II Peter 3:12-18

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING

INTRODUCTION:

 

In II Peter 1 we see:

 

            1.   The Lord has called believers.

 

            2.   The Lord has implanted within believers a divine nature.

 

            3.   The Lord has given believers His power to enable them to live godly lives.

 

            4.   Believers should live God-honoring lives.

 

            5.   God has given believers His word in order to guide them in their lives.

 

In II Peter 2 we see that there are going to be false teachers. However, God’s purposes are going to be fulfilled regardless of what the false teachers do.

 

In II Peter 3:1-10 we have seen that there are also going to be scoffers who will attempt to make a mockery of Christianity.

 

In II Peter 3:11-18 , we see how believers should be living in the light of God’s fulfillment of His purposes, even to the destruction of the universe.

We have already seen that believers should –

VII.     BE CHARACTERIZED BY HOLY LIVING AND GODLINESS – 3:11

 

II 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.

As we move on, we see that believers should –

  II.     BE CHARACTERIZED BY AN EAGER EXPECTATION OF THE DAY OF GOD – 3:12-13

 

II Peter 3:12-13 – (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? (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

 

Verse 12 continues the question begun in verse 11. In addition to having a holy manner of life and being godly, believers should be looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.

 

Looking for is waiting for or expecting, while hastening unto is understood in the sense of and earnestly desiring.

 

What they should be looking for and earnestly desiring is the coming of the day of God, and the reason they should desire the day of God is that they will then have the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells. Sin will be a thing of the past. The day of God concludes the day of the Lord, i.e. the tribulation and millennium, and begins eternity future.

 

Wherein is on account of which or because of which and refers to the day of God.

 

The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat is the necessary prerequisite to the creation of the new heavens and the new earth.

 

In this verse it is the heavens which will be dissolved. In verse 10 it was the elements.

 

Being on fire is something which will happen at the same time the heavens are being dissolved. Fire will accompany the dissolution of the heavens.

 

Dissolved is the same word translated melt in verse 10. It is also translated dissolved in verse 11.

 

The elements is the same term used in verse 10 and means the elemental substances or basic elements from which everything in the natural world is made and of which it is composed.

 

Shall melt means will be dissolved but it is not the same term used previously in this text.

 

With fervent heat was used in verse 10 and means by being consumed by heat or by being burned up.

 

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

 

The Greek term translated nevertheless introduces a statement in mild contrast with what Peter has just written, and it is usually translated but.

 

We . . . look for new heavens and a new earth suggests the expectation of believers.

 

We is Peter and those believers to whom he is writing and is applicable by extension to all saved people everywhere.

 

Look for is wait for or expect. Its present tense suggests we are looking for, we are waiting for, or we are expecting; and what we are expecting is new heavens and a new earth. The old heavens and the old earth are the ones in existence now, but they will be destroyed according to verses 10 and 12. There is no hint in this verse of a mere renovation. A curse was placed on the entire creation because of Adam’s sin.

 

According to his promise provides the reason believers are looking for new heavens and a new earth. It was announced or promised by God in Isaiah.

 

Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

 

Doesn’t it make you wonder what other things from this life might not be remembered or come into mind in eternity future?

 

Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I shall make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.

 

The destruction of the present heavens and earth and the creation of the new heavens and earth will take place between the end of Revelation of Jesus Christ 20 and the beginning of Revelation of Jesus Christ 21 .

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Unbelievers being cast into the lake of fire signals the end of the day of the Lord; whereas, the creation of the new heaven and new earth signals the beginning of eternity future.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

 

Back to II Peter 3:13

Wherein is in which.

 

Dwelleth means lives in or settles down in and suggests a permanent situation.

 

Righteousness (or uprightness) will forever characterize life in the new heavens and the new earth in contrast to sin and unrighteousness which have characterized life in the present heavens and earth since the time of Adam’s sin.

Next, we see that believers should –

 III.     BE AT PEACE – 3:14

 

II Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace. . . .

 

Verse 14 tells what the believers should live like because they look for new heavens and a new earth.

