2 Peter 3:8-10
Greetings, everybody! God’s rich blessings to each of you on this beautiful Tuesday, and welcome to another edition of EDiBS. Thanks so much for coming along today, and thanks also for inviting your friends and loved ones to come along with you as we walk through the Word of God together. Right now in our study time we’re continuing in the third chapter of 2 Peter, actually beginning to close in on the end of this letter to the church, so let’s pray and ask for God’s hand of blessing and grace as we open our Bibles.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for this time to draw near to you through your holy Word, and we ask that in our reading and meditation over today’s passage, you would grant us all that we need to understand it, learn from it, and live out its truth in our own lives as your ransomed, redeemed, restored, dearly loved people. We are grateful for the salvation you have brought to us – and we ask that you would help us to walk in that gratitude. In your precious name we pray, amen
As we get started today, we are given a glimpse into the mind of God — but also into the heart of God. Our focus: what God wants.
2 Peter 3:8-10
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. 9The 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. 10But 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.
There’s a great scene at the beginning of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Lucy has just been through the wardrobe and into Narnia for the first time, and she stays there for a period of many hours. When she finally makes it back into the large old house where her journey began, she runs into the room and shouts, “It’s okay everybody, I’m alright!” But no one in the story understands what she’s talking about. Lucy thinks she’s been gone for hours and hours, but to her brothers and sister, she’s been gone but an instant. It takes awhile for everyone to come up to speed in the book, but the reader understands immediately that time in Narnia is measured much differently than time on earth.
In today’s reading, we capture, I think, a glimpse of what C. S. Lewis was in his writing wanting us to know about God and one of His attributes: namely, that He exists outside the boundaries of time and space.
Verse 8: Peter, we’ll remember, has been talking about the end, the last day, when the world will be destroyed by fire and when the ungodly will be judged. He’s been very clear about the fact that we are in the last days, and equally clear that God’s people are to be looking for the imminent return of the Messiah. And yet it is also evident by the words before us that God’s idea of time is much different than our own. For us Jesus may seem a long time in coming, but in the eyes of the Father, it will not be long at all. And as it turns out, God’s perfect sense of time and timing is for a specific reason, as we see in the next verse.
Verse 9: It’s not that the Lord is slow to keep His promise to us or slack in getting around to the details; rather, it’s in His mercy that He is exercising patience toward us, and why? Because rather than seeing anyone perish, He longs to see all people come to repentance. Will all people repent? No, they won’t. Many will reject Christ and choose to go their own way, and they will perish as a result. But in the end when they are judged and see the eternal punishment that awaits them, none will be able to claim that they had no opportunity to respond to the Gospel message. God in His loving long-suffering toward us took the time, reached out, and gave every chance that could be given.
Verse 10: Finally, verse 10 reminds us of the fact that the time to be ready for Christ’s return is now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not when we get old and have done everything we want to do in life and are finally ready to put our house in order. The time is now because we don’t know the day or the hour of the Lord’s coming; it will come as a thief in the night, and as we can see from the description of that event, once it is upon us there really won’t be time to make any kind of declarative statement about where our allegiance rests. It will be too late.
As we wrap things up for the day, I have a question for you: should we see Peter’s words as words of warning, or should we see them as words of blessing? They’re both, of course. They show the comfort and assurance of what it means to be in Christ and remind us that when these things happen, we will have no need to fear. For those who are not in Christ, these words are still words of blessing, because they are a loving call to repentance and an invitation to be made right with God through faith in the finished work of His Son. Remember, God is not slow in keeping His promises as some count slowness, but He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. But finally, they are indeed words of warning — warning to those who scoff at the precious promises of God. Words of condemnation for those who have set themselves up as enemies of the cross of Christ. I would imagine that you know people in each group, so here’s a question for you: is there something that God would have you to do about that fact? Think that one through, and know that I’m doing the same. Have a great day everyone, God’s peace, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow to pick things up again. Take care!