Author: Charles Hegwood
Have you ever wondered how you should live in light of the end times? I mean if the world will end in fire and creation will melt away, what do we do with our time now? Live it up? Be oblivious? Or live like there is no tomorrow? I remember sitting in a Systematic Theology class and hearing the professor say, “the end of all things is near, and I know many of you are hoping it comes before this test and paper are due. But Peter said you should be found preparing for both when Jesus returns.” Every student was hoping the Day of the Lord would come before the day of the test. But the professor’s words ring true. In light of the end, be found doing what God called you to do. Be found living a God-honoring life. In 2 Peter 3:13-18, Peter told us how to live as we face the end of all things. Peter commands all believers to live holy lives as we eagerly await Jesus’ return.
A Firm Promise to the End
2 Peter 3 is all about the end times. It is after all the end of the letter and Peter is giving us his parting words. His words are also encouraging believers as they wait for the end to come. We must ask ourselves if we believe that the end will come just as Peter said it would, what then should we do with our time and our lives now? Peter would answer that with a firm promise that the destruction of the old creation is much less about destruction and more about a renewal. The promise Peter gives us is that the old creation will be destroyed and there will be a new heaven and a new Earth. Peter encourages his reader to hope in the promise of that new heaven and new Earth. Yes, the old will be destroyed, but the promise is that God will make all things new. That is good news in tough times. We can hope in the promise that God will make a new place for His people to dwell with Him. As we consider the end times and the scary imagery used in 2 Peter 3, let this promise of a new creation bring you hope and peace.
In the Meantime
You may be wondering, but how does this settle the question of what we are to do in the meantime? Do we just sit idle until this happens? The answer to that is in verse 14. “Therefore,” marks a purpose for what had just been said. It was verse 14 that my professor had in mind as he encouraged us to continue writing and studying. “As you wait, be found without spot or blemish.” As we wait for the promise of the new heaven and the new Earth and as we wait for the current creation to fail, be found living holy lives and doing the things of God. The world ending is not an excuse to do whatever we want. Instead, it is every reason to “be diligent” and put effort towards being active living in holiness.
Peter is pushing us to be found doing godly things by Jesus when He returns. It is like preparing for the arrival of a baby. What do you do? You get things ready to bring the baby home. If you are awaiting a meeting with an honored guest, you are getting the house in order. The promise of Jesus’ return that Peter talked about should also inspire us to prepare ourselves for His return as we would a baby or an honored guest.
If Jesus tarries, then we take that as an opportunity to share the gospel with more people. Take the patience of Jesus in returning as a time to get your life and the lives of those around you in order. God’s patience should inspire us to go to the nations and proclaim the good news to those who have no hope. Share Christ in the meantime. So let us answer the question, what do we do in the meantime? We share the gospel and live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
Practical living for the End
As Peter concludes his letter, he reminds his reader that Paul has also written about these things. Peter encourages the reader, and us, to know Paul’s teaching. This is practical advice. As we seek to live holy lives in light of the End Times, we need to grow in our knowledge of God. Put simply, read and know your Bibles. You will grow in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter warns us however, that Scripture can be difficult to understand and that some people use it wrongly for bad purposes. So Peter commands that we, therefore, take care and be diligent in knowing what Scripture rightly says. Read your Bibles and read them well. Stay away from Bible teachers whose lives are marked by lawlessness for they will only lead you away. Find Bible teachers whose lives are marked by Jesus and learn to read Scripture from them. So as we wait for Jesus let us live holy lives, share Christ, and read God’s Word well.
Hear the words of Peter as we think about Jesus’ return. One, these promises are sure. We can trust our God. Two, we are to be diligent in living holy lives marked by repentance and grace. Three, share Christ as we wait for His return. And four, we are to read and know God’s Word so that we can grow in our understanding and knowledge of Him. In doing these things we may be found by Jesus without spot or blemish seeking Him in everything we do. Go and do likewise.