I am looking forward to 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 have also looked at our second text, 2 Peter 3:1-18 and seen the theme of final judgment.
There is so much in this passage to consider! Peter begins by challenging us to wonder at God’s love for us (vv. 1-2). We are not only “called” children of God — we are children of God!
Second, Peter addresses a prospect which cannot be surpassed — to be like the Lord Jesus (v. 2). “We know,” says Peter, “that when Christ appears, we shall be like him” (v. 2). Why? “for we shall see him as he is.” What theologians call the beatific vision (= seeing God) will change us, will make us like Him!
Third, that amazing eschatological hope and certainty should lead to the goal of personal purity right now (v. 3)! Verse 3 says, “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Knowing that He will finish the job and make us like Himself is no excuse for not pursuing purity right now!
Fourth, the truth of ultimate glorification should develop in us a vigilance which stands against the efforts of the devil (vv. 7-10). There are forces that want to lead us astray (v. 7).
This section gives us a bit of a refresher course on the Evil One. The one doing evil is “of the devil” (v. 8). The devil “has been sinning since the beginning.” This topic is so important that Peter attributes the Incarnation to it! He says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”! [I would have said something like, “The reason the Son of God appeared was . . . to provide salvation for people” . . . OR . . . “to do His Father’s will” . . . OR . . . “to give His life a ransom for many.”] Peter’s point is that there are two and only two categories of people: “the children of God” and “the children of the devil.” Doing what is right + loving one’s brother or sister = the child of God! (to be continued)