 

Wherefore suggests therefore or for this reason.

 

Beloved means dear ones or loved ones and is used in the sense of dear friends.

 

Seeing that ye look for such things means because you are looking for such things, since you are looking for such things, or inasmuch as you are looking for such things.

 

Ye refers to those to whom Peter is writing and is applicable by extension to all believers.

 

Look for was used in verse 13 and means wait for or expect.

 

What is expected is such things, which is these things and refers to the new heavens and a new earth in verse 13.

 

Be diligent is a command meaning hasten or strive for.

 

That ye may be found of him in peace . . . indicates what the believers are to be diligent to do.

 

That ye may be found is literally to be found.

 

Of him is by Him and refers to Christ.

 

In peace suggests at peace.

We furthermore see that believers should –

 IV.     BE WITHOUT SPOT – 3:14

 

II Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him . . . without spot. . . .

 

Without spot is spotless or without blemish. It is translated unspotted in James 1:27 and I Timothy 6:14. It is also translated without blemish in I Peter 1:19 .

 

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 

I Timothy 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

I Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

In addition, we see that believers should –

   V.     BE BLAMELESS – 3:14

 

II Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him . . . blameless.

 

Blameless means unblemished. It is synonymous with without spot.

Moreover, we see that believers should –

 VI.     RECOGNIZE THAT GOD’S PATIENCE IS INTENDED TO ALLOW TIME FOR THE SALVATION OF OTHERS – 3:15-16

 

II Peter 3:15-16 – (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; (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.

 

And account is a command which means and think, and regard, or and consider. Its present tense indicates that it is to be done constantly in the sense of and be considering or and be regarding.

 

What believers are to be considering is that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.

 

The longsuffering is the patience or the forbearance (toward others).

 

Of our Lord refers to Christ. It is the Lord’s longsuffering.

 

Our makes it personal. He is the Lord of all believers.

 

As indicated by the italics, is has been supplied by the translators.

 

Salvation for many is the result of the Lord’s patience, and it is also reminiscent of verse 9 where Peter wrote that the Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is salvation from sin and its consequences.

 

Even as introduces a comparison and suggests just as.

 

Our beloved brother Paul is the Apostle Paul, and the fact that he is referred to as our beloved brother suggests that he was appreciated, not only by Peter, but also by Peter’s readers.

 

Also suggests in addition to what Peter was now doing.

 

According to the wisdom given unto him describes hath written and suggests in accordance with (or with reference to) the wisdom given to the Apostle Paul.

 

The wisdom given unto him suggests that Paul did not write out of his own imagination. God directed him and gave him the wisdom to write.

 

Hath written is wrote.

 

Unto you suggests that at least some of Paul’s writings were written to the same people to whom Peter was writing this second letter.

 

II 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.

 

As continues the comparison between Peter’s epistle and Paul’s epistles, and also means in addition to. It suggests that Paul not only wrote that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation but that he also wrote regarding the new heavens and the new earth.

 

In all his epistles indicates where Paul wrote or spoke these things.

 

Epistles are letters, and speaking suggests asserting, saying, or proclaiming.

 

In them suggests either the location where Paul is asserting these things (i.e. in all of Paul’s epistles) or the means by which he is asserting them in the sense of as also by means of all his epistles.

 

Of these things is about these things or concerning these things and refers to the new heavens and the new earth in verse 13.

 

In which refers to Paul’s epistles.

 

Are some things hard to be understood is some things are hard to understand. If Peter found some things in Paul’s epistles hard to understand, we should not be surprised if we, too, have some difficulty understanding them.

 

Which refers to the some things which are hard to be understood.

 

They that are unlearned is the ignorant ones. They are ignorant of the gospel and the things of God.

 

These same people are described as they that are . . . unstable which suggests the weak ones. They are not physically weak; rather, they are spiritually weak. Hence, they are not able to stand.

 

What they do is wrest the things that are hard to understand in Paul’s epistles. It suggests that they twist, wrench, or distort them so as to give a false report. Its present tense indicates customary or habitual action which means that they are habitually or always distorting the Word of God.

