Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
In our previous lesson some of these same verses were addressed, but I would like to focus on some different topics within that selection in this exposition. The two main thoughts to be developed are the issue of time, both with man and with God, and the issue of the destruction of the world by heat and fire. First, let us look at what the Apostle Peter had to say about time.
One of the underlying themes of this particular chapter is the matter of time that had passed since Jesus promised to return and establish His kingdom. Some scholars and religious leaders were mocking the promise of our Lord’s return, but Peter is strongly reminding them that time with God is a much different thing than with us. God is eternal, and time as we know it has little relevance in His plan. The statement given is that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (3:8). This is not given I would suppose as a literal correlation between days and years with God, but to encourage patience as we wait on the Lord’s will to come to pass. Just because something doesn’t happen quickly doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. Peter provides the explanation for the lack of fulfillment of these prophecies – the Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (3:9). The Lord waits because He is still giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ a chance to change lives.
The second issue to be addressed in today’s article is the destruction of the earth. God promised that the world would never again suffer the consequences of the old world. His promise was that He would not curse the ground, would not smite every living thing, and that while the earth remained it would have the four seasons, day and night, seedtime and harvest. We know that there have been awful times of drought, flooding, freezing and many other difficulties such as sicknesses, pestilences and natural disasters. However, not all the earth suffered these things at one time, and there has always been a way for the earth to survive. There has been grievous suffering, much pain and way too much death, but the world survived because God allowed it too. Please do not be misled because of God’s mercy. He declared in His Word that He is a jealous God and will not excuse disobedience (Exodus 20:5, 34:14). Wickedness is what brought the flood, and sin will bring the destruction of the world by fire (3:10).