heavens and new earth is “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” The only dwellers of the new creation are those God declared to be righteous merely of grace in Christ. There will be no unrighteous there, nor will the righteous do any more unrighteousness. “Righteousness” means that we are justified and that we will be dwelling with God (Rev. 21:3). Everything will be peace and fullness of joy.
There are some things God cannot do. God cannot lie, nor act contrary to Himself. He will fulfill his promise—just as he did for you in Christ to forgive all of your sin. You can trust him. Are you?
Father, help us not to buy the lie that you make all things better. You make all things new, just as you have made us new creatures in Christ. Thank you, Lord, to that we can reject the lie that people or situations must change before we can experience you. You know our hearts. You know we struggle here. Thank you that grace always runs with power where truth is told. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:14 "Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace"
.As we enter the last few verses of Second Peter, we have come to a crossroads. Peter uses the “Therefore.” Good Bible study always asks what the “Therefore” is, well, there for.
Perhaps in view here is the fact that Peter urged his readers to be diligent to make their calling and election sure by examining their lives for proof of Christian virtue (2 Pet, 1:5-10). God's calling is irrevocable, his purposes sure, his promises kept, his love unfailing, and his power inexhaustible. What are we worried about?
“Be diligent” has been a key in this entire book and is a key command here. Diligence is necessary to grow in the Lord. Here are at least three areas to be diligent in today.
1. In your position before God. How will you be found when Jesus returns? Are you at peace with God? This peace, of course, comes only through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Make sure of your position in Christ. Make sure you are truly saved by seeking him, submitting to him, and serving him. You must repent and believe the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-8).
2. Be diligent in your purity from God. “Without spot” here doesn’t mean that you are sinless this side of heaven. Rather, it something that reflects the character of Christ (James 1:27). Do you desire to keep your thought, mind, deeds, and words pure in this world to Christ’s glory?
3. Be diligent in your practice for God. “Blameless” here is a tad different than “without spot” above. The latter refers to purity on the inside, while the former refers to purity on the outside. This takes effort, work, and discipline (1 Tim. 4:8).
God has given us time to prepare for eternity. Be diligent with your time. Be diligent in your walk with God. Yes, it takes effort, hard work, and personal application to the truth. But it is what our God, who, by the way, forgave your sins as far as the east is from the west.
Father, free us for the hard and heart work of reconciliation today, in light of the Day of no more brokenness. Help us to be diligent to reconcile any relationships here that are broken in the body of Christ. Father, as you know, the only way we will work hard at forgiving others forom our hearts is when we’re convinced you have forgiven us from your heart. And you have! Father, glorify your name today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:15 "And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him."
Peter is giving an important truth that we need to let sink into our hearts and minds. This truth should govern every aspect of our present life and needs to dominate our thinking.
“Count the patience of our Lord as salvation.”
Truth is a priority of the Lord. When the timing of the Lord’s return seems so far, or when it seems like he will never come, or when it seems like the false teachers and scoffers of chapter two are correct, remember: Many of the things that seem to contradict God's goodness will actually prove to be conduits of his grace. Patience! God's patience is inexhaustible. So thankful, aren’t you?
The fact that God has not returned yet to judge the world, destroy the world, or setup his new creation shows his patience, perseverance, loving-kindness, and grace. God’s patience is salvation to the lost—providing more time to repent and believe the Gospel. God will call all of his elect home (2 Pet. 3:9).
But God’s patience is also salvation to his lambs. Christian, don’t be in such a hurry for heaven because God has given us time here to prepare for eternity. You have salvation from the power of sin and the pleasure of sin. Prepare for heaven now as you wait until you die or he returns!
Shock someone today with the unlimited patience of God, his great love for sinners, and his big, wide-welcoming heart. God is faithful in wisdom, holiness, patience and grace. Now go out and live like you really believe it.
Father, for your great patience and forbearance with us today, we thank you. For our lack of the same toward other people in our lives, forgive us. We do count your patience as our salvation. Father, we know that you should have locked us all up, so to speak, and thrown at the key. We don’t deserve one lick of your grace. Yet, at just the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. You are amazing and awesome. Thank you, Lord! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:16 "As he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures."
There are many reasons we ought to be concerned with our spiritual growth:
1. It's closely connected to our own comfort and assurance.
2. It's intimately related to our usefulness to others.
3. It's necessarily connected to the amount of glory and honor we give Christ in and through our lives—spiritual growth is important.
In each and every Christian, there is a need for growth (2 Peter 3:18). Verses 17 and 18 are obviously connected—in v=17 we have a warning (beware) and in 18 we have an exhortation (grow).
But before he gets there, Peter confesses that some of the things Paul wrote was difficult to understand, and was being twisted by false teachers. Yes, we should grow, but even the Apostle Peter admits that some things are hard to get and understand! In light of that he warns—"beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness"—that is—fall like the false teachers.
The word "steadfastness" refers to—"an unwavering commitment to Christ and truth"—"to be firmly set on Him..." The danger of being led away with error is how people fall from their steadfastness, and, consequently, they are led away by error. That is, the error of the false can concern either a central doctrine or a practice of life.
