2 Peter Chapter 3
2 Peter 3:1 Williams This is the second letter, dearly beloved, that I have already written to you, in both of which I am trying by reminders to stir up your unsullied minds
2 Peter 3:2 TPT So never forget both the prophecies spoken by the holy prophets of old and the teaching of our Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
Russell: Stir up -- Whatsoever things are true, just, lovely and of good report--think on these things and stir up each other's minds with these. (Phi_4:8)
Your pure minds -- Spiritual minds--to love, faith, zeal and good works.
Remembrance -- Concerning these important things.
Guzik: I now write to you this second epistle: Peter already wrote to about the importance of being reminded (2Pe_1:12-13). But here he wants to emphasize what they should know in light of the coming of Jesus and the prophecies surrounding His coming.
Benson: The doctrines and precepts delivered by the prophets and apostles, being the most effectual means of preserving the Christian converts from being seduced by the false teachers spoken of in the preceding chapter, the apostle begins this with informing the brethren that his design in writing both his epistles was to bring these doctrines and precepts to their remembrance. And as one of the greatest of these men’s errors was their denying the coming of Christ to judge the world, and destroy this mundane system, he first exhorts the brethren to recollect what the holy prophets had anciently spoken on this subject, together with the commandments of the apostles of Christ to their disciples, to expect and prepare for these events. His saying, This second epistle I now write, &c., implies that he had written a former one to the same people, and he here affirms that in them both he had one great end in view, which was to stir up their minds (which he terms pure, or rather sincere, as ειλικρινη more properly signifies) to keep in remembrance and lay to heart what had been already taught them on these important subjects, so as to be properly influenced by it. The holy prophets intended, who had spoken of these things, were chiefly Enoch, mentioned Jdg_1:14-15; David, Psa_50:1-6; Psa_75:8; and Dan_12:2.
Clarke: This second epistle - In order to guard them against the seductions of false teachers, he calls to their remembrance the doctrine of the ancient prophets, and the commands or instructions of the apostles, all founded on the same basis.
2 Peter 3:3 TPT Above all, you must understand that in the last days mockers will multiply, chasing after their evil desires.
Benson: Knowing this first — That your faith in the prophetic word may not be shaken, but that you may be armed and prepared for the trial; that there shall come in the last days --
Scoffers -- Or mockers, who shall ridicule the expectation of such awful events, and deride the truths, promises, and threatenings of the divine word; walking after their own lusts — Influenced by their appetites and passions, and their earthly and sensual inclinations. Here the apostle has laid open the true source of infidelity, and of men’s scoffing at religion. “They may pretend to religion,” as Dr. Benson says, “but they are governed by sense and appetite, and they take refuge in infidelity, and scoff at religion, to make themselves easy in their vices.” “When the apostle wrote this passage, there were Epicureans and others among the Gentiles, and Sadducees among the Jews, who ridiculed the promises of the gospel concerning the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, and a future state of rewards and punishments. Wherefore, seeing the scoffers, of whom St. Peter here speaks, had not yet appeared, but were to come in the last period of the duration of the world, it is probable that they were to arise in the church itself. Accordingly they are reproved, (2Pe_3:5,) for being wilfully ignorant of the Mosaic history of the creation and of the deluge; and Jude says, (Jud_1:18-19,) the scoffers separated themselves from other Christians, and had not the Spirit, though they pretended to be inspired. The evil of scoffing at the doctrines and promises of the gospel may be learned from Psa_1:1, where scoffing at religion is represented as the highest stage of impiety.” — Macknight.
Russell: Shall come In the last days -- In the closing years of the Gospel age--in the harvest.
Scoffers -- Unfaithful servants and hypocrites. Professed Christians, overcharged and intoxicated with the spirit of the world.
Their own lusts -- Their own desires, plans, theories, etc.
Gill: that there shall come in the last days scoffers, or "mockers"; such as would make a mock at sin, make light of it, plead for it, openly commit it, and glory in it; and scoff at all religion…
walking after their own lusts; either after the carnal reasonings of their minds, admitting of nothing but what they can comprehend by reason, making that the rule, test, and standard of all their principles, and so cast away the law of the Lord, and despise the word of the Holy One of Israel; or rather, after their sinful and fleshly lusts, making them their guides and governors, and giving up themselves entirely to them, to obey and fulfil them; the phrase denotes a continued series of sinning, a progress in it, a desire after it, and pleasure in it, and an obstinate persisting in it; scoffers at religion and revelation are generally libertines; and such as sit in the seat of the scornful, are in the counsel of the ungodly, and way of sinners, Psa_1:1.
Guzik: Knowing this first: Christians should not be surprised to find that there are those who scoff at the idea of Jesus coming again. Peter told us that the scoffers will come.
Walking according to their own lusts reminds us that scoffers do not only have an intellectual problem with God and His word. They also have a clear moral problem, wanting to reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives.
2 Peter 3:4 TPT They will say, “So what about this promise of his coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, yet everything is still the same as it was since from the beginning of time until now.”
Guzik: The message of scoffers is clear: Where is the promise of His coming? Christians have talked about Jesus coming for two thousand years, and He still hasn’t come back yet.
All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation: The scoffers base their message on the idea that things have always been they way they are right now, and that God has not and will not do anything new in His plan for creation.
