II Pet 3:9 The Day of the Lord 8/18/2002

 

 

 

#1. God's Promises (II Pet 1:17,21, 3:1,2,14, Gen 3:15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. God's Patience (II Pet 3:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. God's Wrath (II Pet 3:7,10,12, II Tim 3:5)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Second Epistle of Peter, chapter 3 (2X). You will find Second Peter near the end of your Bible, just after First Peter. The Second Epistle of Peter is drastically different from First Peter. A major portion of Second Peter is devoted to confronting false teachers and their teaching, and Peter is encouraging us of the certainty of the return of Christ and of:

The title of the sermon today is "The Day of the Lord" (2X). Let us begin to read here in II Pet 3:1

2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

2 P 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

#1. Can we see God's promises here? What are God's Promises? (II Pet 1:17,21,3:1,2,14, Gen 3:15). Let us see to whom these promises were made. What does verse 1 say?

2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in (both) which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

We see that this Epistle is addressed to the "Beloved <27>". Who is the Beloved of God? The Lord Jesus Christ is "God's Beloved Son". We read in II Pet 1:17 (2X) that on the Mount of Transfiguration the Father spoke to Peter, James and John, and He said: "This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased ". Obviously, here in II Pet 3:1 God is not speaking to Christ. Who else does God call "Beloved"? Well, look at verse 14. All those who are "in Christ" are also called "Beloved".

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved <27>, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

It is clear that not everyone in the world is called here "Beloved", because not everyone in the world is looking forward to the coming of Christ, and not everyone in the world is found to be at peace with God and is without spot and blameless. This title "Beloved" is only used for those who have become saved; it is only for those who have become "Born Again", because only if you have received a new soul from God the Holy Spirit are you at peace with God and are without spot and blameless.

And why does God mention in verse 1 the "pure mind"? Of the whole human race God said in Gen 8 that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth". And this God said after the Flood. Has God performed a miracle between then and now? Most definitely! When God saves anyone He performs a miracle in that person's heart, or soul. Becoming "Born from above" is a miracle done by God. It is not a cooperative work by God and man. It is done 100% by God. Now turn to verse 2,

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words (rhema) which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

This is a reference to words which were spoken by the prophets as mentioned in II Pet 1:21 (2X),

2 Peter 1:21 For (the) prophecy (came) was borne not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake (as they were) (moved) having been borne along by the Holy Ghost. (2X)

The words (rhema) which were spoken before by the holy prophets, are the OT Scriptures which did not come out of the mind of the prophets, nor by the will of the prophets, but it was borne along by God the Holy Spirit who made the prophets speak and write what they did write. This is the doctrine of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; they were personally inspired by the Spirit of God. And when we think of God's promises, what do we think of as God's first promise? We think of the first promise of God in Gen 3:15 that He would send a Messiah, a Savior, who would mortally wound the head of Satan and He would deal with the problem of Sin. God formulated the curse on Satan in Gen 3:15,

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

Christ is the Seed of the woman, and He will battle Satan for us, in our place, and in this way He will deal with Sin. Satan is too strong for us. But Christ will take care of Satan and Christ will take care of US, and Satan will bruise Christ's heel in the process. Be careful now: When we look at Christ's suffering on the cross, do we look at the process of Satan bruising the heel of Christ? NO! Christ's Atonement is a totally different matter that was out of the hand of Satan. We will discuss that later.

There are more precious promises handed down by the OT prophets, and there are exceedingly great promises given to us in this chapter of II Pet 3. God, speaking to the "Beloved" says in II Pet 3:9

That is not what you read in your KJV, but this is literally what the Greek text says in II Pet 3:9,

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow (concerning) his promise, as some men count slowness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In other words, allow me to paraphrase it now, "Christ is not slow, or Christ is not delaying His coming, which He promised, but He is longsuffering toward US, not willing that any of US should perish, but that all of US should come to repentance". Who does God have in mind when we read in our KJV "to us-ward", which in plain 21st century English means "toward US"? Who are US? Remember the context. "US" refers to the "Beloved" mentioned in chapter 3:1. "US" also refers to those mentioned in chapter 1:1, where the Apostle is speaking to "US". He says in II Pet 1:1 (2X),

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

In other words, allow me to paraphrase, using some input from the Greek text. This what it says: "Simon Peter, a slave and a messenger of Jesus Christ, to those who are called beloved, who are equally precious with us, who have received faith in the righteousness of our God and have received faith in our Savior Jesus Christ". Who are US? US refers to those who are called the "Beloved". US does not refer to everyone in the whole world, but it refers to a remnant of mankind who are called "the Elect of God" in I Pet 1:2. Let us not loose track of our goals, and let us turn again to II Pet 3:9,

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow (concerning) the promise of His coming, as some men count slowness; but is longsuffering toward US, the Beloved, the Elect of God, not willing that any of US should perish, but that all of US should come to repentance, or to salvation.

