10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Today’s verse starts with the word “but” states a contrast to what was said before. The preceding sentence presents God’s patience, long-term plan to provide everyone with time and opportunity to come to know Him as Lord. It feels like He might almost wait forever before He gets around to the next step, like a very elderly, long-suffering great-grandfather who has a pace and schedule quite unlike those around him, making them feel frustrated. For the readers of that time, they were facing a lot of objection (false teaching, persecution) and rejection (hard hearts, idolatry, people who turned away from their faith in Jesus) and perhaps God’s patience was not something the Christians appreciated, even if they knew they were to go about preaching the gospel to the world so that more might be saved.
So the writer Peter reminds them, the day of Jesus’ return will come, it is a sure thing. Like a thief, the day will sneak up on when least expected. But when that day comes, no one will miss it because everything that happens will so big, loud, hot and messy. It sounds like the earth and all will be reset, where the things mankind has built reflecting their achievements, advancements and progress will go to zero. As Peter draws the readers’ attention to the fated destruction and futility of everything every person strives for, he asks, what then is eternal? What is life about if all this is going to be destroyed?
He basically answers “our souls.” After all is said and done and all is laid bare, there will be a new heaven and earth, where righteousness dwells, that our souls can look forward to (verse 13). Peter reminds the reader, there is an eternity, and there will be a perfect justice and sense of rightness. This is not justice in the sense of another human-made legal system with loopholes and strategies that allow a wrongdoer with a well-presented case can elude rightful punishment from. But it is a justice in a perfect environment with the goodness, fairness and wholeness that our souls have been longing for. No wrongdoing will escape due judgment and its deserved consequences.
As such, what matters is caring and tending our souls by engaging God, asking Him to help us walk well and patiently in this imperfect world, driven by a hope of a perfect time, place and rightness He will bring about in His good time.
Thoughts for the day
- As a Jesus-follower, why does it matter that our horizons on life go beyond this physical world and life in this physical body?
- In light of the fact there will be a “reset” and God solely determines what the new world is like, what are the key takeaways from your most recent discussion with God about how your plans, goals and priorities fit in with His?
Dear God and Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the hope that one day, everything will be right and perfect. But I also cannot help but wonder how much of the objectives I am building towards and doing is going to withstand the “reset” that comes before that perfect world. What will be of value when I am “laid bare”? Help me Lord to understand how to live, work and play today so that you will rate me well when we meet in person. Amen.