2 Peter 3:8-10 ESV
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
By the word of God, the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (v. 7).
Yet, just because this has not yet taken place does not mean it is not going to happen. It just hasn’t happened yet because God is loving and patient, and he is not willing that any should perish without him, but that all should come to repentance – that all should turn from their sinful ways to follow the Lord in obedience to his ways (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-26).
Not one of us knows when our Lord is going to return to gather his people and to judge the earth, though. But, we can know when it is near by the signs. And, so we should not be surprised when our Lord does return, for we should be waiting and watching for his return.
2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV
“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
I like that idea, don’t you? That we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells and in which wickedness is not allowed to enter? And I believe that, the more wicked this world becomes, the stronger our yearning will be for our heavenly dwelling with God. And, it will especially be so the more we personally experience that utter wickedness coming against us in these last days.
In the meanwhile, while we wait for our Lord’s return, God’s grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. For, that is why Jesus died on that cross, not just to save us from hell and to promise us heaven, but to deliver us out of our slavery to sin and to instruct and to empower us to live holy lives.
And, to be holy means to be set apart from the world of sin, to be unlike the world in their way of thinking and behaving, and in their attitudes and values, too. It means to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but to be changed by the Spirit of God in our way of thinking, believing and behaving.
And, it means now that we are being made in the likeness of God, of Christ Jesus, our lives are now given over to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. We have left our sinful lifestyles behind us, and we are now following our Lord in obedience to his will and to his ways. Our desire is now for him and not to please our flesh (Rom. 12:1-2).
2 Peter 3:14-18 ESV
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
Jesus Christ gave his life up for us so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. So, sin should no longer be our master. It should no longer have rule and dominion over our lives. We should no longer be walking in the ways of our sinful flesh, but we should now be walking (conducting our lives) in the ways of God and his Spirit.
So, this means that lying, cheating, stealing, lusting, committing adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, trickery, abuse, betrayal, slander, and the like are not to be a part of our lives. We should no longer be walking in those ways. Those ways should have been put to death in our lives, and daily we should be dying to sin and self and living to God and to his righteousness.
So, what are the ignorant and unstable twisting to their own destruction? They are twisting the gospel of our salvation. They are treating God’s grace as a free license to continue in habitual sin against God, and they are either ignoring the truth, they are downplaying it, or they are outright opposing it in favor of the lies which tickle itching ears.
They are giving people this idea that God’s grace merely forgives sins and promises us heaven when we die, and that once we are “saved” that our sin no longer matters to God, so we can keep on in our sinful ways without guilt and without fear of punishment. So, there is no fear of God before their eyes, because they see salvation as all about them and not about God.
So, we need to be careful that we are not carried away by their error. For, what they are teaching people is a lie. And, they are giving people a false hope of heaven when they die. For, there is no dying to sin or living to God and to his righteousness in their gospel. It is not required. For, their gospel of cheap grace grants them freedom to live sinful lives in direct opposition to our Lord and to his will for our lives.
Instead, we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, to do that we need to be studying the word of the Lord in context so that we know how we are to live as followers of Jesus Christ, and so that we know what God requires of us in the way of holy living. And, we need to know, too, the consequences if we choose not to follow our Lord in obedience, but we choose to continue in the way of the flesh, instead.
For, the word of the Lord teaches us that if we want to have eternal life with God we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to our sinful flesh. For, if we walk according to our flesh, then we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).
So, don’t follow after the lies, but follow after the truth, for your eternity depends on you knowing and living the truth in the power of God’s Spirit at work in and through your life for the glory of God (1 Jn. 2:3-6).
High Above the Seraphim
High above the seraphim
Sounds an everlasting hymn;
Voices echo thro’ the hall
And shake the temple wall.
Living creatures bless the King,
Four and twenty elders sing,
“Worthy, He who overcame;”
“The Word of God” His name.
Praise the Seed of Abraham!
All dominion to the Lamb!
Sing of Him, in glory slain,
“Lord God Almighty reigns!”
Shout the God-breathed prophecy;
“He who was will ever be!”
“Kings of earth have passed away!”
The Son is Lord this day!
Night to night I come to Him,
Kneel before His diadem;
While a thousand thousand sing,
I fall before the King.
Soon will He be changing me,
Clothed in immortality,
Swallowed up in victory,
And evermore to be.
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