2 Peter 3:2 "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles."
As Peter was soon to die (1:14), he was driving home the importance of God’s people keeping their minds focused on the written, inspired Scriptures. He himself was writing one final epistle which was inspired by God.
It is clear that this letter is written to believers so they would grow in knowledge (II Peter 3:18). What this means is that we should always be studying and learning new things from God’s Word. We should be studying new books of the Bible and pouring through the great doctrines of the faith. We should use our minds to go after depth levels of understanding.
However, there is a place to also remember certain key doctrines and certain key truth. One of the things that I have had the privilege of studying and teaching multiple times is “Systematic Theology.” I love doctrine. To truly know God, we need to know every book of the Bible and every major doctrine developed in the Bible. I believe those key doctrines need to be studied over and over again.
You may think because you studied it once, you don’t need to do it again. I used to get a big kick out of hearing people lay claim to the fact that they went through some discipleship training manual years ago that really developed their spirituality. I am thankful whenever anyone learns any real truth, but there is no discipleship training manual in existence that will replace knowing these books of the Bible and going over these great doctrines of the faith.
In fact, Peter qualifies what words believers should focus on. There are three Divine sources of inspired words that Peter mentions which really cover all of Scripture:
1. Prophets: I want you to notice that Peter qualifies the prophets by identifying them as “holy prophets”—that is, prophets who have truly been set apart by God. The reason why he does this is because there are always false prophets and false teachers and ministers who have not actually been called and set apart by God. This text clearly challenges us to carefully remember and understand O.T. books of the Bible. The Apostle Paul said the same thing in speaking of the Old Testament. He said “these things happened as examples for us” (I Corinthians 10:6). We need to crawl through the words of the Old Testament and understand them in light of the New Testament.
2. Jesus Christ: If some false teacher says Jesus won’t come back, those who have pure minds that are after pure truth, immediately stick to the Word of God. The apostles were to take the Word of God and communicate it and the people were responsible to hear it, believe it, and obey it—just as Jesus said (Matthew 28:18-20).
3. Apostles: An apostle was the highest-ranked gift that God gave to His Church (I Corinthians 12:28). What Peter is saying is that God has given us as a gift to you to open up truth and we are “your apostles.” Now of course the question we must ask is “just where do we find the words of the prophets and Jesus Christ and apostles?” The answer is, “the inspired, written Scriptures.”
This is a world filled with many heresies and many heretics. What we need to survive this world is a very careful and accurate understanding of God’s Word. May God help us all to use our minds for this exalted purpose.
2 Peter 3:3 "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires."
Most folks who go to church on any given Sunday want to hear about positive things about a God who is good and a God of love (And He is, by the way!). Most never want to hear about a God of destructive, eternal wrath who intends to burn up the heaven and the earth and the godless people. Consequently, churches spring up with ear-tickling ministers who present God as being a God of love who just tolerates everything and appreciates everyone and likes people just the way they are.
What’s the problem? The Bible paints a very different picture of God. The Bible makes it clear that God is a God who will ferociously judge. There are many passages that stress this very point. A person must go where the truth is taught, and either accept this truth and make adjustments in life…or try to dismiss it from his mind and, perhaps even disregard it to the point that he mocks the thought of it.
So, what Peter is saying here is that religious mockers will come (2 Tim. 4:1-6). These people who actually mock God’s Word will be very religious people and, in fact, will be self-appointed ministers. I do not think it is a coincidence that many seminaries are minimizing the Bible and maximizing things like counseling and other things. This is exactly what is predicted to occur in the last days.
God wants us to know in the last days, many religious Bible-mockers will surface who will laugh at and make sport of the fact that the Word of God can be literally believed and interpreted. Frankly, we are living in a day and age in which most churches do not believe the words of Scripture literally. If they did they would go to work on carefully understanding all of the words that are in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We are living in a time when very few want to take God’s Word seriously or interpret it literally. They want to take the Bible and just have it mean what they want it to mean to them. If someone comes along and really knows what the Scriptures are teaching, they are mocked and ridiculed.
Why would they do this? Because they are following their own lusts! And you can’t consistently be in the Word of God or in a church where the Word of God is carefully taught and be comfortable if you are pursuing a bunch of lustful things.
Have you become a religious mocker? Do you take God at His word in His Word?
Father, we praise you for the certain harvest born from the preaching of the gospel today. Your Word never returns void. And so we pray that as hard times come even from within the ranks of our local church, that you would keep our hearts and guard our souls from the evils we face. You are worthy to be praised--with our every thought and deed! In Jesus' name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
Pastor John MacArthur, near the end of a graduation address at The Masters Seminary, said: “Do you know what it takes to be successful in life and ministry? Show up on time and listen to your boss.”
