Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
In 2 Peter 3:9-13 we read, “(v.9) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (v.10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (v.11) Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (v.12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (v.13) But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
The “promise” in verse 9 refers to the promised return of Christ. While the Bible does not reveal the exact time of His return, this portion of scripture does tell us why He has not yet returned.
Have you ever been so repulsed by some story or event in the news that you have thought, “God, how can You allow this?” Though God’s judgment of evil is not always immediate, it is certain. This passage tells us that God is delaying His final judgment of this world because He desires that “none should perish.” He hates evil, but His love for those who have yet to turn to Him is so great that He is willing to wait for them. Many have not yet turned to Him because they have not yet heard of Him. He is waiting, not only on those who will receive the Gospel, but also on those who will share it!
Do you look forward to the day when evil is vanquished and righteousness dwells in the earth? That day is coming. But as we know Matthew 24:14, it will not come until all the nations (ethne) have been reached with the Gospel. Thousands are still unreached (http://joshuaproject.net). And as we see from 2 Peter 3:9, it will not come until the last person for whom He is waiting has turned to Him. These two verses reveal the amazing breadth and depth of the Great Commission.
So the next time you read or hear about some evil incident that just stops you in your tracks, don’t let the enemy use it to get you off track. Let the Spirit of Truth prevail in you. Yes, this world is breaking down. But there is ahead of us, a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. And we’ve got a job to do before we see it!
2 Peter 3:12 challenges us to be “looking for and hastening the coming” of that day. We do not hasten it in the sense that we can actually change the date. By His authority God has appointed such things (Acts 1:7). We do however have the privilege of participating in the hastening of that day if we so choose. I believe we hasten the coming of that day by doing our part to complete the Great Commission. Do you want to hasten that day? What is He calling you to do?