2 Peter 3:1-9By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, August 15, 2021.
A. Peter opens this last chapter by calling his brethren beloved. v. 1. 1. In Chapter 2, Peter had stressed godliness. 2. Here, he follows his own admonition to add brotherly kindness. c/w 2PE 1:7.
B. The saints are here reminded to heed the words of the prophets and those of the apostles. 1. The messages of the prophets and the apostles are in complete agreement. ACT 26:22. 2. There is a particular message pertaining to end times that apostles and prophets have always declared: God’s promised coming in final judgment. JUDE 1:14-15; 2TH 1:7-10; ACT 17:31.
C. 2PE 2 emphasized the problem of corrupting elements in the church and is an appropriate introduction to this chapter which emphasizes the second coming of the Lord. 1. The general direction of world and ecclesiastical history leading up to the return of Christ is one of deterioration. 2TI 3:1, 13. a. The latter times are characterized by departure from the faith. 1TIM 4:1. b. Before Christ returns, a great falling away must occur. 2TH 2:3. c. Faith will be in negligible proportions at Christ’s return. LUK 18:6-8. d. Contrary to post-millennial eschatology, Christ will not return to a largely “Christianized” world. LUK 17:26-30. 2. The problem with the ungodly being numbered among the true saints in the church shall continue unto Christ's return. MAT 13:30, 38-40, 47-50.
D. An overview of this chapter reveals that Peter lumps together the judgment of the ungodly, the fiery destruction of the physical cosmos and the deliverance of the elect to the new heavens and earth as concurrent events of the second coming of Jesus Christ. 1. This opposes dispensationialism which separates these events and manufactures a third coming of the Lord. 2. Scripture links the resurrection/deliverance of the just with the fiery judgment of the wicked at the second coming. 2TH 1:7-10. 3. The just and the unjust are resurrected together at the last day. JOH 6:40; 5:28-29; ACT 24:15. 4. Peter here expected believers to still be around at the coming of Christ to judge the world and to obediently anticipate THAT (vs. 10-12). He did not suppose that believers should look for a secret rapture that would deliver them to safety long before that time.
E. Peter prioritizes “...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts...” (v. 3). 1. The “last days” are not referring to a future age on earth when the kingdom of God shall revert to national Israel during a pacific millennium. DAN 2:44; EPH 3:21; HEB 12:28. 2. The “last days” have been underway since the first coming of Christ. 1PE 1:20; HEB 9:26; 1CO 10:11; 1JO 2:18; GAL 4:4. 3. The first days were the “time past” during which God spoke to men by the prophets in contrast to the last days wherein He has spoken by His Son. HEB 1:1-2.
F. The scoffers of Peter's consideration, as would be expected, are likely of Jewish acquaintance. 1. They speak of the fathers, a term oft used by the Jews to refer to their Hebrew patriarchs. v. 4 c/w ROM 9:4-5; 15:8. 2. Since the promise of the day of the Lord has especially been a thing long in coming (and most misunderstood) to the Jewish mind, and since they were mostly frustrated at the nature of Messiah's appearance amongst them (JOH 1:11; 5:43; LUK 24:21), these scoffers have grown weary of God's timetable. 3. They therefore mock the blessed promise of His coming. v. 4. 4. They are described as “...walking after their own lusts... “ (v. 3). 5. NOTE: Sin impedes faith, which encourages doubts, which develops into denial, which deteriorates into scoffing God's laws and promises. 6. The reason for their scoffing is based upon what (to them) seems to be proof from “science’ and observation that God's promises are cruel hoaxes: “...all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (v. 4). a. Note how much this sounds like the doctrine of uniformitarian evolution, a relatively novel idea. b. Mark also how that lip service is still given to creation, a kind of strange mixture like theistic evolution. 7. There are two possible aspects of the scoffers' observations about the order of the world: a. They assume that natural processes are uniform and constant, so they reject God and the notion of a chaotic interruption. b. Life has gone on merrily without any evidence of sudden fierce judgment until now, so why not exploit sin? c/w ISA 5:18-19. 8. A grave error is here noted: they think that the apparent absence of God and judgment is a license to sin, when in reality it is God's goodness and longsuffering to give space to repent from sin before Judgment Day. v. 9 c/w ROM 2:4-5. 9. Faith without patience is oft overruled by the flesh and ends in judgment. EXO 32:1; MAT 24:48-51 ct/w HEB 6:11-12.
G. The scoffers are wrong. Things have not been always constant or without judgment (vs. 5-6). The Flood of Noah was real. 1. The scoffers' real problem is here revealed. They do not believe the word of God which declares a past, sudden, judgmental annihilation by a Living, Righteous God. 2. Secondly, the physical evidence for a global flood is overwhelming. 3. They are willingly ignorant. This popular kind of ignorance is without excuse. ROM 1:18-20, 28. 4. These scoffers who mock and defy the notion of coming judgment are not alone. They had counterparts before the Flood who got a big surprise. JOB 22:15-17.
H. Consider some observations about the days of Noah, the Flood and the parallels to the Second Coming. 1. Corruption and violence were everywhere. GEN 6:11. 2. Righteousness and true religion were minimal. GEN 7:1; 2PE 2:5; MAT 24:37-39 c/w LUK 18:8. 3. There was total destruction of the wicked. There were no survivors except those under the headship of a righteous man. c/w ROM 5:19. 4. Noah was a man of faith, the evidence of grace and righteousness. HEB 11:1, 4, 7. a. Noah's faith was blended with fear. HEB 11:7. b. He believed God's word about coming judgment and acted accordingly. HEB 11:7. c. Only those of faith and the fear of God rightly expect deliverance from the judgment to come. HEB 9:27-28. 5. The survivors into the new world were promised enduring security and assured that judgment like they had just seen would not happen again. GEN 8:21; 9:11 c/w ISA 66:22.
I. The prolonged wait for the coming of the Lord may be of great measure to us, but what is time to a timeless God? v. 8.
J. The wait for the promise accommodates the elect’s repentance. v. 9.
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