Home » Various Sermons » Who We Ought to Be: 2 Peter 3.11-18

Who We Ought to Be: 2 Peter 3.11-18

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 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!  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters.  There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.   Amen.” – 2 Peter 3.11-18

We come to the end of Peter’s second epistle.  And as Peter ends his epistle, he moves into encouraging his readers to living lives pleasing to God.  In the previous section he spoke of God’s coming wrath and what that meant for the false teachers.  However, he moves he speaks of how the return of Christ speaks of our hope.  How it also show remind us to live lives pleasing to God.  These words are Peter as mentioned in the beginning of this series were in many ways Peter’s last words.  What it was he could say to his audience before his death came.

They were words to help his readers then as even now deal with the false teacher who would deny key parts of the Christian faith, but also admonish us to live how we are ought to live.  Christ will return, if Peter pointed anything out in his letter it was that.  Despite what the false teachers might believer and teach Christ will return and that has significant impact on how we should live.  For the unbeliever it should allows a chance to repent, while for the believer it is a time for us to spread the Gospel and to live lives pleasing to God.

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 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!  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” – 2 Peter 3.11-13

Peter begins this portion with “since all these things,” and is referring to 3.7-10, the world’s destruction.[1] The world is going to end, and it will end in a manner of speaking in a catastrophic fire, therefore be holy.[2] Because of God’s coming judgment, we need to live for him, and live like we do have hope.[3] We are not told of the coming Judgment, just so Peter can have some of his readers “curiosity” of the future answered, but its told to give reason why we should seek to live rightly.[4] Peter like other New Testament writers, with speaking of the end, also urges his readers to live a life of “Holiness and godliness,” in view of the being alert and watchful for the Lord’s Return.[5]

“So that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”(1 Thessalonians 3.13, 5.23) “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Philippians 2.15-16

Believers are supposed to be “Looking for,” the Day of God since ultimately we do not know when Christ will come, we are to be excitedly waiting this time.[6] This is also highlighted by the phrase, “hastening,” which can be translated as “to desire earnestly.”[7] We are not looking for Christ out of fear, No!  We are looking toward Christ because of hope![8] As Paul said near the end of 1 Corinthians, “Our Lord Come,” as did John at the end of Revelation (22.20) “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”  And as John also noted in his first epistle: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2.28)

Peter here speaks of a Promise which God has spoken of already and he’s likely referring here to Isaiah 65.17 “”For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” and 66.22 “”For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.”.[9] Moreover Peter’s description speaks of the new heavens, fits not only Isaiah’s, but also John’s description in Revelation 21.1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”[10] And in a way, Peter is highlighting that Christians are ultimately looking past that crisis part of the Day of Yahweh and to the final and really ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises.[11] The heavens and earth are to become new!  And as MacArthur points out this means “new in quality,” “or “unlike anything previously known,” that the heavens and earth aren’t so much new because of being just created, but they’re new because of their difference with the current world, namely “righteousness dwells,” in it.[12]

Peter calls his readers to live righteous lives, to live holy.  We are to live holy after all, partly because God has shown that he will indeed punish the wicked.  But more importantly because when Christ returns we don’t want to finding ourselves guilty.  Guilty that instead of actually living and obey God we have lives for ourselves.  But nevertheless, it needs to be pointed out that living right lives involves looking toward his return.  Christ will return and with his return, God will fulfill his promises.  When speaking of the end with Christians we speak of hope, the hope of dwelling with only righteousness.  To the unbeliever yes the end times are scary, its punishment, but not so for the believer.

Therefore we should look all the more diligently at this hope.  We have live seems rough we need only remember that God is with us and that God is has promised us great things.  One would think that God saving us from our sins would be enough, but our loving God has indeed gone further than that.  We have hope of new heavens and earth, a place that isn’t tainted with sin, but filled with righteousness.

“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters.  There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” – 2 Peter 3.14-16

Verse 13 is naturally followed by 14, because of what we have to look forward to, live for God.[13] Again Peter notes that because of what God has promised we are to be “diligent.”[14] Here Peter really begins his closing remarks.[15] As Peter pointed out in our last section that the World is to be laid bare, God will look at the faithful and find only them worthy.[16] Moreover, the Believers is to be “spotless and blameless,” in direct contrast to the false teachers.[17] Peter isn’t saying that we’re going to be able to become perfect creatures in this life, but, that true believers will seek to live lives pleasing to God, and that in the end will ultimately be “blameless.”[18]

To Peter’ reader, he points out that it should readily be seen that God in his waiting give a time for those in error to repent and come to him.[19] We cannot, we cannot let ourselves become consumed with thinking only on the future and forgetting the world around us, God has other purposes for us.[20] Peter now refers to Paul.  Peter calls Paul his “beloved brother,” and points to the fact that Peter had a great respect and Christian love for Paul.[21] Peter does not refer to a single letter by Paul, but simple what he had written previously to the readers.

In speaking of “all his letters,” Peter was likely referring to the beginning of the collecting of his letter.[22] Or as other Scholars think, Peter is referring specifically the letter of Ephesians and Colossians.[23] And he mentions his beloved brother because it connects the two together, though the false teachers seem to be skewing what Paul had said, Peter here is pointing out that they teach the same things.[24]

As Peter is coming to a close he now notes how the various themes of his letters, are the same sort of things which Paul had taught.[25] Despite what the false teachers seem to be indicated.  For example, Romans speaks of a Judgment at the end, as well as a delay for repentance “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”(Romans 2.4-5).

