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Take Care...2 Peter 3:17

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“You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried awaywith the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”
What do you do before you go up a ladder?You inspect the ground beneath your destination and locate where you can anchor the feet.If you fail to do so, the ladder may totter or fall.Only with a stable footing can you safely ascend to your goal.As Peter prepares to conclude his letter, he urges his readers to find stability.He is probably thinking of their assurance of salvation.He knows they will face challenges to their perception of their spiritual security.Some of these struggles will come from within because their ongoing problems with sin will lead to frustration and trouble.Yet in this case, the struggles come from outside — through the “ignorant and unstable” people who “twist” the Scriptures.When lawless people teach error, you begin to wonder what to believe.How do you guard against such error?You know the truth.If you are cle…

Paul's Letters...2 Peter 3:15-16

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“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…”
Imagine you have written something.Perhaps it is…> A paper for a teacher or professor.> An article in a business or church newsletter.> An email or paper letter to a friend.Someone reads your words and utterly misinterprets and misrepresents what you wrote.How will this make you feel?You will be angry — and rightly so.Peter now encourages his readers to count the patience of our Lord as salvation.He seems to be reminding his friends of God’s patience with the people He will save.Then Peter refers to Paul’s letters.This is a sign of the scriptural authority of Paul’s writings in the church.God’s people were already passing around the apostle’s words and discovering their divinely inspired wisdom.Yet Peter admits that some of Paul’s words are “hard to understand.”Then what happens?“Ignorant” and “unstable” people “twist” those words.They distort…

Diligent...2 Peter 3:14

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“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these,be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”
What happens when you are preparing for a really important event?Perhaps it is a wedding, a funeral, a public speaking engagement, or a decisive meeting.You become a fussbudget.Male or female, you worry about your hair, clothes, and even your breath.You want to present yourself well to the people who will see you.As Peter continues to anticipate Jesus’ return, he calls his readers to be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.He wants them to be clean before God.The word “spot” refers to moral fault, and the word “blemish” refers to something which could earn a rebuke.When Jesus appears, He wants to see His people living godly lives.Does this mean we should expect perfection of ourselves?No.Just as you will never prepare yourself perfectly for a big event, you will not achieve complete holiness in this life.Yet because you have confessed …

Hastening...2 Peter 3:11-13

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“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…”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, watching sports has been strange.You see the athletes and may hear some fake crowd noise, but you scan the seats and see few or no spectators.The coaches and players have noticed their absence.While the fans don’t change what happens on the field or decide the outcomes of games, they are part of the action with their joy and passion.In the midst of Peter’s words about the coming day of the Lord, he asks his readers a question for today: In light of these coming realities, what kind of people should you be?God’s people are waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.Does this mean our lives can somehow hurry up or slow down the arrival of the day?No.The day of Jesus’ return has been ordained by the Father, and we can’t change it.But the word translated “hastening” refers t…

New Heavens and New Earth...2 Peter 3:11-13

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“But according to his promise we are waiting fornew heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
The world has changed immensely in my lifetime.I can point to all sorts of political, cultural, and social transformations, but an outstanding practical change is the emergence and prominence of recycling.When I was young, few of us thought about recycling or could do it.Now we all have recycling bins, and many of us find ways to produce as little trash as possible and as much recycling as we can.Why?Trash is useless, but recycling is reusable.Is the creation trash or recycling?This is one way to pose the question raised in these verses.In his defense of God’s promise regarding Jesus’ glorious return, Peter depicts incredible destruction of the creation.The words describe a cataclysmic upheaval of the heavens and Earth.But will God trash creation or recycle it?I believe God will recycle it.The world will not be utterly obliterated, but the creation will be made new.Here are two r…

The Day of the Lord...2 Peter 3:10

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“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,and then the heavens will pass away with a roar…”
When I was young, our family would occasionally visit an uncle, aunt, and cousins who lived on the other side of our city.My cousin Mark was (and is) a hilarious but slightly mischievous person.He is a little older than me, so he could easily outsmart me in anything we did.As we wandered through his house, he would often hide behind something, then jump out and scare me.I never seemed to see it coming.Will we see the day of the Lord coming?If we think about Peter’s words in this section, it’s a good question.Scoffers says Jesus isn’t coming again at all.Peter says God will fulfill this promise, but He is patiently allowing the salvation of all the elect.One day will be the day of the Lord, and it will come like a thief.Like my cousin, the thief doesn’t announce his pending arrival.He never says, “Here I am, ready to rob your house!”He hides himself until an opportune time and counts on the…

Patient...2 Peter 3:8-9

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“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.”
Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can;often found in woman, seldom found in man.
I believe my wife learned this saying from her mother.While it may be true, we might add this line: “Always found in God.”Patience is a virtue, and God is the possessor of all virtues in infinite quantities and eternal duration. Peter is critiquing the scoffers who disbelieve Jesus’ promise to return.He has recalled how God judged the world with water.Why does He wait to judge again?Peter begins by reminding his readers of the Lord’s timetable.It’s not the same as ours.He echoes Psalm 90:4 — “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or a watch in night.”What may seem long to us does not seem so long to Him.But Peter isn’t just concerned with God’s clock.He wants to communicate something about God’s char…