2 Peter 3* The design here is to remind of Christ's final coming tojudgement. (1-4) He will appear unexpectedly, when the presentframe of nature will be dissolved by fire. (5-10) From thence isinferred the need for holiness, and stedfastness in the faith.(11-18)1-4 The purified minds of Christians are to be stirred up, thatthey may be active and lively in the work of holiness. Therewill be scoffers in the last days, under the gospel, men whomake light of sin, and mock at salvation by Jesus Christ. Onevery principal article of our faith refers to what only has apromise to rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lordis come. They will not believe that he will come. Because theysee no changes, therefore they fear not God, #Ps 55:19|. What henever has done, they fancy he never can do, or never will do. 5-10 Had these scoffers considered the dreadful vengeance withwhich God swept away a whole world of ungodly men at once,surely they would not have scoffed at his threatening an equallyterrible judgment. The heavens and the earth which now are, bythe same word, it is declared, will be destroyed by fire. Thisis as sure to come, as the truth and the power of God can makeit. Christians are here taught and established in the truth ofthe coming of the Lord. Though, in the account of men, there isa vast difference between one day and a thousand years, yet, inthe account of God, there is no difference. All things past,present, and future, are ever before him: the delay of athousand years cannot be so much to him, as putting off anything for a day or for an hour is to us. If men have noknowledge or belief of the eternal God, they will be very apt tothink him such as themselves. How hard is it to form anythoughts of eternity! What men count slackness, islong-suffering, and that to us-ward; it is giving more time tohisown people, to advance in knowledge and holiness, and in theexercise of faith and patience, to abound in good works, doingand suffering what they are called to, that they may bring gloryto God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainlybe called to give an account of all things done in the body,whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walkingbefore God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firmbelief of the future judgment, though many live as if they werenever to give any account at all. This day will come, when menare secure, and have no expectation of the day of the Lord. Thestately palaces, and all the desirable things whereinwordly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall beburned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all theworks of men, must pass through the fire, which shall be aconsuming fire to all that sin has brought into the world,though a refining fire to the works of God's hand. What willbecome of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and makeit 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 areexhorted to purity and godliness. This is the effect of realknowledge. Very exact and universal holiness is enjoined, notresting in any low measure or degree. True Christians look fornew heavens and a new earth; freed from the vanity to whichthings present are subject, and the sin they are polluted with.Those only who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, andsanctified by the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to dwell in thisholy place. He is faithful, who has promised. Those, whose sinsare pardoned, and their peace made with God, are the only safeand happy people; therefore follow after peace, and that withall men; follow after holiness as well as peace. Never expect tobe found at that day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idlein this your day, in which we must finish the work given us todo. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian inthe day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, orshortly call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to makea right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays hiscoming. Proud, carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest somethings into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines. Butthis is no reason why St. Paul's epistles, or any other part ofthe Scriptures, should be laid aside; for men, left tothemselves, pervert every gift of God. Then let us seek to haveour minds prepared for receiving things hard to be understood,by putting in practice things which are more easy to beunderstood. But there must be self-denial and suspicion ofourselves, 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. Andwhatever opinions and thoughts of men are not according to thelaw of God, and warranted by it, the believer disclaims andabhors. Those who are led away by error, fall from their ownstedfastness. And that we may avoid being led away, we must seekto grow in all grace, in faith, and virtue, and knowledge.Labour to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know himso as to be more like him, and to love him better. This is theknowledge of Christ, which the apostle Paul reached after, anddesired to attain; and those who taste this effect of theknowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will, uponreceiving such grace from him, give thanks and praise him, andjoin in ascribing glory to him now, in the full assurance ofdoing the same hereafter, for ever.
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