Today’s sermon title was actually the title of book written by Chuck Colson in 1999, and I believe that he adapted it from Francis Schaffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” written in 1976.
Ultimately, both of those authors borrowed the thought from Peter here in 2 Peter 11-12. Peter said in verse 11, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of person ought you to be?”
It was a rhetorical question but one that Peter answered in today’s text. This the final message in our study of 2 Peter, and we’re asking that question this morning, “How Now Shall We Live?”
The NT often teaches the truth that moral imperatives follow eschatological indicatives. Do what? The commands we live out depend on what we believe to be true about the end times. Our conduct is determined by our convictions. Our behavior is determined by our beliefs.
In verse 11, since the Day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night, and the Lord will destroy the present heavens and earth with fire before He creates a new heaven and new earth, you should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living.
Notice “therefore” is used three times in these closing verses: 11, 14, and 17. Because of what we know, a certain behavior should follow.
First is looking forward with hope that Jesus will return. Verse 12 says looking for and hastening the coming day of God. Verse 13 says we look for new heavens and a new earth. Verse 14 says looking forward to these things.
Second is holy living. Verse 11 uses the words holy conduct and godliness. Holy means set apart from sin and set apart to the ways of God. Godliness means imitating and following the way God would act.
Therefore, because Jesus is coming again, our lives in the last days should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living. However, specifically, what does that look like in daily living?
The remainder of today’s text is built on four imperatives or four commands from Peter to these first century Christians and us. Because Jesus is coming again, work hard in being saved, remember the Lord is patient, be aware of false teachers, and grow in your relationship with Christ.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, work hard in being saved, 2 Peter 3:14.
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
In verse 14, Peter said be diligent or work hard to be found by Him in peace. He is talking about being in peace or at peace with God.
What does that mean? Paul tells us in Romans 5:1.
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To be justified means to be made right. Every individual has that need because our sin has separated us from God.
How does it happen? It happens when you put your faith and trust in Christ to save you and not yourself. Nothing else and no one else can save except Jesus.
When you make that personal decision, you are justified. You are made right. You are saved. You are at peace with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Make sure you have made that personal decision. Work hard at it. No one can make it for you, and it doesn’t happen because you’re good enough or smart enough or come from a certain family.
Consequently, and don’t this, when you are at peace with God through Jesus, you are without spot and blameless. It isn’t because of you and your behavior. It is because of Jesus and His Sinlessness in you.
However, if you are saved, at peace with God, born again, your behavior ought to be without spot and blameless. As Christians, that is what we are called to brothers and sisters.
If the word is characterized by fighting and bickering, we should not be. If they world is characterized by immorality, we should not be. If the world is characterized by alcoholism, we should not be. If the world is characterized by consumerism, we should not be. Our position in Christ should dictate our practical and daily living.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, remember that the Lord is patient, 2 Peter 3:15-16.
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
Notice if you will, in 3:15, this is not only what Peter taught, but this is also what Paul taught. Peter may have been thinking about Romans 2:4 that we saw last week.
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Peter said remember God’s patience with you, and He is tarrying and remember that the apostle Paul reminded you of the same truth. However, the false teachers have twisted this truth.
The “untaught” and “unstable” are the false teachers. They say He isn’t coming back or you have missed His coming. They twist and distort the truths of God’s Word.
Let me take just a side street here and make a comment on a golden nugget here in 3:16. Notice the phrase, “the rest of Scripture.” What is Peter including as Scripture? He is including the writings of Paul.
This is monumental that Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit affirms that Paul’s writings are authoritative as Scripture. This is a big deal on a major issue in our country right now.
When talking about same-sex relationships, have you ever heard anyone say, “Jesus never spoke to the issue.” Actually, that isn’t true, but even if it was, Paul spoke to the issue in Romans 1, and Peter said that was Scripture.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be duped by the logic of the world. 2 Timothy 3:16 said that all Scripture was breathed out by God and therefore authoritative. Of course that includes the gospels, but it also includes the OT and the rest of the NT.
God’s Word speaks authoritatively on many more issues than the world thinks. Therefore, for Christians, that should settle many cultural issues.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, be aware of the false teachers, 2 Peter 3:17.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.
We saw this last week with the false teachers, but in the last days, we must be aware lest they lead us away. Peter warned that the false teachers wanted to lead us in to error.
Does this mean we can lose our salvation? It doesn’t if you’re truly saved. However, there are plenty who profess God but aren’t possessed by God.
If you’ve been truly and genuinely saved, you cannot and will not lose your salvation. However, if you haven’t been, you will. John said it like this in 1 John 2:19.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, grow in your relationship with Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
In this last verse, Peter encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must grow in grace and give Him glory.
One commentator wrote, “The Christian life is like…riding a bicycle. Unless you keep moving, you fall off!” Friend, if you don’t keep growing in your knowledge of Christ, you will spiritually dry up and wither away.
Every day, I read God’s Word, and He speaks to me. Every day, I pray, and I speak to Him. I do this not because I am a pastor. I do this because I am a Christian who wants to grow in my relationship with the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, because Jesus is coming again soon, let us be busy with our hopeful looking and our holy living.