People Of Promise: Day Of The Lord (2 Peter 3:1-13)

MOTIVATE

How many of you have written or received a love letter?

  • Most of us have done one or the other, and if not, you at least wish you had received one.
  • Also, at this moment, husbands who have written letters are smiling thinking they have scored points but the wives are thinking, “That was forever ago!”
  • While teens at church: “That’s what I do every Sunday while my parents think I’m attentive taking notes during the sermon.”  
  • Others are recollecting positive, or perhaps even painful memories considering broken past promises.

You don’t have to be an expert in love letters to know that if someone writes you more than once, their care is significant. We are studying a second letter from Peter to a group of Christians. It’s not a romantic love letter but it is a letter with great concern and care for the well being of another. The greatest expression of love you can offer someone is to speak to them about what will matter for not just this life but the one to come.

Peter writes in v.1 1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

Calling them beloved or dear friends (ἀγαπητοί) is a heartfelt affection. Those mourning use the name for the dearly departed. Lovers use the name to symbolize their undivided loyalty; shows up 35x in Song of Solomon. Parents use the name with adoration of their children. And in the closing portion/chapter of the letter, Peter uses the term with frequency (four times: 3:1, 14, 15, 17) to indicate his spiritual honor and pastoral heart towards his flock.[1]

It is here we understand that leadership is both authority and affection, and you cannot have one without the other. Throughout the letter Peter exercises spiritual authority only as a servant of equal standing (1:1), to reaffirm their salvation (1:10), and remind them of his affection (3:1, 14, 17). Peter connected before he corrected with instruction and direction.[2] Peter’s letter is meant to disturb any complacency among this church and define the spiritual urgency of holding fast to the blessed hope of Christ’s return, which was being undermined by phony prophets and deceptive teachers.[3]

Today we will explore two instructions from Peter about the Day of the LORD.

EXAMINE               2 Peter 3:1-13

2 Peter 3:1-13 1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Remember the LORD’s prophecies and promises.

that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.


Peter is reminding believers about OT prophecy concerning the day of the Lord (v.10). Numerous prophets[4] preach about the day of the LORD which has both a present setting for their time and future sight of salvation for those under grace, and judgment for those defiant to God’s Lordship.

Day Of The Lord, ESV Study Bible

And not just the prophets but the NT promises of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the word of the prophets. He brought a tangible kingdom with spiritual salvation. He also defanged the lion and disarmed the rulers and put them to open shame by triumphing over them through the cross. Jesus also promised to reunite with His followers with a physical return to earth.

  • John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”


The promise of Jesus’ return is our constant hope and blessed assurance. Yet, amid this faith there will be scoffers following their own sinful desires (v.3). If you believe the Bible, the world will not support but scorn you. Scorn will come from news analysts, political pundits, social media feeds, late night talk show hosts, and even locally through education boards, snide neighbors, and quarrelsome family members. Scoffers will make fun of our faith, ridicule our Savior, and criticize our Scriptures.

The promise of Jesus’ return is our constant hope and blessed assurance. #PeopleOfPromise #2Peter3

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly… 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.   

As a Christian, what keeps us from doubting is recognizing our stuff is fleeting and time on earth is fleeting. Peter says it is stored up for fire (v.7). In other words, earth has an expiration date with all our possessions as kindling and our belongings as a tinder box. Even those with fancy cars and wealthy homes are only providing the Lord an overpriced bonfire.

What’s our application?

  • Trusting God’s prophecies and promises requires storing treasure in heaven not earth. What’s in your bank account? If your answer is the stuff that surrounds you rather than family and friends, then you will be bankrupt. But, if you invest in #growinggodlygenerations then rich beyond imagination.
    • New starts this fall – children, youth, adult groups!
  • As Peter stirs remembrance, so we need stirring by one another. Imagine what happens to your phone if you only plugged it in once a week. Or, what would happen to your vehicle if you only fueled it after it started sputtering? Scoffers want to pour water on our spiritual passion but it’s the family of faith that fans our flame. We fan the flame and stir our remembrance of God’s prophecies and Jesus’ promises through musical lyrics, prophetic utterances in conversations, intercessory prayers, and the preaching of God’s Scriptures.
    • Ps 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me: ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
    • Heb 3:12-14 “Take care, brothers & sisters, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

Remember the LORD’s patience and compassion.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Scoffers dismiss that God has operated in the past and they doubt God will function or return in the future. They look at creation and deny the work of a Creator because they do not want to be held to the standards or values beyond their own. And while they may have some respect for a man named Jesus, they reject any discussion about His return to earth. Centuries and millennia have elapsed, and it doesn’t look like anyone is showing up or coming to help. When we look at this world, things are not getting better but worse. And whether scientists or students, people agree that this world is failing and perishing – and it freaks everyone out with fears that the world is falling apart. Yet, for the Christian, the world’s alarm is our greatest anticipation. We do not fear the world’s end because we know it’s merely the beginning of heaven.

