THE LAST WORD
THE LAST WORD: Last words spoken by people sometimes have a lasting impact. Such are the Apostle Peter’s words in the third chapter of 2 Peter. I encourage you to read the whole chapter. In these verses Peter says ten things that are really important for the church of his day and the church today. First, Peter told the people that he wrote these things (1 & 2 Peter) to cause them to think and also to remind them to recall the “words spoken in the past by the holy prophets” and to recall the “command” of Jesus “given through your Apostles.” It would be good if today more of God’s people spent time thinking about the words of the Old and New Testament that have been conveyed to us and less about what the world is saying to us today through all the electronic media. Second, Peter said “know” that in the last days there will be evil scoffers who mock the future coming of Jesus and say that things just continue as they always have. We have these people on every side of us today ridiculing our Christian beliefs and not recognizing and understanding the history of the world. Third, these scoffers deliberately forget how God created the heavens and earth, they know the truth but reject it, and they deliberately forget how God has brought judgement on the earth before just as He will in the future.
Fourth, Peter tells us that time in God’s presence is not counted the same as earth time. God does not operate on Eastern Standard Time. In fact a thousand years with God is just like a day to Him. When you think of God and time you begin to realize how foolish it is to try to make God operate on our time table. Fifth, God is a patient God because He loves mankind and wants all of us to repent of our sin and turn to Him which will mean salvation for us. Sixth, a future Day of Judgment is coming that will be instant in nature and complete in destruction. When it happens the opportunity for turning to God is already past. Seventh, this warning should cause us to live holy and godly lives, spotless and blameless, and be at peace with God. You would think that any Christian who knows God is going to bring judgment on those living in sin and rebellion would want to make sure their own life is in order before God.
Eighth, Peter reminds his listeners that he is not alone in giving these admonitions and warnings. He reports that the Apostle Paul writes about these same things and evil people distort what Paul is saying which leads to their own destruction. One of Satan’s tools is to bring forth evil people to distort and argue against God’s Word. Satan is a liar and he is determined to deceive the world through lies. At this time in history we need the people of God who will stand on God’s Word and proclaim it widely to a lost world that is being deceived by Satan’s messengers. Ninth, this chapter is a warning to fellow Christians so they will not fall into the error of evil people and jeopardize their own position in Christ. The more you know of God’s Word the less likely you are to be deceived by false prophets and religious leaders and their lying literature.
Finally and tenth, Christians are encouraged to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Peter says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18 NIV). What a fitting conclusion to what Peter has said in the two epistles. When everything is boiled down to the very essence of our lives what we really need to do is grow in our relationship with Jesus. It is because of Jesus giving His life on the cross that we can have our sins forgiven and receive eternal life. It is because of Jesus and His gift of the Holy Spirit that we have the power to live holy and righteous lives. It is because of Jesus that we will eventually be in His presence forever enjoying life with all the saints of all generations and all the heavenly beings that God has created. In light of all we know about what the future holds and about the one who holds the future we should be excited about growing in our relationship with Jesus. And He has given us the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to help us in growing in that relationship. Praise God from whom all blessing flow.