A Reflection on 2 Peter 3:1-4

 It has been estimated that increase in technical knowledge is growing so rapidly that the knowledge we have now will be replaced in 7 years. India, where I have ministered in the last month, has the world’s second largest Internet user-base with over 692 million people – or half the population. China tops the 1 billion mark, where 75% are connected. Of course, restrictions under that Communist dictatorship limit what people can know.

By comparison, the USA has only 311 million users, but that represents 94% of the population. People everywhere are hungry for knowledge.

The danger in this development is that we treat all knowledge as technology which needs to change. The damage that attitude can do is already evident in the breakdown of traditional values of family and community. Even gender is disputed.

The dismissal of rigorous scientific enquiry and honest historical records undermine  the pursuit of truth. Selective reporting by media outlets, and ‘social media’ in particular – in reality, neither social nor media – continues to muddy the waters of understanding.

The founder of the English Dictionary – Dr Johnson warned 250 yrs ago, that we need to be reminded as much as informed. 

The Apostle Peter’s second letter stirs readers to remember with “sincere thinking”. [2 Peter 3:1], or what the ancient philosopher Plato called ‘pure reason’. As God’s revelation, the Bible demands scrupulous care of truth.

Remember, Peter says [v2], the words spoken by holy prophets, that expression of God’s Will referred to earlier [1:20]. Remember the command of our Lord and Saviour through apostles. Remember the revelation in the Old and New Testaments. The call is to study the whole counsel of God, understanding one part of Scripture by other parts.

Peter warns that scepticism challenges faith. The flood of knowledge, probably as much fiction as fact, because it is untested, produces scepticism. Scepticism questions truth. Historically, this philosophical movement suggests that some knowledge is impossible.

Scepticism is not genuine enquiry leading to discovery of truth. Most sceptics do not want to know what God is saying. They mock his Word and reject its authority. “First of all”,  Peter says, that is, take careful note of the facts.

 [i] “Mockers will come mocking” [v3]. They will appear “in the last days”, that period between the First and Second comings of Jesus. For us, that is this period of the excessive overflow of untested information undermining ancient truth.

Our Lord Jesus came the first time to die for us and rise again. He is coming a second time to take home those who are waiting for him. So far believers have waited for almost 2000 years. Mockers say: ‘that is a long time to wait. Give up!’ They dispense with the promise as impossible knowledge.

Some churches seem to have given up looking for his Coming. Burying themselves in  busy humanitarian programmes and building projects for the glory of man, their sense of expectation has been dulled. Those who mock the promise of Jesus’ coming, or give up looking for it, are doing ‘their own thing’. They live as if God has not been consulted. Peter warns, that “mockers will come mocking.” What else can ignorant zeal do?

[ii] Mockers will say [v4] “Where is his promised coming?”  We are here. Where is he?

Everything is the same as it ever has been “since our ancestors died. Everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”  Ignorance about the past, for example  the Flood [v6], means insensitivity and arrogance about the future. Is it any wonder that our Western cities are so like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Professing Christians, church attenders, pastors, missionaries can lose their vision., and be temporarily blinded to the spiritual danger they are facing. Daily needs and the desire for comfort and prosperity change their focus from what God says to what they want.

Having lost interest in the facts, they no longer embrace the promises of God.

Scepticism clouds sight until the heavenly vision is darkened and obscure.

Peter indicates that both his letters were written “as reminders to stimulate sincere thinking.” [v1]

– Rev Tom Halls