Peter does admit that some of the things which Paul had spoken about seem a bit difficult, in referring to future things; his letters to the Thessalonians do indeed contain some difficult things regarding the future.[26] It’s not to say that we cannot understand it all, Peter wasn’t saying we couldn’t interpret Paul’s works, just that it takes study, however because Paul works are a little complicated, it allows for the false teachers to twist them as they would as they had done not only with Paul, but with other books of the bible.

We need to live for God.  We have a hope in Christ’s return and that hope should spur us on to live for him, and to seek that others can have this same hope.  Yes Christ is returning and because of that we need to look toward his return, but in so doing we cannot forget this present world.  We cannot let ourselves get so into Christ’s return that we forget this dying world and forget about the people here and now who need the message here and now.  The Day of the Lord is important.  Though people will come, and will distort the scripture to say how we live our lives doesn’t matter, that Paul said we have freedom.  They’re wrong.  Paul agreed with Peter we are to live for Christ, to become more like him.

Therefore we need to live for God, we need to study the scripture so that we may have a firm grasp on them and not be fooled into a wrong path.  And we need to seek to show God to this world.

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.   Amen.” – 2 Peter 3.17-18

In concluding his letter, Peter gives one last set of exhortations a positive and negative one, which is followed by a Doxology to Christ.[27] Moreover this last section in many ways gathers and sums up what Peter had been speaking of throughout this Epistle.[28] As Schreiner notes Peter gives “two imperatives in these verses [which] summarize the entire letter well.”[29] Namely, that believers are must keep their “guard up “and that they must “grow.” [30]

In beginning this final statement, Peter begins with the term “beloved” once again which highlights the deep love that Peter has for his readers.[31] He charges them that they know all the schemes of the false teachers before hand, and the idea for this is that Old Testament, the other apostles and Peter current letter are all warning.[32] The false teachers will come and will easily carry away the believer The readers need to be standing firm in what the Apostles had taught instead of be falling for the false teacher’ lies.[33] Paul once told Timothy, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith.”  (1 Timothy 1.18-19)  If we let our guard down we give the enemy a chance to knock us down and though we may  had once had an unshakable faith we’ve let go of it.[34]

Moving from his “negative exhortation,” Peter move into his “positive one,” and now he encourages his readers to have true knowledge.[35] Moreover what Peter opened up his letter within 1.2 is spoken of again in a somewhat different words here in this part of the 18th verse.[36] By allowing ourselves to grow we allow ourselves to be able to be able to actually combat against false teachers to be steadfast in our faith, we don’t get steady in our faith with no work.[37]

“To him be the Glory,” Peter is clearly speaking of Christ in this doxology and he is in this simple sentence calling us to worships Christ who is thus “deity and equal with God.”[38] Peter says we are to do this now and in “the day of eternity,” and this could be referring to the Day of Yahweh, but more likely it could jut mean, “eternity,” similarly to how Jude ends.[39] This phrase is not seen anywhere else in the NT, and is only found in Sirach 18.10 “Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand, so are a few years among the days of eternity.”[40]

Peter warns his audience firstly to keep our Guard up.  If we put it down, we allow ourselves to start down a slippery slope that could end quite badly.  Though we maybe steadfast in our faith now, we drop our defenses for a second we can begin to doubt thing and start to go down a path that we could have avoided.  A path that is warned about, by the Scriptures and one that if we do down it is of our own doing and thus our problem.  Besides this we are called to continue growing in our knowledge of Christ.  To truly stay steady in our faith we need to have a firm foundation.  And that foundation is the word of God.  We need to study we need to take the time to learn so that we can indeed stand against the false teachers and actually live lives that are pleasing to God.

In Conclusion:

Peter’s letter warning against the false teachers is all the more relevant as the years go by.  We have so many people who wish to appear Christian, but when their true teaching is laid out it is in truth far from the word of God.  Yet, so many do not realize this.  Christ has saved us and has given us true freedom and thus we should honestly have the desire to live Christlike lives.  Otherwise, what’s the point of salvation?  If we just remain in our same lives as before.   Besides this we have the hope of a new and righteous place to come at the end so why not live a pleasing life for Christ now?  Those who do not believe they do no have this hope and thus Day of the Lord isn’t their hope, but their judgment.

However, they have that chance to repent.  God has not come yet, but in delaying he gives mercy to those who do not yet trust in Christ.  God’s love delays the judgment which is to come.  However, that delay should give us all the more desire to seek out the lost.  So that they too may have real hope.  May have what we aren’t lacking.  Will Christ return Yes!  But, what will life look like at that moment and will God be pleased?


[1] MacArthur, 128.

[2] Hartin, 805.

[3] MacArthur, 128.

[4] Schreiner, 388.

[5] Leahy, 498.

[6] Barnes, 263

[7] Phillips, 310.

[8] MacArthur, 129.

[9] Barnes, 264.

[10] Leahy, 498.

[11] Leahey, 498.

[12] MacArthur, 129.

[13] Schreiner, 392.

[14] Barnes, 266.

[15] Phillips, 313

[16] Neyrey, 1022.

[17] Wheaton, 1395.

[18] Schreiner, 393.

[19] Neyrey, 1022.

[20] Macarthur, 134.

[21] Phillips, 315.

[22] Wheaton, 1395.

[23] Schreiner, 396.

[24] Schreiner, 395.

[25] Hartin, 805.

[26] MacArthur, 135.

[27] Dalton, 1256

[28] Strachan, 147.

[29] Schreiner, 399.

[30] Schreiner, 399.

[31] Hartin, 805.

[32] Schreienr, 399-400.

[33] Neyrey, 1022.

[34] Schreiner, 400.

[35] Hartin, 805-6.

[36] Leahy, 498

[37] MacArthur, 137.

[38] Macarthur, 137.

[39] Dalton, 1256.

[40] Strachan, 148.

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