 

As they do also the other scriptures suggests that it is not just things in Paul’s epistles that they distort; they do the same thing in the other Scriptures as well.

 

Other, when used to describe the scriptures, indicates that Paul’s writings are viewed by Peter as being in the same class as the Old Testament Scriptures. They are just as much Scripture as the Old Testament Scriptures are.

 

Unto their own destruction indicates the result of their distorting the Scriptures including Paul’s epistles. It is apparent that these persons who distort the Scriptures are not saved and are eventually going to find themselves spending eternity in hell.

We also see that believers should –

VII.     STAND FIRM – 3:17

 

II 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.

 

Peter issues a warning to his readers in verse 17 which suggests their need to know for sure that they are saved.

 

Ye is you (plural). It refers to Peter’s readers, and its use is emphatic in the Greek text.

 

Therefore draws an inference and is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, so, or then. This inference is stated in the rest of verse 17.

 

Beloved demonstrates Peter’s fondness for his readers and is used in the sense of dear ones, loved ones, or dear friends.

 

Seeing ye know before means since you know beforehand, because you know in advance, or inasmuch as you have foreknowledge of.

 

These things indicates what Peter’s readers know in advance. It was supplied by the translators to aid the understanding of the English reader and probably refers to the contents of the entire letter rather than only to the verses immediately preceding it in this context.

 

Beware means to be on guard against, look out for, or avoid. Its tense indicates that this will be a life-long process rather than a one-time event.

 

Lest ye also suggests in order that you not (or for the purpose that you not) fall from your own stedfastness.

 

Fall is described by being led away with the error of the wicked.

 

Fall from your own stedfastness means lose your own firmness of commitment.

 

Being led away suggests after you have been led away with (or carried away with) or because (or since) you have been carried away with (or led away with).

 

With the error of the wicked is by means of the error of the wicked.

 

The error literally means the wandering or the roaming. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means the wandering or the roaming from the path of truth. Hence, it refers to the error, the delusion, the deceit, or the deception to which some are subject.

 

Of the wicked is literally of the lawless ones or of the unprincipled ones. The only other place where this word translated wicked is used in the New Testament is II Peter 2:7 where Lot was said to be vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. The error of the wicked may be the error belonging to the wicked ones, or it may be the error produced by the wicked ones. The wicked ones are referred to as false teachers described throughout chapter 2.

 

Fall is literally fall off or fall from and is also used in a figurative sense meaning lose.

 

What believers might fall from or lose is your own stedfastness or your own firmness. Believers must stand firm in their beliefs and practices. There is no hint in this verse of loss of salvation; rather, it is a loss of stability in the Christian life. This believer is still a member of the family of God, but he is not growing in Christ and is not living a victorious Christian life.

Finally, we see that believers should –

VIII.   GROW IN GRACE AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST – 3:18

 

II 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.

 

Verse 18 provides an effective antidote to falling from your own steadfastness.

 

But signals a mild contrast between what Peter wrote in verse 17 and what he writes in verse 18.

 

The readers are to beware lest they fall from their own steadfastness; instead, they are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Grow is a command and suggests increase, and its tense indicates continuing action in the sense of be growing or be increasing.

 

In grace is within the sphere of grace or within the position of grace, where grace refers to their position in Christ. It indicates that they are genuinely saved because they are already in the realm of grace.

 

They are also to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ will be accomplished in the individual believer by his habitually studying the Bible and submitting his mind and heart to its teachings and authority. The fact that grow is a command indicates that this is the responsibility of each and every believer.

 

This gradual growth in grace and knowledge will result in attaining the full knowledge of Christ mentioned in II Peter 1:2 , which says,

 

II Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

 

Also, II Peter 1:3 , which says,

 

II Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue

 

To him refers to Jesus Christ. Glory is ascribed to Jesus both now, i.e. in the present time, and forever, i.e. in the ages to come.

 

Peter closes his letter with amen which means truly or so be it.

CONCLUSION:

 

So, are you sure that you are in grace?

 

Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?