Lord, we remain fully awake.
Read 2 PETER 3:8–18
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. 9 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.
10 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.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 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. 16 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.
17 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. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
a 2 Peter 3:10 Some manuscripts be burned up
b 2 Peter 3:12 Or as you wait eagerly for the day of God to come
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!” (Andraé Crouch, 1942–2015). Lord, inspire us afresh today with the hope of Your return.
Yesterday we explored the promise of Jesus’ return, yet unfulfilled for Peter’s audience and indeed for us. Here, Peter explains that, if the day of judgment and triumph has not yet appeared, it is because God has not finished his primary work, that of drawing people into relationship with himself. God is patient and doesn’t want anyone to be ignorant of his ways and face judgment, but rather to repent and discover his grace.
Here, as in most places in the New Testament, a focus on the end times is used to inspire godliness in the present: “Eschatology leads to ethics” (Douglas J. Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 218). As God is holding off the final consummation of all things, Peter encourages his audience to make sure they use the time they have effectively: “live holy and godly lives” (11); “be found spotless, blameless and at peace” with God (14). The injunction to do this is imperative because, although God has been heretofore patient, the return of Jesus remains imminent—and will, “like a thief” (10), come without warning or expectation.
In addressing how we should live, Peter is, of course, returning to the theme with which he opened the letter—growing in grace and holiness. As we look forward in hope to Jesus’ glorious return, we also anticipate a new heaven and new earth “where righteousness dwells” (13). We therefore should make every effort to cooperate with God by growing in our knowledge of and love for Jesus (18) and so be transformed into God’s likeness. We are to take up the “means of grace,” as Wesley put it, or “spiritual disciplines,” for they ensure that our lives form the best environment for the spiritual growth Peter encourages and God longs to see.
“May the mind of Christ, my Savior, / live in me from day to day, / by his love and pow’r controlling / all I do and say” (Kate B. Wilkerson, 1859–1928).
Lord, thank You for Your longsuffering toward humankind because, like You, we don’t desire that any perish.
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