2 Peter 3
3 This is now, my dear friends, my second letter to you. In both of them, I have tried to inspire you to a sincere and pure way of thinking by reminding you of what you already know. 2 Remember the words spoken earlier by God’s holy prophets and the commandment that our Lord and Savior gave to you through your emissaries.[a] 3 Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, 4 saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus? For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”
These believers face persecution every day and eagerly await the day when Jesus will return and judge their enemies. But what is taking so long?
5 When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water. 6 The waters later flooded and destroyed that world. 7 By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire, preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.
8 Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.[b]
Scoffers use the delay in His second coming to question if He is going to return at all. Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours. What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one. Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient. God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways. Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that all be saved and not destroyed. If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.
9 Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s.[c]
10 The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are.[d] 11 Knowing that one day all this will come to pass, think what sort of people you ought to be—how you should be living faithful and godly lives, 12 waiting hopefully for and hastening the coming of God’s day when the heavens will vanish in flames and the elements melt away with intense heat. 13 What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns.
14 So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; 15 and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this. 16 He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.
17 So hear my final words, my friends. Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. 18 Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen.