MAXIMUM EFFORT IS REQUIRED
2 Peter 3:1-18 May 27 2007
The coming Day of Lord – a time of judgment as
well as salvation – provides motivation to expend
every effort to grow in the Lord . Since our lives
hold eternal significance, we cannot allow
ourselves to slip into complacency with respect
to our spiritual growth..
1. Folly of Denial (2 Pet. 3:3-7)
2Pet. 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the
last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following
their own evil desires. 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.” 3:5 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. 3:6 By these waters
also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
3:7 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.
First of all. The Greek for this expression is used in
(2 Pet.1:20 “above all”) to call attention to a matter
of great importance. Last days. An expression that
refers to the whole period introduced by Christ’s
first coming. These days are last in comparison to
OT days, which were preliminary and preparatory.
Also, the Christian era is the time of the beginnings
of prophetic fulfillment. Scoffers will come. Perhaps
the same false teachers described in chap. 2 Pet. (they
follow their own evil desires; 2 Pet. 2:10,18-19). In
chap. 3, however, the emphasis is on Christ’s return.
These people may have been early Gnostics who resisted
the idea of a time of judgment and moral accountability.
HE. Christ. Ever since our fathers died. Either the first
Christians to die after Christ’s death and resurrection
( Stephen, James the brother of John, and other early
Christian leaders who had died; Heb 13:7) or the OT
patriarchs . Everything goes on as it has. Their argument
against Christ’s return was: Since it has not occurred up
to this time, it will never occur. That nature is not
subject to divine intervention, they say, has been proved
by observation (1) of the period since the fathers died —
perhaps 30 years —and (2) of the period since creation.
They deliberately forget . Ignoring the flood as a divine
intervention was not an oversight; it was deliberate.
They did not want to face up to the fallacy in their
argument. God’s word. Of command, such as “Let there
be light” (Gen. 1:3). Earth was formed out water and
by water. (Gen. 1:6-10), where the waters on earth were
separated from the atmospheric waters of the heavens,
and the mountains then appeared, causing the earthly
waters to be gathered into oceans.
By these waters also the world. . . Was deluged and
destroyed. Peter points out the fallacy of the scoffers’
argument. There has been a divine intervention since the
time of creation, namely, the flood. The term “world”
may refer to the earth or, more probably, to the world
of people (John 3:16). All the people except Noah and his
family were overcome by the flood and perished. This
does not necessarily mean that the flood was universal.
It may simply have extended to all the inhabited areas
of earth (Gen. 6:17).
By the same word. The word of God that brought the
world into existence (2 Pet 3: 5) and that brought watery
destruction on the wicked of Noah’s day will bring fiery
destruction on the world that exists today and on its
2. Certainty of Christ’s Return (2 Pet. 3:8-10)
2Pet. 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. 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. 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.
A thousand years are like a day.( Ps 90:4). God does not
view time as humans do. He stands above time, with
the result that when time is seen in the light of eternity,
an age appears no longer than one short day, and a day
seems no shorter than a long age. Since time is purely
relative with God, he waits patiently while human beings
stew with impatience.
God’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation
of all things is a result not of indifference but of
patience in waiting for all who will come to repentance.
Thus the scoffers are wrong on two points: 1. They fail
to recognize that all things have not continued without
divine intervention since creation (the flood was an
intervention, 2 Pet.3:4-6). 2. They misunderstand the
reason for apparent divine delay (God is a long-
Day of the Lord. (Isa 2:11,17,20; Am 5:18; 1Th 5:2). Like a
thief. Suddenly and unexpectedly. The heavens will
disappear with a roar. Apocalyptic language, common to
books like Daniel and Revelation. Due to the figurative
nature of such writings, we must not expect complete
literalism but recognize it as an attempt to describe the
indescribable, a task as impossible as it would have been
for a first-century writer to describe the phenomena of
our atomic age. What may be referred to is the destruction
of the atmospheric heavens with a great rushing sound
(2 Pet.3:12). Elements. Refers either to the heavenly
bodies or to the physical elements —in the first century,
such things as earth, air, fire and water; in today’s more
precise scientific terminology, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon,
etc. Fire . (2 Pet3:7,12). Earth. . . Laid bare. Either the
earth and its contents will disappear and not be seen
anymore, or the earth and all man’s works will appear
before God’s judgment seat.
3. Implications for Believers (2 Pet. 3:11-12,14 ,17-18)
2Pet. 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way,
what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy
and godly lives3:12 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. 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. 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. 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.
Since everything will be destroyed. The transitory
nature of the material universe ought to make a
difference in one’s system of values and one’s
priorities. The result should be lives of holiness
(separated from sin and to God) and godliness (devoted
to the worship and service of God). (Matt 25:13; 1Th 5:6,
8,11; 2Pet 1:13-16).
The day of God. Apparently synonymous with “the day
of the Lord” (2pet.3:10) since it is characterized by the
same kind of events. ( Rev 16:14. Speed its coming. That
day may be hastened by God’s people as they speed up
the accomplishment of his purposes. Since he is waiting
for all who will come to repentance (2pet.3:9), the sooner
believers bring others to the Savior the sooner that day
will dawn (Acts 3:19-20). Prayer also serves to hasten
the day (Matt 6:10), as does holy living (2pet.3:11).
Destruction of the heavens. (2Pet.3:10. Elements will
melt in the heat 2Pet 3:10; Isa 34:4).
His promise. New heavens and a new earth are promised
by (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22). This promise is confirmed by
(Rev 21:1). Home of righteousness. Righteousness will
dwell there as a permanent resident. (Isa 11:4-5; 45:8;
Spotless , blameless( 1Pet. 1:19), where the same two
words are applied to Christ. At peace with him. Believers
have peace with God as a result of being justified by
faith (Rom 5:1), but they may displease him by failing to
live as he desires and thus not receive his commendation
and his reward when he returns (1Co 3:10-15; 2Co 5:10).
Our Lord’s patience means salvation(2Pet.3: 9). Our dear
brother Paul. Peter expresses warmth in his reference
to Paul. The unity of teaching and purpose that governed
their relationship, abundantly attested in Paul’s letters
and the book of Acts, is confirmed here by Peter. It has
been suggested that what Paul wrote to the recipients
of 2 Peter may have been a copy of Romans, which was
sent to the churches as a circular letter
(Rom. 16:4;1Pet. 1:1).
Writes the same way in all his letters. Peter may be
referring in general to the exhortations to holy living
in (2Pet.3:11-14), which parallel many passages in
Paul’s writings. Ignorant and unstable people. The
ignorant are simply the unlearned who have not been
taught basic apostolic teaching and thus may be easily
led astray (2Pet.2:14). Other scriptures. Peter placed
Paul’s writings on the same level of authority as the
God-breathed writings of the OT (2Pet.1:21; 2Ti 3:16).
Already know this. That false teachers are coming
Grow in. . . Knowledge. Peter concludes by again
stressing knowledge (2Pet.1:2-3 ;2Pet1:5), probably
as an antidote to the false teachers who boasted in
their esoteric knowledge.
In chapter 1 of 2 Peter the apostle had pointed
out two foundations for the doctrine of the second
coming. First of all, it rested on the Old Testament
prophecy given under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit (2 Pet.1:19-21. Secondly , it rested on the
fulfillment of that prophecy in the life of Jesus as
witnessed and proclaimed by the apostles
In chapter 2 Peter rebuked those who taught the
second coming was just a myth. He warned that such
false teachers would face God’s judgment and would
bring destruction on those who followed them. In
chapter 3, which is the basis for the study, Peter
showed how our Lord’s return challenges us to live
holt and godly lives.