2 Peter 3

* The design here is to remind of Christ's final coming to

judgement. (1-4) He will appear unexpectedly, when the present

frame of nature will be dissolved by fire. (5-10) From thence is

inferred the need for holiness, and stedfastness in the faith.

(11-18)

1-4 The purified minds of Christians are to be stirred up, that

they may be active and lively in the work of holiness. There

will be scoffers in the last days, under the gospel, men who

make light of sin, and mock at salvation by Jesus Christ. One

very principal article of our faith refers to what only has a

promise to rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lord

is come. They will not believe that he will come. Because they

see no changes, therefore they fear not God, #Ps 55:19|. What he

never has done, they fancy he never can do, or never will do.
5-10 Had these scoffers considered the dreadful vengeance with

which God swept away a whole world of ungodly men at once,

surely they would not have scoffed at his threatening an equally

terrible judgment. The heavens and the earth which now are, by

the same word, it is declared, will be destroyed by fire. This

is as sure to come, as the truth and the power of God can make

it. Christians are here taught and established in the truth of

the coming of the Lord. Though, in the account of men, there is

a vast difference between one day and a thousand years, yet, in

the account of God, there is no difference. All things past,

present, and future, are ever before him: the delay of a

thousand years cannot be so much to him, as putting off any

thing for a day or for an hour is to us. If men have no

knowledge or belief of the eternal God, they will be very apt to

think him such as themselves. How hard is it to form any

thoughts of eternity! What men count slackness, is

long-suffering, and that to us-ward; it is giving more time to

hisown people, to advance in knowledge and holiness, and in the

exercise of faith and patience, to abound in good works, doing

and suffering what they are called to, that they may bring glory

to God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainly

be called to give an account of all things done in the body,

whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walking

before God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firm

belief of the future judgment, though many live as if they were

never to give any account at all. This day will come, when men

are secure, and have no expectation of the day of the Lord. The

stately palaces, and all the desirable things wherein

wordly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall be

burned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all the

works of men, must pass through the fire, which shall be a

consuming fire to all that sin has brought into the world,

though a refining fire to the works of God's hand. What will

become of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and make

it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up?

Therefore make sure of happiness beyond this visible world.
11-18 From the doctrine of Christ's second coming, we are

exhorted to purity and godliness. This is the effect of real

knowledge. Very exact and universal holiness is enjoined, not

resting in any low measure or degree. True Christians look for

new heavens and a new earth; freed from the vanity to which

things present are subject, and the sin they are polluted with.

Those only who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and

sanctified by the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to dwell in this

holy place. He is faithful, who has promised. Those, whose sins

are pardoned, and their peace made with God, are the only safe

and happy people; therefore follow after peace, and that with

all men; follow after holiness as well as peace. Never expect to

be found at that day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle

in this your day, in which we must finish the work given us to

do. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian in

the day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or

shortly call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to make

a right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays his

coming. Proud, carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest some

things into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines. But

this is no reason why St. Paul's epistles, or any other part of

the Scriptures, should be laid aside; for men, left to

themselves, pervert every gift of God. Then let us seek to have

our minds prepared for receiving things hard to be understood,

by putting in practice things which are more easy to be

understood. But there must be self-denial and suspicion of

ourselves, and submission to the authority of Christ Jesus,

before we can heartily receive all the truths of the gospel,

therefore we are in great danger of rejecting the truth. And

whatever opinions and thoughts of men are not according to the

law of God, and warranted by it, the believer disclaims and

abhors. Those who are led away by error, fall from their own

stedfastness. And that we may avoid being led away, we must seek

to grow in all grace, in faith, and virtue, and knowledge.

Labour to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know him

so as to be more like him, and to love him better. This is the

knowledge of Christ, which the apostle Paul reached after, and

desired to attain; and those who taste this effect of the

knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will, upon

receiving such grace from him, give thanks and praise him, and

join in ascribing glory to him now, in the full assurance of

doing the same hereafter, for ever.

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