“But, in accordance with God’s promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” 2 Peter 3:13
The author of 2 Peter had a problem. Maybe a better way of saying that is, the author of 2 Peter saw/heard a problem in churches around him. Christians were being convinced by “false teachers” that Christ wasn’t coming back. It had been decades since Jesus had tread the land with his feet. In fact, the first generation of Christ-followers (not yet called Christians) had come and gone and there was some consternation about what these people dying meant.
The group of false teachers concluded that the parousia (fancy Greek word for the Second Coming or Second Advent of Christ) was not true at all. Christ wasn’t coming back, and because of this one could do whatever they wanted. Morals and ethics went out the window, because who cares? Live how you want to live. YOLO as it were.
The whole point of 2 Peter writing his letter in the first place is to refute this idea. He calls upon the Apostles and Paul’s teaching about the parousia. He recruits the Psalms to his side (Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in your sight…”.) He pulls out all the stops to convince the Christians in these churches not to follow the lessons of those libertine false teachers.
But he wasn’t right was he? I mean we are definitely more than 70 years removed from the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. More than one generation has come and gone since that time. Like those false teachers of old, many people have been drawn away from the faith because God did not act soon enough for them. But 2 Peter
But 2 Peter has words for those persons: patience.
We are called to have patience because God first had patience with us. God promises new heavens and a new earth where righteousness is at home. God promises a place where virtue is the norm. God promises a place where justice is the benchmark.
This promise keeps us alive when our daily walk becomes fraught with anxiety, pain, suffering. When we ask that great and simple question of “Why oh God? Why?” This promise keeps us alive when we are surrounded by violence, hunger, racism and the countless sins which threaten to swallow us up.
As the great preacher Fred Craddock says, “That promise has kept alive…countless individual believers who find every day a hundred reasons for joining the scoffers but who continue to believe the promise one more day. For one more day life will be marked by peace, integrity, a refusal to sink into dissipation, and a conviction that God’s delays mean continued opportunity for more embrace of forgiving grace.”
Every day I give thanks to God for that promise.