For surely, you know that that day cannot come until the last of the Beloved, the last of the Elect comes to repentance, where repentance is used as a synonym for salvation.

As you know, this verse has been used by Arminians as a proof text that God wants all men to be saved. Do you recognize that this is the third flake of gold dust in our series of "Nine Flakes of Gold Dust". Arminians claim that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of everyone in the whole world, because God wants all men to be saved. That is called "Universal Atonement". If that is so, why does God not save them? We know from the Bible and we can see with our own eyes that the majority of mankind dies unsaved. What is the matter with God? If Christ died for their sins, why does He not save them? Was Christ's death a failure for most of mankind? In fact, let us look at this text carefully and observe how ridiculous it gets if we assume that this verse refers to all mankind:

Jesus cannot come yet, He is delayed, because God's will must be fulfilled, and according to God's will, all human beings must first come to conversion. However, if Jesus cannot come until all men have come to conversion, then Jesus will never come. First of all, millions of people have already died unsaved, for whom this delay of Jesus return to this world no longer has any meaning. Secondly, there are millions more who will die next week, or next year without ever having heard the Gospel, for whom that delay of Jesus has no benefit either. Thirdly, if God allows new generations of people to be born, without setting a maximum number, then the return of Jesus would have to be postponed indefinitely, because these children, coming into the world as wicked sinners, would have to be converted, and by the time they have been converted other sinners have been born, and so on. Can you see how ridiculous it gets if we think that this verse refers to all the people in the world?

On the other hand, if the total number of people is fixed, and if God knows for whom a place must be prepared in heaven, then for sure Jesus Christ will not return before all have safely arrived. God does not want any of the elect to be absent, but He wants all of the elect to come to repentance before Jesus appears on the clouds of glory. Then this verse makes perfect sense. We have to remember the context. The context is the end of the world and the Day of Judgment.

Why is it important to talk about election, and predestination, and particular atonement, and God's irresistable grace, and so on? It is important because this is the Gospel of the Bible. This is the Gospel that gives God 100% credit for everything. This is the Gospel that glorifies God. God made us for the purpose that we glorify God. If we are faithful we see that the Gospel which God described in the Bible is a Gospel that gives Him all the glory. Therefore, we must give glory to God and to God alone. Any other gospel that man may bring is just a man made plan of salvation, but it cannot save anyone. Remember the context of II Pet 3:9. The context is:

God speaks about the end of the world in verses 3-7 and also in verses 10-12. Therefore the interpretation of verses 8-9 must fit the context. The return of Christ is the end of the world. We read:

2 P 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

What are scoffers? Scoffers are revilers. What are revilers? Examples: when Jesus was crucified between two criminals initially they both reviled Him; they scoffed at Him. When people scoff at the doctrine of Election they are reviling the Word of God, because the doctrine of Election is plainly stated in the Word of God. Here in II Pet 3 God announces that in the end of the last days, meaning in the end of the NT time, there will be people who are scoffing at the doctrine of Christ's return:

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Today there are many ungodly men, who do not believe that there ever was a worldwide flood, because they do not see the material evidence of such a worldwide flood. These people are willingly ignorant of the worldwide flood in the days of Noah, because their only evidence is the Bible. They have become scoffers and revilers of the Word of God. They also scoff at the doctrine that there will come an end to this world. They fail to see the Gospel in those historical events. For example, the Lord Jesus said that the flood in Noah's days was a figure of the Judgment on the Last Day. Taking this one step further, we see that Noah's Ark was a figure of Christ. The Ark was sealed with pitch, which is the Hebrew word for Atonement. There was only one door in the Ark, because this was a figure that only Christ is the door. There was only one window in the Ark giving light to all therein, which was a figure that Christ is the Light of the world. All those in the Ark, or all those in Christ, will be saved from the destruction on the Last Day. God gave us analogies in the Bible to teach us through those analogies that the Word of God is absolutely true and trustworthy.

