2 Peter 3
1Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2I 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.
3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8But 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. 9The 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.
10But 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.
11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as 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. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear 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. 16He 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.
17Therefore, 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. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen
During these days of horrific world events, Christians should be appalled but not taken by surprise. Jesus forewarned us of terrible times to come [Luke 21:25-28]. In today’s reading, Peter reassured believers by reminding them of God’s unfolding purposes and final victory.
The apostle described ungodly scoffers, who in the last days will say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” [2 Peter 3:4]. We too may wonder why Christ doesn’t come back and change things now. Peter affirmed that The Lord “is not slack concerning His Promise,” but delays His return to give people everywhere more time to repent. [v9].
We mustn’t forget that “with the Lord one is a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” [v8]. Eventually the day of the Lord will come, bringing judgement of consuming fire. This will be followed by a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness and of God’s forgiven people [v13].
As we anticipate the triumphant day, we must live consistent, holy lives [v14], resist all evil influences [v17], and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ [v18]. Then, instead of despairing over evil, we will be able to share the good news of Jesus with the world. by Joanie Yoder, Our Daily Bread 2004.