Tuesday, July 28

Hurry the Lord’s return

Scripture: Isaiah 57-59, Psalm 103, 2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3:8–12 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. 

11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.

Observation

Peter addresses the accusation that Jesus is not coming back.  Scoffers point out that everything goes on just as it always has.  Where is His promised return?  

Peter’s response includes several key ideas:

First, God is not bound by time.  He cites Psalm 90:4 that a day is like 1000 years to the Lord, and 1000 years like a day.  God is not bound by time like we are, so we can’t fit Him into our timed structures.

Second, the Lord is not slow about keeping His promise, but is being patient (literally, long-suffering) for our sake.  He is giving us more time to repent.

Third, the Lord doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  God’s will is that everyone repent and be saved.  He wants even His enemies, the scoffers, to repent!

Fourth, the Lord will return like a thief—unexpectedly—and fiery judgment will come.

Fifth, since this is true, “what kind of people ought you to be?”  We should live holy and godly lives, looking forward to the Lord’s return and hurrying it along.

Application

For centuries, Christians have fruitlessly tried to predict the Lord’s return.  They have all had one thing in common: they’ve all been wrong.  Jesus told us all we need to know about His return, and Peter repeats it here:

1. Jesus is coming again.

2. No one knows when.

3. You must be ready.

Forget all the charts and predictions—that’s all you need to know.

How can we be ready?  Peter says we should live holy and godly lives—we should be like Jesus.  And he says that we can hurry the Day along.  How can we do that?  By living holy and godly lives, and by helping people repent (and repenting yourself).  God wants everyone to repent, and each time someone repents and turns to the Lord, we’re closer to His return.  

Peter says something similar in:

Acts 3:19–20 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. 20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.

How can we speed the Lord’s return?  Live like Jesus and help others repent.  

Prayer: Lord, help me today to live like You in every way, and to help each person I meet turn to You.