But remember, the title of our sermon is "The Day of the Lord". The major part of this chapter deals with "The Day of the Lord" when God's patience shall run out. Today people are stretching:

#2. God's Patience (II Pet 3:9). We read in II Pet 3:9,

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow (concerning) his promise, as some men count slowness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God is longsuffering, which means God is patient. God is patient with His elect. God is not patient with the reprobate, whom God never intended to save. We see examples of this in the OT when Korah and his companions were swallowed up alive in the earth, or in the NT when Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead in their sins. We do not know with whom God is patient and with whom He is not patient. That is not our business. We only know that we should not tempt the Lord our God.

How does God's longsuffering relate to His promise and to our repentance? These all three are mentioned in II Pet 3:9. What promise is in view here? Remember the context. When we look at verse 13, we see there again the word promise. Even though the two Greek words are slightly different, they are very close. Verse 13 says that the promise refers to the promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth, which was already stated in Isa 65 and 66. But I think that this was a promise already implied in Gen 3:15. When Lucifer tricked Adam and Eve into sin, Lucifer knew that the penalty for sin would be eternal Hell, because the righteousness of God demanded such a retribution for sin. But then God revealed that God had a plan to be full of mercy. When God said to Satan: "He (Christ) shall bruise thy head", God had in mind that Christ would go to the cross and thereby bruise Satan's head.

How does this work out? The Bible says that God reserved a people for Himself, the Elect, whom He intended to bring into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. But these people were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, and unable to help themselves out of their sinful mess. Therefore God the Father sent the Second Person of the Triune Godhead to this earth to take on a human body, to bear the guilt of our sins in our place. The Son stood guilty with our sins before the Father and the Father poured His wrath on the Son, all the way from the Garden of Gethsemane unto the end of six hours on the cross. When the Lord Jesus cried: "It is finished", He had finished enduring for our sins what we would have to endure for our sins: The equivalent of an eternity in Hell. He was still hanging on the cross. He was still bleeding from His hands and feet. Most of His blood He had not yet shed. He was still suffering in His body. He was still very much alive, and yet He could say: "It is finished". What was finished? The penalty for our sins was fully paid. From that time forward everyone in heaven must be absolutely righteous. This was a deathblow to Satan. Christ had bruised the Serpent's head. Therefore, Satan was cast out of heaven. He was cast out to this earth, and when this sin cursed earth will be dissolved on the Last Day then Satan also shall be cast into a physical Hell, together with all those who have stood and worked on his side against God. All those for whom Christ paid the guilt of their sins will be made "Born Again" at sometime in their earthly life, and then they will begin to repent of their sins. Before that moment of conversion God is longsuffering to US-ward. On the Last Day God will take US to a place where only righteousness dwells, which is the NH & NE. This then connects God's longsuffering to His promise and to our repentance.

But when did Satan bruise Christ's heel? The picture is that of a serpent biting the heel of an upright man. The body of the man is the body of Christ. The Church is called the Body of Christ. Christ is the Head and we are His Body. Christ completed His suffering, and now Satan bites the body of Christ (Eph 5:23). So, if we must endure physical persecution from those who are on the side of Satan, like those who were martyred under emperor Nero, remember that Satan can only destroy the body, but he cannot cast body and soul in Hell. Jesus said: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell"

Now let us see how verse 8 ties into this matter of the end of the world and Judgment Day.

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

This too is talking about God's patience. It took a long time before the flood came in Noah's days, and it took 120 years for Noah to build the Ark. All that time God was longsuffering. God was patiently enduring the insults of men. Again, it takes a long time before Christ returns, but God is not going to wait forever. God's patience is not infinite, because He will make an end to this world one day.

Verse 8 begins with the word "Beloved". This verse is not intended to be taken out of context, like so many preachers do, but this verse is intended to bring comfort to His Beloved, His Elect. And God says to US that God is longsuffering toward US, until all of US have are safely in the fold of Christ. God does not count time like men count the time. "God's ways are not like our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways". God is all knowing and nothing escapes His attention. At the right time the end will come. When will that time be? That is not for us to worry about. We must remain faithful to His command to bring the true Gospel into the entire world. What is God waiting for? God is waiting for the moment that the last of the elect will have been saved. God is not willing that any of His elect should perish.

That word "perish" in verse 9 occurs 92 times in the Bible, and it means "to destroy", or "to perish". This has given rise to many false teachings about the Judgment on the Last Day. But the Bible is very clear that Hell does not mean incineration, like poof, you are gone. Not at all! Our souls are made to live forever, and on the Last Day all the saints will receive added to their souls a glorified body that will live forever in the presence of God in the NH & NE, whereas all the unsaved will receive added to their souls a body that will live forever in the presence of Satan in Hell. The Lord Jesus said repeatedly that Hell is a place "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched". It will be a place that is compared to "outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth". The Lord Jesus said that "these shall go away into everlasting punishment". We read in Rev 14 that "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever". No question at all that Hell is forever.