False teachers promote one of two kinds of error. The first has to do with key doctrines—the person and work of Christ. But other false teachers promote deviant lifestyles, for example, today many teach sodomy as a lawful lifestyle. Either way, if their error concerns key doctrines or deviant lifestyles, they lead people away from the truth.
We sometimes divide about those things the Bible isn't as clear about while ignoring those things it is entirely clear about. To affirm the clarity of Scripture is not to affirm the position that every part of the Bible is easy to understand. This is why we study.
We must stake our lives upon the fact that the gospel is the power of God for salvation and share it with the greatest clarity and boldness. Bible students are like deep sea divers. We must plunge to the depths of the biblical text to find the pearls that lay on the bottom. Growing deep in God is not same as growing wide in Bible knowledge; it's learning to apply Gospel to deep idols of our hearts.
Are you up for the task?
Father, admittedly, the Scripture is sometimes hard to understand, swallow, and live out. Father, thank you that you have not left us with your Holy Spirit—God Himself!—our brothers and sisters, and the faithful witness and teachings of those in the past. Lord, let us not grow weary in our study and application of your word as some were in Peter’s day. As we await your coming, let us be all the diligent to make your Word top priority personally, in our churches, families, and everywhere we are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:17 "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability."
Continual spiritual growth is the effective safeguard against being led into error of the wicked and falling into sin. What a reminder that the Bible's so shallow a baby Christian can wade with no fear of drowning and so deep a theologian can swim and never touch bottom.
Today, I felt compelled to just make some pithy statements about spiritual growth and its relation to false teaching. May God give us discernment here.
1. Every study of Christian spiritual growth shows that the number one transformative catalyst is Bible study. This shouldn't surprise us. If are not faithfully taking in the Scripture, we will be carried away by every wind of doctrine that comes our way.
2. Real spiritual growth happens as we continually rediscover the gospel (1 Cor. 15). This is why referred to this as “first importance” in all the things he said to the crazy church at Corinth. Each generation must rediscover and apply the gospel to their own time. The God of the Gospel and the Gospel itself have never changed.
3. Spiritual growth isn't measured on some sort of heavenly growth chart but by our increasing trust in Christ and decreasing trust in self. In spiritual growth, there must be a daily crucifixion, ever dying to self, and an ongoing resurrection, ever being raised in power. Is this a reality in your life?
4. The truest mark of spiritual growth is that we are growing in our love for God and love for others. We can learn all the Bible facts, present all the truth in the world, and be a conference speaker, but if we have not love, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13). Does your hunger for biblical truth keep pace with your practical love for those in the household of God (Eph. 4:1-10)?
5. Self-pity is the enemy to all spiritual growth. Look, friend, Jesus still loves you if you are 4 weeks behind on your Bible-in-a-year plan. But don’t settle. Don’t take his grace for granted. Run hard after the One who gave his life for you.
Our spiritual growth will develop in direct proportion to our hunger for, intake, and digestion of God's word. Examine where you are today and take it to the Lord. These days demand it!
Father, it seems like years since we have grown in the ways that we know we need to grow. Help us, by your grace and Spirit, to not settle for second-rate, cultural, and, perhaps, American Christianity. Let us get back to the Bible, your presence, your people, and spreading your message. There is no greater joy! This is what it is all about - Father, remind us today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen"
As we close out Second Peter, I pray that you have been challenged. Challenged to remember what Christ has done for you (chapter one). Challenged to fight and recognize false teaching and teachers (chapter two). And challenged to prepare for eternity and grow in the Lord (chapter three). As with any study, there is so much to this letter we didn’t cover. But I pray you have grown closer to the Lord through it.
In this final verse, like yesterday, let me give you some short reminders for our faith:
1. “Grow in grace" (2 Peter 3:18). It doesn't say, "Grow beyond grace." That would be impossible. Your best days are never so good as to put you beyond the need of God’s grace.
We never graduate from the Gospel of grace because we never cease being weak, broken, wounded, sinners in need of a Savior.
2. Not perfection, but progress. After so many years in the Lord’s family, I have made so little progress. Yet, failure has a positive result: Less confidence in self and more confidence in Christ. That is what Peter seems to be getting out, in part, here. A good test of your progress in the faith: Do I love the word, trust the word, and know the word more than a year ago?
3. Know this grace and knowledge more deeply. Treasure it more intensely. Act it more sacrificially. Food reminds us that we're created to be dependent on something outside of ourselves for life. Every bite reminds of our need for grace. The same is true
4. Long-term Christianity is filled with sweetness. I haven't had near the troubles of so many others, but I have come to a bitter enough end to know the enduring sweetness of Jesus. Take time to savor the sweetness of salvation -- and Jesus, its author -- today.
Brothers and sisters, the cross is by nature offensive (1 Cor. 1:18). We can only grasp its sweetness if we first grapple with its offense. That is beginning of all spiritual growth in Christ. Hearing the commandments of God as sweetness to the soul. That is what it means to love God. Read 1 John 5:3 and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ!
Father, there is no greater sweetness than knowing that you we can never outrun you, exhaust you, or overcome you. You are strong to save and faithful in love. My debt is paid and the victory is won. Lord, you are our salvation! Oh, how we thank you! May all we learned in these 60 verses be life-transforming, God-glorifying truth in our lives and for advancement of your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.