Friday, September 06, 2013

2nd Peter 3 - What sort of people?

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10)
A day is coming, and will come when we do not expect it, a day when all things of this creation will be over and destruction of all things complete. This should come as no surprise for God has not been silent on this account. Isaiah prophesied, "And all the host of heaven will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree... Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane." (Isaiah 34:4, 51.6) John also prophesied saying, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them... Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea." (Revelation 20:11, 21:1) There will come a time when this present heaven and earth will be done a way with and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, one in which righteousness dwells.
"Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:11-13)
Here in lies the question at the heart of Peter's second letter: what sort of people aught we to be? We are not like those who live in ignorance, who say, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die." (Isaiah 22:13) We know the truth, we know the end of all things. Therefore, what kind of people aught we to be? How should we seek to live our lives? This question is of central importance to all believers who desire to live godly lives, lives pleasing to God. Fortunately, Peter goes on to give his advice to this question.
"Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2 Peter 3:14-18)
We aught to be people who live diligently, not in slothfulness, but with purpose and with aim. We should see our lives as progressing into the things of God, never content to "mark time", never seeking a "vacation" from the Kingdom of God, but always walking, always pressing on, always moving forward. We should live our lives like Jesus is coming back today and count His delay as our opportunity to grow in Him, to become more like Him, to experience more fully His salvation in our life. Finally, we should not become distracted from our focus on Jesus and His kingdom. Many will come, like the false prophets and false teachers that Peter spoke of, who will seek to distract us, to side tracked from the "Highway of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8), to get us to spend our days pursuing them rather than the Kingdom of God. However, we must never surrender our diligence to them or to any that would divert us from the true and right way. We must continue on, in diligence, looking forward to and hastening that great and glorious day when Jesus will once again return. Keep up your diligence, it will be worth it in the end!

David Robison

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