- “The argument of the false teachers is essentially a naturalistic one - a kind of uniformitarianism that rules out divine intervention in history.” (Blum)
Benson: Where is the promise of his coming — To raise the dead, judge mankind, and destroy the earth? We see no sign of any such thing. The promise of Christ’s coming we have Mat_15:27, The Son of man shall come in his glory, &c.; Joh_14:3, I will come and receive you to myself, &c., and in many other passages of the gospel; a promise which was renewed by the angels at our Lord’s ascension, and is spoken of in many passages of the epistles, especially in those of St. Paul. By representing Christ’s promised coming as a delusion, the scoffers set themselves and others free from all fear of a future judgment, and bereft the righteous of their hope of reward.
For since the fathers fell asleep — Since our ancestors died; all things — Heaven, earth, air, water; continue as they were from the beginning of the creation — Without any such material change as might make us believe they will ever have an end. So say these scoffers.
Russell: Where is the promise -- Some would thus question, being surprised at the information that we are living in the days of the Son of Man, while there is as yet no outward manifestation of his presence. This indicates that the class who when the end comes are in darkness concerning it, are unbelievers of God's testimony. Ignorance of God's plan is to be expected of the world, but the true people of God have the promise of his special instruction so that they need not be in darkness respecting the divine program.
It would be with the world as it was in the days of Noah, careless and thoughtless, the whole attention given to fleshly desires, not understanding nor caring for the spiritual.
Of his coming -- Greek, parousia, presence.
Fathers fell asleep -- In death, awaiting the resurrection morning. All the dead are reckoned as sleeping, waiting for his return and his exaltation with his elect Bride in glory. The apostles frequently used this appropriate, hopeful and peaceful figure of speech.
All things continue -- They are unable to understand the "signs of the times" revealing his return.
They do not realize that every age has its close or "harvest." For such reasons many shut the eyes of their understanding to the most remarkable condition of affairs in our day. Since six thousand years have passed without God's interposition to suppress sin and to lift mankind out of its present state, they reason that God's future dealings should be judged of by the past.
Gill: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?.... That is, of the coming of the Lord and Saviour, 2Pe_3:2; the object of their scorn and derision, and whom they name not, through contempt; and the meaning is, what is become of the promise of his coming? where the accomplishment of it? The prophets foretold he would come; he himself said he would come again, Joh_14:3; the angels, at his ascension, declared he would come from heaven in like manner as he went up, Act_1:11; and all his apostles gave out that he would appear a second time to judge both quick and dead, Act_10:42 1Pe_4:5, and that his coming was at hand, Php_4:5; but where is the fulfilment of all this? he is not come, nor is there any sign or likelihood of it:
for since the fathers fell asleep; or "died": which is the language of the Scriptures, and here sneered at by these men, who believe them so fast asleep as never to be awaked or raised more; and by "the fathers" they mean the first inhabitants of the world, as Adam, Abel, Seth, &c. and all the patriarchs and prophets in all ages; the Ethiopic version renders it, "our first fathers":
all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; reasoning from the settled order of things, the constant revolution of the sun, moon, and stars, the permanency of the earth, and the succession of the inhabitants of it, to the future continuance of things, without any alteration; and consequently, that Christ would not come, as was promised, to raise the dead, judge mankind destroy the world, and set up a new state of things: the fallacy of which reasoning is exposed by the apostle in the following words.
Do you believe the Lord is coming?
Do you believe things are going to keep going on as they are?
2 Peter 3:5 TPT But they conveniently overlook that from the beginning, the heavens and earth were created by God’s word. He spoke and the dry ground separated from the waters.
Guzik: For this they willfully forget: The scoffers presume upon the mercy and longsuffering of God, insisting that because they have never seen a widespread judgment of God, that there will never be one. But they willfully forget God’s creation and the judgment God poured out on the earth in the days of Noah.
i. A literal belief in Creation, in Adam and Eve, and in Noah’s Flood are essential for a true understanding of God’s working both then and now. To deny these things undermines the very foundations of our faith. Sadly, today it is many Christians who willfully forget these things, putting themselves in the place of scoffers.
Russell: Willingly are ignorant -- The majority of professing Christians are careless, indifferent to what the Lord had caused to be written for their admonition and encouragement and assistance in this "evil day."
Benson: For this they willingly are ignorant of — As if he had said, It is from their ignorance, their gross, affected ignorance, that they argue after this manner. He says willingly ignorant, to signify that they had sufficient means of knowing better, but that they did not care to know or consider any thing respecting it. That by the word of God — His almighty word, which bounds the duration of all things, so that it cannot be either longer or shorter; the heavens — As by the heavens here the apostle means the atmosphere which surrounds this earth, the plural is put for the singular by a change of the number very common in the Scriptures; were of old — Anciently before the flood; and the earth standing — Or subsisting, (as συνεστωσα more properly signifies,) out of the water — Which had before covered it, namely, emerging from it by the divine command, (the earth being formed out of the chaos, which had been previously brought into existence for that purpose,) and the liquid element retiring to the channels prepared for it; and in the water — By which God appointed that it should be surrounded, nourished, and supported, water being the life of the vegetable creation;
Do you believe that God created the world?
2 Peter 3:6 TPT Then long afterward he destroyed the world with a tremendous flood by those very waters.
Russell: World that then was -- Greek, kosmos, order or state of things. The first great epoch, or dispensation, or age; before the flood.
A different order from the present, hence the prince of this present evil world was not the prince of that which preceded this--of the world or dispensation before the flood.
The rainbow in the clouds was given as a sign of God's covenant with men, that the earth should never again be destroyed by a flood of waters. As Noah and his family were the only ones spared from the old order of things, so Christ is the Ark of Safety now for all who will be saved out of the present order of things.
