2 Peter 3:1-18
Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 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.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 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.” 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. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 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.
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. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 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. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
In his commentary on 2 Peter, J.V. McGee divides this chapter into three major divisions: “1. The attitude toward the return of the Lord as a test of apostates; 2. The agenda of God for the world; and 3. The admonition to believers.”
The “scoffers” mentioned in verse three are the false teachers Paul warned about in chapter two. These false teachers will be “following their own evil desires” instead of following the Word of God. If a person is willing to forsake his/her sins and is willing to receive Christ, God will make His Word real to them.
As proof of their superior knowledge, these scoffers point to the second coming of Jesus. They adopt the attitude that nothing unusual has happened in the past. Therefore, let’s just keep doing what we have been doing. Peter will challenge this attitude by writing about the past world, the present world, and the future world in light of Christ’s first and second coming.
Considering the certain and imminent return of Christ to set up His kingdom here on earth, Peter encourages his readers to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with God” when that day arrives. As followers of Christ, we are called to live holy lives in the here and now. We are to live lives that are separated unto God. We are to live our lives as if the return of Christ were to happen at any moment.
While we wait for that glorious day, we need to keep in mind that, “our Lord’s patience means salvation.” His patience in delaying His return is providing an opportunity for people to be saved. In his commentary on 2 Peter, J.V. McGee writes, “Our patient waiting is a mental adjustment to the present world situation.” We do not need to be alarmed by all the unrest in our world today. God is still on His throne. God is still sovereign. God is gong to make it all right one day.
Because Peter’s readers already knew these things, he writes, “be on your guard so that you will not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.” We need to seriously study the Word of God so that we will not be easily influenced by false teachers. We are to continually “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The knowledge that Peter is writing about here is not information concerning a formula or ritual, nor is it some secret password as the Gnostics claimed. It is to know Jesus Christ as He is revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.
Questions to Ponder
Outside of your faith, what is really worthwhile in this earth today? What are your goals? As a believer, what is really the object of your life? What does it mean “to live for God”? How do you feel about the patience of God? Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus?
- Worship the Lord for His sovereignty, patience, kindness, and justice.
- His Word tells us to be holy as He is holy. Submit your mind, words, eyes, heart, body, and relationships to Him afresh.
- Invite Him to bring to your attention anything or anyone that draws you away from the Lord. Confess that to Him and pray for someone you can share with to lovingly hold you accountable.
- Pray for your “Top 3” – 3 people that you are praying for to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Ask the Lord to draw them with His kindness.
Holy Father, Righteous Father, I pray for myself and Your church in America. Help us to live for You, walk in the light, and reflect Your love to those around us. Help each of us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You, oh God, for You tell us this is our spiritual act of worship. Help us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of You, Lord. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.