As I am preparing for Cedar Valley Bible Church’s “Second Coming Conference” (November 16-17) in Iowa, I am working my way through three prophetic texts: I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Peter 3:1-18, and I John 3:1-10.
We’ve looked at I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and seen how the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus ought to encourage our hearts! We are now thinking about our second text, II Peter 3:1-18. Let’s look at this passage again —
The theme of this text is: the Certainty of Final Judgment.
We’ve noticed, first of all, that prophetic teaching should lead us to wholesome thinking (v. 1). We were then reminded of God’s climatic actions in the universe (vv. 3-7). Specifically, creation (v. 5) and the flood (v. 6) are provided as evidence that God can — and will — dramatically interrupt the normal, everyday pattern of life (contrary to the uniformitarianism of Peter’s day).
The final challenge that I see in this passage concerns the practical, right-now, application of the truth of God’s final judgment (vv. 11-18). These believers are NOT told to buy ascension robes, climb to the top of the highest hill, and wait for the Second Coming. They are instructed: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (vv. 11-12).
These believers are also challenged to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (v. 14). Being forewarned of this certain future, these Jesus-followers are to “be on [their] guard” so that they will not be “carried away” by error (v. 17). Lastly, they are challenged to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 18).
There is no room for eschatological coasting! The certainty of FINAL JUDGMENT should motivate the believer to godliness, purity, and vigilance. (to be continued)