If you have been paying attention to our culture over the past two or three decades, you may have noticed that the animosity aimed at God and His Word has grown tremendously. It seems that way but, in reality, it has not. Animosity toward God and His Holy Word has been around since Satan fell from heaven. His first attack on God’s perfect creation was to get the man and woman to doubt God and His Word. Read Genesis 3. Did God really say . . . . , that is his strategy. During the days of the Apostle Peter’s life, things were no different. Things had not changed much in 4,000 years. They have not changed much in the last 2,000 years. Peter has much to teach us on this subject. Although written 2,000 years ago, the teachings are relevant to the 21st Century person.
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, (II Peter 3:1)
This is not the first time that Peter has had to write a letter to the believers. Peter is also very familiar with what has happened to the believers in their walk with the Lord.
that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. (II Peter 3:2)
The recipients of this letter were well versed in the Word of God. They were good students of what we call the Old Testament today. They were also familiar with the New Testament. They had the teachings of Jesus Christ as well as some of the writings of the Apostles. Times were difficult. The recipients were suffering persecution because of their faith. They were being mocked and ridiculed for their faith. They needed some hope. Peter writes to give them hope.
I. The ungodly mockers
The first thing that Peter tells the believers is that mockers have always been around and they always will be around, until the glorious return of Jesus Christ.
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, (II Peter 3:3)
When Jesus began His ministry, the last days began. So, from the time of Christ, until now, we have been living in the last days. There were mockers during Jesus’ lifetime and there have been mockers up until the present day. The existence of mockers should not worry us at all. The reasons that mockers do what they do is because they are people driven by their own lusts. The message of the Gospel is the solution for sinful man’s lustful passions. Mockers like their lustful passions and therefore they hate God’s solution. Instead of accepting God’s solution or, contradicting it, they do the only thing that they can do and that is to mock God’s solution.
4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (II Peter 3)
According to verse 5, they are ignorant on purpose of the facts and continue on in their mocking. They do not take the time to inform themselves. They mock the Word of God without actually knowing what the Word of God teaches. I have seen this many, many times over the years. The most antagonistic people of the Bible have never actually read the Bible. They know how to quote mine and cherry pick things out of context. By doing this, they show their ignorance. The saddest part is, when confronted and shown how to alleviate that ignorance, they choose to mock instead of informing themselves. What are they ignorant about and what specifically do they mock?
- Question the authenticity of the Word of God (4)
- Question the return of the Lord
- Overlook the Old Testament flood
- Do not understand the power of the Word of God to create lives and transform lives
- Ignore the judgment to come, like an ostrich that buries it head in the sand, these people act like ignoring or not acknowledging a day of judgment will keep it from happening (7)
- Do not understand the mercy and grace of God (9)
Being ignorant on purpose is to their own determent. God wants to make us aware of reality so that we can cry out to Him for His mercy and grace. God does not want to give us what we deserve and He wants to give us what we do not deserve. Ignorant mockers exchange God’s mercy and grace for His wrath. Instead of getting what they do not deserve, they end up getting what they do deserve. It is a very foolish exchange. I have previously written on the dangers of being a mocker. Why is important that we know these things? It is important because in their mocking, they will try to get us to doubt God and His Word, just like Satan did in the Garden with Adam and Eve. What should we do with this information?
II. Practical advice
The first thing that Peter tells us to do is to remember the Word of God that has been taught to us. We need to remember the Old Testament. In order to be able to remember it, we must first study it. Are you a good student of the Old Testament? Have you ever actually read the entire Old Testament? It is the foundation for the Gospel. It is the foundation for the New Testament. Without it, Christians are ignorant of the full plan that God has for the ages. What about the New Testament, are you a good student so that you can remember the things that you have learned? The second thing is that you need to be aware of the fact that mockers existed, exist, and will exist until the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Do not be influenced by them. They will try to get you to doubt the Word of God. They will try to get you to ignore facts that do not line up with their worldviews. They will try to convince you that it is okay to live by your lustful passions. The third thing is, continue to share the Truth of the Word of God with them. Remind them of God’s judgment in history and the fact that a final judgment is coming. Share the Good News of the message of the Gospel, that God does not want to give them what they deserve. He actually wants to give them what they do not deserve. God wants to show His mercy and grace to them. He wants you to lead them to repentance.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3)
The fourth thing is, be holy in your conduct. Do not live by your lustful passions as the mockers do. That is what being holy means, being different, being set apart. The fifth thing that we should do is to look forward to the coming of the day of the Lord. Why? Because on that day, the old will be done away with and the new is to come. Ungodliness will be punished and destroyed and righteousness will dwell among all. This will be a great and glorious day. We will be active as we wait for that day, sharing the Word of God with all and not hindered by the fact that mockers continue on in their mocking of the Word of God.
So, my dear friend, based on all that we have seen in these powerful verses, are you living in willful ignorance of the Word of God? Are you controlled by your lustful passions or, do you live a holy life? Have you allowed the mercy of God to lead you to repentance? Have you been transformed by the power of the Word of God? Do you fear the judgment to come or, do you welcome it because it means that sinful passions will be done away with and that righteousness will reign? May the Lord help us look forward to His glorious return as we patiently share the message of the Gospel with all!