The Way - Day 181 (2 Peter 3)

Daily Reading:
2 Peter 3
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read 2 Peter 3:8 aloud. What are some ways this verse might be misinterpreted?  What are some ways it might be interpreted more accurately (i.e. ways that fit with the rest of scripture)?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 85:6-7
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:23
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:31-32
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 2 Peter 3 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
2 Peter 3:1-9
One of the issues that Peter's readers seemed to be confused about was the second coming of Jesus Christ. We do know that Christ made His first visit to earth 2,000 years ago and took on human form in order to die for the sins of mankind. He promised to return again to establish a 1,000 year reign on the earth after which would follow the new heaven and new earth. The false teachers had apparently discouraged Christians and had falsely claimed that Christ would not return to earth. This saddened believers and probably caused them to doubt whether Jesus would ever return for His followers. Peter wrote this last chapter to give proper instruction about the second coming of Jesus Christ. He writes, "Scoffers will come in the last days, walking in their own lusts, and saying 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers [Old Testament patriarchs] fell asleep [died], all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation" (3:3-4). These teachers must have teaching that God was uninvolved in earthly affairs and therefore would not return for His own nor would He judge the wicked. Peter quickly reminds them about the judgment God sent upon the earth during the time of Noah where He destroyed evildoers with a worldwide flood (3:5-7). Although God promised to never destroy the world by water again, Peter reveals that the earth will one day be burned up by fire (3:7). Peter's readers should not be concerned about the time of Jesus' return because God does not view time in the same way we do (3:8). In essence, Peter was telling them that Christ will return, but maybe on a different timescale than ours. Why does Christ delay His return? Peter answers this with what I believe to be one of the greatest statements of His patience. "The Lord is not slack [delayed] concerning His promise [about the second coming], as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (3:9). Christ delays His return so that more people will have more time to repent of evil ways and find forgiveness in His death, burial, and resurrection for our sins. Most of us want Christ to return so we can escape the current pressures of this life but this is a selfish view. The only reason Jesus delays His return for His followers is because He desires to "see all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4). God could call down judgment upon the wicked at any moment, but he holds out hope for them to turn from their wicked ways. What an amazing God!

2 Peter 3:10-17
In closing out his letter, Peter continues to instruct his readers concerning Jesus Christ's promised return and His certain judgment upon the wicked. The church had become increasingly fearful about the delay in Christ's return and the false teachers had taken advantage of the situation by declaring He was not coming back at all. Peter lovingly wrote assuring them of Jesus' soon return and that His delay was due to His patience with those who were still rebelling against the truth (3:9). For the followers of Christ, His return to earth would be a time of joy while those who reject Him will experience final judgment. Peter was obviously referring to the false teachers. He writes, "But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night..." (3:10). The "Day of the Lord" Peter referenced probably points to two different judgments. The first will take place midway through the seven-year tribulation period when God pours out His wrath on the wicked of the earth. The second judgment is final and points to the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ (which follows the tribulation period). Once and for all God will take vengeance on those who have ignored His provision for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter details what will happen at that judgment, "the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (3:10). Basically, the earth and everything in it will be destroyed in God's final judgment of sin and unrighteousness. After revealing this to his readers, Peter gives some advice about how they should be living life now. "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness..." (3:11). He was challenging them to be faithful to God's way, even in the midst of evil. Although the earth will be destroyed, Peter reminds them that God has promised them a "new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (3:13). Enduring the onslaughts of false teachers was difficult for the church, but what awaits believers will more than compensate for earthly struggles. Christians must be diligent to protect against the teachings of those who distort and misuse Scripture. We are called to defend the purity of God's word and practice its teachings in our daily lives. May God help us to be faithful to Him!

Dear God, help me to have a burning desire for the truth and enable me to defend it at any cost. When others twist and misuse Your word, may I be faithful to stand for what is right.