Perished -- Having served its purpose. Came to an end. Disappeared--not the literal heaven nor the literal earth, but the symbolic or figurative. It appears that there was little or no change of the earth, or heavens, but simply a great destruction of life.
Benson: whereby — Δι’ ων, by which things, thus constituted; the world that then was — The whole antediluvian race, with all the brute animals, except such as were with Noah in the ark; being overflowed with water, perished --
JFB: Whereby —The earth was deluged by that water out of which it had originally risen.
Gill: Whereby the world that then was,.... The old world, as it is called in 2Pe_2:5; and as the Ethiopic version here renders it; the world before the flood, that had stood from the creation 1656 years:
being overflowed with water; by the windows of heaven being opened, and the waters over the earth poured down upon it; and by the fountains of the great deep being broken up in it.
perished; not as to the substance of it, whatever alteration there might be in its form and position; but as to the inhabitants of it; for all creatures, men and cattle, and the creeping things, and fowls of the heaven, were destroyed, excepting Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives, and the creatures that were with him in the ark; see Gen_7:23; and by this instance the apostle shows the falsehood of the above assertion, that all things continued as they were from the beginning of the creation; for the earth was covered with water first, and which, by the command of God, was removed, and, after a long series of time, was brought on it again, and by it drowned; and from whence it also appears, that this sort of reasoning used by those scoffers is very fallacious; for though the heavens and the earth may continue for a long time, as they did before the flood, in the same form and situation, it does not follow from thence that they always will, for the contrary is evident from what follows.
Do you believe in the Flood of Noah?
2 Peter 3:7 TPT And now, by the same powerful word, the heavens and the earth are reserved for fire, being kept for judgment day, when all the ungodly will perish.
Benson: But — Though the destruction of the old world by water shows that the present world may be destroyed, I do not say it will be destroyed by water. No: the heavens and the earth, which are now — This whole sublunary world; by the same word — Which at first created them, and afterward destroyed them, and then again restored them; are kept in store — Τεθησαυρισμενοι εισι πυρι τηρουμενοι, are treasured up and preserved for fire; that is, preserved from a deluge for the purpose of being burned. Therefore the earth is not always to remain, but is to suffer a destruction even more terrible than the former; at the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men …
There are things in the apostle’s prophecy which show that he intended it to be taken literally. As, 1st, He begins with an account of the perishing of the old world, to demonstrate, against the scoffers, the possibility of the perishing of the present heavens and earth. But that example would not have suited his purpose unless, by the burning of the present heavens and earth, he had meant the destruction of the material fabric. Wherefore the opposition stated in this prophecy between the perishing of the old world by water, and the perishing of the present world by fire, shows that the latter is to be as real a destruction of the material fabric as the former was.
Russell: But the heavens -- Symbolizes the higher or spiritual controlling powers. Civil and ecclesiastical rule. Satan, and religious systems under Satanic direction.
And the earth -- The entire social fabric. Human society as now organized under Satan's control.
Which are now -- The second great epoch or dispensation, from the flood to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Under the limited control of Satan, "the prince of this world." "This present evil world." (Gal_1:4)
Called "the present evil world" not because there is nothing good in it, but because in it evil is permitted to predominate.
Society was reorganized under new conditions, but on the same physical earth, and a new spiritual government or rule or order obtained also.
By the same word -- Of divine authority.
Reserved unto fire -- Representing the destruction of whatever is burned. This second world is doomed to pass away. The whole structure will be involved in anarchy. All present institutions are to utterly perish in the great time of trouble with which this age is very shortly to end.
There will be no patching of present institutions, but a clean sweep of them by the fire of divine wrath preceding the establishment of the new order.
Day of judgment -- The word "judgment" implies, not merely a sentence, but also a trial. God's justice, indignation, will burn against every one who is wicked, and this fire will go on all through the Millennial age.
The judgments of the Lord will be abroad in the earth and the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isa_26:9) If the thought be kept in mind that the world's day of judgment is a thousand years long, the character of the judging then to be done will the more readily be discerned.
2 Peter 3:8 TPT So, dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape your notice: a single day counts like a thousand years to the Lord Yahweh, and a thousand years counts as one day.
Guzik: (2Pe_3:8-10) Truths that scoffers deny but God’s people cling to.
That with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day: What seems like forever for us is but a short time for God, just as an hour may seem an eternity for a child but a moment for an adult.
Peter quotes this idea from Psa_90:4 : For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.
Russell: That one day -- During which Christ will reign over and thereby bless all the families of the earth. The world's judgment--one of the thousand year days--the day of Messiah's glorious reign.
"He hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness." (Act_17:31
"They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Rev_20:4)
A thousand years as one day -- Adam died "in the day" in which he became a sinner (1000-year day), and none of his posterity lived more than 969 years.
"In the day that thou eatest thereof." (Gen_2:17)
2 Peter 3:9 TPT This means that, contrary to man’s perspective, the Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.
