2 Peter 3:1-18 (NRSV)
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am
trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you that you should
remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment
of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. First of all you must
understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and
indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For
ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the
beginning of creation!" They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of
God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means
of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and
perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved
for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is
like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not
slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not
wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord
will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise,
and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that
is done on it will be disclosed.
Since all these things are to be
dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of
holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements
will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new
heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at
peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as
salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom
given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things
in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own
destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you
are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the
lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of
Today's lesson is a great example of the dichotomy of Law and Gospel. On the one hand, Paul sternly warns that Jesus is going to return and institute a day of judgment, accompanied by the destruction of the godless.
On the other hand, in grace, Paul reminds us that, "The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance."
I am so grateful that love is going to triumph over all! I am so thankful that God is well able to accomplish God's desire that none should perish and all should inherit eternal life.
How God accomplishes such a mysterious thing, I do not know. But, I am glad for God's patience in this Advent Season. I am glad for God's grace. I am glad for God's love.
There are lots of things that we can beat ourselves up about. We can wish we were thinner, smarter, or more committed to reading the Bible or prayer. We can lament that we aren't perfect parents, children, or employees. We can kick ourselves repeatedly for missing the mark.
But, I hear God saying to us, "I am patient. You shall not perish. I will accomplish your repentance and eternal life."
There is no gift that we will find under our CHRISTmas trees this year that is better than God's love, grace, patience, mercy, and salvation revealed to us in Christ Jesus!
Let's count not our deficits, but our blessings, my friends! God has been good to us and we have much to be thankful for this CHRISTmas season.
Let us pray...
Lord, during this Advent Season, please help me to keep my eyes steadfastly focused on Jesus. Teach me to be patient with myself for I know that you are not finished with me yet! Amen...