II Peter 3:1-15 — The patience of God

We talked a couple days ago about the complaint people have that God seems to be doing nothing about all the evil and injustice in this world.

And we saw that justice will come, and that it is certain. It is the hope of those who believe and the fear of those who have rejected Christ.

But there are some for whom thoughts of judgment hold neither fear nor hope. And Peter addresses them here. He says,

First of all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

Two thousand years later, things have not changed. And perhaps, the reason for scoffing has only increased for unbelievers. But Peter tells us,

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word, the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction on ungodly men. (5-7)

In other words, though the people of Peter’s day said that God never seems to intervene and that nothing seems to change, they were wrong. For in creation, God intervened and brought all of the continents out of water, and created an atmosphere that was conducive to life.

And then when evil permeated throughout the earth, God once again intervened, destroying all the people of the earth through the great flood, saving only Noah and his family.

And now Peter warns us that God will intervene yet again. But this time the judgment will come through fire.

He says,

But 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. (10)

And again,

That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (12)

How literal this is, I don’t know. What is clear is that all that we know will be done away with. Either completely transformed, or destroyed and recreated. For Peter goes on to say,

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (13)

Why then the long wait? Why hasn’t God long since done away with this world and made all things new?

Peter tells us,

But 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. The 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. (8-9)

And again,

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation. (15)

Basically, Peter is telling us God is giving more time because of his patience. But that patience is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, it gives more time for people to believe, and many more will believe and be saved before the day of judgment.

But by waiting, God is also giving people more rope to hang themselves with. By giving them more time, they truly have no excuse when he comes and passes judgment on them for their unbelief.

The question is, what will you do with the time has given you?

The choice is yours.

About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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