11 ¶ Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 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? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 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. 15 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; 16 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. 17 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. 18 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.
Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
Christians are to be waiting expectantly for Christ’s return and living accordingly.
Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
All things which mankind has done that he admires so shall be destroyed and we shall be changed. I am certain that any modern scientist would insist I am mischaracterizing their work but I speak only as an unlearned regular person who loves science for what it has done in the realm of technology that makes our lives better and health that assists us in living longer and more productive lives. But, today, theoretical scientists using models based on mathematics and computer simulations see God’s handiwork from advanced equipment like the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland in bursts of energy that manipulate and constantly adjust the physical universe that we know. Since they cannot believe in God they postulate particles they cannot see or directly test or directly verify as being the cause of these bursts of energy and action. They give them names like the Higg-Boson particle which supposedly allows matter to have mass and exist at all which they refer to as the “God particle.”
And yet, as we learned from the book of Job, every action necessary for physical existence is taken by God and every consequence of those countless actions per second is a direct result of God’s constant attention. It will be a simple matter for Him to change the physical universe, destroying and reconstructing from the one tainted by sin, while our souls and spirits, which are not part of the physical universe remain untouched except for the fundamental changes He makes to saved and unsaved in the non-physical world.
Modern science has cut itself off from so much knowledge by ignoring or denying God’s existence and creating a false framework of unseen things that are only good explanations if you deny God’s hand in the matter.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness will dwell and there will be no sin. God is not going to allow space to be populated with sinful human beings who kill and lust and war along the lines of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, or Star Trek. If space is to be explored it will not be by mankind’s feeble attempts to counterfeit God and it will not be space tainted by sin and death, which was not in the original plan but man had to be shown that only God can create and maintain this reality. Man has shown that given the chance, regardless of the facts presented to him of his weakness in mind and body, that he will worship himself.
Revelation 21:1 ¶ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Peter encourages the Christian to be diligent, to be found without blame. Paul wished the same as is evident in the following great passage on the purpose of God.
Ephesians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Peter repeats that God’s patience is necessary for our salvation. He ties that in with what Paul also said about the same thing which I quoted previously. This presents an important point about the Scriptures. The Bible says here that Paul wrote by the wisdom given to him, not by word-for-word dictation.
There are only two times the word inspiration is used in the Bible.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Notice in Job that God’s inspiration gives men understanding. Understanding is a synonym of wisdom mentioned here in 2Peter as made clear in dozens of verses throughout the Bible. Here is one example from Paul’s letters.
1Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Peter is not writing word-for-word dictation from the mouth of God. He is writing from his own understanding given by God. The words are all important because God preserved them for us.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
So, the doctrine of preservation is linked to the doctrine of inspiration in a way that cannot be denied. This means that God worked through men on more than just one occasion in faithful copyists and translators as well as the secretaries of the men who were authors of the Bible books if those men did not write their particular books themselves. He even changed the original autographs on one occasion that we know.
Jeremiah 36:32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
We can also surmise, as a Bible-believing friend told me, that as it took 1500 years to put the Bible that God wanted together through dozens of writers, it also took a similar amount of time to perfect it in the English version of the early 17th century. Then, as I believe, after the Authorized Version, also known as the King James Version or King James Bible, was introduced the Roman Catholic Counter-reformation had its greatest success in Richard Simon and Jean Astruc’s criticism of the Bible, which was followed in German theology and criticism of the Bible. There was also what is called The Enlightenment when man began to revive the classical worship of man’s reasoning ability and intellect, excluding God from any rational discussion. All modern Bibles flow from these modern traditions. When you remove God from the equation by reducing Him to merely a philosopher’s first cause you only have man’s ability to interpret facts which can be highly subjective and does not necessarily lead to truth because of man’s finite understanding.
Peter admits that the Bible can be difficult to understand and many cause much harm by declaring knowledge they do not have. But, you do understand much of the Bible so that is no excuse to not read or hear it read. What you don’t understand is something you should, in prayer, ask for understanding and you will receive what God has for you, no doubt. God will speak to your spiritual heart and change you as He sees fit. You may not be satisfied that things you think need changed or things that others say need changed in you are not changed but know that God is the one in control and He knows what is best for your and what glorifies Him. Just don’t twist the Scriptures to justify your own fears, paranoia, bigotry, and lust for control of others.
Peter finishes up with saying that since they know these things ahead of time there is no excuse for them to be deceived and that can be expanded to you and me. For we have the complete Bible and we have no excuse to let someone trick us with false doctrine they come up with by taking verses out of context or using the Bible as a tool to drive their own agenda, even if their agenda seems Godly. If you destroy the source of your convictions by twisting the Bible in knots then you have no credibility, and so it is with much preaching.
Finally, the church need not be concerned with growing in numbers. It should be concerned with growing in grace. God will add the numbers as He sees fit. All efforts at soul-winning should be tempered by that understanding. We need to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God as people visit our churches and as we meet people where they live.
To Him be the glory, both now and forever.