In 2 Peter 3 we are reminded that the earth and all temporary things in it will be destroyed. This home is burning down, by God’s design – time to start house hunting!!
However we are reminded that God has promised us a better and eternal inheritance in His Kingdom. So if this is true, that our true home is heavenly and we are just sojourners on earth, how should we live?
I (Andrew) have summarised Peter’s thoughts as:
- Know Jesus and His grace
- Live in Obedience to Jesus’ Commands
- Share Jesus, His grace and His words
- Do not be derailed by the talk of mere people who may not be telling the truth (test their words by both the Bible and their own behaviour)
- Knowing Jesus and His grace.
A relationship is two way. We need to know Jesus and He needs to know us. Have you ever wandered about that verse in Matthew 7:23, when God says to those who used His name to do amazing things, “get away from me, I never knew you”? It’s a frightful reality that needs our careful consideration. You can be an expert on the Bible, studied it for years for leisure and as a tertiary graduate. It doesn’t matter if you do not have a relationship with the Writer! Let me explain further using an illustration. I (Emma) am obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. I know every detail of her life. I’ve poured myself over books and movies to the point that I sometimes wonder if I know her history better than she knew it. Even still, if I met her on the street, regardless of the facts I know about her, she would still say to me, ‘get away from me, I don’t know you.’ My time spent studying her life would likely be rewarded with a squirt of mace and a prompt A.V.O. The reality is, I don’t have a relationship with her and no amount of studying will change this, because I have not invested time in truly knowing her (and she’s dead!) But Jesus is very much alive and wants a relationship with us. We can do this by talking to Him, letting Him know what’s going on in our world, communing with Him on a daily basis and by seeking His words. This is all part of communicating with our Saviour.
- Live in obedience to Jesus’ commands.
Obeying Jesus’ commands is an impossible feat. We thank God that the faith He has called us to includes a faith that God Himself is powerfully at work in us by His Spirit. Thus obeying His commands goes from being impossible to scandalously easy (2 Peter 1:3-4, Ephesians 3:20-21, Ephesians 4:22-23). He does the heavy lifting for us, He changes our hearts, He makes us able.
What do we need to do? Rest in Him and our new identity as saints! Obedience to Jesus’ commands is that easy! I (Andrew) have tried obeying Jesus. It doesn’t work. I let Jesus do the heavy lifting in me now. I believe all the imperatives of the New Testament are there to remind us who we are and to let His Holy Spirit do His work in light of that.
- Share Jesus, His grace and His words.
Plain and simple, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus told us to “go into all the world and make disciples”. Funny that the most important word in this command (and unfortunately most overlooked) is monosyllabic. “GO!” Don’t stay around and hope people will drop out of the sky for you to witness to! Go to them. Go out on a limb in the knowledge that God, through His Holy Spirit will meet you there.
I (Emma) was recently confronted by my lack of compassion for the homeless. I was truly convicted by my general apathy towards them. Sure, I’ll give my money to organisations to do whatever they want with it, but I won’t give my money directly to a homeless person I meet on my way to uni because, well, they’ll just spend it on drugs and alcohol! I must be a good steward of my finances! No sooner had I thought these damning thoughts then God gently nudged me. “Oh by My grace you go Emma. It is not for you to pass judgment on what a worthy cause for your money is. It belongs to Me and I will decide where it goes. You are to be obedient to Me, and I will deal with him who does not use his funds appropriately. Besides, how much did you just spend on the App Store this week? Is a Despicable Me ringtone really better cause for your money than food for this man’s family?” Sometimes I feel like I can shoot myself in the foot with my words…
The reality is we have something much more valuable than money. Remember the account in Acts 3:6-16 “silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise and walk.” I love that scripture because it’s a good reminder of how we are to act towards the hopeless strangers around us. If we are to be advocates and ambassadors of Christ on this earth (which is not our home!) then we should be seeking to make our Saviour known to all men through our actions, not just when it’s convenient or when someone is watching us. Remember, your Heavenly Father is always watching. Are we striving to make Him proud? More importantly, are we striving to make Him known? Romans 10:14 reminds us that the world will not know without one to proclaim His goodness. Are you a proclaimer? (“I will walk five hundred miles…”)
- Do not be derailed by the talk of mere people who may not be telling the truth
When I (still Emma!) was studying Business Training Strategies at my workplace, I spent a lot of time staring at money. Mostly, $50 and $100 notes. Why? Because I was learning to pick counterfeits. In the fast passed environment in which I work, it is important that I can quickly spot and deal with counterfeit money. But in order to know a counterfeit on a quick glance or touch, I have to know the markings of a real note as clearly as the back of my hand. 2 Peter 3 warns that in the day in which we live, many counterfeit gospels beg for our devotion, and there are many more to come. They can be very dangerous and very alluring because after all, the best lies have the most truth to them. The best way to spot the difference between the real and the fake is to know the real so well that the fake is instantly disruptive to our spirits. We must adopt an urgency to know the real from the counterfeit and take heart in the fact that a counterfeit proves the importance of the real. There would be no reason to counterfeit something if it was valueless. The enemy realises, perhaps more than we do sometimes, that what we have is dangerous to his mission, that is why he attacks it so forcefully.
Finally, I want to give note to verse 10 onwards of 2 Peter 3. Like Jesus reminded us in the gospels, Peter is telling us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. That is to say, we will not know when He is to return but we are to be ready. If a house owner knew that a thief was on the prowl, what would be the responsible thing to do? Would he leave his house unattended and open? No. He would make provisions to keep his property from ill-fortune. In the same way we are to hasten to ready ourselves for His return. There is an urgency to which we must learn the real from the counterfeit. We must desire communion with Him hourly and seek His direction in every decision so that we may not be caught unawares as others will be (verse 3-4). Like a responsible house owner who locks his doors upon leaving his residence, we are to be making provisions for His return as if it were to happen this very moment!
Yours in urgency of the faith,
Andrew & Emma.