Benson: The Lord is not slack — Ου βραδυνει, does not delay, or is not slow; concerning his promise — To fulfil it, as if the time fixed for the fulfilment of it were past; for it shall surely be fulfilled in its season; but is long-suffering, to us-ward — Children of men; not willing that any should perish — Any human being, any soul that he hath made. That is, he is not primarily willing; his first will, with regard to the whole posterity of Adam, hath been and is, that they should be saved; and as a proof of it he hath given his Son a ransom for all; (1Ti_2:6; Heb_2:9;) hath commanded his gospel, that is, the glad tidings of salvation, to be preached to all, to every human creature, (Mar_16:15,) and, to help man’s weakness, causes his grace, even his saving grace, (as η χαρις η σωτηριος literally signifies,) to appear to, or to visit and strive with, all men, in order to their repentance, faith, and new obedience. But if they reject his counsel against themselves, which they are under no necessity of doing, by continuing impenitent, unbelieving, and disobedient, then, secondly, he wills, and that justly, that they should perish, for they are accountable to him, their rightful Lawgiver, Governor, and Judge, and he will judge them, and all the world, in righteousness.
Guzik: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise: The truth is that God will keep His promise, and without delay, according to His timing. Any perceived delay from our perspective is due to the longsuffering of God, who allows many as much time as possible to repent.
Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance: Peter reveals some of God’s glorious heart. The reason why Jesus’ return isn’t sooner is so that all should come to repentance, because God is not willing that any should perish.
It is the same thought as expressed in Eze_33:11 : As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.
Russell: The Lord is not slack -- Though it may at present appear as though the Lord is slack in the fulfillment of his promises, both in regard to well-doers and to evildoers, it would be a mistake to suppose thus.
Longsuffering -- Plenteous in mercy.
Not willing -- Not desiring. God willeth not the death of him that dieth, but that all should turn unto him and live. (Eze_18:23) Not that God wills not the death of him who dies for his own sin, but that he has no pleasure or delight in it.
"God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti_2:4)
Perish -- The willfully wicked, who reject all his mercies, shall be blotted out of existence, not tormented.
Clarke: The Lord is not slack - They probably in their mocking said, “Either God had made no such promise to judge the world, destroy the earth, and send ungodly men to perdition; or if he had, he had forgotten to fulfill it, or had not convenient time or leisure.” To some such mocking the apostle seems to refer: and he immediately shows the reason why deserved punishment is not inflicted on a guilty world.
2 Peter 3:10 (Weymouth) The day of the Lord will come like a thief--it will be a day on which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, the elements be destroyed in the fierce heat, and the earth and all the works of man be utterly burnt up.
Guzik: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: Though the Lord’s longsuffering love to the lost makes it seem that perhaps He delays His coming, the truth is that He will indeed come. And when Jesus does return, He will come at a time that will surprise many (as a thief in the night). The ultimate result of His coming will be a total transformation of this present world (in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat).
Benson: — The passing away of the heavens and the earth does not mean, it seems, that they will be removed to another part of space, or that they will be annihilated; but that, being burned, their form and constitution will be changed much more, probably, than the constitution or form of the old world was by the flood; destruction by fire being more complete and dreadful than destruction by water; with a great noise
Russell: But -- Zealous for our growth in knowledge, Peter endeavors to inspire us thereto by calling attention to the wonderful events and close proximity of the Day of the Lord.
The day of the Lord -- The thousand-year day of his presence. It is the day in which the old order is to perish and the glorious new order is to be ushered in.
Will come -- Greek, heko, will arrive; be here.
Thief in the night -- Unobservedly, quietly. Throughout this entire age the Lord's people have been left in uncertainty as to the time of the Master's second coming.
The heavens -- A figurative term for the present religious institutions--ecclesiasticism.
"The heavens do rule." (Dan_4:26)
Shall pass away -- To be supplanted by the new heavens and the new earth. Meaning nothing more than a change of dispensation. Only a change of dispensation, attended with great national destruction.
With a great noise -- A great hissing noise. Great disputation, confusion, etc. With a "rushing sound," as escaping steam that must obey the decisive action of the "fervent heat."
And the elements -- Component parts, The present order of things. Of society. Of tyranny, ignorance and superstition. Labor element, artisan element, capitalistic element, religious element.
The fire will extend to the social structure. The social, political, financial and ecclesiastical systems together make up our present order.
The same word used by Paul in speaking of the beggarly elements of this world. (Gal_4:9)
Shall melt -- The social fabric. The melting down will begin in the overthrow of the religious institutions. The fire will next affect the social and industrial organization--merchandise, capital and labor, society, etc. The nations of the world will go down quickly. In the fervency of the heat and strife of that time.
With fervent heat -- Human passion and wrath.
The earth also -- Human society as now organized under Satan's control.
Our physical earth has been the basis for "the world that was," "the present evil world," and the "world to come," and signifies the order of things. The physical earth will remain practically as it is, and will begin to undergo the transforming influences of restitution under Christ.
And the works -- Pride, rank, aristocracy, royalty. Present institutions will be swallowed up.
Shall be burned up -- Discovered--ancient manuscripts.
Destroyed in the strife and friction caused by increasing knowledge, combined with selfishness.
In the combustion or consumption of the trouble. By a symbolic fire of destruction that is coming. With the fire of God's jealousy. (Zep_3:8) The Lord's anger will burn against all kinds of injustice and iniquity. Wrongdoing and wrongdoers will then be punished. The fire of God's anger no more means a literal fire than does the expression a fiery horse. It is the fire of God's wrath against sin.
In reading this prophecy the majority of Christian people seem to think that there will be a literal burning up of the material heavens and earth. A literal interpretation overlooks the fact that St. Peter, speaking of the same time, in Act_3:19-21 declares that Times of Restitution and blessing, not times of world-burning, will follow the second coming of Jesus.
