and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,2 Peter 3:15(NASB)
Peter was eager to stir up the minds of the saints to whom he was writing. He was keen to bring to their remembrance everything he had taught them. He also wanted them to pay attention to the words spoken by prophets of old, the apostle Paul and Christ’s other holy apostles.
Knowing he was soon to die, Peter was motivated to remind his readers about the great and terrible “Day of the Lord” – a period which will begin after the rapture of the Church, continues through the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth and conclude when the first heaven and first earth pass away, with a great noise – for God has promised there will be a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell.
Peter was passionate in his desire to bring these future events to our remembrance. He wanted every believer to be diligent to guard their heart, and careful to keep their mind focussed on Christ. He wanted the peace of God to flood each heart and for us to be spotless in thought, pure in word, gracious in deed and holy in motive – knowing the time we have left is short.
Peter wanted Church-age believers to conduct themselves in the firm expectation of Christ’s soon return but not to consider that the Lord was in any way delaying His coming. He was eager for them to remember it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The Lord is long-suffering and of great goodness and His desire is that all men come to a saving faith in Christ, His only begotten Son. And so, as Peter drew his final letter to a close, he entreated Christians everywhere to recall the teachings of Paul – and to consider any apparent delay in the Lord’s return as a demonstration of God’s grace, whereby sinners are being given time and opportunity to turn from their sin and trust in Christ for forgiveness.
The day of the Lord begins a terrible time of judgement, when God pours out His wrath on a sinful world, for their rejection of Christ. It continues with the millennial rule of Christ, when Jesus will rule the earth with a rod of iron – a time when justice and righteousness will reign upon earth for the patience of our Lord is an opportunity for sinners to be saved.
It was no doubt Paul’s warning in the book of Romans, about which Peter was thinking when he penned these words, for Paul made it clear, in chapters 1 and 2, that all men are sinners and no-one is excluded. No-one but God has the right to condemn others and pass judgement, for we all have sinned. We all fall short of God's glory and we all need salvation.
Those who believe are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed on the only begotten Son of God, Who died for the sin of the WHOLE world. Those who do not believe will be rightly judged by God. His wrath will fall on those who practice evil. Nevertheless, Paul explains that it is because of the riches of His goodness, kindness, tolerance and patience towards all men, that He gives unbeliever time and opportunity to repent and turn to Christ.
As we wait for the soon return of the Lord Jesus for His saints, let us never forget that any apparent delay in Christ’s return exposes the goodness and kindness of God towards unrepentant believers.
Let us consider that every day that passes is a day of grace – when sinners are given another opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom that God gave to him – and about which he has written to us all.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your Word. Thank You that holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit to reveal Your plans and purpose for salvation and thank You for apostles and prophets like Peter and Paul, who have told us the end from the beginning so that in the power of the Holy Spirit we may grow in grace. Help us to be diligent to guard our heart and keep our eye looking to Jesus. Thank You that You are a good and long-suffering God and that it is not Your will that any should perish, but that all sinners should come to repentance. I pray that in the time we have left – before Your righteous judgement is poured out on those who reject Your offer of salvation, many sinners would repent of their sins and turn to Christ for forgiveness. This we ask in Jesus name, AMEN.