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3:1-18 SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRIST’S RETURN
Assurance of his coming (3:1-7)
The activity of the false teachers is no reason for the Christians to panic or become confused. Peter’s teaching has followed that of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles, both in helping develop pure faith and in warning those who would try to corrupt that faith (3:1-2).
Christians should not be discouraged by those who scoff at the idea of Christ’s second coming. Such people argue that Christ will not return and that the natural course of events will continue uninterrupted as it has from the beginning (3-4). But these scoffers ignore some of the plain facts of history; for example, the flood in Noah’s day. In the creation story, God made the land appear out of water, but he then interrupted what appeared to be the normal course of events by using water to cover the land and destroy the sinners (5-6; cf. Genesis 1:6-7; Genesis 6:17). One day he will intervene in human affairs again, this time destroying the sinners by fire (7).
Reasons for the delay (3:8-18)
Some people may wonder why there is such a delay before Christ’s return. The answer is that from God’s point of view there is no delay, since he does not view time according to human standards. Eternity is not time carried on and on indefinitely, but is an entirely different order of things. If there seems to be a delay from the human point of view, it is because God is waiting as long as possible, so that people might realize the seriousness of their sins and turn from them (8-9).
When the day of God’s intervention arrives, it will be as unexpected as a thief. Christ’s return will bring all things to their destiny - destruction for all that is wicked, new life for all that is righteous. Christians should live in a state of constant readiness for that day by being holy in their conduct and dedicated to God in their manner of living (10-13).
This desire to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ is one reason why Christians should work energetically at developing their Christian lives. Only by determined effort will they be blameless in their behaviour (14).
Another reason why Christians should want to grow in holiness is their gratitude to God for his patience with them, for without such patience sinners could never be saved. Paul gave similar advice in his letters, but certain people twist the plain meaning of his words. Paul taught that sinners are saved by God’s grace, not by their good deeds, but ignorant and mischievous people distort his teaching to mean that good deeds are not important. They therefore do as they like and so ruin their lives (15-16).
The best way for Christians to protect themselves against the destructive influence of such false teaching is to learn more about Jesus Christ. They should concentrate on developing within themselves the qualities that are found in him (17-18).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13