For the Christian, the world’s alarm is our greatest anticipation. We do not fear the world’s end because we know it’s merely the beginning of heaven. #PeopleOfPromise #2Peter3

Unbeliever’s scoff at the Scriptures and mock Christians who are waiting for the return of Jesus. But Peter wants believers to realize that God’s delay is not deviation from His plan. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

When someone is described as “slow,” it is generally an insult to one’s intelligence and competency. Or, a person going slow may indicate that they are uncertain or lost. Peter says the Lord is not incompetent or confused, instead He is patient. What’s the difference? When someone operates with patience, they are methodical, precise, proficient. God is patient to return because His schedule is sovereign, and His compassion is generous to give many time to repent.

Peter is expressing a familiar truth echoed throughout the Scriptures[5]: “the Lord is slow to anger but abounding in steadfast love.” You see, most of us don’t appreciate God’s slowness to act unless it has to do with holding us accountable. Then, we beg for snail-paced slowness of judgment and limitless measures of mercy.

So, realize God’s patience is His kindness toward you, waiting for you to repent. God’s grace gives us a second chance, a fresh start, the potential for a new beginning. But if you presume upon God’s patience with cold hearts, closed eyes & ears, stubborn pride and backs turned, then you will not only miss out on the greatest love you could possibly know in Jesus Christ, but you will meet your Maker as demanding and disciplinary judge.

God is patient to return because His schedule is sovereign, and His compassion is generous to give many time to repent. #PeopleOfPromise #2Peter3

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

  • What sort of people should we be?
    • Sacred. We are to live holy and godly.
    • Salty. We live to hasten the coming of Jesus by helping others to know Him. We are not idly wasting time but redeeming the time, making the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:15-16).
      • Pray for God’s kingdom to come (Mt 6:10).
      • Preach the gospel of the kingdom to all nations, and then the end will come (Mt 24:14).

APPLY/THINK

13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

God’s writings are not just confined to a first or second love letter, but sixty-six of them. Each book and every story whispers the name of the Savior who gave His life, so that our troubles make us better, our pain has a purpose, and our life is redeemed.

Christians in heaven are not boredly passing time and thinking,
“I miss earth. I miss listening to negative news. I miss injustice and global war. I miss Hollywood’s hypocrisy and virtue signaling. I miss the polarizing politics (in heaven there are no voting booths or term limits). I miss wearing masks, dealing with covid, and wondering who will be next to die from cancer. I miss…” NO. NO! 

Instead, Christians are waiting for a day when there will be a new heavens and new earth. In the new earth, there will be no more tears of sadness or grief. No more troubles or heartaches. No more drama or dishonesty or depravity. No more disease or sickness. No more death. Only life in the presence of God and rejoicing of loved ones who trusted in Jesus. In the new earth we will work without stress or struggle but satisfaction of fulfilling our purpose and serving the God who gifted us with abilities and talents. Everything will be joyful and meaningful.

Christian, I cannot predict when, but I do know today is one day closer than yesterday. Can you wait? While it can be confusing or challenging to wait, we do so with a sense of confidence because we know God’s power is able and His promises are trustworthy.  

In this moment, respond to the LORD’s patience in your life.


[1] Michael Green, 2 Peter and Jude: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 18, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 145.

[2] Mark Driscoll sermon on 2 Peter 3, 2nd Peter -4 – Die With Your Boots On (realfaith.com)

[3] James Shaddix & Daniel L. Akin, Exalting Jesus in 2 Peter, Jude 2 Pe 3:1–10.

[4] Isa 13:6, 9; Jer 46:10; Ez 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Am 5:18, 20; Oba 1:15; Zep 1:7, 14; Mal 4:5.

[5] Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 86:5, 15; 103:8; 145:8; Nehemiah 9:17; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2.

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