Summary: Peter concludes his second letter by encouraging believers to trust God for the return of Christ and to live accordingly
Here we are this morning at the end of our journey through 2 Peter. We are at the end and yet when we read this passage we find we are back where we started from – Peter reminding his readers of the basics.
VERSES 1-2: HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ANYTHING?
Did your mum or dad ever climb into the car and say those immortal words to you: “Have your forgotten anything?” and then they held up some essential item that you had left behind. I remember when we were going to Kenya we got to the airport and I asked Janet for my passport and she just looked at me blankly and I then threw a wobbly and she calmly produced the passport and smiled. Do you remember rote learning tables in school? Endlessly repeating something until it had been ingrained on your memory. Like any good teacher Peter repeats once more the basic lessons of his letter so that they have one final chance to learn the essentials. It is like the teacher going over one last time the basics of the lesson before you sit the test. Peter here goes over ground which he had previously covered in 1 verses 16-21. He has a deep affection for the believers but is repelled by the false teaches and his desire is to woo the believers away from the false teachers to a deeper love for God. Peter’s concern is that the believers might understand that right thinking leads to right behaviour and vice versa, a lesson we all need to take heed of this morning. He wants them to be led to ‘wholesome thinking’ because only by thinking right can they live right. It is only by listening to, thinking upon and obeying the Word of God that their minds will think right and they will live right. He wants them to think in such a way that their lives (outward) will bear scrutiny and carry transparent sincerity before society. Their lives should be a stark contrast to that of the false teachers, whose behaviour he has outlined at the end of chapter 2. Their lives reflect their cavalier attitude to basic Christian teaching. Wrong thinking leads to debauched living and he holds the false teachers lives up as an example.
VERSES 3-7 GOD’S POWERFUL WORD.
Peter now addresses one of the key issues before the believers he is writing to, namely the delay in the second coming of Christ. Peter points out that scoffers will come in the last days to pour scorn on the belief that Christ will return. Now the ‘last days’ is not some date in the future. The ‘last days’ is the time between the first coming of Christ and his second coming. The believers Peter is writing to are living in the last days and we here this morning are living in the last days. Look at what Peter says in verse 3 –read. These scoffers justify their indulging of their evil desires by raising questions about those points of belief which condemn them. they sound sophisticated with their questions but in actual fact they are just sinful and seeking to justify their sinful desires.
On the surface their question of verse 4 (read) seems perfectly fair but Peter points out that all it does is prove they are biblically illiterate. In answering their question (verses 5-7) Peter cites two biblical examples and draws a conclusion from them. In verse 5 he points out that God spoke and creation came to be, in verse 6 God spoke and judgment (in the flood) fell upon the earth and therefore if God has in the past by His Word intervened in time and space then we can be assured that He will keep His promise for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter points out that God is absolutely in control and the fact that God is patient in delaying the return of Christ is not that it will not happen but is an act of mercy on the part of God to allow people to repent and to be saved. God’s patience, says Peter, is to lengthen the days during which a change of heart is possible. And this morning there are some of you and you need to hear that fact. God is patient so that you might have the opportunity to respond to Christ before He comes again and it is too late.
These false teachers argue that everything in creation just keeps going on the same. Peter points out that the same Word which guarantees the world’s stability in which they delight also guarantees the judgment to come which they mock. Because God is patient with the world does not mean that the world is closed to Him, the flood shows how He can intervene in time, history and space.