2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3:3

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,

(a) The last days began when Jesus began his earthly ministry (see entry for Heb. 1:2). Peter believed he was living in the last days (Acts 2:17) and so did Paul (see entry for 2 Tim. 3:1).

(b) Mockers will come. The wrong way to read this scripture is to apply it exclusively to our generation. “We have mockers, therefore Jesus is on his way.” Peter’s warning is for the last days meaning it is for his generation and our generation and every generation in between. Last days’ mockers are nothing new (see entry for 2 Tim. 2:18).

2 Peter 3:4

and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

For 2000 years people have wondered when the Lord will return. Because life seems to continue as normal, some have questioned whether he will. For as long as there have been prophecies about the Lord’s return, there have been last days’ mockers. Some mock because they don’t believe Jesus is coming back. Others mock because people have foolishly tried to pick the date of the Lord’s return.

2 Peter 3:5

For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,

The word of God is the way by which God makes himself and his will known (1 Sam. 3:21). God’s word is powerful, creative, and sustains all things. His word is the means by which the universe came into existence (Gen. 1:3, John 1:1). His word gives life to the dead (Eze. 37:4). His word is a lamp that guides us in the path of life (Ps. 119:105). God’s word always comes to pass (Is. 55:11).

See entry for the Word of God.

2 Peter 3:6

through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.

When Christ returns, people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, as they did in the days of Noah (see entry for Matt. 24:37).

2 Peter 3:8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

A thousand years. God’s schedule is not our schedule and his patience is loooong. In his eschatological parables, Jesus told stories of masters, noblemen, and bridegrooms being gone a long time (Matt. 24:48, 25:5, 25:19). This is why Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude all spoke of the need to wait patiently for the Lord’s return (Luke 12:36, Rom. 8:23, 8:25, 1 Cor. 1:7, 4:5, 1 Thess. 1:10, Php. 3:20, Jas. 5:7, Jude 1:21).

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Repentance is the ability to receive the truth that sets us free. It’s a change of mind that causes us to see as God sees and think as God thinks. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Like faith, repentance is a response to God’s love and grace (Rom. 2:4).

See entry for Repentance.

2 Peter 3:10

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.

A thief. Jesus is no thief, but one day he will break into our world in a sudden and dramatic way (Matt. 24:43, Rev. 3:3). “Behold, I am coming like a thief” (Rev. 16:15). Paul used similar language to describe the Lord’s return (1 Th. 5:2), and so did Peter (2 Pet. 3:10).

2 Peter 3:11

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct. We are exhorted to be holy not because there is some holiness test we must pass, but because those in Christ are holy. In Christ you are as holy as you can be, so act like it. Be who you truly are.

2 Peter 3:12

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!

We hasten the Lord’s return by living holy and godly lives. A godly life points to God. It reveals the good news of heaven in such a way that lives are transformed and God is praised. A godly life is built on the revelation of Jesus, who died for us and now lives for us.

2 Peter 3:13

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

New heaven and a new earth. The City of God, a.k.a., the new Jerusalem, a.k.a., the church. Just as the temple of Jerusalem was known to the Jews as “heaven and earth” (see entry for Matt. 5:18), in the new covenant, the church is the new heaven and earth (see entry for Rev. 21:1).

2 Peter 3:14

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

Be diligent to be found by him. Since Jesus makes us spotless and blameless, the call to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless, is a call to quit trusting in your own performance. It’s Peter’s version of the call to “hasten to enter his rest” (Heb. 4:11) If you want to be spotless and blameless, run to the Lord.

2 Peter 3:17

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,

(a) Beloved; see entry for Rom. 1:7.

(b) Unprincipled or lawless men are those who distort the teachings of the Apostle Paul (see previous verse) perhaps by preaching grace as a license to sin. Heed a message promoting licentiousness, and you will be end up enslaved to sin.

(c) Fall from your own steadfastness. We need to be on guard against unstable teachers lest we become unstable ourselves.

Here’s your choice: Listen to ignorant an unprincipled teachers who are unacquainted with Paul’s gospel of grace, or feed on the gracious promises of God’s word. Doing the former will leave you anxious and insecure. Doing the latter will cause you to grow sure and steadfast in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

Further reading: “Can you fall from your secure position?

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