After the "fire" has done its work the Lord will then turn to the people a pure language. (Zep_3:8-9) The fire is symbolic
2 Peter 3:11 (TPT) Since all these things are on the verge of being dismantled, don’t you see how vital it is to live a holy life? We must be consumed with godliness
Guzik: Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be: In light of the fact that this world order and the things associated with it will be dissolved, we should live our lives seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness - having holy conduct and godliness.
i. A man is foolish to invest everything in things that he cannot keep, when he can invest in things that he cannot lose - things that are eternal.
Benson: what manner of persons ought ye to be — How serious, how watchful, how free from levity and folly, how disengaged from, and dead to, this lower world, with all it contains; how unmoved by the trifling changes which are now continually occurring, the comparatively insignificant losses and gains, honour and reproach, pleasure and pain! How heavenly-minded, having our thoughts and affections set upon that world, with its riches, glories, and joys, which is durable and eternal; in all holy conversation — With men; and godliness --
Russell: Seeing -- The Lord's faithful, watching people, guided by the Word of truth, will have an understanding of temporal affairs. The Apostle exhorts that they be not swallowed up by politics, money-getting etc., but that they set their affections on higher things.
"When these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your deliverance draweth nigh." "When ye see these things, know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (Luk_21:28, 31)
All these things -- Present earthly conditions. Present political, social, religious and financial arrangements. All the things that occupy men's minds and absorb their energies. How comparatively unimportant should the things of this present order seem to us. They are not worthy of our time or words.
Shall be dissolved -- Are only temporary and will soon give place to the better order. It will not be stopped until the present order shall have been wholly dissolved. Is to pass away--to give place to a new order, social and religious.
Manner of persons -- How serious life should be! All Christians should be zealous. If this was a serious consideration in the Apostle's day, how much more weighty does it seem today, when we stand at the threshold of the new dispensation and amidst the disintegrating influences of the old.
All those who believe in the great change just before us should be living for the future and not for the present
Ought ye -- New creatures in Christ. We who have heard the Lord's invitation to joint-heirship in his Kingdom. The Apostle puts this solemn question right home to us. It is applicable now as never before.
If our fellowmen are willing to endure great hardships for the trivial rewards that are theirs, what should we be willing to endure? NS455:4
To be -- We need to guard against being overcharged with the petty cares of this present time, and against imbibing the spirit of the world. Only by constant watchfulness and prayer can we keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Imbibe the spirit of the Bible by studying its teachings.
Holy conversation -- Behavior.
New creatures should fellowship with one another seeking to build one another up in the most holy faith. R5736:1 "Let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ." (Phi_1:27)
Godliness -- Piety. Godlikeness. Godlikeness certainly cannot include any harmful gossip, unclean or unholy conversation, disloyal or rebellious words. The very thoughts of the brain and the meditations of the heart should be conformed as nearly as possible to God's perfect standard. To see that meekness, sincerity, moderation, temperance and truth are always manifest in us, and that our general character bears the divine likeness.
"Be ye holy, for I and holy," (1Pe_1:16) is the injunction of our Father in heaven.
Are you obeying this command?
2 Peter 3:12 (BBE) Looking for and truly desiring the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat?
Benson: Toward God. Looking for — Earnestly desiring; and hasting unto — Or hasting on, (as σπευδοντας may signify,) namely, by your earnest desires and fervent prayers; the coming of the day of God
Wherein the heavens being on fire, &c. — The apostle repeats his former testimony, because of its great importance.
Russell: Looking for -- Watching for the evidences (signs) to prove that it has come. Those of piety who are looking for that day will know of it before the full bursting forth of the fire of wrath.
Unto the coming -- Greek, parousia, presence.
The day of God -- The age commencing with the second coming of Christ.
Wherein the heavens -- In figurative language, symbolically picturing the ecclesiastical influence of our day. The present ruling powers. Certainly not the literal heavens, separated by millions of miles of space with nothing between to take fire. Not the heaven of God's residence, but the ecclesiastical heavens.
Being on fire -- Trouble and destruction. Symbolic--will consume everything of the present time that is contrary to the divine will, everything that is unjust, inequitable.
St. Peter described the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens, revealed in flaming fire. (Mat_24:30)
The "fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1Co_3:13)
Be dissolved -- In the beginning of the "Day of the Lord," which "shall burn as an oven." (Mal_4:1)
Shall melt -- Symbolic of the time of trouble, in which present institutions shall be swallowed up.
Barnes: Looking for - Not knowing when this may occur, the mind should be in that state which constitutes “expectation;” that is, a belief that it will occur, and a condition of mind in which we would not be taken by surprise should it happen at any moment. See the notes at Tit_2:13.
And hasting unto the coming - Margin, as in Greek: ““hasting the coming.”” The Greek word rendered “hasting,” (σπεύδω speudō,) means to urge on, to hasten; and then to hasten after anything, to await with eager desire. This is evidently the sense here - Wetstein and Robinson. The state of mind which is indicated by the word is that when we are anxiously desirous that anything should occur, and when we would hasten or accelerate it if we could. The true Christian does not dread the coming of that day. He looks forward to it as the period of his redemption, and would welcome, at any time, the return of his Lord and Saviour. While he is willing to wait as long as it shall please God for the advent of His Redeemer, yet to Him the brightest prospect in the future is that hour when he shall come to take him to Himself.
The coming of the day of God - Called “the day of God,” because God will then be manifested in his power and glory.
How eager are you for this Time of Trouble to come?
2 Peter 3:13 (Williams) In accordance with His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which uprightness will have its permanent home.
