Read: 2 Peter 3:10-18
Reflect: Have you ever been incentivized to do something? When you were a kid, did your mom ever say, “I’m going to the store and if I get back and see that your room is clean, then we can go and have some ice cream” Oh boy! Ice cream! Are you kidding? She would have to promise me a ton of ice cream, a new bike, a Mickey Mantle rookie card, and a trip to Disneyland before I could even consider beginning a reclamation project on my room of horrors. And besides, if my room were cleaned, would I still be able to find my Mad Magazines or that slice of pizza which I always kept hidden under my bed…..just in case?
Well, all of that is an exaggeration of course (I wasn’t even a Yankees fan), but the point I was making was that sometimes we do need a gigantic push to do that which is right. In II Peter 3:1-2, Peter reminds the believers of what the prophets spoke in the past. He says: “I have written both of them (I & II Peter) to remind you to stimulate your minds to wholesome thinking”. Thinking? They had to change their thinking? Yes, in Romans 12: 2, Paul made that compelling statement “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will is.” So, what was the thing that Peter held over the head of the believers? Was it a trip out for ice cream? I don’t think so!
Peter had been telling his readers about the coming of Jesus Christ. He said it would be as a ‘thief in the night’. In other words, it could be anytime. They may be sitting down to have dinner with their family and the next thing they know, they are gone. They may be in the city square listening to an orator loudly haranguing about the wild youth of this generation, and then suddenly, hundreds of people are gone, taken up with Jesus. But Peter doesn’t stop there. He tells us what will happen to the earth. Peter says: “the heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” Why does Peter share this grim news of destruction and devastation? What is the urgent call for the church? How should we respond?
We should respond with a blameless and holy life. Peter answers with “So then dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (the new heavens and the new earth), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” (2 Peter 3:14-15). Peter reminds us that for every year, month, day or even hour, that the Lord is patient in fulfilling his plan and allowing one more month or day that another person can accept the salvation of Jesus Christ. One more chance for us to share the greatest story ever written and to offer hope and forgiveness to another generation of men and women and boys and girls.
Apply: Sometimes we need to think of the future that our loved ones will encounter. I’m not talking about an eternity separated from you (as terrible as that will be), I’m thinking about our loved ones spending an eternity separated from GOD! So, what do we do about that? We must live a holy life in front of them and make every effort to be the church, to be different. We must be someone they could seek after to learn about the true God. To love them and to appreciate the patience of the Lord that brings salvation! Peter’s plea is our call to be men and women who love and serve Jesus Christ.
Authored by Bill Stoner
Bill is a retired pastor who continues teaching, discipling, and working with children through the church and by substitute teaching. He loves to serve his Lord.