Lesson 11 - Chapter 3: 8 - 13

Lesson 11 - Chapter 3: 8 - 13

Lesson for October 6, 2013

The Book of II Peter

Chapter 3:8-13

Verse 8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand and a thousand as one day.

This one fact deals with the falsehood that the scoffers raised that the elapse of time since the promise was made means that God will not keep His word, that God will not fulfill His promise to Israel and that God will not fulfill His promise to the Church. One day refers to the delay or the elapse of time, which does not hinder the plan of God or the truth of the Word of God. God’s omniscience, like all of His attributes, has perfect timing unlike human beings. No one should become impatient or judge God regarding His plan. This type of unbelief is blasphemous.

And the fact that God gives us one day at a time is indicative of His faithfulness. The elapse of time never becomes a barrier in the fulfillment of anything that God has planned for you as an individual or any group such as the Church or Israel. When the Lord promised the Second Coming several thousand years ago it was just as if He had made the promise today and He will keep the promise.

Verse 9

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some would count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Slow is the Greek word “braduno,” which means to be tardy, to delay or to be late. The Lord never delays a promise, He simply fulfills it on His timetable not ours. As far as God is concerned, the Second Coming will occur at exactly the correct time. The principle here is that God is not tardy with regard to you or me. His timing is always perfect timing.

The plan of God has decreed that no one should perish. What can change that? The answer is the negative volition of man. God’s plan demands entrance on the basis of a person’s free will. The result of rejecting salvation is judgment which results in perishing. There are those in every generation who reject Christ and are outside the plan of God and they perish.

Repentance is the Greek word “metanoia,” which means to change your mind. Repentance means that at the moment you believe in Christ, you have changed your mind to believe in Christ, either immediately before or at the moment of faith in Christ. Repentance is often erroneously used to refer to a feeling of sorrow for sinful acts. Repentance does not mean to feel sorrow, to regret or to turn from sin. Changing your mind is a part of salvation. For example, you stop thinking that your goodness, church attendance, giving money, etc. will get you to Heaven and accept God’s grace plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Feeling sorrow or regret has nothing to do with salvation and unbelievers do not have the power to turn from their sins. Salvation is a matter of faith alone in Christ alone. (Acts 20:18-21)

Verse 10

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

The day of the Lord comprises the Tribulation and the Millennium. So, the heavens passing away, the elements being destroyed by intense heat and the earth and its works being burned up refers to the end of the Millennium when this occurs. The day of the Lord will arrive as promised.

The Greek word for thief referred to a person who came suddenly, without warning. He had to take the people of the house by surprise without violence. Therefore when the day of the Lord occurs at the end of the Millennium it takes everyone by surprise except Millennial believers who are familiar with the doctrine of the day of the Lord.

The heavens refer to the entire universe, including the solar system and planet earth. There has been much speculation about the word roar. The Greek word means a whizzing or rushing noise, which could refer to many things that are able to destroy the planet. Whatever God uses to destroy earth will contain tremendous heat, so much so that it literally melts the elements that make up our planet. Its works refers to all human good both of unbelievers and believers. “Human good” will be destroyed because unbelievers are sent to the Lake of Fire and all believers (including those of the Millennium) will have received their glorified bodies (no sin natures), which eliminates human good forever.

Verse 11

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.

What is the challenge? The challenge is to advance to spiritual maturity by the execution of the victorious Christian Way of Life. Victory in the Christian life is overcoming, conquering, and prevailing against the thinking of this world system and, therefore, winning the battle for the control of our souls. What do you think is the biggest hindrance to the execution of God’s purpose, plan and will for your life as a believer in Christ? Most Christians think it is Satan. Well they are partially correct and partially incorrect. The biggest hindrance to your executing the Christian Way of Life is YOU!

Every believer has volition (the freedom of choice). Satan is the ruler of this World System and has an army of demons to do his bidding. Satan is neither omnipresent nor is he omniscient. Contrary to popular belief, Satan can be only one place at any given time and most of his time is spent in Heaven before the throne of God accusing believers of wrongdoing. However, we cannot ignore him because he is powerful and brilliant (much smarter than any human being). He uses his knowledge of mankind through years of observation to influence them to do both human good and evil. Satan’s demon army and false teachers are at work continually leading unbelievers and believers astray. Though demons (including Satan) cannot indwell believers, they can influence false teachers who in turn influence believers by means of the corrupt world system and the sin nature. So every believer has a three-fold enemy that must be recognized and dealt with effectively: Satan, the World System and the Sin Nature. How you deal with each will determine your success as a Christian. Godly conduct is a result of godliness which is synonymous with the proper execution of the Christian life. Godly and godliness come from the same Greek word for sanctification (“hagios”).

