2 Peter Chapter Three

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In our study of 2 Peter chapter three, we are told of how we are to live our lives based on what the apostle has reminded us of in the previous two chapters. He urged us to grow in faith and knowledge so that we will not be deceived by false prophets. Now, we will see that with knowledge comes responsibility.

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2 Peter 3:1

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

Peter wrote these letters to believers that were scattered throughout the Roman provinces of Asia Minor. As we see here, his goal was not to reach the lost but to remind the believers of what they already had and to get them to grow and sink their roots into the Word of God. The "wholesome thinking" speaks of sincere minds or those that are genuine believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Lord, and Savior. This is in contrast to those that he talked about in chapter two who are destined for judgment.

2 Peter 3:2

I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

Peter shows us here that it is important to know the words of the Old Testament prophets as well as the teachings of the apostles. Both of these sources were chosen by God to share the knowledge of Him with us and the rest of the world. There are many today that do not study the Old Testament as they say the law does not apply to us. They are right in that we are not under law but grace but it is the foundation of our faith. The words of the prophets help us to understand the need for Christ as well as what we have in Christ.

2 Peter 3:3

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

We see from this verse the importance of knowing that the false prophets will come and to be prepared for them. That preparation is studying the Word in order to grow (the second purpose of this website). The last days that he refers to is the time that we are in now. The Old Testament predicted the first coming of Jesus Christ while the gospels proclaimed that He had come and would come again. These last days are the waiting for that return.

2 Peter 3:4

They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'

These scoffers and false teachers will basically say that Jesus is not coming back for His people. For those that know Jesus, His coming is the fulfillment of our hope. Without that hope, many will live for today and the false pleasures that this world offers. These false teachers will point to the past and say that He hasn't come yet so He is not coming. This, in turn, will cause many to live like there is no tomorrow and no coming judgment of sin.

2 Peter 3:5-7

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

It is not that these false prophets do not know the truth but they simply deny it. The truth is that God created everything by His Word and He passed judgment on the world in Noah's day through the flood. It is also true that God has said that the present earth is going to be judged with fire. These so-called prophets know it is coming but choose to ignore it and there are more of these "prophets" today than ever before.

2 Peter 3:8

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

We often forget that God created time (in Genesis) and He is in control of time. We think of time in terms of our lifespan but God is eternal and what seems like a long time for us is only a speck of time to Him. Those who say it has been so long since Jesus said He was coming back, forget that it is all in relation to eternity.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

In our world today with such an obsession with sports and athletic ability, we place a premium on speed. In doing this, many confuse God's patience in delaying the judgment with weakness. As Peter tells us, it is not out of weakness that the judgment is delayed but out of love and the fact that God does not want to see any human being cast into hell.

2 Peter 3:10

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. 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.

Because most people have stopped expecting Jesus to return at any moment, His return will be unexpected like a thief breaking into your home. When He returns, the delay will be over and judgment will be swift. The old things will perish in preparation for the unveiling of the new.

2 Peter 3:11 & 12

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. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

Because we know these things, our lives should reflect the fact that these things are only temporary. We should focus on the things that are lasting. The "speed its coming" part has caused much confusion and even led some people to do some very strange things. It simply means that we tell others about Jesus and how they can be saved from the coming wrath. God knows all that are His and, when the last one is saved, He will send Jesus to collect His sheep. We speed this process by being effective witnesses which is an important purpose of this website.

2 Peter 3:13

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

This old world is passing away soon but the good news is that there is a new one coming! Revelation 20 describes this new heaven and earth that we inherit through the blood of Jesus Christ. Many people think that when we die we simply go to heaven, hang out on a cloud, and play a harp but that is not so. We are going to be on this new earth and it is going to be without the effects of sin.

2 Peter 3:14

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

If you are looking forward to living with God in the new heaven/earth, which is the home of righteousness, you will not want to be a party to sin. It is interesting to note that Peter assumed that those who believe in Jesus were looking forward to it. We all have to ask ourselves whether we are truly looking forward to this or are we happy in this world.

2 Peter 3:15 & 16

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. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Why does God allow the evil to continue and even to increase? The simple answer is found here as Peter says that it is patience and the opportunity for people to be saved. Peter and Paul had some early disagreement but they were able to settle their differences and work together to further the kingdom as we see Peter defending him here. In light of the fact that Jesus is coming soon, we should follow this example and just get about the business of sharing Jesus with as many people as we can.

2 Peter 3:17

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

Since we know the truth, Peter urges us to hold on to it even in the face of the false prophets. Many have tried to use this verse to say that we can lose our salvation but, when he talks about "fall from your secure position", he is not talking about losing salvation. In Christ, our position as children of God is secure and God does not toss His children out on the street. Peter is talking about those that have followed these false prophets into a religion instead of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our position is sealed with the Holy Spirit and that Spirit will not allow you to be "carried away by the error" as He is the Counselor that Jesus promised.

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Peter ends this second letter by urging us to grow in our knowledge of Jesus and His grace. The more we learn about our faith the harder it is for us to be deceived by the schemes of the devil.