2 Peter 3:8-13 “God’s Timeline” (Part 2)
Intro: There are some glorious and weighty things to consider in this passage today: the ETERNAL nature of God; God’s desire to see people come to repentance and not perish eternally, the return of Christ, the fiery judgment of God upon the world, and the new heavens and the new Earth. Facing this passage, I feel my utter inadequacy to try and proclaim these glorious truths, but pray that God uses my feeble attempt to preach this passage to feed his sheep and equip the saints for ministry.
This sermon is a continuation of last week’s which I called “God’s Timeline.” Remember the context: there are “scoffers” who are ridiculing the idea that Jesus will return—they say it hasn’t happened yet and probably will never happen. Further, they claimed that things never change and never will change. Last week, we saw that the scoffers are wrong both because they follow their sinful desires instead of the Scriptures and because they are ignorant of the truth. This week, we see the continuation of the argument. Peter continues to explain God’s timeline of human and he helps us see how beholding this timeline changes how we as Christians live now.
The passage is broken down into two parts: God’s timeline (8-10) and our response to God’s timeline (11-13). Beholding the truth of who God is relation to the timeline of human history leads to lives of holiness and eager expectation. 1. God’s timeline; 2. Our Response to God’s timeline.
1. GOD’S TIMELINE (8-10)
The passage opens by reorienting how we think about God in relation to time. -God Relates to Time Differently than we do (READ 8):
-We are trapped within time, but “with the Lord” things are different.
–One day is as a 1,000 years, and 1,000 years is as one day.
1 day as 1,000 years= God sees every moment of a single day with a vividness that we can’t imagine
1,000 years as one day=God sees all of history vividly, that it is all before him already. -God is eternal. He sees all and is not bound to time the way we are.
GRUDEM “God’s eternity: God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in his own being, and he sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time.”
CHILDREN: Who created God? ANSWER: God does not have a beginning. He has always been.
THERE IS NO ONE LIKE GOD!
-God is unlike idols, He is uncreated and not trapped with time.
-RIGHT RESPONSE=Worship and Awe!
-God’s delay actually is due to His patience and kindness (READ 9)
–God isn’t slow to fulfill his promise (the promise of Jesus returning)
–ACTUAL REASON Jesus has not come back YET: God is “patient toward you”
–PATIENCE THIS WAY: not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
-“Perish”=die and go to hell
-“Reach repentance”=turn from sin and come to faith in Christ and eternal life
-God delays the end of the world so that more sinners would repent
-GOD’S HEART: Does not delight in death of wicked Ezek 18:23, 30-32
Mystery: God is sovereign in election and reprobation, and Human Responsibility is real. And in a very real sense God does not “wish that any should perish,” but He is also sovereign in allowing to happen.
CALVIN: “So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.
But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lay hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.” THIS PASSAGE REORIENTS WHAT IS IMPORTANT: Repentance from Sin.
-This is more important than success in this world, money, health, people liking us.
-Jesus will return and here’s what we can expect (10a) 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
-Return of Jesus and end of human history as we know is referred to “day of Lord/day of God”
-It will happen at an unexpected time “come like a thief” Matt 24:43-44
-The return of Jesus will bring a GREAT destruction (10b) and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved,
–Same description given in 12b day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
-Some kind of FIERY JUDGMENT which brings a destruction. Destroying the world!
In 1871 a fire broke out in Chicago with incredible destructive force. It became known as the Great Chicago fire and it spread through a good part of the city leaving over 100,000 people homeless. Eye-witness accounts claim that the flames were 500 feet high. There were also high twirling winds which sucked up the fire and caused was is known as ‘fire tornado’ or ‘firenado.’ Those who saw the massive blaze also spoke about a roar of sound from fire. And many even thought it was the end of the world.
-There is a fire coming from God that will bring judgment upon the whole world, and it won’t be put out by man. It will burn and consume until it has completed the purpose that God has for it.
-Right response is a holy “trembling before God,” which is what we are invited to in Psalm 114.
NOTE: This fire won’t annihilate Earth, but it is some kind of refining fire in the stage of God bringing about a renewal of the world (which we see in Rom 8)
-There will be a judgment of people’s works (10c) the works that are done on it will be exposed.
-Jesus will come as judge and we will all be judged. The works we have done will be seen for what they really are. Hypocrisy will be exposed, and our works will be seen for what they are.
APP: God will bring about justice in the end.
-OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S TIMELINE (11-13)
The truth of who God is or what God has done leads to a different way of living. This concept is told again and again in Scripture. We see it here.-We ought to live in a certain way because of what we just read (11a)11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be
-We ought to live lives of holiness and godliness (11b): in lives of holiness and godliness,
-We are God’s people. God tells his people “Be holy, for I am holy”
-We wait and hasten for the coming day of God (12a)12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
–WAIT=We believe it will happen, and are expectant of it.
–HASTEN=We in some mysterious help speed it up, by holiness and mission. (God still sovereign)
-Our eyes are set on the final destination (13)13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
-God will renew and remake this Earth
-Key characteristic of it: in which righteousness dwells.
-RIGHTEOUSNESS is that which is right. So this will be a place free from sin and evil.
-Would not that be an amazing place to live?
PROBLEM: Heaven is where righteous people live, but we don’t have righteousness.
GOSPEL: Jesus offers us the “free gift of righteousness” (Rom 5:18-21)