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Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 2 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV).
At first reading (and for most of my life), these verses sounded pretty dull. I suppose most young people would say that, maybe even many seasoned ones. It’s natural; it’s the way of things. These days, they aren’t so dull. In fact, they make sense. They appeal to me having lived long enough to start appreciating wisdom. I can almost hear Sam Elliott saying them, speaking in that oaky timbre of his. They’re words a wizened and experienced Peter would remind his younger self to heed.
Chapter 3 of 2 Peter is the last chapter of the book. Much of it is spent talking about the final days of the late, great Planet Earth, and about Judgment Day, about the last day of the world. If you’re an unbeliever, these seem either laughable or sobering, even terrifying, thoughts. They’re the stark reality that Jesus means what He says about coming back, about setting things right, and about judging sin; about destroying this fallen place and restoring it into what it was originally spoken to be.
If you’re old Peter, and you’ve known Jesus as both Savior and friend, and you have been entrusted with knowledge He gave you, you want to share this knowledge so that anyone you meet will heed it and avoid the desolation of being found unbelieving. The old man Peter had lived long enough to see the wisdom of the words and wanted to share them before it was too late. Before Jesus returned, or Nero struck, or both.
And if you’re young Peter, or the unbelieving people around him, then you don’t yet understand this wisdom, don’t really see the full value in it. Surely the loving God, who you say sent His only Son to redeem us in love, wouldn’t do this to his chosen very good creation? What will be is what we’ve always known. Go away, old man, and bother someone else.
That’d be sad, wouldn’t it? It would be sad to ignore someone who’s just trying to help you. It would be sad to stare wisdom in the eyes and think it is actually unwise. It would be even sadder to think that the judgments to come would endanger me, or you, no matter what age we are. Peter understood this, first as a young man, and then after many years. So, he quoted Jesus. So should we: it’s the wise thing to do.
For further reading: Luke 1:70, Acts 3:21, Ephesians 4:11, 2 Peter 3:3
Lord Jesus, come quickly. Have mercy on us. Forgive us our sins. Renew us and Your world. Until then, help me, use me to reach those who don’t know You.
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