When I was a kid, my Mom used to buy my brother and I this soap called Fuzzy Wuzzy. It was this bizarre marketing gimmick of an animal shaped soap that would grow “fur” in between uses. Then, when you used it enough times for the outer layers to be washed away, a toy dinosaur was hidden inside. I loved that soap. I kept using that soap faithfully, always with my eye on the prize I was waiting to be revealed.
We’re going to be reading 2 Peter 3:1-13 this Sunday and Peter talks about something similar.
Actually…it’s not similar at all…not even close. But he uses imagery of the elemental patterns of this world melting away and revealing something new underneath. As I read it, I imagine a refiner’s fire burning away all the corruption on the surface of a metal. The idea, poetic or literal, is that at this very moment something is hidden beneath the world as we see and understand it right now. One day Christ will return and with him a new heavens and new earth is revealed. An earth made right again.
That is the very core of our Christian hope. But Peter addresses the hurdles of skepticism that we have to overcome in maintaining that hope.
As you read this section, what does it reveal about God’s seeming delay in concluding his plan? How does that inform you about any area of life where it seems God is delaying his answers?
Peter employs a now/then model for his instruction. We live a certain way right now in anticipation of something in the future. When the question arises “what does it matter how I live if Christ already paid the price for all my sins?” – how would you answer that question based on what Peter says in v10-13?
Something about a world “all landscaped with righteousness” (as the Message puts it) ignites hope in my heart. I hope it does yours.
See you Sunday!
4 thoughts on “Living Now for Then”
Oh My Gosh Rob this is so cool. Tom and I watch Bob Coy online from CC in Ft Lauderdale every Wednesday night and after our first service on Sunday. Pastor Fidel was saying the same thing in reference to why do we have to do this and that since Our sins were already paid for. It always amazes me that the same things you have to deal with in life you attack them differently as you grow older and closer to God. A year or so ago we had listened to many testimonies about why they came to Jesus again and were reborn? Most (not all) were drugs and sex and different kind of addictions. I said to Tom, well I feel slighted because I never lived any of that scene and was a “good girl” so maybe I missed something. He said Oh No Annie trust me you would never have wanted to live that way. I didn’t do drugs he said drugs did me. I pondered that but felt still I had missed something. I said I want a testimony too. He said your life is a testimony of how you survived sexual abuse as a child by your father and grandfather. How you survived rape, How you defended our country and lost your child and husband in Afghanistan. He said not only were you a survivor you volunteered and headed a group support for years helping others survive by telling your story. But I said I had no fun in any of that like the testimonies of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He laughed and said Annie it wasn’t fun it was empty. So I then of course put it into prayer and asked over and over did I miss something God that I would of gotten closer to you sooner? Simple answer he said No, you always had me in your Heart you just didn’t stop to think that I was always there. So True. I am sorry I got off the point.You can clap your hands and say Annie your dismissed…lol..Have a Jesus filled Day 🙂
Verses 8-9 always remind me of our limited perspective as humans. We view life in linear time but God views everything from beginning to end all at once. What a difference it would make in our lives if we could have but a glimpse of His perspective. If we could just see around the bend we wouldn’t wonder why he is so “slow” to give us answers to our toughest questions. I wonder if we would always ask why He allows so many bad things to happen if we could but see the glorious end to the story. If we truly believed what God promises in Scripture for those who love Him after all is said and done would we really be so worried about our trials, our illness, our sadness? Why would they even matter if in just a blink of an eye on eternity’s scale we will be made completely whole and know as we are known?
I love the imagery of the purifying fire. I think we often hope that God will basically leave us alone but give us everything we want, but in reality there has to be a whole reboot. We have talked a lot about weeds in our lawns. My yard had this weed that seemed like one giant grass-cancer that spread its fingers out through the whole yard. I plucked away at it for three years but it just got worse causing the grass to wither. Eventually I dug up the whole lawn, grass and all, and replaced it with brand new sod and now its thriving. I think of the world this way. Sin and death are completely interwoven with our lives. This is where I think we want God just to pluck the weeds out and leave us alone as we are but it will take a purifying fire to start over. We will not go through the fire unchanged.
As far as why we should live holy lives because Christ may return any time…makes me think of the “Jesus is coming… look busy” bumper sticker. In other words we don’t want to get caught with our hand in the cookie jar. But surely thats not what Peter is referring to. Maybe he means that since all the superfluous, meaningless stuff is going to be “dissolved” in an instant we want our godly character to be left standing. In that moment it will be determined whether or not He will say “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I am not sure about all this. Look forward to your insight on this one, Rob.
Thanks for reminding everyone how old we are Bro
God’s seeming delay in wrapping things up down here is a beautiful display of the goodness of His character. At first glance it would seem that vs 9 “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”, is referring to those who don’t know Jesus coming to accept His gift of salvation and I am sure that is a large part of it. It seems though that since he is talking to christians and reminding them of the coming judgement and burning away of the old and promise of a new landscape coming maybe some parallels could be drawn from the imagery provided. Maybe God is delaying various answers in our lives to accomplish His refining of our character during the waiting process. Maybe He is “burning away”our old ways of thinking or behaving “pealing away old layers of the onion” so to speak or washing away another layer of “fur” so as to reveal the “hidden prize” inside. When I looked up the word perish one of the definitions was the word mar. It was the same word as in the gospels where it talks about various body parts offending us that we should “pluck” out…I think as we wait for Jesus to deliver us from our troubles He is able to remove those old character flaws and replace them with His righteousness. Not that we will ever be perfect but that we may possibly more closely resemble His kindness and His nature in hopes of helping others turn and think differently about our Good God! Not sure either, but look forward to your take Sunday Rob.