2 Peter #12 2 Peter 3:11-17 (MSG) Now The End Is Near
2 Peter #12 2 Peter 3:11-17 (MSG) Now The End Is Near
Are you looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth? Peter tells us that we need to do everything that we possibly can to be ready for the second coming of Jesus. No surprise here, we know our behavior matters and a profession of faith includes obedience to God’s commands and Jesus' teachings.
A profession of faith involves your words and deeds that confirm that you have acknowledged that you were estranged from God. You have believed that Jesus is the reconciler of your relationship with God. So you decided to bend your knee to the Lordship of Christ and you asked God to accept your faith. Now the way you live your life is your profession of that faith that God accepted when you asked that God make you one of His own.
Your profession of faith influences others to seek God. Peter suggests that it is our evangelism, our living the faith and proclaiming the faith, that winning souls hasten the second coming.
Peter reminds us that some purposely twist the scripture to suit their purposes. These are the false teachers. Insiders leading others down the wrong path. We may misinterpret scripture but when you use scripture to manipulate others we are on a path of destruction.
Finally, we will be told not to get swept away and, stay on the path of righteousness. You know the tools to use. The 7 habits of a disciple, you know the test of scripture, the traditions of the church, reason, and experience. All to love better.
2 Peter 3:11-15 (MSG)
11 Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? 12 Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day— 13 but we'll hardly notice. We'll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.
14 So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. 15 Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation.
We know that the false teachers believed that there was no second coming and that there was no divine judgment. Let’s take that thought and run with it for certainly, modern-day atheists do not only believe that there is no such thing as a second coming, they believe that there is no afterlife. If there is no afterlife, life ends with the extinction of all that we are. Death is exactly that, the end, ashes to ashes dust to dust. If this life is all there is why try to live up to some culturally accepted moral standard, be who you want to be do what you want to do? The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians: “If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). Life is going nowhere. There is no grand design behind any of it. There is no divine accountability. No heaven, no hell. No point. If this is so, how are you going to live? What are you going to live for? Does anything even matter?
Peter has argued throughout this letter that we can be assured based on the Scripture and the testimony of those original disciples that yes indeed there will be a second coming, yes indeed there will be a judgment of our behaviors, of the intent of our heart. Therefore there is a resurrection and there is an afterlife. Who we are continues after death. You get to choose to believe this or not. If you choose to believe then you know how important living a devout and holy life is.
A person living a devout and holy life is continually striving for spiritual growth, growing deep, growing up, and growing fruit in their knowledge of God and relationship with others. The tools of that pursuit include the daily practice of the 7 habits of a disciple. We need constant contact with God through our study of scripture, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation. Living a devout and holy life we are God’s ambassador, spreading His message of reconciliation through Christ, speaking the truth in love, seeking to correct injustice and oppression. As Peter has continually reminded us we are to live an exemplary life.
This life that is given to us by God is not one of religious rules and regulations, conformity, or groupthink. A life of faith does not stunt your personality; it sets you free to be the lover you have been created to be. You find forgiveness and learn to forgive yourself, no more shame, no more guilt, no more chains to the past. You have been empowered to overcome those negative habits, attachments, and addictions you created in your life before you bent your knee to the Lordship of Christ. You have been empowered to align every area of your life with God’s will. Now you get to live your life to the full. Life to the full is a life filled with love and joy, You know you are accepted not only by God but also by a family of like-minded believers, you know that you have a place, and you belong. This creates a sense of inner peace and contentment, and you feel comfortable in your own skin. Your new life takes on meaning and purpose. As you use the spiritual gifts God has given to be a blessing to others, your life becomes significant, you matter, and you make a difference.
Peter tells us that we are now living in the end times. The hope of the second coming when God sets all things right, we know that the event can happen at any time and this gives us a sense of urgency. So often the important but unurgent things of life get pushed to the back burner with the thought that we will get to it later. Do we not pray in that old King James English “Thy Kingdom Come?” The expectancy is fuel to empower us to do the work God has given us today, not to put it off, not to be found on the sideline, warming the bench when Jesus comes.