Guzik: A new earth in which righteousness dwells: The most glorious characteristic of this new heaven and new earth is that it is a place in which righteousness dwells. In God’s plan of the ages, this happens after the millennial earth ruled by Jesus Christ. It is the re-creation of this world order as described in Rev_21:1 : Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Benson: Nevertheless we, according to his promise, &c. — That is, “Though the present frame of things shall be dissolved by fire, yet we look for another, a more durable and perfect state; new heavens and a new earth --
Russell: Nevertheless we -- We who have come into covenant relationship with the Lord; we who, unlike the rest of the world, know of the divine plan.
Look for -- Not to some other planet, but to this same one, and a new social order of things and new ecclesiastical rule.
New heavens -- The new spiritual power--Christ's Kingdom. The glorified Jesus and his Church, in the Millennial Kingdom. New religious system--the Church or government of righteousness for which we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
And a new earth -- Earthly society reorganized on the new basis of love and justice, rather than of might and oppression. A new social order--symbolically called the "new earth." The new social order which Messiah's Kingdom will establish. Mankind under the new conditions of the New Covenant.
The Millennial Kingdom will promptly be established on the ruins of "the present evil world"--on the ashes of present civil, religious, political institutions. The law of love will then prevail amongst perfect men, and a direct responsibility will be realized to God.
The third epoch is to be a "world without end" (Isa_45:17) under divine administration, the Kingdom of God. This third earth and third heaven are the final and perfect, wherein "the tabernacle of God is with men." (Rev_21:3)
Dwelleth righteousness -- Only that which is righteous, just, equitable, true, will be recognized. In which selfishness will be wholly eliminated and righteousness will prevail.
The Lord will send to mankind "a pure message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent." (Zep_3:9)
"The ages to come"; (Eph_2:7) the first of which is the Millennial age.
Do you hold to this promise of God?
2 Peter 3:14 (BBE) For this reason, my loved ones, as you are looking for these things, take great care that when he comes you may be in peace before him, free from sin and every evil thing.
Guzik: Looking forward to these things, be diligent: If our hearts are really set on the glory of the new heaven and new earth, we will endeavor to walk godly in regard to our brothers and sisters (in peace) and in regard to God (without spot and blameless).
Benson: Wherefore, beloved — Bearing these great truths in your minds, give up your whole souls to their influence; and, seeing that ye look for such things — Since you expect the coming of Christ to destroy the present mundane system, and to create a new heaven and earth, and since death, which will confirm your title to this inheritance, or your exclusion from it, for ever, is fast approaching, and may come both very soon and very unexpectedly; be diligent — Σπουδασατε, the same word that is used chap. 2Pe_1:10, which implies not only the diligent use of all the means of grace, and the practice of universal holiness and righteousness, in consequence of repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, with the active exertion of every gift of nature and of grace, but the doing all this earnestly and without delay; relying not on any power of your own, but on the influence of the Divine Spirit, for all the help you stand in need of; that ye may be found of him — Christ, when he cometh; in peace — With God, being justified by grace through faith, Rom_5:1; without spot -- Cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and renewed after the divine image; and, as an evidence thereof, blameless — In behaviour toward God, your fellow-creatures, and yourselves; having, in consequence of your regeneration,
Russell: Such things -- The overthrow of the existing order and the establishment of the glorious Kingdom of God's dear Son.
Be diligent -- Let us be diligent. The prize of the high calling is not for the easy-going Christian.
Be found of him -- Not that he shall wash you when he comes, but you shall be found of him so cleansed.
Without spot -- Give diligence and see that our robe is spotless.
And blameless -- For our Lord "is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." (Jud_1:24)
Gill: in peace one with another; for peace makers and keepers are called the children of God, and so heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
without spot and blemish; no man is so in himself, sanctification is imperfect, and many are the slips and falls of the saints, though their desire is to be harmless and inoffensive, and to give no just occasion for blame or scandal; but the saints are so in Christ Jesus, being washed in his blood, and clothed with his righteousness, and will be found so by him when he comes again, when he will present them to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, and also before the presence of his Father's glory, as faultless, with exceeding joy; and so will they be fit and meet to be the inhabitants of the new heavens and new earth, and reign with him therein, and be with him to all eternity.
Clarke: Seeing that ye look for such things - As ye profess that such a state of things shall take place, and have the expectation of enjoying the blessedness of it, be diligent in the use of every means and influence of grace, that ye may be found of him - the Lord Jesus, the Judge of quick and dead, without spot - any contagion of sin in your souls, and blameless - being not only holy and innocent, but useful in your lives.
Are you taking “great care” to be acceptable to Christ?
Does your life show that you believe the Lord is near?
2 Peter 3:15 And keep in mind that our Lord’s extraordinary patience simply means more opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him.
Benson:— Instead of considering his delaying to come as a proof that he will never come, account that delay, and his long-suffering — Thereby manifested; salvation — Designed to promote your salvation, and the salvation of many others; giving sinners space for repentance, and an opportunity to prepare for these solemn and awful scenes, and so becoming a precious means of saving many more souls. As our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him — That admirable insight into, and understanding of, the mysteries of the gospel, which appears in all his epistles, and was given to him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; hath written to you — This refers not only to the single sentence preceding, but to all that went before. This epistle of Peter being written to those to whom the first epistle was sent, the persons to whom St. Paul wrote concerning the long-suffering of God, and the other subjects here referred to, were the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Lesser Asia. Accordingly, we know he wrote to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, and to Timothy, things which imply that God’s mercy in sparing and bearing with sinners, is intended for their salvation.
