The scoffer deliberately forgets which sets themselves up for an eternity of judgment. The believer is to deliberately remember and ask themselves: How shall we then live? (And then live it!)
“11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 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! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11-13–ESV)
The world as humans see it, feel it, experience living in it will not last forever. That structure will be eliminated, Peter says. What will not be eliminated are the souls of men and women who continue on. God will come and call the people to account who lived in the world God made for them.
Does the promise of the destruction of judgment have relevance to humanity? Is there a way that mankind ought to live because of that surety?
The answer is evident. The intrinsic answer is: with a style of godliness and holiness.
The way to view Peter’s question is as follows: How does the Christian live out the style of godliness and holiness in the experiences of the life that they have. How does godliness and holiness play out in the marketplace? How does the character of godliness get expressed in the face of injustice? Sorrow? Pain? Happy surprises? Anxious surprises? How is God’s holiness and character held high in the face of the unbelievers who scoffer and teach error?
These are answers that every believer needs to think on. Remember the ladder of maturity? In that ladder we are to add to our faith, benevolence/virtue/goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control. At the top of that ladder is that of Godly love: agape. A love that says, “What does the other need and how can I provide it?” What sort of choices does a holy character make? What sort of responses does a godly character give?
Those answers are known to each for the Holy Spirit teaches and reminds.
Will we do what we know to do?
Some of the steps will be difficult, but the promises remain. Both promises of judgment and promises of restoration. The far harder thing will be the downside of life lived in an ungodly and unholy manner. The promise that Peter reminds of is the restoration of the new heavens and the new earth. There righteousness will be normal and as easy as breathing. Righteousness as normal rather than as struggle will be the instinct. Since that is God’s way and since we were created by him for that style there will be a great fit. The excellence of it will surpass all that can be asked or imagined. We can see bits and pieces of what that style is like, but that is, as Paul puts it, only as if seeing through a darkened glass.
Key considerations from these verses:
- Remember the coming judgment. It will be destructive.
- Remember the coming re-creation. It will be constructive.
- How does God’s way get expressed in the life I have?
- Not just the bad times, but also the good times
- How does godliness shine in easy moments of our lives?
- How does holiness shimmer when things are not so hard?
- God knows how to give good gifts and heaven will be that.
- Heaven is for the righteous.