Verse 12

Looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

Looking for and hastening, means to eagerly anticipate and desire earnestly. These phrases mean to think about something that is coming up that you anticipate enjoying. The day of God is a reference to the beginning of eternity after the Millennium. Why would a believer eagerly anticipate and earnestly desire the destruction of the universe by God? The answer is because it signals the beginning of the eternal state. This is what Christian hope is all about, especially for those who are advancing in their spiritual lives. This is truly a personal sense of destiny.

A personal sense of destiny takes you from spiritual babyhood to the beginning stages of spiritual adulthood. You begin to grow up in Christ and realize all the wonderful things that God has done for you, is doing for you and is going to do for you. You begin to see His work in your past, your present and your future. This causes you to put aside anything in your life that is a distraction to your spiritual life. And it causes you to keep looking to Jesus as your only real hope (confidence) for lasting peace and happiness. Finally, a personal sense of destiny will cause you to live your life in light of eternity. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Verse 13

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

The destruction of the universe at the end of the Millennium will not harm the believer in Jesus Christ. God is going to have to restore planet earth and create a new universe. That will be the third time around: once for angels, once for man and once for believers in resurrection bodies. The word “promise” here means a promise of blessing. The blessing that God promised cannot be described because it is beyond human comprehension and none of us has any frame of reference for the blessing of eternity.

Some believers will look for the promise of new heavens and a new earth and some will not. It depends on the amount of Bible doctrine in the soul. It means to think in anticipation, to be expectant or anticipating something wonderful. So what will be anticipated are the new heavens and the new earth mentioned in Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1.

Righteousness in this verse is something that accompanies the resurrection body of the believer, and this righteousness refers to a perfect capacity for perfect happiness. With a sin nature we do not have the capacity for everlasting perfect happiness as yet. We are sometimes out of fellowship with God and in that state we are unable to share His happiness. As long as we are in these “bodies of corruption,” we do not always have the perfect happiness of God that will be ours in eternity. However, we will have perfect happiness in our glorified bodies forever and it will surpass the happiness we experienced in life by leaps and bounds!

God is perfect happiness, His happiness is eternal, His happiness is unchanging (it never decreases or increases). There has never been a time when God was unhappy. The times in the Bible when unhappiness is ascribed to the Lord, it is an anthropomorphism (ascribing to God human characteristics) for our finite understanding. God in His grace designed man to share this divine happiness. When the believer thinks divine viewpoint, he is sharing the thinking of God and can also share the happiness of God. One of the by-products of sharing God’s thinking is personal spiritual independence. This means that the believer is becoming self-sustaining; he is able to make good decisions from a position of strength. He is able to utilize Bible doctrine effectively in all areas of his life. Divine guidance, for example, becomes a matter of “spiritual common sense.”

A state of genuine, true and complete happiness depends on absolute truth found only in God’s Word. There are, however, degrees of happiness. The more time you spend in the study and application of Bible doctrine, the higher your degree of happiness. As a believer continues to seek truth, his capacity to receive blessings increases. One of the many blessings that God gives, as a fruit of the Spirit, is happiness. But as with everything in the Christian Way of Life, happiness is only a potential. The believer must make the decision to spend time in the study and application of God’s Word. The more you know about God, his policies and His mandates, the more application you are able to make. The more application of God’s Word that you make, the happier you will be. (Matthew 6:33; Romans 14:16-19; Galatians 5:22-23; II John 12)

Sharing the happiness of God is having contentment as your constant companion. This contentment is genuine because it does not depend on the circumstances in your life. It is actually God’s own perfect happiness that He shares with the advancing believer as a grace gift. Sharing God’s happiness is obtained only by consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God over a period of time. The more time you log under the power and the control of God the Holy Spirit and thinking divine viewpoint, the happier you are going to be. Therefore, sharing the happiness of God is not for the novice believer. It is impossible to share in something that you know nothing about. Being happy is one of the many spiritual blessings that comes with increased capacity. Increased capacity to receive God’s blessing of happiness comes only one way - study and application of Bible doctrine. (Jeremiah 15:16; John 13:17)