Yesterday in Sunday School I was teaching on 2 Peter 3 and became significantly inspired by verse 9. Now we know this verse as one I call “refrigerator magnet” verses, to which I’m not opposed, but when you read the verse in its context with the preceding eight verses it surely makes it much more powerful:
“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:1-9)
I commented that too many Christians do not long for return of Christ because they just enjoy this too much…this being the present age. One comment in my class was that some of us pray the Lord will tarry because we have loved ones who have yet to come to Christ. I agreed with that sentiment and used to actually think the same thing. At least until yesterday morning in my quiet time. As I read verse 9 where Peter tell us that the Lord “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” it dawned on me that he was not writing just about lost people.
It was like I could sense God asking me, “David Jeffers, what are you during with my longsuffering?” Am I making use of the Lord’s patience in sharing the gospel with my lost friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors? The answer, ashamedly, is no. I have not. I’m too busy looking upward for the Lord’s return to be looking around for the lost.
The Lord’s divine delays are not meant to be wasted. They are not only allowed for we Christians to share the gospel, but also for we Christians to grow and mature in our walks with Jesus. His brother James put it best:
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)
Let’s do some critical thinking, shall we? If we desire the Lord to tarry, is it solely because we want more opportunities to witness to the lost, or is it because we love this world too much. If it is the latter, stop what you’re doing and ask the Holy Spirit to give you eternal eyes because yours are merely temporal.
If in fact you are the former, then the next question is…do we know when the Lord shall return? No, of course not. Fine, could He return at any moment? Yes, many of us believe so. If that is true, then what are you doing with what could possibly be the minimal remaining time we have? If you’re busier trying to save America than you are souls, then like me…you have a problem. I’m not saying both can’t be done, but which is more important to you? When was the last time you actually shared the gospel with someone?
And when it comes to using our times wisely for our own spiritual growth, what is your Bible study and quiet time like? Does it take longer for you to eat your breakfast than it does to feast of the Bread of Life? Beloved, we must be diligent with our time and not look at God’s longsuffering as ways to indulge our fleshly desires. We will be held to account for all of it. Matthew Henry writes:
“What men count slackness, is longsuffering, and that for our sakes; it is giving more time to His own people, to advance in knowledge and holiness, and in the exercise of faith and patience; to abound in good works, doing and suffering what they are called to, that they may bring glory to God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainly be called to give an account of all things done in the body, whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walking before God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firm belief of the future judgment, though many live as if they were never to give any account at all. That day will come, when men are secure, and have no expectation of the Day of the Lord. The stately palaces, and all the desirable things wherein worldly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall be burned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all the works of men, must pass through the fire, which shall be a consuming fire to all that sin has brought into the world, though a refining fire to the works of God’s hand. What will become of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and make it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up? Therefore make sure of happiness beyond this visible world.”
Upon what have you set your affections? Is it this earth? Is your happiness no greater than the life your live here on earth? Do you fear the coming Day of the Lord merely because you do not what to leave this world?
Dear Lord, take the temporal scales from our eyes and give us eternal eyes that we may grown in knowledge and holiness, and use this time on earth to tell the good news of your Son Jesus Christ, in His name I pray. Amen.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers