After detailing how the righteous believers in Christ as Lord and Savior can overcome unrighteous tempters and their temptations, Peter now embarks on his summary of this letter:
“This now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of the water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word, the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Pet 3:1-7).
Whew – long quote! I usually break these up into chewable bites, but this is more – a digestible meal for all who wonder about God’s timing of the second coming of Jesus.
There is a direct connection between the increasingly outrageous blasphemous speech of our modern times, where every other word is a sexual verb, and the timing of the end times of fire. It is difficult, especially for teens and young adults to avoid these traps because they are an intimate part of the current culture. So stay with Peter here to the end of the letter:
“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” (2 Pet 3:8-10).
Here the Cycle of Perfect Unity encounters a critical choice. The Cycle begins with the Lord’s commandments, but inevitably we encounter withering temptation to sin against God. At this point we stand at a fork in the road to perfect unity – the bad fork to disobedience and warnings which, if ignored, lead to disunity from God and participation in the day of the Lord in the worst possible way. The bad fork is a dead end – period.
However, as Peter points out, the good fork in the Cycle begins with repentance, which leads to an immediate encounter with the never-ending love of God, forgiveness, and perfect unity with God, along with a prepaid ticket to the new heaven and the new earth where only righteousness exists. This leads to the question of the ages:
“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” (2 Pet 3:11-13).
What sort of people ought we to be? Peter makes it clear:
“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” (2 Pet 3:14-18).