A skeptic would have said, “Well, you need to tell that MacArthur guy that his own God is late. Where is he at? Shouldn’t he have been here by now?”
The real reason they question the return of Jesus Christ is because they have a lifestyle that they know is heading to serious judgment. The moment they concede the Bible is literal and the future return of Jesus Christ is real, is the moment they face the fact that when I face Him I am going to lose.
They try to minimize any thought of the return of Jesus Christ by saying, “they have been saying this for years.” Everything just continues as it always has. They go clear back to “the fathers” which could refer clear back to Adam and include every other believer they know who has died. Their idea is all kinds of people have been saying the world is going to end in judgment since way back in time and nothing has really changed. We have just progressed along and there is nothing we need to worry about.
God’s timing is rarely our time. God's name is Redeemer, his timing is Swiss and he does all things well, not necessarily painlessly, but well. Do you trust Him today—even when people question it?
Father, when others mock and ridicule you for not coming back on their time and terms, please give us patience, love, and boldness to share your Gospel. Jesus, for grace to be gentle and kind, bold and daring, and for wisdom and timing, we trust you today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:5 "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water."
Peter says apparently you have missed something in your Bible reading. You have obviously “neglected” to see something in the Word of God, starting in chapter 1 of the book of Genesis. You may know that you are in the presence of a God-mocker when he attacks Genesis.
Peter says they have apparently forgotten about a couple of episodes that featured a lot of water. God, by His Word, spoke the heavens and the world into existence out of water (Genesis 1:6-10). There was water above and water below and God gathered up the waters and set boundaries for where water would be (Job 38:8; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22).
It is like Peter says: “Not only have you forgotten about God’s power in creation, but you have also forgotten that God spoke something else into existence and used water again. Things have not just continued along from the beginning of creation. You have apparently forgotten about Genesis 6-9 which describes a worldwide flood.
What these leaders forget is that there was a literal time in past history when God got fed up and destroyed the whole world by a flood. In other words, this world has not just continued on without any judgment of God. There was a major judgment and there is coming one even worse than this.
Peter wants God’s people to know that God is the Creator and God is the Judge of His creation. This is the message of the book of Romans, too: The God who is too obvious in creation to be denied as Judge is also far too gracious in Christ to be defeated as Savior.
Creation is groaning for redemption. As are we. But we won't find it in our anger. Only in the peace that passes understanding— Christ himself. So, let's do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with the God who is sovereign over all things. It's our only way "out."
Father, help us to remember your faithfulness in the past as well as the present. All things that were written in the past were meant to encourage us in the present—even the hard things of floods and such. Thank you, Lord, that you take sin seriously—and you took ours so seriously that Jesus took all the wrath we deserve. We praise you that nothing changes you. You are the holy God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:6 "By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed."
This is a short verse, but I just want to say a few things about the judgments of God.
1. All roads lead to the same place: the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:12; Heb. 9:27). Whether you live in a sprawling urban complex, the quiet suburbs, or the distant rural area, we will all stand before the living God. Peter’s first letter (4:17) reminds us: “For it is time for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
2. Mercy is NOT getting what we DO deserve—God's judgment. Grace is getting what we DON'T deserve—God's love. Any judgment of God—both temporal and eternal—fits this bill. In mercy and in judgment, God always acts to uphold and vindicate the glory and honor of his name. ""... that day when, according to my gospel, God judges ..."" (Romans 2:16). The gospel includes judgment. Part of the good news.
3. If we have a small sense of the judgment of God against us, we will also have a small sense of the mercy of God in Christ. When we feel irritation at the thought of God's judgment of us, that moment is our most arrogant, putting us above God. Real repentance is taking God's side against yourself: ""... so that You may be blameless in your judgment"" (Psalm 51:4).
4. God’s judgment never ends for those without Christ…but for those in Christ, our trials do. You have no privacy, no seclusion. None. ""God will bring every secret thing into judgment, whether good or evil"" (Eccl. 12:14). God's condemnation of sin is ultimately revealed in the final judgment, when the unrepentant sinner is exposed, weighed, and exiled to hell.
5. On Judgment Day, even the damned will declare: ""God is just!"" He will be exalted in judgment and prove Himself holy in righteousness (Is. 5:16). Why are men unmoved by future judgment? 1) Seared conscience; 2)Self-righteousness; 3)Low view of God; 4) Theme is rarely preached in pulpit.
Heavy enough for you? Christian, remember the Gospel: Christ bore His people's sin before the judgment bar of God. There He stood unprotected & vulnerable to every recourse of divine judgment. On Calvary, Jesus came to know the terrifying sound of judgment’s trumpet as He hung in the shadow of God’s unbearable frowning countenance. Oh, what a God!
