2 Peter 3 Bible study

Living Word Magazine

Chapter 3.

 

 

3:1 Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder:

 

Peter had written this and his previous letter so that the church would always have a record of his teaching, as it was handed down to him by Christ; and that by being reminded of His word, God's people might be stirred within themselves to obedience, service, worship and patience. All that is needed in the Christian life is provided for by the constant repetition and teaching of the Scriptures, and this is the responsibility of every minister of God's word (2 Tim. 3:16-17 and Acts 20:32). As believers, our minds (hearts, consciences) have been made pure by the cleansing of Jesus' blood (Heb 10.22) and by the action of the new birth (Tit 3.5), which accompanies our acceptance of the gospel message. 3:2)  I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. Since faith came to us by hearing God's word, Peter urges us to keep in mind what we have been taught. This message had been foretold by the OT prophets and was made clear by the Lord Jesus Christ, who entrusted the apostles to preach it to the people. Giving heed to Christ's teaching will guard us from error, wrong ways, and falling asleep.

 

Scoffers

 

3:3-4 Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges and saying, "Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation."

 

In the last days many will come who will mock God's word and pour scorn on the gospel message. It is so today. In our country there are those who will do anything they can to prevent the gospel message from being heard. Such people, says JB Phillips, have only one guide in life - what they want for themselves. They hear the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, but mock it as if it were the very worst of fairy stories. Especially is this true of his coming again. They say "Where is he then? If he was going to come again, he would surely have come by now, so he isn't coming at all. " In fact, they are those who say that ALL we believe is not true. According to these people, nothing has changed from the beginning of creation. In other words, God has no interest in human affairs. If they believe that God made the world at all (which they do not) then they think that he has left it to run itself. They do not believe in the resurrection. They say God will not judge the world. They want to believe this because they want to forget God and go their own way. They do not want the restraint that responsibility to a creator God brings. They say "We are our own masters. We own our lips..." (Psa. 12:4).

 

3:5-6 For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water.

 

They deliberately forget that God has often intervened in human history. In particular, Peter makes reference to the flood which, because of man's sin, destroyed the world in the days of Noah. Only those who had accepted God's way of salvation (the ark) were saved.

 

The End of this Age and the Eternal Ages to Come

 

3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

 

This present world will continue until the time that God has chosen to judge its inhabitants. At that time the heavens and the earth will be destroyed by fire.

 

3:8-10 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare.

 

As Christians we should know that God's word is true. Although we are in time, He is not. It appears to men that He has delayed his coming. But He has not. What is 2000 years to him? He is eternal (Psa. 90:2). He has fixed the day of Christ's coming again.1 It is God's long-suffering that causes Him to give time and opportunity for every one to hear the gospel and to repent. In the days of Noah, He waited 120 years for the same reason. But the flood came at his appointed time and not a second later. It is not God's will that any should perish, so no blame will ever be laid at God's door for those who do, it will be their own fault. When the very last one to be saved has been gathered in, then Christ will come. The timing of this event, as we have said, is fixed and determined by God, and known only to God the Father. For us it will come suddenly and unexpectedly, just like when a thief breaks in, unannounced. On that "Day of the Lord" the very elements - that is, all created things- will pass away (i.e. will cease to be). Paul confirms this in Heb. 12:26-27. The material universe is described as temporal (2 Cor. 4:18) and will pass away (1 Cor. 7:31 and Psa. 102:25-26). Isaiah 34:4 uses imagery of a scroll rolling up or leaves falling of a tree (see also Isa. 51:6). I believe that when God removes his word of command which upholds creation then it will instantly cease to exist, as instantly as it came into being when He spoke in Genesis One. This will cause a tremendous generation of heat, rather like what is produced during nuclear fusion. However, this does not mean that it will be fusion which will cause the heat, for heat itself will cease to be. Peter refers to a large period of time in this one verse, for we must distinguish between Christ's coming for his own, his coming to earth to reign and the Final Judgment. Briefly, we know that Christ will live and reign on this earth for 1000 years at his coming. It will be at the end of this period that the earth and heavens that are now will cease to exist and the wicked will be judged (Rev. 20:11-15). Once the wicked have been banished forever, we are told that God will make a new heaven and a new earth.

 

3:11 Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness,

 

Since this world is passing away, we should always be living for the next and the values of the world to come should be ours now (holiness, godliness, love )

 

3:12 while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze!

 

This is the way we are to live as we eagerly expect and wait for the day when Christ shall come, who shall change our bodies and deliver us forever from the presence of sin. It is sin that distresses the child of God (see 2 Peter 2.7,8)

 

3:13 But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.

 

But according to God's promise, we shall have a part in the new heaven and earth which he will create, where by virtue of Christ's death there will be no sin but only righteousness forever. We will be with the Lord forevermore (Rev. 22:3-5 and Rev. 21:3-5).This blessed state will never end (Isa. 66:22).

 

Continuing Steadfastly in the Faith

 

3:14  Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence.

 

Since this is our hope, we should be careful always not to be at variance with God or with one another (1 Thess. 5:13). Instead we are to be blameless before him (Phil. 2:15). Because of all that Christ has done for us, we should want to please him. If we sin, we are to confess our sins, and he will forgive. When we sin we are chastened by him so that we might not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32).

 

3:15  And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him,

 

Peter says "account that the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation." Here he is writing to the Christian. When we do wrong, God does not cast us off, but disciplines us as a Father his child, so that we might share in his holiness (Heb. 12:6-10). His love remains constant to us and the fact that he chooses to deal with us in this way shows that he is long-suffering (i.e. is prepared in love, to put up with an awful lot).It is because God has such patience with us that we will not only be saved but kept by his power.

 

3:16  speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.

 

Peter recognizes that Paul, who had written to the church, had been given wisdom and understanding by God through the revelation which he had received. As a beloved brother, he had written along similar lines to the church previously about the long-suffering of the Lord. Peter recognizes Paul's writings as being scripture and also that some of what he says is difficult to understand. Those who are untaught in the Word of God and who are not established firmly in the faith distort his teachings to fit themselves. They try to make then mean what they are not intended to mean and they also do this to the rest of the Scriptures, thereby bringing about their destruction. God will severely deal with all those who meddle with His word (Rev. 22:18-19).

 

3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.

 

Since we have been instructed in the truth, we have a greater responsibility than those who have not been. We should be alert and watchful unless we are also carried along with others who turn from the truth and so fall from our present steadfastness.

 

3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.

 

Instead, we are to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - getting to know him and his perfect will for our lives as we walk with him and he unfolds it to us.To HIM be glory both now and throughout all eternity. AMEN.

Further Reading Resources for you - Peter

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