God knows every word that is in the Bible, and He also understands what it means. We, human beings, can never attain to that level of understanding.

Satan knows and understands the Bible better than any human being can understand it. Therefore Satan knows where and how to begin a heresy successfully. Satan knows how to tweak the minds of well-known Bible teachers. He makes them come in contact with other persons who convince them of a little innovation in their Gospel, so that they begin to broadcast this as a new truth. It is just a little bit off here and then there. O, this well-known Bible teacher may be a saved man, but his gospel may show some foolishness here and there. Just remember that ALL the OT kings, every single one of them even the good kings, in their old age did something foolish. They became too confident of themselves, and that made them fall and behave like an old fool. You have to watch those old men. Before you know it they go off the deep end. Therefore it is so important for us to pray that we remain faithful. Only by God's grace shall we remain faithful. Here in II Pet 3:11 God reminds us of these things and of our duty to remain vigilant. We read in II Pet 3:11,

2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

God reminds us: Since we know that all this earthly stuff is going to be dissolved, how then shall we live? God reminds us to remain faithful to Him, to remain faithful to the Bible, to remain faithful to our spouse and to our children, to remain faithful to our church and be there every Sunday, to remain faithful to our employer to give an honest days work for an honest wage, and so on. Remember the context. "The Day of the Lord" is coming. Let us be prepared to meet our Maker.

But what if those well-known Bible thumpers are not saved. Then we see them bring false teachings left and right, and unfortunately they will drag with them a great many unsuspecting victims into Hell. God has no kind words for them. God says in II Pet 2:22, the last verse in chapter 2,

2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

They should be trembling on account of:

#3. God's Wrath (II Pet 3:7,10,12, II Tim 3:5)

God's wrath is mentioned three times: in verse 7, verse 10 and verse 12. Look at verse 7:

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

God's wrath is reserved for t. ungodly; those who do not fear God; who do not fear to bring heresy.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Will the Day of the Lord come silently as a thief in the night? Christ will come as a thief for those who are not saved, but He will not come silently. His second coming will be the Last Day. Verse 12,

2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

How are we looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of the Lord? According to verse 11 we do that by watching our conduct and our godliness. We are looking forward to that day in great anticipation. Is this indeed how we live our lives? Beware that we do not have "a form of godliness but denying the power thereof" (II Tim 3:5). What does God mean by that? When we claim to worship Christ, and we allow Him to create and rule the world, but we deny Him the power to rule our souls, then we are denying the power of God. When we deny that Christ has the authority to save whom He wants to save, and when we imagine that Christ is on His knees pleading with sinners to please accept Him, then we are denying God the power that belongs to Him. Then we have "a form of godliness but are denying the power thereof".

But if we have been saved, then we look forward to His promise of a NH & NE, and we will stand:

While we live on this earth we hold on to the promise of verse 9 that God is longsuffering toward US, not willing that any of US should perish but that all of US should come to salvation in our souls. Then we read in II Pet 3:13,

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

God will give us a new body and He will give us a new place. This old earth came under the curse of God when Adam sinned. Therefore this old earth cannot be fixed up. Satan has lived here, so it must have become very bad. God has promised us a new place, which is called "A New Heaven and a New Earth". God is not speaking about two locations, but only one location, because God Himself will dwell with us there. We have no idea what it will look like, only that it will be totally free from sin and that it will be absolutely glorious. We will rejoice to live with Christ, and it will be so glorious, that after having lived there for an eternity we will not have exhausted seeing more beautiful and glorious things in the Lord Jesus Christ that we have not seen before.

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, (Where? In the Bible) be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

What does God mean when He says: "Be diligent"? Does this mean that we will become without spot and blameless when we diligently study the Bible? No! Our salvation does not depend on our action of diligently studying the Bible or diligently doing anything. Our salvation is free. But when we have been saved then it has become our second nature to be diligent in studying the Word of God. If we indeed have become the Bride of Christ, then we love to hear the voice of the Bridegroom.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

The Hymn we are going to sing is characteristic of our hope of eternal life in the presence of Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Then we look forward to stand in His presence by the Sea of Crystal. You all know this hymn, Let me read to you the last stanza of this great hymn:

Unto God Almighty, sitting on the throne, and the Lamb, victorious, be the praise alone.

God has wrought salvation; He did wondrous things; who shall not extol Thee, holy King of Kings?

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.