2 Peter 3:11-12, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!”
As a follower of Christ, I struggle with a variety of fears and worries. After all, you and I live in a crazy world, which can tend not to help our fear and anxiety. Even so, the Lord is in entirely sovereign. While there is no reason to fear, sometimes our fears creep up when we least expect them.
One thing that’s completely okay to be concerned about is the salvation of your friends and family, in particular, if they aren’t Christians. In one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 1, we are reminded that the righteous who walk in the counsel of the Lord will be planted in the good soil of the Word while the wicked are like the chaff that the wind drives away who will not stand in the judgment and will perish (Psalm 1:3-6).
In 2 Peter 3, we discover how the wicked will reap what they have sown. The true Christian doesn’t need to fear the judgment of God since they have come to know the Lord. It is because of the grace of God that we can escape the judgment of God through the finished and sufficient work of the Lord Jesus and commune with the Lord and enjoy Him.
Throughout Scripture, we are urged to examine our lives (Lamentations 3:40, 2 Corinthians 13:5). It is an absolute joy to follow the Lord, but at times we get comfortable and end up chasing comfort instead of the Lord Jesus. I know well the struggles that come with self-examination. Self-examination requires us to see “what sort of people [we] ought to be” and to see ourselves as we are presently not as we want to.
Self-examination requires not introspection but looking to the Lord in light of the reality of our lives which should cause us to grow in grace. Every single one of us has areas of our lives where we wish we were progressing quicker. We may even have hang-ups and areas of sin that grieve us deeply. Even so, this should encourage us because such a desire honors the Lord who gives us this desire both to grieve our sin and to look to Him in the midst of our grief over our sin for forgiveness and hope in Christ alone. This process of growing in grace through the school of affliction and disappointment will not lead us to despair as those without hope, but to true genuine repentance and growth in holiness as we await the return of the Lord Jesus.
2 Peter 3:11-12 is primarily concerned about the character of our walk in light of living for Christ before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. As Christians follow the Lord, these characteristics will increasingly become evident in even the smallest ways in our lives. After all, when we spend time with the Lord, He continues transforms our character into the image of Christ.
Perhaps today you feel like this isn’t you, because you aren’t growing much at all or not making much progress in grace. Even so, as a Christian, you are in Christ and have a new identity in Him, which is why you can continue to repent. The Lord God is the business of remaking us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). To that end, He has sovereignly replaced our heart of stone and replaced it with a new heart, with new desires and affections for the Lord Jesus. Now, in Christ, we can become as we are now, and ever will be both in the present and the future because of Christ alone.
The next time you are tempted to despair and be discouragement, please look to Christ. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6). This is the same Lord who says that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and promises to go before you to prepare a place for you (John 14:3). Be encouraged wherever you are at in your walk in grace as a Christian today, the Lord is at work, He will never leave you, but will bring to completion the work He has started in you. This is why you don’t need to fear where you are headed as a Christian. The Lord Jesus has gone before you and has prepared a place for you in heaven. Take heart, and courage in light of these truths, for your Lord who will never leave you has promised to be with you, to complete your salvation, to give you hope and courage in the face of challenges, and to continue to draw you closer to Himself both now and always.