Read: 2 Peter 3:1-18
Consider: In his second letter Peter speaks to his fellow believers in this way: Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking (2 Peter 3:1). The NIV translation rendering of ‘wholesome thinking’ is not particularly helpful as it makes us think these Christians had carnal, worldly minds. The Greek word used here can be translated as pure (NKJV) or sincere (ESV) and carries with it the meaning of uncontaminated and unadulterated. Peter wanted them to have their minds fixed on the truth and not to be swayed by anything that unbelievers might be saying.
Peter goes on to remind them of the certainty of Jesus’ return and despite what the scoffers say (3:3-4), they can be sure and confident that it will happen. This leads Peter on to something that is still as relevant today as it was then – If Jesus’ return at some point in the future is sure, how should this affect how we live today?
Before considering this let’s deal with the age old question of the timing of Christ’s return. Peter is clear that some people see a delay in Jesus returning as giving them the right to scoff. Peter, however, tells the believers: 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 (3:9) and ‘… our Lord’s patience means salvation …’ (3:15). This means that any perceived delay on God’s part is to give people an opportunity to respond to him and accept his gift of salvation.
It should not matter to us if Jesus should return today, tomorrow, next year or in a thousand years’ time, we should be living consistently in the way God wants us to live. In three places Peter reminds them how to live. Firstly in 2 Peter 3:11-12a he says: Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. Secondly in 3:14 we read: So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Thirdly in 3:17-18a he tells them: Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we are living in the same era of the church, awaiting Jesus’ return, we should seek to live lives that are pure and spotless, uncontaminated by the world’s standards and not swayed by error. We should hold fast to the truth as we find it in the OT and NT Scriptures, as well as growing to become more Christlike.
Pray: Father, may we keep Jesus’ return in mind and may we live expectantly awaiting his return. May we desire to live in such a way that Jesus’ return positively affects how we choose to live day-by-day. Amen