2 Peter 3:11-18
Peter has explained why we can confidently trust in the promise of Christ’s return, and he has helped us make sense of the delay in its coming. In these final verses he spells out the practical application of this hope for how we live today.
Three applications are made here –
(i) we’re to be holy, as we prepare ourselves for that “home of righteousness”. As an engaged couple will begin to live in the light of their forthcoming marriage – not making the most of their “freedom” by having final flings and flirting with others.
(ii) we’re to “look forward to the day of God”. Three times in three verses it says we look forward. There should be an eager expectation, a living hope that fills our minds, for to think of that day and all it means is “wholesome thinking” (3:1). Looking forward not only to all that day will mean for this world (v.11), but to all it will mean for the next (v.13).
(iii) we’re to “speed its coming”, which might include through our prayers (“Your kingdom come”), but surely means especially through our witness. If the reason for the delay is that God is waiting for more to repent, then we can speed his coming as we urge people to lay hold of the salvation in Christ.
Again Peter says this hope should prompt us to “make every effort” (cf. 1:5) to be godly.
“spotless and blameless” – in contrast to the false teachers who were “blots and blemishes” (2:13)
“at peace with him” who is after all the judge, so we must guard our walk with him.
Again the reason for God’s delay is explained, as in v.9, as being motivated by the desire to see more saved.
Paul’s teaching was often distorted by those who would pervert the gospel of grace into an excuse for licence, as the false teachers in this letter are doing, but Paul too often grounded his call to godliness in the Christian hope. Notice how Paul’s letters are already classified with “the other Scriptures”.
The burden of the letter: despite their “secure position” he urges them to be on their guard against the false teaching that threatens to sweep them away, and the best way to ensure their ongoing vigilance is to make sure they keep growing (cf 1:5, 8).
“grace” is the foundation of the Christian life (cf.1:2-4), but they need to grow in it, to be nurtured by it, to be strengthened by it, if they are not to fall away.
“knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” – a personal relational knowledge, which again is the starting point and essence of the Christian life (cf. 1:2, 3), but in which we must grow (1:6).