Barnes: And account - that “the long-suffering of our Lord” is “salvation.” Regard his delay in coming to judge the world, not as an evidence that he never will come, but as a proof of his desire that we should be saved. Many had drawn a different inference from the fact that the Saviour did not return, and had supposed that it was a proof that he would never come, and that his promises had failed. Peter says that that conclusion was not authorized, but that we should rather regard it as an evidence of his mercy, and of his desire that we should be saved. This conclusion is as proper now as it was then.
Do you appreciate that the Lord is giving you time to finish the race?
Are you taking advantage of the time afforded?
2 Peter 3:16 (TPT) He consistently speaks of these things in all of his letters, even though he writes some concepts that are overwhelming to our understanding, which the unlearned and unstable love to twist to their spiritual ruin, as they do to other Scriptures.
Guzik: 3. (2Pe_3:15-16) A note regarding the letters of the Apostle Paul.
As also our beloved brother Paul: It is fashionable for some critics to say that the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul aren’t in agreement. These same critics also often say that Peter and Paul aren’t in agreement with Jesus. But here Peter affirms Paul’s teaching in the warmest terms. He calls Paul beloved, and he says that Paul writes with wisdom.
i. This praise from Peter is even more wonderful when we remember that at one time Paul publicly rebuked Peter for public compromise (Gal_2:11-21).
In which are some things hard to understand: Though Peter praises Paul’s ministry, he will admit that some things in Paul’s writings are hard to understand, and those who are untaught and unstable can use some of the difficulties to their own ends, twisting Scripture.
Twist . . . the Scriptures: Peter reminds us that the Scriptures can be twisted. Just because someone quotes the Bible doesn’t mean that they teach Biblical truth. It’s possible that they twist . . . the Scriptures. That’s why we should be like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Act_17:11).
Benson: As also in all his epistles — From this it appears that Peter had read Paul’s epistles; and, as he speaks not of some but of all of them, it is probable that Paul was dead when St. Peter wrote this, namely, a little before his martyrdom, as appears from 2Pe_1:14. And seeing that Paul, in his epistle to the Rom_2:4, and to the Heb_10:36; Heb_10:38, wrote that the long-suffering of God was intended for salvation, by mentioning that circumstance, Peter intimated that he knew Paul to be the author of the epistles to the Romans, and to the Hebrews. Speaking in them of these things — Paul, in all his epistles, hath spoken of the things written by Peter in this letter. For example: he hath spoken of Christ’s coming to judgment, 1Th_3:13; 1Th_4:14-18; 2Th_1:7-10; Tit_2:13; and of the resurrection from the dead, 1Co_15:22; Php_3:20-21; and of the burning of the earth, 2Th_1:8; and of the heavenly country, 2Co_5:1-10; and of the introduction of the righteous into that country, 1Th_4:17; Heb_4:9; Heb_12:14-24; and of the judgment of all mankind by Christ.
which they that are unlearned — Who are not taught of God, or are unteachable, as Estius translates the word αμαθεις, here used; namely, persons whose passions blind their understanding, and make them averse to the truth, or whose prejudices, indispose them to admit it: and the unstable — The wavering, unsettled, double-minded, or men of two minds, as St. James’s word, διψυχοι, signifies; who have no real, steady love of piety, but sometimes follow it, sometimes desert it, as good or bad inclinations happen to predominate in them. Whereas the stable are those who have a firm, unshaken, and warm attachment to the religion of Jesus:
wrest — “The original word, στρεβλουσιν, signifies to put a person to the torture, to make him confess some crime laid to his charge, or reveal some secret which he knows. … Hence in our language we have the expression, to torture words. Of this vice they are most commonly guilty who, from pride of understanding, will receive nothing but what they can explain. Whereas, the humble and teachable receive the declarations of revelation according to their plain, grammatical, unconstrained meaning, which it is their only care to attain, by reading the Scriptures frequently and with attention.” — Macknight. As they do also the other scriptures — In this clause Peter expressly acknowledges Paul’s epistles to be a part of the Scriptures, and therefore to have been written by divine inspiration. The affection with which Peter on this occasion speaks of Paul, and the honourable testimony which he bears to his writings, deserves great praise. He had been formerly rebuked by Paul before the brethren at Antioch for refusing to keep company with the Gentile converts; but if at that time he felt any displeasure at Paul for that rebuke, which we nowhere learn that he did, he had long ago laid it aside, and probably, instead of thinking ill of Paul on that account, had for many years admired him for his bold and steady testimony to the truth.
Russell: All his epistles -- The Apostolic epistles were written to the various local congregations, and were directed to be publicly read and to be exchanged among the churches
Unlearned -- In the Word.
Unstable -- "Handle the Word of God deceitfully." (2Co_4:2)
Scriptures that apply to "the new heavens and the new earth" have been variously warped and twisted from their true application and forcibly assigned to "the heavens that are now" and "this present evil world." At this particular time the Adversary will get advantage of certain ones, will beguile them, get them to wrest the Scriptures, and thus to deceive themselves.
Destruction -- Of their spiritual interests. To their loss of present light at least. It is a serious thing to wrest the Scriptures.
Do you prove what you hear by the scriptures as the Bereans did?
Do you know what you believe and why?
2 Peter 3:17 (TPT) As for you, divinely loved ones, since you are forewarned of these things, be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip on the truth.
Guzik: Since you know this beforehand: We, who know of the Day of the Lord and await it with patient expectation, must persevere lest we fall from your own steadfastness. We must take care to keep abiding in Jesus.
