Scripture Reading: Daniel 4:19-5:16 / 2 Peter 3:1-18 / Psalm 135:13-21
The gift of “patience” is something that is often learned as we mature. We have all heard our children ask in the car, “When are we going to get there?” They have no concept of time and for them, a few minutes feel like a few hours! Sadly, some never learn patience even when they “grow up”. Impatience is sometimes the byproduct from the broken and failed promises others make.
Peter writes to Christians in Asia minor to remind them of the faithfulness of God’s promises, especially the second coming of Jesus Christ. The message of Christ’s return was well known and taught in the early church. At the time of Peter’s letter, 2 generations had passed since Christ’s ascension and He had not returned. They had waited for His coming and began to doubt He would ever return. False teachers cast doubt on Christ’s return and said it was a hoax.
Peter writes and assures them, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8,9)
God’s timetable is not our timetable. As a small child has no concept of “time”, we struggle to understand God’s timetable. A thousand years is like one day to God. In other words, 1 year to us is like 1 minute and 26 seconds in heaven. We fail to understand God is eternal and not regulated by earthly measurements. His timetable is perfect; ours is affected by the destructiveness and impatience of sin.
Some ask, “Why hasn’t Christ returned?” The foundational reason - because God is patient and does not want anyone to perish but come to repentance. His delay is one of grace and mercy, as He takes no pleasure in judgment. The coming of Christ is PROMISED. A delay in His coming does not mean it is a broken or failed promise. Once again, it is according to God’s timetable and Christ will be faithful to return.
Knowing this, our lives are to be measured not by time but by action. It is not how much time we have but what we do with the time we have. The delay of Christ’s return should not foster indifference in our lives but a sense of divine purpose. Our affections are not to be set on the things of this world but those things above.
We need to be reminded of Christ’s return because lives centered upon God’s eternals will produce holiness and righteousness. As the early church lived in expectancy, we will also live in expectancy when we look for His return. There will be a burden for the lostness of man and a desire to see them come to repentance before it is too late. It is easy to minimize His return when we live for the moment so live for something eternal and certain…He is Coming Again!