An Enduring Hope in Scary Times
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 done in it will be laid bare.[j]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[k] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
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. 15 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. 16 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.
17 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. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:10-18 NIV
These are scary times that we live in. We face the threat of terrorism, massive earthquakes and tsunami waves, famine, sickness, wars, and rumors of wars.
In Peter’s day, when Peter wrote this letter, the people lived in a time of terror as well. In Peter’s day Christians especially lived in fear because Caesar Nero was in power and he had begun a brutal attack on Christians. He had them killed by crucifixion. Others were placed in skins of sheep and lead into the Coliseum where thousands of people would watch as lions were released to destroy Christians in sheepskins. Other Christians were literally dipped in wax and placed in Caesar Nero’s garden and set on fire as human candles since they were called the “light of the world.” People in the early church who were believers in Christ, went through unbelievable terror as they seen their children, parents, or friends taken from them to be brutally tortured. Historians estimate that six million Christians were killed during the time of the Caesars. After Peter would finish this letter of 2 Peter, tradition says that Peter himself went on to be crucified upside down.
In light of the terror and persecution Christians were facing, Peter offers hope to them in verse 10, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” Since we know that the “day of the Lord will come,” Peter says, “look forward to the day of God…” He reminds the church to be “looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” He says that all that is problematic and troublesome will disappear, but believers will find a place and a time when things will be made right.
In our troubled times, we can embrace the words of Peter as the early church did. No more starvation. No more sadness, sickness, sorrow, divorce, evil temptations, or terrorism. Peter says in verse 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.” He reminds the church that if their hearts are really set on the glory of God to be revealed in a new heaven and new earth, we will make every effort to live a godly life here and now.
Peter closes with this commission. “18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” He reminds the church to grow in the grace God’s grace is not only the avenue through which He saves us, but it is also the way a Christian grows in a personal relationship with Jesus and in giving glory to God.
Holy Spirit, there are times that it is so easy to grow fearful of the things going on around me. Help to always keep and enduring hope in You and to always be growing in Your grace. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, amen.