2nd Peter,  Dale Lewis

2 Peter 3:11-14 | What Manner of Persons Ought You To Be

Intro

In the third chapter of 2 Peter, the author quoted the false teaching in verses 4-5 quoting their words, “Where is the promise of His coming” with regards to Jesus’ 2nd coming. Their false teaching had discouraged true believers as they viewed their difficult present circumstances. The false teachers had said, “For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” The implications caused the believers to falsely assume that God was either unable or inept in intervening in human history. Peter’s answer was to remind them that the world runs on G.S.T. “God Standard Time” and not H.S.T.Human Standard Time”. The problem isn’t God’s it’s ours! He further reminded them that the world is NOT going to get better, but evil isn’t going win either. In 3:10 Peter reminded them that God is not slack concerning His promises, He “will come as a thief in the night.” What causes our seeming “delays” is not incompetence, but instead LOVE for the LOST.

                  Now in these verses, Peter, at the close of his letter will further “remind them always of these things” (1:12). The first things I noticed in my examination of this section is the number of words that Peter used to exhort these dear saints. Three times he uses the word “therefore”, he also uses words, “looking, hastening and nevertheless”. Putting these words with phrases like “What manner of persons ought you to be..” and “be diligent to be found by Him..”, “beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness…” and verse 18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord…” This leads the reader of this letter to realize that in light of what Peter has said throughout this brief letter there was a clear expectation of what his readers were to do in light of the information he had presented.

Vs. 11 Biblical perspectives

Vs.11 To set up the expectations Peter reminds them of two truths that they need to keep in perspective as they are called to live life in difficult circumstances:

  1.   Vs. 10, 12 “The day of the Lord WILL COME as a thief in the night, in which 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.” “…the heavens WILL be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” The First truth that followers need to be constantly reminded of is:This world will be destroyed”!! There will be no reformation of this world, no amount of education or corrective reforms will spare this world. It is time that the Christian start believing and living out the truth of the Word of God in regard to this world. This world is not our HOME, and that is true all the time and not just when we face adversity or circumstances that are contrary to our interests. The Church needs to be more excited and living in the reality of our future home of the New Heaven and Earth than it is in being excited about the doorway of the rapture! We must STOP trying to make the earth our heaven!!! The world we live will be destroyed, “purged” by fervent heat that will melt away “both the earth and the works that are in it”. The Bible speaks of two earth destroying events, the “flood of Noah’s time” and what Perter mentions here as the “Fervent heat” that will burn up both the earth and the works that are contained in them.  The destruction of the current world and works by fire is to burn up all that sin has affected and in this we can see that from God’s perspective there is nothing that can be regenerated and reformed as in the time of Noah and the flood as things were allowed to grow back and repopulate. But that will not ever be the case again; humanity had a chance to see that even when you start with sin that has been “washed away” it will grow back just as strong! This life is NOT ALL THERE IS, and the fact is we at times become way to attached to that which the Bible says is passing away. We become to entangled with the affairs of this life on earth and forgotten the glory that is to come.
  2. Vs. 12, 13 “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God..” “We have, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The second truth that Peter wanted the Christian to have the right perspective about is the “New heaven and earth”. The follower of Christ must guard their heart against trying to make earth their heaven as it will never produce the hope during difficult seasons of life. Our hope in not in reformation it is in recreation!!! Our hope according to the bible as odd as it sounds is in understanding that this world is doomed. The gospel message with regards to the world as we know it isn’t “repent or perish”, NO the gospel to this world is the world is going to perish!! In Jonah 3:4 “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”. There have been far too many “preacher-politician’s” whose gospel has been that through government, education we can reform the earth into what the Bible declares is heaven. This world will never be heaven and what the gospel says is that it is doomed so that those in the world will ask, “What must I do to be saved?” In 1 Corinth 2:9 we read,  “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  There are some in the Church that have switched the tags on their clothes and have been putting off Christ and putting on the old man! Saint’s heaven is the first-time redeemed humanity will ever fully understand what Jesus gave up redeeming us. When we see Jesus for the first time in glory we will see the meaning of life and the cost paid by Him so that we can have life! You will remember the time you were on earth during your journey, the time you wasted in pursuit of sin, the time you wasted in trying to make earth heaven. Oh, how I think we all shall regret what we wasted when we could have lived differently on earth. Let us not ever forget that what awaits us is the glory to come not 

Vs. 11-14 How we should now live     

Vs. 11-14 Peter gives a threefold answer to the question he asks in verse 11, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” I will for continuity’s sake take these out of order to the verses as I believe that it will make more sense.

  1. Vs. 12a “WATCH”: The word that Peter uses is “Looking for” which he uses three time in these verses. The question is, “What does Peter mean by the use of this word?” It is what we mentioned above that the follower of Jesus ought to be living with a blessed hope and expectation not upon the world being reformed but instead upon the word of God being fulfilled! I’m not saying that the Christian can’t be informed and even involved in making the world we live in a better place but that is NOT OUR HOPE! We can be active in restraining evil and its affects, but we will never be able to rid the world of it. The question the believer needs to ask is what is our hope….what are we looking for? The things we observe in this world are temporal and things that we cannot see are eternal! We must not be so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good!!! Saint’s we need to spend each day remembering that this world is not our home and not trying to transform it into heaven but instead allow God to transform us for heaven!     
  2. Vs. 11, 14 “WORK”: The second point Peter makes with regards to what kind of person’s we ought to be is defined immediately in the words “holy conduct and godliness”. The right perspective will cause the believer to be engaged in the work of sanctification as we are being transformed into the image of JESUS. The follower of Jesus not only “looks for these things” they are to “prepare for them”. “Seeing that all these things are going to be dissolved what are living for?” This is such an important point that Peter reemphasizes it in verse 14 saying, “Therefore be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless..” The realization ought to bear fruit in our conduct and you can see in a person’s character if they truly believe that above truths. The Bible never asks the Christian to live a good life apart from reminding them that this life is to be lived in direct view of our eternal life! We claim to be children of God and believe the word of God, well are we preparing for what He has promised us? That is what John would write in 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”       
  3. Vs. 12b-13 “WITNESS”: The last point Peter makes centers around the phrase in verse 12 “hasten the coming of the day of God”. The question is what does Peter mean by this exhortation? We see that the motivation behind it was the dissolving of the present heaven and earth and the promise of the new heaven and earth in verse 13. There is nothing with regards to the G.S.T. that could move the fixed time ahead as we cannot change the purpose and plan of God. So, this cannot refer to things fixed upon God’s calendar but instead it must have reference to the moral atmosphere that God has placed His church into. The we can “hasten the coming of Jesus” is by doing the work of God in share His love, by going into the world and making disciples. The Christian and the Church must “hasten His coming” by spreading the gospel, by preaching and by doing mission work and as we do so we are doing everything to bring about that fixed date.

Peter says that this is what the church and the Christian can do to if we have the blessed hope of a new heaven and earth. We are watching for the soon return of the Lord, working on our own heart and lives, and witnessing to everyone we meet of the hope that lies within!