The Patience of God
A reminder of the Christian’s Source of authority – 3:1, 2
After such a distressing description of false teachers Peter reminds them that they have a sure word. As opposed to the false teachers, now he, Peter, is writing them this second letter as a “servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” He remarks that his intent is the same in “both of them.” Both letters point to truth and its identification marks in order to be protected from destructive error. Both point to the traits of true faith in Christ in order to be godly, holy, and righteous. Both point to the sovereign purpose of God to redeem, protect, purify, and confirm to eternal life a specific group of people, the chosen or elected ones [1 Peter 1:1; 2:9 and 1 Peter 1:10].
Not only assuring intellectually, but to the affections “Stir up your sincere mind” heilikrine – to judge by sunlight, used in Phil 1:10 and used by Plato of ethical purity. A mind that is not “sincere” cannot be stirred up by holy truth, but will only rebel and seek reason to escape it or pervert it. The sincere mind has been called by a vision of God’s own “glory and excellence” [1:3].
We should be greatly encouraged in the complexity of the world’s ideas that a true word is before us. We are able to detect the counterfeits by thorough knowledge of what is genuine. That the mind is stirred up shows that knowledge is central to advancement in godliness and in coping with worldly deceit. Revisit the emphasis on knowledge in 1:2, 3, 5, 6, 8; 2: 2 (“way of truth”), 20, 21; 3:18
Peter again emphasizes that these instructions and admonitions are by way of “reminder.” He has dealt with it before, and knows that repetition of the truth is not in vain for those with a sincere mind.
B. Notice the claim to be at least on par with prophets – “the prediction of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles” Peter had no doubt about the inspired character of his instruction. He would apply 1:21 to himself and the other apostles, even as he does in 3:15, 16. What comfort it would be to have an apostle helping us discern right from wrong and the truth from falsehood. But we do!
The Coming of hostile mockers – 3:3-7
The last group sought to pass themselves off as Christian;2:1 “Among you;” 15 “forsaking the right way;” 20 knowledge of the Lord and Savior;” 21”known the way . . . turned away.” These, however, are scoffers ridiculing that which is taught by the apostles about the certainty of the return of Christ and all the implications of those final events.
These mock at fundamental words of the Lord himself and straightforwardly oppose Christian teaching
By calling into question the promise of his return, they intend to undermine the entire edifice of Christian claims. Christ’s time of humiliation will give way to the glorious display of his excellence at the time of his return. The manifestation of the glory of the Son is the chief means of God’s accomplishing his purpose for creation in the display of his glory. See 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 and Philippians 2:5-11 as two of the instances of this emphasis. His present position of victorious and sovereign authority (Ephesians 1:20-22) will be is to be given clear manifestation. True believers do not scoff at his coming but “love his appearing” (2 timothy 4:8).
These scoffers represent reality as uniformitarian, proceeding on the basis of purely natural operations without divine intervention – They justify their present fearlessness in pursuing evil by negating any evidence of the certainty of judgment. Besides the inner witness of conscience (Romans 1:32-2:11), they ignore the world-wide display of the judgment of God at the time of the flood. “All things are continuing as they were.”
Peter presents the alternative of a world created by an intelligent Being, God, formed at his word, [verse 5] and susceptible to his judgment; At creation, God divided water from water by an expanse (atmosphere) and then formed the land by pushing aside the water below the expanse and bringing the land up from it [Genesis 1:9, 10]. His first world-wide judgment came by re-establishing the waters above the dry land through rain (from the waters that were above the expanse, Genesis 1:7) and the breaking up of the water down in the depths of the earth.
