All These Things shall be Dissolved
2 Peter 3:11-14
(Scanned from THE PRECEPTOR, Dec. 1994)
Imagine being told that your car would be destroyed in an accident next week. If you became convinced that this was true, would you go out and wax it this weekend? Would you have the engine worked on? Or again, being informed that your house was scheduled for demolition to make way for a new road, before another month was passed, would you paint those walls that you thought needed repainting? Would you patch that spot in the basement, or install a new kitchen floor?
Such knowledge as this, if you were convinced by past experience that it was correct, would certainly change the way that you would look at your car, home, or anything else you have. It would determine actions you take relative to that object or possession previous to its predetermined end.
After he had spoken of the final end of earth and all it contains, pointing out that it was to be "burned up" (2 Pet. 3:7-10), Peter suggested that this had some application to the way we live our lives. It tends to place many things into a more accurate perspective than what we are used to: "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 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? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace , without spot, and blameless," (2 Peter 3:11-14). What Peter has contributed to our way of seeing things is what someone has called the "long view." We now, having read his prophecy, are capable of seeing beyond the next hill, of looking past even the horizon itself. Here are some matters which Peter says ought to change when we consider the eventual end of this earthly system?
It Ought To Change the Kind of People We Are. "What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness," said the apostle. People who believe that God is going to destroy this terrestrial ball someday will probably live differently than they would have otherwise. Worldly living will be eschewed because it will have to be answered for in the Judgment. This realization should make of us less materialistic people. If we recognize that all earthly things are someday going to be stripped away from us, then material possessions will matter far less to us now. It will make of us more generous people, for we know that God has only "loaned" us what we have temporarily, and we must make the best use we can of what we have until that day when we will have to give it all back. We will be less proud, for we will understand that what we have accumulated or have accomplished is really very little compared with the larger scheme of things, and it is all going to be taken away from us in the end. This knowledge will also turn us away from physical indulgence, for earthly pleasure will be viewed in perspective. It is only a temporary pleasure which is quickly experienced and leaves no permanent gratification. Truly, knowing that all of this that surrounds us is going to be dissolved will change the kind of people that we are.
It Ought To Make Us Anticipate the Coming of the "Day of God." "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God," is how Peter put it. When this world is seen as empty of anything lasting, it makes the Christian long for the Lord's promised coming. After John had prophesied the shattering of the Roman world for its shameful persecution of the saints of God, the writer of the Revelation concluded his work with these lines: "He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). It may surprise some of us to know this, but John wanted the Lord to come as soon as possible. He cared none at all for earthly things, but looked with eager anticipation to Christ's returning. Again, when Paul spoke of the condemnation of those who love not God, he was moved to say: "Maranatha," Aramaic for, "O Lord Come!" (1 Cor. 16:22). Only those who recognize the ultimate dissolution of this world as we know it. When we acknowledge that all that is in this world is going to be dissolved, then we ought to look forward to the "Day of God," just as Peter says.
It Ought To Make Us Anticipate This Change of State. "We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," the fisherman apostle urges. If we cannot keep what we now have, then let us get on to better things! That is the essence of Peter's wisdom. Before we get too attached to this world, we need to consider what kind of a world it is that we have. It is a world of sickness and pain and disease, where people often suffer who do not deserve to suffer. The frail human body gets old, worn out, and eventually dies. It is a world of injustice, where the strong sometimes abuse and mistreat the weak. True justice eludes us in a chaotic system of frivolous lawsuits, overburdened courts, career criminals, legal "loopholes," and lenient or dishonest judges. It is a world of despotic rulers and corrupt government officials, of unsolved crimes and anonymous victims, of repeat offenders, serial murderers and rapists, of "scams" and lies, of brutality and hatred, of inflation, deflation and "stagflation." This is our world. The more one thinks about it, the more we should anticipate "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
It Ought To Excite in Us Diligence Toward Being
Accepted of Him; "Seeing you look for such things, be diligent that you
may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." What a marvelous
thought! To be accepted! The prospective college student sends off an
application to the university he/she has always dreamed of attending, followed
by weeks of waiting. Finally a letter arrives with the imprint of the school on
the front of the envelope. With trembling hands, the letter is fearfully opened
to reveal its contents: "We are happy to inform you..." It is the happiest day
of that young person's life!
To be accepted of God into His upper and better kingdom, there to know the light of His presence and to bask in the sunshine of His love! Nothing could ever truly compare! Surely the hope of hearing the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant... Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world..." (Matt. 25:23, 34) ought to excite in us the diligence necessary to finish our earthly course in faithfulness!
By Daniel H. King, Sr.
From Expository Files 4.2; February 1997