Benson: Therefore, seeing ye know these things before — Respecting the coming of the Lord to judgment, in what an awful manner the scene will close, and what dreadful vengeance will be executed on all the wicked, and especially on those that pollute the Church of Christ, into which they have professed to enter; and that scoffers will arise and ridicule the promise of Christ’s coming, as also the danger there is of misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Scriptures, and so of being seduced and perverted thereby. Here St. Peter teaches that one great purpose for which the prophets were inspired to foretel the corruptions which were to arise in the church, and the evils which were to befall the sincere disciples of Christ, was to put them on their guard against these corruptions, and to arm them with fortitude to bear persecutions. Beware — Be on your guard; lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, (αθεσμων, the lawless,) fall from your own steadfastness — In the faith and practice of the gospel; that steadfastness which, by God’s assistance, you have hitherto retained.
Russell: Beloved -- Not the worldly, nor even the average nominal Christian; but those who already had attained to "steadfastness." This counsel has a special fitness to the Church in the last days, our days, and was evidently so designed by the Spirit of God as is clear from verse 3.
Know these things -- That all of the affairs, reforms, etc., of the present time will avail nothing, the present institutions will pass away, and God is about to establish his own Kingdom in his own way; and further, that just at this particular time there will be a special sifting and testing of those who are in the light.
Beware lest ye also -- Be cautious, careful and watchful against all the deceptions and dangers that beset our way. In view of the false teachers who would arise to pervert the truth.
Give earnest heed to this counsel, for we live in the "evil day." (Eph_6:13)
Be ever on the watch that we be not caught in any snare of the Adversary. We may insure ourselves against falling into any of these traps of the Adversary. Chiefly by obedience to the principles laid down in the Bible and illustrated in the life and character of our Lord and his apostles.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col_2:6-8)
Being led away -- Seduced. From the fixed statements of the divine Word, through sympathy, or the influence of someone held in respect or esteem.
There will be certain leaders of thought whose conduct will tend to carry away others. "Deceiving and being themselves deceived." (2Ti_3:13)
With the error -- The distinguishing characteristic is a lack of love. Lovelessness is quickly followed by antagonism to truths, to God and the brethren. While doctrinal errors are dangerous, and should be avoided, it is still more serious a matter to lose the spirit of love--the holy Spirit.
We should always be on the alert to render assistance whenever needed to convert a brother from error, but we should do nothing that would tend to make us fall from our own steadfastness into the error of the wicked. R1860:3
The difference between the strong and steadfast Christian and a bigot is that the one is established in the truth, while the other is established in error.
Wicked -- Greek, athemos, unsettled, lawless. The word wicked is too strong. The unsettled or lawless who do not bow implicitly to the Lord's Word but wrest it to establish theories of their own.
Unsettled, lacking the knowledge of the divine Word and plan, the whole nominal church is gradually losing its faith in the Bible, under the lead of its most able ministers, who are of the opinion that their "Higher Criticism" is superior to the Scripture presentations.
Own stedfastness -- This implies that they had become rooted and grounded and built up, both in knowledge and the love of God. The not settled ones would first be shaken out, and subsequently there would come a still more insidious trial which would test even the "steadfast." The Adversary has more subtle delusions before us than any of those in the past; and the fully consecrated may need to be more than ever on guard against "the wiles of the devil." (Eph_6:11)
2 Peter 3:18 (TPT) But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May he receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen!
Russell: Grow -- In this age and land, this becomes more than ever our duty.
"Unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph_4:13)
In grace -- Grow in favor with the Lord through an intimate personal acquaintance and fellowship of spirit with him. Give all diligence to the study of the divine oracle, that we may be fortified in faith and works accordingly.
Implying a personal faith in and dependence upon all the promises, intimate communion in our daily life of prayer, and observation of God's will and obedience to it. The full and blessed understanding of this is best appreciated by those who from day to day walk with God in faith, obedience and love.
In order "to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti_2:4)
Knowledge -- Greek, gnosis. Each step of knowledge brings a corresponding step of duty and obedience, and each step of duty and obedience taken will be followed by a further step in knowledge. If we have this witness of the Spirit of growth, both in grace and in knowledge, let us rejoice therein, and let us follow on in the same pathway until it shall bring us to that which is perfect, both in knowledge and in grace. The faithful ones will grow in both grace and knowledge; and the holy Spirit, through its begetting, will enable such to know (appreciate) the deep things of God, the things freely given such by God, the knowledge of God resulting from our experience in the school of Christ.
The more thorough our knowledge of the Lord and the more intimate our acquaintance with him, the more secure we are in our own steadfastness. If we love and obey the Lord and desire to grow in his favor, his written Word is our daily meditation and study. Thus we grow in knowledge. By putting on more and more of the armor of God until we realize its glorious completeness in the full discernment of the divine plan of the ages.
Jesus Christ -- Who is the way, the truth, and the life. (Joh_14:6)
Guzik: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: We prevent a fall from your own steadfastness by a continual growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus.
i. Grace is not merely the way God draws us to Him in the beginning. It is also the way we grow and stay in our steadfastness. We can never grow apart from the grace and knowledge of our Lord, and we never grow out of God’s grace.
ii. We must also grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. This means knowing more about Jesus, but more importantly, knowing Jesus in a personal relationship.
c. To Him be the glory: When we are this ready and this steadfast in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, it gives God glory.
Do you have a personal intimate relationship with Jesus?