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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

2 Peter 3

 

 

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Verses 1-18

This chapter now shows that the government of God will bring everything to a proper conclusion: every evil principle will be judged unsparingly, and those also who embrace such evil; and out of this judgment will emerge precious resurrection state of eternal blessing.

But both of Peter's epistles have the chief present object of stirring up the pure minds of believers by way of remembrance. He claims to give no new truth, but we greatly to be reminded of that which we have before heard. And this goes back even to prophets of Old Testament times, their ministry being still of vital value for us now. Added to this is "the commandment of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by your apostles." Note that this is not "commandments," but singular; that is, that the whole truth of Christianity Is a precious unity: it is "one faith." The apostles have communicated this, and we have it in written form. It is deeply essential that we should be reminded of it over and over again, for it is vital to our daily welfare.

And Scripture gives us knowledge beforehand of the last days, so that we may be prepared. It is therefore no surprise that mockers have come, those walking in the lusts of self-pleasing, and brazenly deriding the promise of the coming of Christ. Their character, their conduct, and their sayings are all irresponsible and reprehensible. Such characters prove to us that the last days have come; so that they really prove what they strongly deny. But this is always the case with unbelief: it proves itself to be folly.

On the basis of their own opinions these scoffers insist that everything has continued the same from time, immemorial, therefore that there has never been any supernatural intervention in man's affairs through all history. This is gross ignoring of competent witness, therefore willing ignorance.

For by the word of God there was, before the flood, a similar creatorial order to that of today. The heavens were in their place, the earth was partially covered by water, with much of it also standing out of the water for the benefit of man's existence. But these waters overflowed the world that then was. Not only were the windows of heaven opened, but "the fountains of the great deep were broken up" (Genesis 7:11), which may infer a tremendous tidal wave that engulfed even the highest mountains; and possibly also great volcanic action. But the whole world perished In the flood, only Noah and his family being preserved in the ark. This is history, well authenticated, not only in the accurate record of Scripture, but in the records of many nations.

In the future, however, not only the earth, but also the heavens, will be affected by a far more awesome destruction. For both heaven and earth are "stored with fire." held in reserve at the present, but in view of the dread judgment of God. Science confirms that not only earth is stored with fire, its volcanic magma ready to burst forth at any time, its gas, oil, coal, and sulphur deposits readily ignitable but also the heavens; for it world take but little change in the component gases of the atmosphere to trigger a conflagration that could engulf the entire world.

And God has decreed the earth's burning destruction. Only the folly of men causes them to sneer, for it is they themselves who will feel the awful judgment of God.

If they are willingly ignorant, at least let the beloved of God not be ignorant. For with the Lord a thousand years means no more than one day, and vice versa. his viewpoint is not narrow and confined, as is ours. Because of the passage of time, we may accustom ourselves to thinking of anything as in-terminable, depending merely upon our own observation as to this. But let us not be so ignorant.

The Lord is not slack, not lax or undependable, of which, by some men He may be accused; though He is marvelously patient. It is folly to mistake His patience for indifference. If indeed He is long-suffering, yet it is because of His concern for the souls of men, that they might have opportunity to come to repentance, and therefore escape the judgment that must necessarily fall upon a guilty world.

But there is no shadow of doubt as to the reality of the judgment coming. Many have been the signs of this, and the warnings. Yet the world pays little attention, just as has been the case when Mt. St. Helens showed signs of volcanic activity, and warnings were everywhere publicized. Yet the great eruption came suddenly, with no further warning, and many who had ignored the warnings perished.

Similarly, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night," both unexpected and unwelcome. Of course, before this, those redeemed in this day of grace will have been caught up to Heaven to be with the Lord. But the day of the Lord here is seen to refer, not only to the time of His judgment in the tribulation, but to go on to the end of the millennium and the introduction of the eternal state. V.10 is a description of what will transpire at the very time that the great White Throne is set, following the millennium (Revelation 20:1-15 :ll). But whatever amount of time may intervene, yet heaven and earth, in its present form, will be demolished.

Verse 11 poses a searching question. Will not a sense of the awesome reality of God's judgment impending over creation have even now a sanctifying effect upon the hearts and ways of His people? "looking for, and hastening, the coming of the Day of God." We ought to keep eternity always in view, both in anticipating that great, day, and desiring it with full hearts. It is not that we can make its time arrive more quickly than God has already ordained, but that our attitude is to be one of real, vibrant expectancy, so that in experience, time does not drag for us.

The day of God then refers to the total changing of every-thing, the dissolving of both heaven and earth in its present form, in order that third may give place to a new heaven and new earth. It is new in the sense of being totally altered: its form character will be changed by the awesome power of God. Such is God's promise, and ardently anticipated. In this eternal condition righteousness shall dwell. In the present day righteousness suffers, in the millennium a King shall reign in righteousness but in eternity righteousness will dwell in perfect peace, with no challenge, no opposition forever. Blessed anticipation!

What reason then for believers to be diligent, in looking for such assured things. It is not here diligence in the work of God that is pressed, but that of being true to proper character. In eternity we shall certainly be "in peace, without spot, and blameless." Let us show now how positively we believe In eternity!

V.15 adds that we should take into account the fact that the longsuffering of our Lord is not a matter for growing weary, or of discouragement but it is salvation. Since God has an eternal, vital, perfect salvation in mind, the intervening time should be that of vibrant joy and anticipation. This of course touches the dispensational teachings of Paul's writings, and Peter refers to this, and the wisdom given to Paul from God. V.15 likely refers directly to the book of Hebrews.

V.16 adds that in all of Paul's epistle the same line of truth is followed, that is, that God's counsels are calm, deliberate, all things ordered by Divine wisdom, all to take place as He has purposed, while He Himself shows marvelous longsuffering with men. If some of these things are hard to be understood, Peter does not for that reason dismiss them, nor does he excuse, those who are ignorant and unstable for the way in which they wrest these and other Scriptures, that is, twisting their meaning to suit them-selves. Such men are tragically inviting their own destruction. Observe that Peter fully approves Paul's epistles as Scripture.

For the fifth time in this Chapter believers are addressed as "beloved." Responsible because knowing these things, we are gently encouraged to be on guard, lest the subtle error or wickedness might so affect us as to lead us astray, The pride of thinking we are able to stand renders us all the more susceptible to a fall from the steadfastness of consistent devotion to the lord.

How precious a preservative in v.18: Growing in grace is in contrast to a legal attitudes it involves deeply learning and valuing the grace of God in Christ Jesus, grace which lifts one above the level of all the surrounding evil. And this is of course vitally connected with the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The better we know Him, the more firmly. our feet shall be kept in the path of devoted obedience. Precious object indeed to fill our hearts both now, and for eternity! -- consistent with the endurance of His own glory. The lest expression is rightly translated, "both now and to the day of eternity." cf.vs.10 & 12.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-peter-3.html. 1897-1910.

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