Peter will now give arguments to address the undermining of the scoffer. It is important to keep in mind that he is not writing these word to the scoffer here, but to the shaky, to shepherd them. Peter is trying to apply arguments that a person who is on the edge of belief might hear and accept and be rescued from falling back into their hopelessness1.
The Scoffer’s Selective Memory
“4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 3:3-7–ESV)
Here can be seen that the scoffers remember the prophecy of a ‘coming,’ but in their unbelief poke fun at something which has yet to happen.
Forgetting the forest for the trees they begin their taunts in the middle of history. They recall prophecies of God’s return to earth and their deceased ancestors, but deliberately overlook other pieces of history. They only choose to remember the pieces of history that fit with their view.
They forget: creation & judgment
These men deliberately forget the creation. Then they deliberately forget the response of God to sin: the flood. Peter said that God formed the world out of and through water and then God brought judgment for that wicked world with the same water. God used things of creation (water) to judge creation (men).
It is said that Noah spent 120 years preaching and building. Surely the scoffers of Noah’s time brought the same argument Peter is fending off to those who would listen. In Noah’s day God brought the rain. The ark of grace floated on the the rain of judgment. The time expired for those ancient pokers of fun.
In some manner these arguments should not be chafed at. They do not really seek truth but are merely dragging out an argument to impair those who may be tripped up by partial truths.
God whose word spoke the worlds into existence and whose word directed the great and ancient flood of Noah reserves the world we know for a permanence of judgment. It is unwise to forget one’s place in history.
A Dangerous Ground
Neither the false prophet nor the scoffer believe the word or messengers of God. They have different means of unbelief, but the same tendency to follow their evil desires. One seeks to change truth and lead down that wrong path. The other seeks to discard truth throwing out the whole path.
What is the scoffer’s viewpoint? It is what they would term God’s delay in fulfilling his promises. The scoffer reaches for evidence to support his claim. He looks back and says, “You said Jesus was coming again. He has not.” The scoffer iterates their own mis-perception of history. Nothing is different the scoffer says.
There are those who know the truth but in their self-will reject it. Those types shed what they know to embrace what they want. They do not think it terrible. They do not know what they reject nor what they embrace.
Key things to thing about or discuss:
- False teachers twist
- Scoffers make fun
- False teachers and scoffers
- Have different means of unbelief
- Will face judgment
- Some who would go their own way shed inconvenient truth
- Some are deceived and some are deliberate
- Peter shepherds the shaky
- Do we forget that eternal judgment has been pronounced?