Spurgeon Verse Expositions - 2 Peter 3:1 - 3:18

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - 2 Peter 3:1 - 3:18


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

2Pe_3:1-3. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up pour pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye 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 Saviour: knowing this first that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,—

This prophecy is most certainly being fulfilled in these days.

2Pe_3:4. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the father fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

“Inviolable laws still govern the material creation. Men are still swift to sin. Oppressors are not overthrown; and, oftentimes, the good are left to languish in poverty and suffering. ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’”

2Pe_3:5. For this they willingly are ignorant of,—

Ignorant that there has been one great interposition of God to avenge the insults to his holy law, and to overturn the rule of sin: “For this they willingly are ignorant of,”

2Pe_3:5-6. That by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

God did destroy man, and sweep away sin, with water once.

2Pe_3:7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

There will come a second interposition; we know not when, but assuredly it shall come; and if the visitation tarry, we must wait for it; for it shall come, it shall not really tarry, however long it may seem to be delayed.

2Pe_3:8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

There are no years to him; there are no days to the great Ancient of days. A thousand years must seem to be a mere speck in comparison with his everlasting existence,— as a dream when one awaketh, it has swiftly passed away; but God still remaineth.

2Pe_3:9. The Lord in not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Therefore does he wait. If men ask why there is no interposition of wrath to overthrow the ungodly, the answer is, because this is part of God’s great reign of love. He waits, because he is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;” yet there will be a limit even to his patience.

2Pe_3:10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the eight; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

The next and great judgment will be by fire.

2Pe_3:11-12. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ?

This should be the practical outcome of the anticipation of coming judgment. Let us look on “all these things” as passing away.

2Pe_3:13. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

The end of this world will be the beginning of a new and better one, of which “righteousness” will be the great characteristic.

2Pe_3:14. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

There is, again, the practical note.

2Pe_3:15-16. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

The Scriptures are given for our learning; and, rightly used, guide us to the Saviour; yet, alas! some “wrest” them “unto their own destruction.” Let none of us ever be found committing such fatal folly as that.

2Pe_3:17-18. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

I should like to point out to young Christians, and to all Christian people, how Peter finishes this Epistle, first with a warning and then with a counsel. He says, “Beware lest ye be led away,” and then he puts in a “but” —“but grow in grace.” If you go into a plantation, at a certain time of the year, you may see a great number of trees that have no leaves upon them; how are you to know which are alive, and which are not? Well, you would soon know if you could look at their roots. If a tree has been growing, if its roots have taken hold upon the soil, you may pall it, but you will not stir it. There it stands; and, in likemanner, growth in grace brings fixity in grace. You who have faith, pray God that you may have growing faith. A living faith is a growing faith, and a growing faith is a living faith. Pray, therefore, that you may “grow in grace.”

This exposition consisted of readings from Act_3:11-26; Act_4:1-4; and 2 Peter 3



2Pe_3:1. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

The purest minds need stirring up at times. It would be a great pity to stir up impure minds. That would only be to do mischief; but pure minds may be stirred as much as you please, and the more the better. There are hallowed memories in the minds of all Christians; but those memories are apt to lie asleep, and it is well to ring the alarm bell, and wake up all the memories within the believer’s heart, even as Peter did when he wrote, “I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.”

2Pe_3:2. That ye 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 Saviour :

Peter believed in the inspiration of the very “words” of Scripture; he was not one of those precious “advanced thinkers” who would, if they could, tear the very soul out of the Book, and leave us nothing at all; but he wrote, “That ye may be mindful of the words” — the very words — “which were spoken before by the holy prophets.” “Oh!” says one, “but words do not signify; it is the inward sense that is really important.” Exactly so; that is just what the fool said about egg-shells. He said that they did not signify; it was only the inward life-germ of the chick within that was important; so he broke all the shells, and thereby destroyed the life that was within. We contend for every word of the Bible, and believe in the verbal and plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture, believing indeed that there can be no other inspiration but that. If the words could be taken from us, the sense itself would be gone.

2Pe_3:3. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, —

A prophecy which has been abundantly fulfilled. You need not go far to find them; they come in the form of living men, and they swarm in the form of their books. They are to be met with almost everywhere; like the locusts, they fill the air, and hide the light of the sun: “There shall come in the last days scoffers,” —

2Pe_3:3. Walking after their own lusts, —

Errors of doctrine are almost always attended with errors of practice, and certainly they legitimately lead that way. Those who scoff according to the lusts of their intellect are very likely to live according to the lusts of their flesh. The two things are congruous; they are born from the same cause, they flourish for the same reasons, and they tend to the same ends: “Walking after their own lusts,” —

2Pe_3:4. 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 the creation.

