God is so wonderful to us. He has warned us from the times of Daniel and Isaiah about the end times. He has let us know about the end of this earth so we can prepare for the beginning of the new earth and eternity united with Him as His Bride.
Many people like to point out to us that we sound crazy, always touting the same message, “Jesus is coming back” and “The Day of the LORD is at hand.” We’ve been saying it for thousands of years. We’ve been waiting for Jesus’ imminent return for nearly two millennia with just as much hope as the first Christians did.
The world doesn’t believe it. It has been turned into a horror movie or a myth that only the superstitious, naïve, and foolish believe is real. But it is real. For the believer there is nothing to fear in that Day, but the lost will experience the consequence of their sin, the wrath of God. They will suffer the consequence of sin in the world which is death.
Peter wrote this letter to remind Christians that the day was coming and encourage them to be patient, not focusing on that one Day but on the lives they were living now. He urged them not to fall for lies but cling to the truth. Verses 1-4 read,
This is 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, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 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.”
I’ve heard the scoffers. I’ve seen the depiction of Christians in films carrying signs which read “The End is Near!” The Christian is almost always made to look crazy and obsessed so that the world will continue to mock and twist the prophecies and not take them seriously. The only hope Satan has is that he can keep as many people from knowing and believing the truth as possible.
Did you know that nearly every culture in the world has a story about a flood destroying the earth? We all come from Noah and his sons. The tale of what happened was told from generation to generation and made its way to the chronicle of nearly every society that has existed. But many people use this fact as a reason to discount the flood, instead of understand it as an undisputable fact of world history. If they believe the flood, then they have to believe the rest of scripture and that includes the countless prophecies about Jesus Christ, His return, and the Day of the Lord. They’ve heard The Day of Fire is coming but they dismiss it. Peter discusses this in verses 5-7.
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 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.
The world laughs at the idea of the Day of Judgment. But you and I know it is real and nothing to be laughed at. But sometimes the ridicule and the constant re-making of prophecy into a scary story can lead us to lose heart and begin to doubt. Sometimes the long wait can lead to despondency. But God is so good. Do you see that our wonderful wedding day is their doomsday? God loves them just as much as He loves us and He wants them to have every chance to repent and know Him before they are forced to their knees in defeat on the Day of His return. We are that chance! We are the ones who can show them the love of Jesus so that they might not have to suffer the Wrath of God. God loves them! He wants to gather them in His arms when He gathers us into His arms. Verses 8-10 read,
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. 9 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. 10 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
It may seem like it’s taking forever to get here to us, but it will be at exactly the right time. Israel felt as if they had waited an eternity for the Messiah to come, but Jesus came at exactly the right time (Galatians 4:4). He died at exactly the right time (Romans 5:6). People were so sure they had interpreted the Scriptures and Prophecies properly that many of them missed Him and still wait for the Messiah they imagined rather than the Savior who was promised. That is how it will be with Jesus’ return. So many people have interpreted scripture using their own minds and logic rather than The Holy Spirit that they are missing the truth. They do complicated math, find “secrets” hidden in scripture, pick dates and they tell the world what they think will happen, they make films and write books with their own understanding and version of events that they and billions will not see it until it happens and is too late. We feel as if it is taking forever to arrive, but it will be at the exact right time and it when it happens people will either be prepared and know it because of the prophecies or it will be sudden because they didn’t recognize the signs and events. Verses 11-13 say it like this,
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 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! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Knowing that for many people the Day of the Lord will happen with such abruptness, we ought to be living in a manner that not only prepares us for our eternity but gives the lost a chance to know the awesome power and love of Jesus. Our lives lived in faith, walking in the Spirit and letting Him transform us speak volumes to the world. They may scoff at the complicated myths false teachers, false prophets, and pseudo-Christians tell, but they can’t mock the sincerity and the concrete evidence of the power of God at work in our lives. Verses 14-18 read,
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 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, 16 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. 17 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.18 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.
Your life and my life lived in the Spirit are the chance for the lost to know God. But we have to know God in order for that to happen. We have to be certain of the truth, not flailing around listening to and believing every stray myth, story, and lie that false teachers propagate. So as Peter encouraged us, I encourage us as well to study the scripture with the Holy Spirit and grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our lives should be consistently moving closer to the image of Christ and we should be consistently learning more and more about who God is, not by the words of whoever, but by the Word of God.