Mark 13:32-37 (MSG)
"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. 33 So keep a sharp lookout, for you don't know the timetable. 34 It's like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. 35 So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. 36 You don't want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. 37 I say it to you, and I'm saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch."
Jesus said, stay at your post, keep watch, complete your assignments.
At the end of the end, “The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day.” Peter again using apocalyptic imagery from the Old Testament reveals that the old way of life, everything that is apart from God, everything that is out of sync with God, just melts away. In its place, there is a new heaven and a new earth. God declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). It’s back to a Garden in Eden type of experience. This type of existence is coming with the return of Jesus.
There is an old Jewish saying. "If Israel would perfectly keep the law for one day, the Messiah would come." (Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT) Could it be that the coldness of the human heart towards God and the disobedience that results keeps Christ from returning because God wants everyone to be reconciled to Him? If so that gives us another reason to be living, walking, and talking testimonies of the changes God can make in a person’s life. Maybe that one person you tell about Jesus is the one all heaven is waiting on. “Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation” 2 Peter 3:15 (MSG).
2 Peter 3: 15-16 (MSG)
Our good brother Paul, who was given much wisdom in these matters, 16 refers to this in all his letters, and has written you essentially the same thing. Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don't know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.
Peter pulls in more support by calling our attention to the Apostle Paul. Peter writes that Paul agrees with him concerning the second coming and the long wait, and the reason why. We read in the epistles of Paul that he also urged those who follow Jesus to “live holy lives in light of the coming of Christ” (Powers, p. 240).
Irresponsible people are those who purposely twist the scripture to support their claim or teaching. It is so easy to take a verse of scripture out of context and use it to support some notion. We know that the Apostle Paul preached a gospel of grace, that a person did not have to submit to the dictates of the Jewish law to become a Child of God. In the letter entitled Romans Paul says some people were saying that he was teaching that you can become a Child of God and be under no moral obligations. So he wrote: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!
I was summoned for jury duty and during the selection process a man said that he refused to be on a jury because he refused to judge lest he be judged.
Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV) - "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
This individual took the verse out of context to mean that Christians are not to discern between moral and immoral behavior and that doing so would lead to judgment coming upon his actions. “However, when taken in context, it's a warning against hypocritical and self-righteous judgment. Jesus is teaching that before we judge others, we should examine our own lives and attitudes first” (ChatGPT Aug, 25, 2023). The prospective juror twisted the scripture.
Another often twisted scripture is 3 John 1:2 which has been interpreted to mean that it’s God’s will that you will always be financially prosper in good health as you grow spiritually “I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul”
(3 John 1:2 (MSG)! But it is not about God’s will for you, it’s a greeting from one friend to another and his prayer for his friend’s well-being.
When twisting the scripture is done on purpose it is destructive to the person who does it. Purposely misusing the scripture leads to a bad ending. We all interpret scripture, it’s good to learn the tools of interpretation and then check your research against the rest of scripture, the traditions of the Church, Reason, and experience.
Peter ends his letter informing us that we are now well armed against false teaching, well warned to stay clear of the slippery slope of immorality. Use the tools you’ve gained over the past months through our study of Peter’s letters and you will grow in grace, growing deep, growing up, growing fruit, gaining a more intimate knowledge of The God who has lavished His love upon you more power to live your life to the full. As we choose to live exemplary lives we manifest God’s glory in this world
2 Peter 3: 17-18 (MSG)
17 But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers. 18 Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!
What we walk away with from 2 Peter is knowing that the second coming will eventually happen, with it a resurrection, followed by a time of accountability where we will see that what we did in this life mattered. Then a new living situation so grand the scripture describes it as a new heaven and a new earth. We have these great events to give us hope to endure the in-between times and all the tribulations it brings.