Only the modern scoffers have tried to improve upon their predecessors, for they say, “All things have developed by evolution from the beginning, which never had a beginning, but which somehow or other has always existed.” Thus the scoffers change their strain, but they never alter their spirit; it is always an attack upon revealed truth. Indeed, they scarcely seem to believe that there is any revealed truth, and they will only accept that which they might themselves have invented. Notwithstanding what these men say, all things have not continued as they were since the beginning of the creation, for there have been great interposition’s of divine power in the past, as Peter goes on to show.

2Pe_3:5-7. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Admire the power of God’s Word. It was by the Word of God that the heavens were made, by the Word of God that the earth was drowned, by the Word of God that it has been preserved ever since, and will be preserved until, by that same Word, fire shall come to devour all the works of men. As surely as Noah’s flood came, so surely shall there be a burning up at the appointed season: “The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire?

2Pe_3:8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

You are in a hurry; you do not understand the infinite leisure of the Eternal One. The wondrous system of divine grace seems to have hardly room and scope enough in the few years that men give to it by their prophetic calculations; but God’s prophecies are being fulfilled to the very letter. It may be that the length of time for their accomplishment will be far greater than any have imagined, yet to God it shall still be a very little while. “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” We cry, “How long? how long?” Yet, according to God’s reckoning, it is but the day before yesterday that Christ died, and only about a week ago that Adam was expelled from Eden. A thousand years is, after all, a very brief space of time. If it be measured by our life, it seems long; but what is the life of a man? Measured other ways, — and there are many other modes of measurement, — it grows even longer; but measured by the eternity of God, it is a vanishing point altogether, there seems to be nothing left of it.

2Pe_3:9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

So he hurries not. He gives the sinner space and time and verge enough in which to repent. Oh, that man would turn to God, moved by that gracious long-suffering of his!

2Pe_3:10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; —

It is impossible to tell when it will come, but the day of the Lord will come, and, to the great mass of mankind, it will come as a thief in the night. Though often warned, they will not expect it. The Lord’s saints will watch for him, for they are not in ignorance that that day should overtake them as a thief; but, to the ungodly, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; “ —

2Pe_3:10. In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Men make great boasts concerning what they build, and there are many wonderful works of men upon the face of the globe; but the day will come when there will be no trace of them left, for they will have utterly disappeared. Why, then, should you and I live for these things, — for the things which are seen, which are temporal? O beloved, live for the things which are not seen, which are eternal!

2Pe_3:11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, —

These are garments which we should wear in prospect of eternity; these are things which no fire can touch, for holiness and godliness will outlive even the flames of the last great day.

2Pe_3:12-13. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

We believe that God will, in the end, have a complete victory over sin, and that even this poor world of ours, purified by the fire, shall be lifted up, in a sevenfold splendor, to be a part of the great kingdom of our God: “New heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

2Pe_3:14. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Be diligent to get rid of all those spots which sin has made. In one sense, you are cleansed from them already; but in another sense, the purifying work must constantly go on. You are to overcome your besetting sin, yea are to vanquish all your tendencies to evil, every thought is to be brought into captivity to the mind of the Lord.

2Pe_3:15-16. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

If Peter here alluded to the doctrine of election, and the great doctrines that spring out of predestination, that is no argument why they should not be preached; for if they are not to be preached because men wrest them, then nothing is to be preached, seeing that we are here told that they also wrest other Scriptures unto their own destruction. Any rope will do for a man to hang himself with; and any doctrine will suffice for a man to ruin himself with if he wishes to do so. The doctrine of divine mercy has been twisted into a reason why we should live in sin. The doctrine of human capability has been wrested into this falsehood, “I can repent when I like, or believe when I like; and therefore I may leave it to the very last.” There is no form of opinion which cannot be rendered mischievous. Our business is to study the Word, and preach it as we find it; and if men will wrest it, we cannot help that. Is it not so that the truth will always be a savor of life unto life to those who believe; and a savor of death unto death to those who perish?

2Pe_3:17-18. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, —

The only way to prevent falling is to grow; the tree that grows will not fall over.

2Pe_3:18. And in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

An ascription of praise to Christ is never out of place at the beginning or at the end of an Epistle, or in the middle of it. You may praise the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere at any time; it shall never be a waste of time to sing unto his name: “To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”