2 Peter 3
2 Peter 3. In the final chapter Peter addresses the second of two evils. Having covered the false teachers in ch.2, he now deals with the materialistic and skeptical world around, characterized by denying the return of the Lord in judgment, an influence which can impact the walk of the believer. We are living in “man’s day” (1 Cor. 4:3), and therefore we are exposed to the very environment Peter writes about. Peter brings before the saints two other “days” in this chapter to lift our eyes beyond man’s day. The first is “the day of the Lord” which spans a thousand years during which Christ will assert His claims of lordship over this world. The second is “the day of God” which is eternity, when all is according to God’s mind. Peter then speaks of the moral conduct that is suitable to the believer, who has the intelligence of these things. One of the key points that Peter covers in this chapter is how the believer is to reconcile the period of time in which we live. He shows that God is not slack concerning His promise, but that He is long-suffering. This chapter shows that what God is doing in the intervening time before the Day of the Lord begins is covered by Paul’s ministry, to which Peter refers the reader; i.e. the doctrine of the assembly.
- The World that Then Was. This “world” continued from the creation until the flood. It is that which is "of old". The waters from which the dry land appeared were reserved for the judgment of that world, which grew in increasing evil until God decided to destroy it (2 Peter 3:5,6). Eight souls were saved from that judgment and transported via Noah's ark to the next.
- The Heavens and the Earth, which are Now. This “world” continues from the flood until the Day of the Lord. In this world the dispensations of God unfold. In this world the first man is tested under various dispensations, and proven to be an utter failure. In this world, Christ the Second Man came once to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and will come again to reign over all. When its purpose has been fulfilled, and when Christ delivers up the kingdom to God, and then this world will come to an end, the heavens and earth shall pass away with a great noise tremendous heat (2 Peter 3:7,10).
- A New Heavens and a New Earth. The new "world" is what God will create for the satisfaction of His own heart. It is a world that is free from sin and death. It is a world without pain. There will be no distinction between Jew and Gentile, and there will be no dispensations. It will be ushered in as the "day of God" (2 Pet. 3:12), an unchanging eternal state (Rev. 20:1-8). In this state, righteousness will dwell (2 Peter 3:13).
Godliness, sometimes translated piety, comes from the Greek word meaning "well devout", and it refers to a manner of living that is totally pleasing to God. It relates to holiness, and certainly includes it, but is broader. Godliness or "devoutness" involves our motives, our attitude, and our conduct in the sight of God. Christ is the perfect example for us in this (1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 5:7).An appreciation of the transient character of the material world, as well as the fact that its future destruction is because of sin, causes the believer to live a life of separation and devotion to God.
The Eternal State. There are only three passages that describe the eternal state: Rev. 21:1-8, 2 Pet. 3:10-13, and 1 Cor. 15:24-28, although there are other minor references to it, such as "the eighth day" (Lev. 23:36, 39), possibly "the everlasting kingdom" (2 Pet. 1:11) would include it, and the "reconciliation of all things" (Col. 1:20). The eternal state is the end of all God’s purposes for the glory of Christ and the blessing of man. This is when God will have reconciled "all things" unto Himself (Col. 1:20), and God will be "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). If the Millennium is necessary for the vindication of God's character, then the eternal state is necessary for the satisfaction of His heart!There are really only three scriptural names for the eternal state:
- But the passage before us is by some applied only to the earth’s primeval constitution, by others to the deluge. It is plain enough that the apostle looks successively at each. The All-wise God had so constituted it in case of need; and as the apostasy of the race required the drastic remedy, He applied it to destroy the old world. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle of Peter.
- The very book of Genesis records, not very long after the deluge, the destruction of the cities of the plain because of their enormous impurity, contrary to fallen nature itself. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle of Peter.
- So solemn a dissolution of all that the flesh rests upon should lead us so to walk as to be found of the Lord, when He comes to introduce that day, in peace and blameless; accounting that the apparent delay is only the Lord’s grace, exercised for the salvation of souls. We may well wait, if God makes use of this time to rescue souls from judgment, by bringing them to the knowledge of Himself, and saving them with an everlasting salvation. This, the apostle says, had been taught by Paul, who wrote to them (the Hebrew believers) of these things, as he did also in his other epistles. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.