2 Peter #11 2 Peter 3:8-10 (MSG) Be Ready For Judgment Day
2 Peter #11 2 Peter 3:8-10 (MSG) Be Ready For Judgment Day
One of the arguments of the scoffers and mockers concerning the second coming of Christ, God’s judgment day, is that nothing has changed for a long time. Based on experience, this end of the world isn’t going to happen at all. Peter tells the faithful that the false teachers are missing the obvious. Recall the Flood, God’s judgment on rampant out-of-control behavior. Peter tells us that God’s judgment will come again, this time by fire. The fire imagery comes from the apocalyptic literature of the Old Testament. Will the creation go up in smoke, or will it be the evil perpetrated by the false teachers that will or both? You get to decide what to believe. The point that Peter has made, is that a person doesn’t escape the consequences of behavior that is out of sync with God’s desire for humanity. Peter continues his teaching, encouraging us with a reason for the apparent delay.
In this our 11th exploration into 2nd Peter we are going to again consider the day of God’s Judgment, with it the need to examine our relationships and the urgency that we need to cultivate in sharing the gospel with others.
2 Peter 3:8-10 (MSG)
8 Don't overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. 9 God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change.
10 But when the Day of God's Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.
No need to get caught up in thinking that “time” works differently for God than it does for us. There are so many rabbit hole speculations, and none pertain to the meaning Peter wants to convey. Peter wants us to see the patient love of God. Peter is writing that the reason for the delay in the second coming, the day of judgment, is because there are souls to be saved today, and if the Day of the Lord should happen now, many would be found living outside of a right relationship with God and face an eternity in what the word pictures of scripture describe as a lake of fire.
The scripture is choked full of declarations concerning the Day of the Lord. All of the references tell us that things are going to radically change. You’ve heard the saying “The sky is falling.” We know that the sky isn’t falling, the idiom means that a crisis or catastrophe is happening. The Day of the Lord brings with it unprecedented change. With apocalyptic literature such change is always portrayed in terms of cosmic catastrophe, earth-altering cataclysm
Joel 2:31 (NIV)
"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
Now we can think when the sun turns dark and the mood turns blood red that Jesus is coming, or we can see that the coming of the Lord is cosmically significant and an awe-inspiriting event
Zephaniah 1:14-18 (NIV)
"The great day of the Lord is near—near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry."
Now we can know the day has come when we hear a battle cry that rings throughout the whole earth and we can believe that when the day comes everything not in alignment with God will be annihilated.
In the verses we just read, there is a huge conflagration, a cosmic fire that destroys everything. Obviously, we are talking about a nuclear war. No were not. We certainly can interpret the verse to mean that but what did the author mean? The destroying fire is followed by a new heaven and a new earth, an extra-dimensional universe. God revealed the multiverse to Peter. Probably not. We can certainly interpret and speculate but most likely Peter is using the apocalyptic genre to tell us that the old order of life, what we experience as normal now, is going to so radically change that it will be like a new heaven and a new earth when Jesus consummates the Kingdom during His return.
We anticipate the second coming but not as a day of vengeance. It’s a day of promises fulfilled. Everyone gets their heart's desire, those who desire to be with Jesus get what they want, and those who desire to have nothing to do with God, get what they want. The writers of scripture describe one destiny as a reward and the other as punishment. My rabbit hole speculation is that the wrath of God is having no access to God, and what that will be like is not good, outer darkness, weeping, gnashing of death, fiery inferno word pictures like that. Think and let think on this topic, your belief will not damage your relationship with Jesus. Just keep your knee bent. The second coming brings alignment with God’s original intentions for humanity. It is wise to be properly aligned before the return.
Now is the time for God’s patience. That gives you and me time to keep working out the salvation that God worked in when we first devoted ourselves to the Lordship of Christ. Probably the most neglected part of working out that salvation is being an ambassador of Christ. We are silent. We keep our religion to ourselves. It’s like the culture has cowered us. Some believers don’t even want to be identified as Christians, talk about missing the point. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, we participate in God’s desire when we tell others about the change that God has made in our lives since we bent our knee to Jesus. As ambassadors we are to live a life of love and tell others about the hope that we have. Don’t be afraid, when it is a real concern for the spiritual welfare of others, the love comes through. They can reject you, reject your belief, reject the good news, that’s on them, you are doing what God wants, the rejecter’s destiny is to depart from me, and the obedient’s destiny is well done good and faithful slave. God’s patience is not a waiting in which we just sit and wait, it’s a time of doing, living an exemplary life, and telling others that they too can live their lives to the full.
God’s patience is a call for action. We have time to work on aligning our lives with God’s purposes. We have time to work the partnership with the Holy Spirit that transforms us into the person God declared us to be when our faith was accepted. We have time to make our relationships right with others, with ourselves. We have time to tell others the good news of the gospel. We have time to spread a little kindness. But how much time do we have? The scoffers and mockers said all the time in the world. The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to be ready, the day of the Lord can happen at any time, most likely in an unexpected time.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (NIV)
"For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly."
Are you ready?
Have you bent your knee to Jesus? Have you received the revelation that you are a sinner, living apart from God, subject to the wrath of God? Have you heard the gospel, that God loves you so much, He wants to save you from the wrath that He sent Himself and died to make it possible to be forgiven of your sins and be reconciled to Him. Have you decided to forgo living the way you always have and become a follower of Jesus, making Him your ultimate authority for living life? Have you asked God to accept your faith? If so you're using God’s patience wisely.
Are you ready?
In sheer wanton manipulation but for your own good, imagine this with me: a loved one, father, mother, spouse, children, family, or friend, subject to God’s wrath because you didn’t tell them of the hope that you found in Christ Jesus. That brings me back to a sermon long ago when I was a teen, the preacher instilling fear with his exposition of Ezekiel 3:18-21 If you don’t tell them about Jesus and they die, their blood will be on your hands. I’m not into heavy guilt trips, so just use this wanton manipulation as food for thought knowing that a person’s eternity is predicated on their decisions about accepting or rejecting God’s invitation for reconciliation and you can point the way.
A new heaven and a new earth envision renewal and perfection. It’s a return to the garden in Eden. Everything becomes as God originally intended. The creation is restored to its pristine condition. Sin and death are gone along with suffering, evil, and moral imperfection, in its place righteousness and holiness become the norm. No more tears, no more suffering, no more forever goodbyes, instead joy and well-being, life eternal. Every wrong righted. At the center of it, all is intimate communion with God. Love rules all. The second coming results in a new heaven and a new earth. One more thing to add. At the second coming there is a resurrection. Those who have died with faith in Jesus rise into eternal life. Looking forward in anticipation of such a day keeps us keeping on doing the work God has called us to do, which in general that work is to love God, love others, love self, and love the earth.
Peter tells us that Jesus' return can happen at any unexpected time. This reminds us to live that exemplary life right now. Make every effort to be right with God in every area of your life. Demonstrate holiness by not getting sucked up into the latest fad or craze whether it is Christian or not. Be different from the culture. Demonstrate godliness by dealing with others with love. Don’t focus on the second coming, concentrate on living the life God has called us to knowing that God’s justice and righteousness will prevail.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (MSG)
The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they'll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.
So we say “Come Lord Jesus” as we work for His glory.
What you might want to walk away from this teaching is to add a sense of urgency to your spiritual journey. How much time do you have? How much time do we have? Now is the time to work out your salvation. Now is the time to tell others of the power of God that changed your life. You’ve got good news to live and good news to tell. Now is the time to do both.