Are you looking forward to his coming or dreading it?
We are the same in a sense as the Old Testament saints in regard to waiting for God’s
coming. The Children of Israel waited for the first coming of the Messiah (and unfortunately they still are). We believers in Christ are waiting for his second coming with the same anticipation. Also, just as the children of Israel could not force their way into Canaan after Moses turned them back to the desert to die (Numbers 14:40-45), so too, there is no way that we by our own efforts, are able to work our way into heaven. In the mean time, we only have our short lives to receive God’s mercy and salvation as we wait for Christ’s return. However, there are still many people who need to hear of God’s salvation before His return. I for one am glad that he has waited this long… so that I could have the chance to hear. Do you know anyone who has not heard of his salvation? Are you speeding his coming by telling them? His appearing is waiting for the full number of the Gentiles to be saved. We just don’t know what that number will be or who will be that last one. Let this thought stimulate our thinking and change our worldview, after all he may be waiting for you to be the one to tell that last one.
The Day of the Lord
3 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 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.
3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 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. 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 in it will be laid bare. 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. 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, the home of righteousness. 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 already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men 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.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who is coming again. And I AM the God who punishes wickedness, I never just threaten. You can learn from history of my faithfulness to my promises so that you can trust me when I say, I am going to come again bringing my reward and to punish the wicked. However, “I do not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.” “I do not want any to perish but all to come to me in repentance.” I AM the patient, merciful God who is waiting for you to decide. I have given you your lifetime to hear my word and to decide whether or not to choose me. But I will not wait forever, and you don’t know when your last day on earth will be. I gave the inhabitants of Noah’s day 120 years to repent before I sent the flood but to no avail. When I had Abraham rescue Lot, he also rescued the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah when they were taken captive at the same time. So in essence I gave them a second chance at life, but it wasn’t long before I rained fire and brimstone down on their wickedness. I am also giving you your allotment of years in this life to choose me. I AM the God who has given you my Word on the subject. I AM not some aloof, uncaring, disconnected god but rather the God who cares for His creation and is longing to be reunited with you.
My track record in history proves my faithfulness to my promises so why won’t you believe me when I say that I will supernaturally destroy this present world by fire in the days ahead? Let this promise challenge your priorities in this life? Let me “stimulate your thinking” Everything is going to burn up, so live this life for what will matter for eternity. Make every effort to make peace with me now while you can. I opened the way through Christ and made peace between us. So now come to me to receive his life.
You need not fear his appearing
Paul says roughly the same thing regarding looking forward to His fulfillment of our salvation in his 2 Timothy 4:8 “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
God never threatens, he promises
All through the Old Testament we see instances of God’s patience in his justice. His mercy is defined as “withholding that which we deserve” – namely punishment. His mercy is for the purpose of our repentance. Rom 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” But then his grace is defined as God “giving us what we do not deserve”. We see evidence of this throughout the Old and New Testaments. In grace, God killed the animals to cover Adam and Eve’s sin and placed on them the skins to cover their nakedness. In Grace God provided man with the sacrificial system to cover their sinfulness and in mercy God didn’t just kill Cain but warned him twice about his choices regarding his offering and gave him the chance to repent over what he did to Abel. Noah deserved to die as a sinner just like all the rest. But in God’s mercy he chose Noah because of his faith and in Grace told him to build the ark which saved him and his family. In mercy God remembered lot in Sodom who was a righteous man, and in grace physically removed him before the fire fell from heaven. When the Jews were given the contract of the Law, God knew that they could not obey; but then in his mercy and grace, he gave them the sacrificial system in the Tabernacle to cover over their sin each year so that they could continue to be his divine representatives to the world as undeserving as they were. We deserve death but in his mercy he has given us our lifetime to choose his grace in the death of Christ in our stead. But he won’t wait forever.
God provided the way to escape judgment
It is never about our doing good works, or obedience that saved us. It is all about the mercy and the grace of God by providing a way, a road, or a substitute for our sin. Whether it was Abel, the children of Israel in the desert or present-day humanity; we must all come in the way which God provided in grace through his word in faith. “As it is written, the just shall live by faith.” Rom 11:32 says “For I have bound all men unto sin so that I might have mercy on them all.” Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by his mercy he saves us…” Eph 2:8, 9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
It is appropriate that Peter concludes his book with the warning of his future return and how that should motivate us to consider what we are living our lives for. Thus we can take God at his faithfulness to his word and come to him in the way which he prescribes – through Jesus by faith.
All for 2 Peter,