2 Peter 3:8-15
December 6, 2020
2 Peter 3:8-15
8 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. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 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 done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
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In this passage, there are three great truths which can nourish the mind and bring rest to the heart.
(1) Time is not the same to God as it is to us. As the psalmist had it: ‘For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night’ (Psalm 90:4). When we think of the world’s hundreds of thousands of years of existence, it is easy to feel dwarfed into insignificance; when we think of the slowness of human progress, it is easy to become discouraged into pessimism. There is comfort in the thought of a God who has all eternity to work in. It is only against the background of eternity that things appear in their true proportions and assume their real value.
(2) We can also see from this passage that time is always to be regarded as an opportunity. As Peter saw it, the years God gave the world were a further opportunity for men and women to repent and turn to him. Every day which comes to us is a gift of mercy. It is an opportunity to develop ourselves, to render some service to our neighbours, to take one step nearer to God.
(3) Finally, there is another echo of a truth which so often lies in the background of New Testament thought. God, says Peter, does not want anyone to perish. God, says Paul, has shut them all up together in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all (Romans 11:32). Timothy, in a tremendous phrase, speaks of God who desires everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Ezekiel hears God ask: ‘Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked … and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?’ (Ezekiel 18:23).
Notes from Point 1
Notes from Point 2
Notes from Point 3
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 William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 394–395.