2 Peter 3 reminds us of what is to come. Peter tells us to “remember the predictions” of the prophets and realize that “scoffers will come in the last days….following their own sinful desires”. We are going to have folks going around and teaching things that just aren’t so. How do we know what truth is? By knowing what the Bible says. That is the only barometer we have. These folks will “deliberately overlook….that the heavens existed long ago….the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God….the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished”. They will ignore and revise history. They do so willingly – not because they don’t know better – but so they can change it to fit their needs. We must pay attention and know what is true so we are not led astray!
Sometimes we get impatient but remember that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. He is not in a hurry – certainly not on our timeline. God has a plan. He will execute it in due time. His motivation for patience is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance”. God wants all of us to be saved. It won’t happen because we have free will and to be saved we must be willing to put self off the throne and put Jesus on it. But God’s desire – and his willingness to wait – is driven by His heart of love. He wants to save the world. That isn’t just a noble cause – it is His heart. As we wait we must remember to “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace”. We do need to live His way as we wait for His return. In fact Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. It’s about the relationship we have with Jesus. We shouldn’t just coast and do whatever we want. We need to be growing and becoming like Jesus.
When He comes – it will be a surprise to all of us. Peter writes that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed”. Big change is coming when Jesus returns. We won’t have any warning – so we can’t just sit around thinking we will get our act together when we know He is on the way. He will come unannounced and will take control of all things. All things will be made clear – even those things we have hidden and even thought we got away with. He will expose it all – deal with sin – and turn the world upside down. Jesus is coming again my friends. Are you ready? Have you dealt with Him so you will be part of His return?
2 Peter 2 talks about the reality of sin. Peter makes it clear that we aren’t going to escape. God is not going to have second thoughts about how He will deal with sin. “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment”. There will be a price to be paid for sin. There is no getting off without that price being paid in full. If the angels couldn’t get away with it – what makes you think we can? We can’t and in fact – the judgment day is coming. What happens if we don’t deal with our sin problem? “For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved”. It isn’t going to be pretty. There is no question why Jesus had to go to the cross. It was to pay the price for our sin – to set us free with His grace and mercy. Are you free indeed?
We do have a problem. We have “eyes full of adultery….insatiable for sin…. hearts trained in greed”. Our sin nature is strong. It is not something we can overcome on our own. But make no mistake about it – sin is a choice. It happens this way according to scripture: “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray”. Sin isn’t accidental. It happens when we choose to forsake the right way – God’s way. It is no mere accident. It is eyes wide open choice – and the willingness we have to follow our own way. It happens when we allow our flesh to be enticed by sensual passion. We follow bad advice and examples. “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption”. We can only follow God’s direction if we want to live the right way. He alone gives us clear instruction on how to live a holy and godly life.
Here is the reality – we become a slave to sin. Scripture says it this way: “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved”. We have to choose to not allow things to become our master. It can be good things – but anything that takes God’s place of being most important in our lives is slavery. What are you a slave to? Work? TV? A hobby? Money? There are dozens of things that can take control of our lives – but if we are going to walk with God we have to remember always that we choose what is most important. We choose what matters. We choose to follow God and not give in to sin. Is it ok to know God and then fall away? Not exactly according to scripture. “For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them”. Sin is serious business. It matters a lot. Peter makes it clear in this chapter that we have to work hard at avoiding the choices that will drag us into a bad place. Run from sin. Choose holiness!
Peter’s second letter contains some powerful truth for us. He begins by reminding us what effect “His divine power” has on us. He tells us it has “granted to us” some things – “all things that pertain to life and godliness….. his precious and very great promises”. What does it mean when we are granted something. It is given to us – it is for our well being – we don’t have to repay Him. God has given us much through His grace. We have all we need – life and godliness and promises. We can live victoriously in His power. It is ours for the taking. Have you latched on to that?
Peter goes on to give us a series of character qualities that we should grab onto to escape the corruption of the world around us. It is these things that allow us to put off the old nature. These are the new nature we need to use to “supplement our faith”. Check out the progression here:
– “faith with virtue
– virtue with knowledge
– knowledge with self-control
– self-control with steadfastness
– steadfastness with godliness
– godliness with brotherly affection
– brotherly affection with love”
Do you see the progression from faith to love? Seven characteristics of a godly person. They grow upon each other. We need them all to truly achieve what God intends for our life. Too often we just think as a Christ Follower we need faith – that is enough. But Peter reminds us here that how we live matters – our life speaks volumes and should exhibit these traits. Do you walk with faith….virtue….knowledge…..self control…..steadfastness….godliness….brotherly affection….love? That is what God desires and requires.
The list has an outcome we need to understand too. If we have these things “they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful”. Does that mean that those who are not bearing fruit probably are missing a few, or most of these? Unfortunately it probably has some relationship. Wonder why your life doesn’t result in regular fruit bearing? Look in the mirror and see how you are doing with these things. Peter goes on to say “whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins”. That pretty well summarizes it and smacks us between the eyes. If we aren’t living like this – we are missing God’s truth in our life. We are failing His call. Our response should be to “be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure….for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”. Pretty powerful promise eh? If you do this you will NEVER fall. Want to live with some assurance – live a life like Peter writes about here.
Peter ends the chapter reminding us how powerful scripture is for our lives. “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” We have the written Word of God. It is given to us to turn on the light and shine in the darkness and show us how to live. It is the greatest gift we have from God. How much can we depend on it? We must never forget that “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. God’s Word is God breathed, God inspired, God stamped. It is all from God and was given to us to give us a roadmap for living. Have you spent the time learning it? Are you reading it daily? It is the way we find out how to live for Him. Don’t miss the map. Get into God’s Word today!