In closing out his letter, Peter continues to instruct his readers concerning Jesus Christ’s promised return and His certain judgment upon the wicked. The church had become increasingly fearful about the delay in Christ’s return and the false teachers had taken advantage of the situation by declaring He was not coming back at all. Peter lovingly wrote assuring them of Jesus’ soon return and that His delay was due to His patience with those who were still rebelling against the truth (3:9). For the followers of Christ, His return to earth would be a time of joy while those who reject Him will experience final judgment. Peter was obviously referring to the false teachers. He writes, “But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” (3:10). The “Day of the Lord” Peter referenced probably points to two different judgments. The first will take place midway through the seven-year tribulation period when God pours out His wrath on the wicked of the earth. The second judgment is final and points to the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ (which follows the tribulation period). Once and for all God will take vengeance on those who have ignored His provision for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter details what will happen at that judgment, “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (3:10). Basically, the earth and everything in it will be destroyed in God’s final judgment of sin and unrighteousness. After revealing this to his readers, Peter gives some advice about how they should be living life now. “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…” (3:11). He was challenging them to be faithful to God’s way, even in the midst of evil. Although the earth will be destroyed, Peter reminds them that God has promised them a “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (3:13). Enduring the onslaughts of false teachers was difficult for the church, but what awaits believers will more than compensate for earthly struggles. Christians must be diligent to protect against the teachings of those who distort and misuse Scripture. We are called to defend the purity of God’s word and practice its teachings in our daily lives. May God help us to be faithful to Him!
Dear God, help me to have a burning desire for the truth and enable me to defend it at any cost. When others twist and misuse Your word, may I be faithful to stand for what is right.