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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
2 Peter 3

 

 

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Verses 1-18

The promise of his coming

2 Peter 3:1-18

In this chapter the apostle deals with four specific things.

1. He mentions the reason for writing this epistle,

2. He foretells that there will be scoffers in the last days who doubt the coming of Christ,

3. He describes the coming of the Lord and the destruction of the earth, and

4. He closes with the use that we should make of these things.

2 Peter 3:1-2. ‘I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.’ Perhaps a better word than pure is sincere. We are sincere in the worship of God, in the faith of Christ, and in love to one another. Yet, we need to be constantly stirred up to remembrance of the doctrines of Christ, the duties of believers, and the promises of our Lord, not only because we are still human and prone to forget, but because we need the constant preaching of the word to grow to spiritual maturity (1 Peter 2:2).

‘That you may be mindful of’ two things especially.

1. ‘The words spoken before by the holy prophets;’ that is, the prophets of the Old Testament. They were men of God; and they spoke of Christ in promise, prophecy, and type (Acts 10:43; Luke 24:44; Romans 1:2).

2. ‘And the commandment of the Lord Jesus given through us, his apostles.’

Perhaps one of two things (or both) are referred to here—his commandment to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15-16 : Luke 24:46-47) or his commandment to love one another (John 13:34; 1 John 3:23).

2 Peter 3:3-4. We know from the writing of the apostles that in the last days men will make a mock of sin, they will jeer and mock at all religion, they will mock ministers of the true gospel, and they will reject the gospel of grace. Especially will they mock the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the torments of hell, and the joys of heaven (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). They will be a people who walk after their own desires and do their own thing.

The object of their scorn is Christ and the promise of his return (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). They reason that many years have come and gone, everything is the same, and nothing has changed from the beginning of creation.

2 Peter 3:5-7. They are willingly ignorant of three things.

1. They overlook the fact that it was by the word of God that all things were created. The heavens came into existence by the word of God, and the earth was formed out of the waters by the word of God. God created it all, and by him it remains to this day (Colossians 1:16-17).

2. They overlook the fact that God once did destroy by water the world that then existed. The earth was covered by water by the command of God, and by his command it was removed. All things have not continued as they were.

3. They forget that by the same word which created the world, it is sustained and kept intact, reserved for destruction by fire (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). He will not again destroy the world by water, but by fire (Genesis 9:11-15).

2 Peter 3:8-9. The apostle then addresses the believers, again calling them ‘beloved.’ Let these men scoff and mock all they will. The length of time that has passed since the promise of Christ’s coming has no significance upon the fulfillment of that promise, since the longest term of time is nothing with God (however important it may be to men). Besides, the reason his coming is being deferred is the long-suffering of God toward his elect (‘to us-ward’). He is unwilling that even one should perish, for they shall all be brought to repentance and faith (John 6:37-39).

2 Peter 3:10. His coming shall be sudden, at an hour when you think not, and the entire world shall be destroyed by fire (Matthew 24:35-42).

2 Peter 3:11-12. Believing that the earth and all therein (whether of flesh, nature, or art) will be utterly destroyed, what manner of persons ought we to be? Certainly we should not be as the scoffers who ridicule the gospel and the day of his wrath, nor as the indifferent professors of religion, nor as the materialistic worldlings, but as holy, sincere and dedicated men, waiting for the Lord’s return, praying, hearing, reading, living soberly and righteously (Psalms 27:4).

2 Peter 3:13-14. According to his promise, ‘we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness’ for all those in Christ. Therefore, the only thing that should really concern us is to be found in Christ in the day of his coming (Philippians 3:7-9).

2 Peter 3:15-16. Consider that the longsuffering of our Lord (or the delay of his coming) is for the salvation of all his chosen ones. He waits, he stays, that none given to Christ might perish but that all might be saved. Paul wrote of these things in his epistles – of the covenant of grace and of the election and redemption of the chosen ones (Romans 8:28-31). The unlearned and unstable twist these scriptures (as they do other scriptures) to their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:17-18. ‘Beloved, you are aware of these mysteries. God has revealed them to you’ (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). Stand in them and be not led away. Not only are we to stand, but we are to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ – to whom be all the glory!

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/2-peter-3.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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