2 Peter 3
Have you ever wondered: when will Christ return? That is a thought that I think every Christian who has read the Bible has thought at some point. We look with hope towards the second coming of Christ. There are others though who have given up believing or never have believed in God’s promises or the return of Christ. These are the mockers that Peter refers to in verses 3 & 4. We hear it today – everywhere people mocking the promises or even existence of God. But God is patiently waiting for people to recognize and honor Him. He is waiting for just the right time to fulfill all that he has promised regarding Christ’s return and the establishment of a new system under Christ’s rule and reign.
In the last half of chapter 3 the apostle Peter talks about the need for Christians to live righteously and soberly in view of the destruction of the wicked so as not to be destroyed along with them. He explains that our present heavens and earth will be destroyed in judgment – by fervent heat so hot it will destroy the elements. Everything will be destroyed – fire will consume water, soil, air, and even will consume itself by burning out. Environmentalists worst nightmares will come true at that point – the destruction of the earth by fervent heat. HOWEVER – this is to make way the apostle Peter tells us for the new heavens and new earth that will be made. This is a new heavens and earth where righteousness reigns. This means the new heavens and earth will be a place of peace, and happiness, where those who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness dwell. All those who have believed in the promises of God will be able to partake in this new heaven and earth.
I like to hike and have taken many hikes across the US and Canada. Each time I enjoy the beauty that God has created around me in this natural environment and his amazing creatures I see along the way. Although I enjoy the natural beauty of our current heavens and earth I am filled with anticipation of the new heavens and new earth that God has promised. What new natural beauty will be there. In our world today where unrighteousness and ungodliness seems to reign and wreak havoc in our lives won’t it be wonderful to inhabit a world where righteousness and godliness are the order of the day? I am looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth – while I still try to take good care of the one we currently live in and do my part to shine the light of Christ in the dark world – I can’t help but think to myself; how wonderful that God has made this awesome promise of a new heavens and earth to us!
2 Peter 1
The apostle Peter in his second letter to the churches encourages us and the early believers to exercise a life of righteousness and to grow in those attributes on a continual basis. The attributes or fruit that he refers to in verses 5-7 are the same fruits that are mentioned as the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-25. God by His spirit produces fruit in true believers. By producing this fruit Christians stand out in humanity and shine when they display these attributes. Even non-believers stand up and take notice of those people who demonstrate an extra amount of patience, or loving kindness, or those who do not loose their joy even in the face of dire circumstances.
Recently my mother went through her second diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. I’ve seen the fruit of joy shine through her through this – even though she ended up losing a body part. She has been a shining light to those around her – keeping her joy by not losing her sense of humor. By being more concerned about others and their overall well-being rather than by wallowing in self-pity. She has been continuing to bear fruit even in her circumstances. Christians bear this kind of fruit and every good tree bears good fruit no matter what the circumstances. Every tree is known by its fruit. Peter is encouraging us and the early believers to continue to grow in bearing good fruit indicative of God’s spirit being multiplied within us.
In the last half of the chapter Peter fears that his time in instructing the believers will soon come to an end and he wants them to remember what is of most importance. The important thing that he wants them to remember is that Jesus truly is the son of God as was evidenced by him personally when the voice came from heaven declaring it so, and the importance of receiving Jesus as the promised Messiah.
In our walk with the Lord are we remembering what is most important and truly giving Christ first place in our hearts and minds as the son of God? Are we allowing ourselves to be changed so that we continue to grow and produce good fruit by his spirit within us? If we are not then we would do well to pay special attention to Peter’s words to the early church and apply them to our own hearts and lives as well.
Friday, July 14
During high school, I would bring my Bible to study during lunch and free time. Numerous people would ask me why I would put my faith in a book that was written by various authors and not “actually written by God.” I always tried to defend why I believed what the Bible told me but felt like I wasn’t explaining it correctly. 2 Peter 1:20-21 states that we “must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Had I come along this passage while defending the Bible, it would have been a lot simpler to explain my reasoning.
Being mature in our faith and living Godly lives is imperative these days due to the fact that God and Jesus will soon return. We are to “make every effort to add to our faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV). The reason we should ensure that we are living to the standards set for us by God is because there are false teachers in the world who will try and lead us astray. These teachers will tell lies that seem to be true, but will also deny the Lord and live sinful lifestyles. The people that are most vulnerable to this destruction are those who don’t have solid foundation in Biblical teaching.
While we wait for the day of the Lord to arrive, we need to “be on our guard so that we may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from our secure position. But we should grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV). Today, I want you to take the time and ask God to show you how to live a life pleasing to Him and ask Him for forgiveness of your sins. He doesn’t want any of us to perish and wants everyone to repent. I look forward to when God and Jesus come back to make the Kingdom here on earth and pray that we all have salvation! May God bless you today and always. Amen.
(Photo Credit: https://dailyverses.net/2-peter/3/9)