Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Repentance and the Day of the Lord: Exposition of 2 Peter 3:8-9

As I promised in my repentance series I will now discuss this doctrine in light of the Day of the Lord.

I am taking liberty to quote Zane Hodges extensively from “The Kerugma Message”, his quarterly newsletter. This treatment on repentance and the day of the Lord will be in 3 or four installments for brevity and the reader’s patience. What will be discussed is 2 Peter 3:8-9. I will start with verse one for context:

2 Peter 3:1-9
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you 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 Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 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 creation." 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Peter now concludes his consideration of the doctrine of the false teachers. This doctrine involved a denial of the Second Advent that Christian teaching understood to be accompanied by worldwide calamities. However, this denial ignored two revealed realities: (1) that God had created a world “enclosed” in waters, and (2) that He allowed that world to be destroyed by those waters. This led the false teachers to disregard the fact that the present heavens and earth are reserved for destruction by fire. Their belief in the permanence of the present order was therefore a serious error.

The false teachers obviously believed that the delay of the Second Advent (that is, of the rapture, the 70th week of Daniel and the glorious manifestation of Christ’s hidden presence in the clouds) meant that it would not occur at all. But the readers should know better. They should not be swayed by the false argument built on the “delay” of God’s promise. They need to understand two things that Peter now clearly states in this verse and the next.

First, they should not let it slip from their minds (don’t let this fact escape you) that God experiences time differently than man does. Peter’s statement about this is extremely remarkable in the light of 21st century science. As Peter puts it, God experiences one day as if it were a thousand years and He experiences a thousand years as if they were one day. In other words, God does not experience the difference in the passage of a short period of time or a long one.

This statement remained mysterious until the last century gave us a brand new perspective. Thanks to the brilliance of Albert Einstein, scientists now know that time itself is a dimension of our universe. Thus we live in a four-dimensional cosmos in which there are three dimensions of space (length, depth, and height) and one of time. The passage of time is actually relative to an observer’s speed of movement through space. This fact has apparently been confirmed by numerous, careful experiments. Since it is believed that nothing exceeds the speed of light, light is thought to pass through space so quickly as to “experience” zero time.

“Light” as we know, is a way of describing God (at least morally: 1 John 1:5) and “light” in the physical sense came into being in our universe as a result of His command (Gen.1:3). If physical light can pass “timelessly” through our universe, we can surely conceive of its Creator as capable of doing something analogous to that. Thus God Himself is not bound by the experience of time that we, as human beings, have. Since our whole experience of time is inside a spatially conditioned universe, we experience time as we are conditioned to do by our universe. But God is above and beyond His creation, as well as immanent within it, so that His experience of temporal length is distinctly different from our own.

Peter’s point, of course, is that what seems “long” and “short” to men is not “long” or “short” to the Lord. Therefore, any seeming “delay” of the Second Advent is only such from a human point of view. This truth leads directly into the second fact the readers need to understand.

Zane C. Hodges, The Kerugma Message, Vol 14, No 3, Winter 2005


Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Why is repentance brought up in those verses?

September 10, 2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

Why is repentance brought up in those verses?

I believe it hearkens back to a certain promise mentioned in 2 Peter 3:4, in reference to those who mock the perceived delay of Christ's coming. He is enduring for the sake of future generations that will be brought to Christ in the fullness of His plan.

God bless you two gentleman, Antonio and Matthew, irrespective of our past disagreements.

God’s Righteousness Through Faith
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
—Romans 3:20-26

All glory to Him who secured our Salvation. All praise, honor and glory to our mutual Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

September 11, 2006 1:03 AM  

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