The Lord Will Return
1My dear friends, this is the second letter I have written to encourage you to do some honest thinking. I don't want you to forget 2what God's prophets said would happen. You must never forget what the holy prophets taught in the past. And you must remember what the apostles told you our Lord and Savior has commanded us to do.
3 But first you must realize that in the last days some people won't think about anything except their own selfish desires. They will make fun of you 4and say, “Didn't your Lord promise to come back? Yet the first leaders have already died, and the world hasn't changed a bit.”
5 They will say this because they want to forget that long ago the heavens and the earth were made at God's command. The earth came out of water and was made from water. 6 Later it was destroyed by the waters of a mighty flood. 7But God has commanded the present heavens and earth to remain until the day of judgment. Then they will be set on fire, and ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 Dear friends, don't forget that for the Lord one day is the same as 1,000 years, and 1,000 years is the same as one day. 9The Lord isn't slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
10 The day of the Lord's return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are.
11Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. 12You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat. 13 But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to this!
14My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 15Don't forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved. This is also what our dear friend Paul said when he wrote you with the wisdom God had given him. 16Paul talks about these same things in all his letters, but part of what he says is hard to understand. Some ignorant and unsteady people even destroy themselves by twisting what he said. They do the same thing with other Scriptures too.
17My dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So don't let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance. 18Let the gift of undeserved grace and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.
My grandson is only three but he is convinced that he will be a great ice hockey player even though he has never even tried on a pair of skates. And when he gets that chance I have no doubt that he will quickly lose his balance and fall down (unless someone holds his hands).
Peter warns his readers about losing their balance as well, only he isn’t talking about ice skating! He is concerned that they might lose their “spiritual balance” – their sense of what is true, what is righteous and what Jesus calls them to be like.
How might this happen? Firstly they might forget that true prophets said there would be false teaching and times when the society is almost completely selfish and self-centred. This should not come as a surprise. Secondly, such a development does not indicate that God is absent or that Jesus will not someday return to earth. God’s timing is not similar to that of humans – he will come and his promises of destruction for the earth and the creation of a new earth will surely come to pass.
Being consumed with all that is going wrong in the world can put us “off balance” as can thinking that God will not keep his promises. A great corrective measure is to both remind ourselves of God’s promises and to spend our time living well. Concentrate on being “pure, spotless and living at peace” is how Peter puts it in v 14.
Lord God, give me the ability to stay balanced. Keep me from deceitful and deceiving ways. Let your word and your presence help me to avoid falsehood and embrace truth. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.