“… As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” 2 Peter 3:12
What do you think discourages hopeful Christians? What can be done to inspire someone who is discouraged to remain faithful and vigilant?
God’s call for us is to be confident and exuberant that He is in control and things will work out. He does not want us, forsaking our duty as Christians in the world here and now by using our energies in nonsocial and nonsensical ways, trying to predict the future and arguing our views of it. If you really think this through, it is like focusing on your favorite junk food and arguing why it is good while forsaking healthy food that is good for you and helps you to grow and thrive.
Since everything refers to what should I do now? This is also a call, a call to keep you from being spiritually or emotionally defeated when tough times come. We are always seeing our Lord, not our situation. This is an aspect of the character of faithfulness, as it will help you persevere under stress and chaos. Christ is the One who keeps us secure, not our environment (John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:31-39)!
What kind of People you ought to be means to watch our motives and behaviors, making sure they are lined up with Christ and not with what is false and pretentious. We are to conduct ourselves with good ethics, honor, and godliness. What we do as a Christian is in response to what Christ has done in us. Works are not for our salvation; they result from our gratitude for the salvation that was freely given to us.
Thus, what we should be thinking, as committed Christians, is how do we now live for Christ and His glory, not how do we live for our desires and needs.
He has given us everything in abundance and in love. This is not a time to be impatient; it is a time to grow and do more in Him and for Him (Heb. 13:9).
You ought… live holy and godly/lives of holiness refers to not letting suffering overtake us or move us from His Way. Suffering is a part of life; it will happen. We have to learn to cope, seek Him, and prepare so we can help others and ourselves through it (see articles on “Suffering” http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=53502). We are called to not be discouraged when bad things, troubles, disasters, and tribulations happen in the world (2 Chron. 15:6; Isa. 13:8; 19:2; Jer. 51:46; Hosea 13:13).
We live in a fallen world where sin has corrupted everything and everyone, so disasters will come. We are called to prepare, plan ahead, and look to Christ as the Deliverer. He is in control!
The day of God. This is slightly different than the “Day of the Lord” and refers to “The Coming One,” as no one else but God Himself. Both terms are interchangeable, meaning great signs will take place, and He is seeking us for our salvation as well as for our spiritual growth. (Rev. 16:14)!
What does this come down to? Do not to make up dates, or dramatize bad theology; rather, know He is on His Way in His timing and be excited, but not fixated.
We are to have a “hasten desire” for Him to come back now. But, we cannot change God’s mind or speed things up. His timing is deemed and decreed by God’s providence and by God alone (Eph. 1:11).
Peter is warning us not to diverge into sensationalism, emotionalism, or fatalism, but see it from God’s view and trust in His timing. Contemporary Jewish thought at this time was divided on whether we participate in God’s intervention. Some rabbis taught that we do hasten it by our repentance, piety, and good deeds, while others said it was fixed and we have no sway over God. The debate continues today amongst Christians. Many Christians feel we hasten God’s timing by our missions and evangelism to all people groups (Matt. 24:14).
The fact is, we have no knowledge of the factors God considers or how His providence, mercy, and patience are working out for our benefit, too.
We do contribute; our actions matter. We evangelize as best and as aggressively in love as we can, because that is what we are called to do. We hasten this day by our fervor, our humble and honest prayers, and our obedience to know Him and make Him known to others. These are the only contributions we make to His timing (Matt. 6:10; Mark 13:10; Luke 11:2; Acts 3:19-20; Rev. 8:3-5; 22:20).