Our text for this lesson is 2 Pet 3:9-18. In the context of the prior verses in this chapter, this passage deals with the long-suffering of God before fulfilling the promise of his coming. While we wait for his coming, what should we be doing? We should:
Come to repentance – 2 Pet 3:9 – the Lord is not slack concerning his promise. The Lord will definitely fulfill his promise; he is not remiss. But in the meantime, he is long-suffering because he is not willing that any should perish. The day of judgment is coming. His will is that all should come to repentance. He gave his life a ransom for all; obviously he wants all to be saved [1 Tim 2:3-6]. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked [Ezek 33:11].
Look for Jesus’ coming – 2 Pet 3:10, he comes as a thief in the night [1 Thes 5:2]. We look for new heavens and a new earth which he will make at the end of his thousand year “day of the Lord” [2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-4]. Not only is the earth cursed, but corruption has affected these heavens and this earth as a result of sin [Rom 8:18-23]. The heavens shall pass away with a great noise [Matt 24:35]. Right now everything is kept in store [2 Pet 3:7] and held together [Heb 1:3] by his word. When the Lord no longer keeps it together, it will explode like a bomb. The elements shall melt with fervent heat. Everything in the earth will burn up. It will dissolve. From what remains, the Lord will create new heavens and a new earth. This is like the potter and the clay [Jer 18:3-4]. This is like the refiners fire that purifies silver [Mal 3:2-3]. This is like our glorified body raised from corruption [1 Cor 15:42-43]. So, don’t invest your life in things down here. Look for his coming and set your affection on things above [Col 3:1-2].
Maintain a holy conversation and godliness – 2 Pet 3:11 – We are not of this world, therefore, our conversation should be out of this world [Phil 3:20]. We are to walk, not as children of darkness, but rather as children of light [Eph 5:8-10]. Godliness is profitable for this life and for that which is to come [1 Tim 4:7-9].
Be diligent to be found in peace, without spot and blameless – 2 Pet 3:14 – we now have peace with God through Jesus Christ [Rom 5:1]. Therefore, we should live peaceably with all men [Rom 12:17] and do good to all men [Gal 6:10]. We should be without offense till the day of Christ [Phil 1:10-11]. We should purify ourselves [1 Jn 3:2-3]. Our whole spirit and soul and body should be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord [1 Thes 5:23]. We should be diligent and steadfast [2 Pet 3:17] in these things.
Account that God’s long-suffering is salvation – 2 Pet 3:15 – People generally presume upon God’s long-suffering [Ecc 8:11]. His long-suffering should lead us to repentance [Rom 2:4], not the pursuit of more sin. Paul wrote the same thing about God’s long-suffering [1 Tim 1:12-16]. He puts up with your sin until you turn to righteousness or get saved if you are lost.
Beware of the error of the wicked – 2 Pet 3:15-17 – Paul also wrote these things concerning the coming of the Lord. Yet, they that are unlearned [because they don’t study, 2 Tim 2:15] and unstable [because they are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, Eph 4:14] wrest the scriptures to their own destruction. They mind earthly things [Phil 3:17-19]. Paul named some of these wicked false teachers [1 Tim 1:19-20; 2 Tim 2:16-18]. Some of the things that Paul wrote are hard to understand. Thus, the unlearned and unstable get messed up in these doctrines. For instance, Calvinism. If God is not willing that any should perish and Jesus died for all, yet, many do perish, then Jesus must have only died for all those whom he saves and not the rest. Grace liberty because we are not under the law. Israel replaced by church because Jews and Gentiles in one body.
Grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord – 2 Pet 3:18 – the way to keep from the error of the wicked is to grow [Eph 4:15]. As well as Paul knew the Lord, he still wanted to know more of him [Phil 3:10]. If you aren’t growing, you are standing still. And if you are standing still, you are actually digressing because Christianity is constantly moving toward apostasy. There is no neutral. Like Randy says, “If you get something bad out of your life, you must replace it with something good.”