2 Peter 3
Friday, October 14, 2022
“I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder” (2 Peter 3:1 ESV).
Not every letter written has the same intent. Some of the New Testament letters are written to address very clear and direct issues (I think of Paul addressing specific sexual immorality in 1st Corinthians 5). Sometimes they are multi-faceted – some specific – some more general teaching or correction. What Peter writes here makes another point – even if there is nothing specific that may need to be corrected, reminders are still valuable and necessary. When we aren’t reminded about things, we can lose track or lose sight of what is ahead of us… We can become passive, apathetic, or incredibly distracted. The tyranny of the urgent can cause us to put things on the backburner, and if you are like me, it can be hard to remember to pull them back to the front. Sometimes we just need to have our attention drawn to what we need to be doing in the present or near future (like when you think you are signing up to write devotions for October of 2023, but it’s really 2022). Much of what I view my role as in pastoral ministry is reminding people what scripture says – sometimes I address actual needs that I see in the body, but typically it is looking at a text, reminding my congregation of what it says, and then trying to highlight its significance in its historical context and how it is significant for us today.
In verse 3, Peter states that scoffers will come in the last days… I bet each one of us knows someone that would fit that description (maybe many people). You probably can’t turn on the tv, or radio, or fire up the old interwebs for very long without finding someone speaking out against or mocking a scriptural worldview. Why are they scoffing? Because a biblical worldview does not mesh with their sinful desires, and they must push back at it or try to discredit it in some way to justify their way of living (or to clear their conscience).
Peter points out that the promise of “this ‘coming'” (2 Peter 3:4) has been spoken about for a long time, but where is this promised day that things will begin to be set right through God’s anointed one? He says that they deliberately overlook in part that the world has existed for a long time, and that God has passed judgement before, but now God’s judgement is being stored up (and in the grand scheme of time, Jesus’ ascension isn’t that far back). Our conception of time is different than that of God and while sometimes we may wonder why this delay of the Parousia is happening, we must recognize this fact that Peter lays before us: God is not slow, but is merciful! God is not willing that any should perish, but he desires all to come to repentance (and he gives us so many opportunities to do so!). It would, however, be unwise to be cognizant of this fact and delay our repentance, because if we have placed that on the backburner, we might get distracted and forget to bring it back to the front. We don’t want to diminish the urgent need for repentance and reconciliation… If we are not paying attention to the things of God, we will be caught off guard, but if we are watching, we will be ready when he sends his son like a thief in the night and starts the restoration of the earth.
I’ll leave you with a few of the final verses or the chapter to reflect on.
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:14–18 ESV)
- What reminders do you find in 2 Peter 3 that you needed to hear this week? What important things have you slid to the backburner that could use your attention today?
- What does God’s patience, mercy and timing mean to you?