Second Peter 3:9     




Concerning the return of Christ and when it will take place, the Bible says in Second Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” A promise has been made about the return of Christ. Will a promise be kept once it is given? That depends upon who made the promise. God always keeps His promises. Learn the promises of God. Stand upon them. God always keeps His promises.


The Word of God promised the return of Christ even before He came the first time. There are many, many examples. Let’s look at just one. It says in Zechariah 14:1-4a, “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…” It also says about Christ in Zechariah 14:9, “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one  


Jesus promised that He would come again. Jesus said in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” The angel promised that Jesus would come again in Acts 1:11, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Of course, the apostles looked for the return of Christ and they were filled with the Holy Spirit in the words that they wrote. The next-to-last verse in the Bible says in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus     


The day of the Lord will come, but it will come “as a thief in the night.” In other words, Jesus will come when He is least expected to come. Perhaps that speaks of just exactly what things will be like when Christ returns. There is a good chance that there will be little or no faith when Christ returns to the earth. No one will be expecting Him. No one will be looking for Him. In other words, no one will be believing the promise of the return. There will be scoffers saying, “Where is the promise of His coming


People seem to live as though they think that this life will last forever. The last part of Second Peter 3:10 emphasizes the fact that things of this life are temporary. It says, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Notice the verbs that are used to describe the actions that will take place in the future in regards to the heavens and the earth: “pass away,” “melt,” and “be burned up.” These are very strong words that emphasize the temporary nature of the physical universe. Of course, these words also emphasize judgment. The same God who created these things will also bring them to their end, and He will bring them to their end because of sin. The sin of man has corrupted the world, but God will cleanse it. He will cleanse it with fire. The fire will melt and the fire will burn.


The Bible says in Second Peter 3:11, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” The lost should tremble with fear in the face of the judgment that is coming. Sadly for many of them, they are living as though the world will last forever. But for the followers of Jesus, the knowledge that all material things will eventually be destroyed should have a different effect on us. It should help us to keep our priorities right.


If you really believe in the coming of Christ at any moment, and if you really believe that all material things are temporary, then you will live a more holy life and a more godly life. Another way of looking at it is this: if you are having problems living as holy of a life that you should, then concentrate on the fact of the return of Christ an what it will mean. If you strengthen your belief in the truth about the return of Jesus Christ, you will be giving more strength and motivation to yourself to be what you ought to be “in all holy conversation and godliness   


Second Peter 3:12 says that Christians should be “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Every day a Christian should be looking for something: the return of Christ. When we were lost sinners, we looked for Christ because we needed Him to become our Savior. Thankfully, the Spirit of Christ showed us our sin and convicted us of our need of a Savior.


We still need Jesus to deliver us. We need Him to deliver us from the afflictions of life: sorrow, sickness, failure, death, and all the other unfortunate things that can and will happen to the sons of men. We still need Jesus to deliver us from the consequences of Adam’s sin. Thank God: this mortal shall put on immortality, but not until Jesus appears. We need Jesus to deliver us from the ungodly people who surround us. The kingdoms of this world have been given to the unsaved to do with as they will, but only temporarily. That terrible circumstance will change, but only when Jesus returns. We are “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,” because Jesus is our only hope.


Woe to those who have hope in anything other than the Savior and His return. Surely a Christian would have hope in the person of their Savior, and not in anything else. But such is not always the case. Some carnal Christians are caught up with the same things as the non-Christans: saving face, materialism, the family name and human legacy, power. Perhaps to remind such Christians once again of the temporary nature of the world in which we live, the Holy Spirit had Peter write in the second half of Second Peter 3:12, “Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Our focus is on the next life. In this life we live for Christ, and we know that what is really important is the existence that will come after this one.


Continuing on this theme, The Bible says in Second Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Whatever country you now live in, you are not going to get it to become a righteous country because we are living in the time before the return of Christ when wickedness shall reign. Christians should not hope so much in possibly winning the next election for president or governor or whatever, because that will not solve the sin problem any way. It seems strange to me that some of the Christian groups of our day appear to be trying to bring in righteousness by their own efforts.


Righteousness will not reign throughout the land until Christ returns. By all means do right. Pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Do everything that you can to make things as good as you can, but remember this: your hope to see righteousness throughout the land will not be fulfilled until Christ returns to the earth. The apostles lived in the first century in the Roman Empire. They did not go about trying to change the Roman Empire. They went about spreading the gospel and trying to help individuals come to know Christ as Savior.


Righteousness will not dwell in the land until the current heaven and the current earth have burned away in the judgment of God. Evidently things will finally be so bad that the only way to fix things will be to do away with them and to start over. Do not put your hope in this life; and if you do, do not be surprised if you become bitterly disappointed. The promise of the Second Coming is the hope of the believer. It was the hope of those who were nailed to crosses. It was the hope of those who were burnt at the stake. It has always been the hope of those who are the closest to Christ.


Peter said that he and the other believers with him “look for new heavens and a new earth.” That means that they did not have a lot of hope in this earth for the fulfillment of their greatest desires. Their hope for the things that they wanted to see fulfilled was impossible except for the “new heavens and the new earth” that were yet to come. We live in a day of “feel good” salvation. People are constantly being told that all of their dreams can be fulfilled in this life. They are told of the power of positive thinking, and they are told that they can be healed of all their diseases and become wealthy if they have the right kind of faith. I do not see any of that in this teaching about making sure that you are looking for the new heavens and the new earth. What I see is almost the opposite. Why should anyone be so excited about the new heavens and the new earth if they think that all their dreams can be fulfilled in this life? It seems to me that such individuals are going to be excited about this earth instead of the new earth. Such individuals are going to be concentrating on what they can get out of this life, whether it is through their career or through their religious organization or whatever.


There are going to be some dramatic changes coming, and for the Christian those changes are going to b good: they are going to be the best changes possible. What will those changes be? We do know what some of the changes will be in the new heavens and the new earth, but we probably do not know all of them. It says in First John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be…” It says in First Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him


We know that when the new heavens and the new earth appear, finally the great promises of God will be fulfilled. Some of these promises were made millenniums ago, and the faithful have been waiting year after year and century after century. For example, a great promise was made to Adam and Eve. God spoke forth a promise thousands of years ago concerning the deception that Satan had brought upon Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race, and God said to Satan in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, an thou shalt bruise his heel.” We look forward to that final destruction of Satan. The One born of a woman will do it. Our champion and our Savior will crush the Adversary of mankind.  


Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, but over the centuries many promises have been made to the believers in the One true God. These promises are not about what man will accomplish in this life. The promises are all about how good things will be once God transforms all of our existence: what Peter is calling new heavens and a new earth. God is going to do something that none of us can do. For example, at the end of the Old Testament the Bible says in Malachi 4:1-3, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for ye shall be ashes under the souls of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts


It will be a wonderful day when the great promises of Christ are fulfilled. Jesus made promises. He said in Matthew 5:3-10, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for their’s is the kingdom of heaven  


Some of these promises made by Christ have not yet been fulfilled. But they will be all fulfilled at His coming. Do not place your hope in the things of this life. If you are going to live a Christian life, make sure that you go about your day “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God      




Copyright; 2006 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved