Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hasten the Day

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

(2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV)

Even though we have the promise of Christ, and even though we live with the hope of his coming, it seems that we would rather put it off.  We would rather he not come, at least not for a while. We would rather he not come because we’re not yet ready to let go of the things of this life.

When we consider what he’s promised us, this seems absolutely crazy. He’s promised us eternal life in his kingdom. He’s promised us eternal life in his presence. He’s promised us eternal life where sin and its consequences are no more.

In the kingdom of God, we will not struggle with temptation and our sinful nature. In the kingdom of God, we will not suffer. In the kingdom of God, we will not die. All of these will be a thing of the past.

Yet, we would rather put it off for a while. We would rather continue on in this present world. We would rather enjoy more time with our family. We’d rather spend more time enjoying our home. We’d rather spend more time traveling or enjoying our hobbies. Even knowing that the blessings God has in store for us are so much greater, we would rather enjoy the pleasures of this life a while longer.

Often, we would rather put it off for a while that we might indulge our sinful nature a bit more. We would rather pander to our sinful longings. Instead of hating our sin and longing to be free of it, we enjoy it. And, frankly, we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to forever satisfy our lusts.

Peter tells us that, realizing these things are to be dissolved, we should live lives of holiness and godliness. As people of faith, we must turn from our sinful desires in a spirit of repentance. As people of faith, we must value the Lord and his blessings even more than the people and things we love most in this life.

Realizing these things will be dissolved, we should be waiting for the coming of the day of God. In fact, he says that we should hasten the day. We should long for the day of his coming, and we should long for it to come quickly.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Don't Grow Impatient

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be.”

(2 Peter 3:8-10 ESV)

As we anticipate the return of Jesus, it’s easy for us to grow impatient.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be free of this world of evil? Who wouldn’t want to be free of these bodies of sin and death?

As time drags on, we want it to be over.  As we watch the wickedness of man on display each and every day, we want it to end. And as we struggle with sin and temptation, we long for this to become a thing of the past.

However, in the above passage, Peter calls on us to take God’s perspective into consideration. For the Lord, time doesn’t share the same meaning, the same framework, as it does with us. Even though we’re told that these things are soon to take place, from the Lord’s perspective, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.

No matter how it seems to us, God is not slow to fulfill his promise. He is being patient with mankind. And this patience is yet another example of his grace.

It’s an example of his grace because he doesn’t want anyone to perish. Even though the final judgment and hell itself are realities, they are not God’s desire for anyone. His desire is for the salvation of all.

For this reason, he’s displaying his patience. He’s providing time for the gospel to go forth. And he’s providing opportunity for the lost to look to him in faith that they might be saved.

The grace of God, given to us, fills us with the same desire. We long for the salvation of our fellow men. And, for this reason, we patiently endure our time in this world.

Yet we’re assured that the end will come. Even if our waiting has led us to question this, it is his promise.  And, as we know, our God is faithful.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Don't Get too Comfortable

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

(2 Peter 3:1-7 ESV)

It’s easy for us to get comfortable. As we live life, as we go from day to day, nothing seems to change. Everything seems rather routine. And this can lead us into the false belief that nothing will ever change.

Eventually, things do change. We get married. We have children. We lose a job. We move to a different city. A child moves away from home. We lose a loved one. And we’re rattled, we’re caught off guard, by the sudden change to our existence.

The same sense of comfort finds itself into our life of faith as well. Because the world continues to go on as it always has, we believe that it always will.  Because God has not yet judged the world, we begin to think that he never will.

Regardless of what Scripture tells us about the end of this age and the coming judgment, we dismiss it. We begin to think and act as if this is an unreliable teaching. We begin to think and act as if the nature of God differs from the way he’s revealed it to us in his Word.

We must recognize that, just because God hasn’t yet brought about the end, this doesn’t prove that he never will. Because God has not yet judged the world doesn’t mean that he never will. We must bear in mind that God is faithful to his Word.

When we doubt the coming judgment, we must remember a simple truth. In the beginning, everything was created by the Word of God. And, in the same way, the world was, at one time, destroyed by God’s Word.  In the days of Noah, the world that then existed was brought to an end. Knowing this, we can believe that, by that same Word of God, the world is being kept for the day of judgment.

Realizing this, we must not grow comfortable with the world in which we now live. We must not lose our hope of eternal life in the presence of God. We must not doubt or dismiss God’s Word when he speaks of his judgment or the end of this age. We must live our days knowing that the end will soon come upon us, and that everything he has promised will come to pass.