"Father, today's verse, though short, reminds us even in brief what you said about judgment. Lord, help me to remember that you quenched the judgment due upon my head by dying on the cross for my sin. There is nothing that separates us from the love of God in Christ, your Son. You are the worthy one. Be glorified today! We love you - we praise you. In Jesus' name. Amen."
2 Peter 3:7 "By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly."
If you knew that something terrible was going to happen, what would you do? Would you warn others? Would you keep it to yourself? What if no one believed you? Or, perhaps, only a few did?
Welcome to the dilemma of the Christian in every day, age, and culture. The world doesn’t know—or, to some degree—refuses to acknowledge that the present heavens and earth are heading to a worse future judgment. Right now, we are being “reserved for fire.”
Peter says the same God that used water for judgment has another judgment stored up that He will speak into existence. There is another future judgment coming in which God is not only going to judge the earth but heaven too.
This won’t be another water judgment; this will be a fire judgment. There is coming a future judgment of fire in which God will burn up the heavens and the earth and all ungodly people. There is a verse of Scripture in Habakkuk 2:3 which states exactly the same time principle. Time is moving toward God’s goal and He won’t fail to bring His judgment to pass.
Now I want you to think for a moment about the different kinds of fire that God has available. There is fire that can burn wood; there is the electrical fire of lightening; there is fire that burns the sun; and, there is the unquenchable fire of hell. God has a lot of fire to work with and He says there is coming a day in which He will destroy the heaven and earth and ungodly people with His fire.
Yes, it is really true and you can build your life on it: God really is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb. 13:8). God is the One who was, and is, and is to come, never changing in His person, attributes, purposes, word, and judgments, forever the same. Why won’t you trust Him today?
Father, your word is sure. In a world of false teaching that denies today's devotional, may we be reminded of the objective standard of your Word, character, and ways. You are the everlasting God! We can trust you! You gave your all for us so that we might find our all in you. Help me by your grace and Spirit to do this today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
2 Peter 3:8 "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."
Today’s verse outlines what we need to remember about God’s eternal calculation of time. Peter begins by saying past judgment has escaped the mockers’ notice (3:5). Yet, don’t let God’s timing of things escape your notice. We need to notice how it is that God calculates time. Never forget this: Delay from our perspective (prayers, Christ’s return, etc.) is really no delay from God’s perspective. It is all part of the plan.
Now there are two specific time realties that God wants us to understand here, I believe Before we look at these points, we need to observe that Peter doesn’t say “a day is a thousand years” or “a thousand years is a day.” What he says is, with God it is “as” or “like” this. This is important because there are those who try to suggest that the “day” in Genesis 1 isn’t a real 24-hour day, but millions of years. The Apostle Peter says this in the context of the mocking of the return of Jesus Christ.
Reality 1: With the triune God, one day to Him is as a thousand years to us. The time clock started ticking at Genesis 1:1—and it is still ticking to this very hour. Time to God isn’t what it is to us. To us humans, a day seems short and a thousand years would seem to be a long time. To God, though, a thousand years is short. When it comes to the matter of time in regard to the eternal God, we mustn’t be confused about this. God can do in one day what we couldn’t do in 1,000 years. We have not been able to fix this world in 2,000 years, but God can take care of it in one or two days—or less.
Reality 2: With the Lord, one thousand years to us is as one day to Him.
Psalm 90:4 (KJV) says, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.”
Peter says, “I want you to know that when it comes to the return of Jesus Christ, a long time to us is not a long time to God.” Since it has now been about 2,000 years since Christ ascended into heaven, when Christ returns, from God’s perspective, it will be like the day before yesterday.
You may be reading this today and you are a believer and you were involved in some sin five, ten, or twenty years ago and you never did face it and you never did try to make it right or resolve it. And, humanly, you just assume because you have forgotten it, so has God. Keep this in your mind: God doesn’t forget and even though it may have been twenty years ago. No, to Him it was like a couple of hours ago.
If you aren’t a believer in Jesus Christ (thanks for joining us!), you need to know that when it comes to your sin and your guilt, time makes absolutely no difference at all. When Jesus Christ returns, it will be like He was only gone a couple days. But when He judges, one day of judgment will mean an eternity for those judged.
A hundred years, a thousand years is short compared to eternity. Eternity leaves every age infinitely behind. Are you prepared in Christ?
Father, on your schedule, all things will be beautiful and all things will be made new. Make your time frame ours. Please, we beg you! At just the right time you died for sinners such as. Come, Lord Jesus, come! In your name. Amen.