By the same power vested at creation in the world, the means of the fulfillment of the promise of judgment are present within the fabric of the world itself and will be employed in accordance with his plan. The explosiveness of the composition of matter will be employed in the final judgment, the “destruction of the ungodly”, and renovation of the world [3:10, 12]
The Simplicity and certainty of God’s decree
Irrelevance of time to God
Chronology is not irrelevant – In the created order one events follows another. The fall of man precedes the incarnation of the redeemer; the righteous life of Christ precedes his sacrificial death; his sacrificial and satisfactory death precedes his resurrection; His reception back to heaven and his session of intercession precedes his coming again. These events are logically distributed in God’s plan and providential arrangement. God’s timelessness does not mean that he operates in time without chronology and cause and effect relationships
God’s perfections, his immutability and the certainty of his decrees means that the passage of time in the created order does not frustrate even one of his purposes. Because there seems to be a “long” time between the events of redemptive history, one could be tempted to think that the promises have failed. God, however, has a purpose in every single event across the entire spectrum of every moment of history. For a respectable display of his wisdom and power in creation and providence, there must be an accumulation of virtually an infinite number of events and the discovery of a virtually infinite number of things. The events of redemptive history will tie together all other events in a breathtaking revelation of the glory of God, not only in power and wisdom, but in justice and mercy.
The reason for his delay as his redemptive patience 3:9 [cf. 3:15]
The apparent delay has nothing to do with any tardiness in his ability to fulfill his designs. No moment passes but that God is working to fulfill his purpose. Even as in the “fullness of time” [Galatians 4:4], Christ came born of a woman, born under the Law, so in the fullness of time he will return. As God worked all things throughout all nations for the predetermined moment of Christ’s redemptive mission, so he continues to work all things in preparation for the predetermined moment of Christ’s glorious appearance in judgment and consummation.
“Not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” – It is directly related to his purpose to save all his people; Even as Noah was saved from the flood and Lot from Sodom, so God will save all his elect from the coming judgment on this present world order. He is working all things after the counsel of his will until the last of his chosen ones, the ones that he calls godly [2:9], come to repentance. His delay is not causing him to fail in more and more cases, as it would be if his patience were related simply to the world in general. More persons are going through the broad way that leads to death rather than the narrow way that leads to life in generation after generation. But not one elect of God shall perish, they are safe in his eternal hand. The Father gave them to Christ and he will lose none of them. This fact encouraged Paul in his suffering for the gospel: “Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” 2 Timothy 2:10.
IV. Destruction of this present world and its spiritual implications
V. Place of Righteousness and its spiritual implications
VI. Perversion of Divine truth and its spiritual implications
Since you know this beforehand, as a result of the instructions in this letter and in the other Scriptures, certain actions should follow.
Be on your guard not to be carried into error by the false teachers and the mockers that you have received warning about. Both of these are lawless, that is, they do not grasp the overarching authority of the Law of God as it relates to the gospel. They teach, from different perspectives, a freedom from God’s moral law and thus undermine the very nature of the gospel.
Continue to call to mind those things that Peter taught, and that Paul also has taught, and thus maintain your path to holiness in the hope of eternal life. Do not become unfruitful in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus and his truth. Both doctrinal heresy and immorality and lack of holiness in life show a fatal flaw in one’s profession
Grow in two ways
In grace – How? Cf 1Peter 1:22 – Spiritual principle given in new birth means that the Spirit operates immediately for increase of knowledge and holiness. Yet this in the very nature of the Spirit’s fitting us for closer conformity to Christ, this means that He always causes advance in holiness commensurate with advance in the knowledge of truth. That is, of course, the function of the inspired word of God.
Knowledge Of our Lord and Savior – We grow in the knowledge by knowing more of the glorious mystery of his person—God and Man in that single personality. We grow by joyful approval of and submission to his lordship. We grow by an increasing knowledge of his redemptive work.
B. The benediction incorporates the present affection and the hope of the Christian “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.
Be encouraged that there is one certainty by which all other things may be evaluated cf. 1 Cor 2:14ff
Be encouraged that as long as his coming is delayed others will be saved; you still have opportunity to seek the Lord. See the Lord while he may be found. Knowledge of his secret purposes is none of your business as it relates to duty, but only his revealed commandments. Repent and believe.
Foster a love for eternity and its beauties and joys. Cf. Philippians 4:8, 9
Never seek to bypass the word in your knowledge of God and his will
Pursue a personal lifestyle that will “hasten the day of the Lord”