Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been told, “you’ve gotta be ready because the Lord is coming back.” We would sing, "I'll fly away" for service and there would be messages on it. I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to be able to get married and have a kid because Jesus was coming for me. I see now that I was being a little dramatic. But I think a lot of people can relate. It is not a bad thing to look forward to the Lord's coming. What we have to realize is that Jesus is coming back and He is coming back soon. But our definition of soon is not the same as the Lord’s soon. 2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.”
God sees time with a perspective we lack. The Lord is longsuffering which means that he will wait because he wants all people to come to him. His word says, he is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Isn’t that so amazing? The Lord loves us all SO much that he wants as many people as possible with him for all of eternity. That is why he has not yet returned. This makes my heart so happy when I think of my friends and family members who have not yet come to know the Lord. Verse 15 says that our “Lord’s patience means salvation.” Because he is patient, more people can come into a saving relationship with him.
Now, we must remember that the "day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief" (2 Peter 3:10). This is not meant to frighten us or cause us anxiety. It is meant to give us hope. It should give us hope that Christ is coming back to provide perfect peace and justice to this broken world. It also gives us hope that he wants everyone to be saved. He’s a patient God, amen! Beyond that, it gives us hope that he knows the perfect time for his return. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for “every activity under heaven.” So, we know that we can trust him with this as we trust him with every other part of our lives. If he says he is returning, we know it is true because God cannot lie.
So, what do we do while we wait for this day? What does that mean for our everyday life? We are not to just sit by passively and wait for his return. Peter is very clear on what we should be doing and how we should live. Verses 11-12 say, “Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along.” Peter uses the Greek word “speudontas” which can mean “to speed up,” “make haste,” or “deeply desire.” This is not definitive evidence that living a holy life will cause the Lord to come back quicker. But at the same time, our holy lifestyles are connected to God’s perfect timing for Christ’s return. Peter shared this as a way to motivate us toward holy living.
We are to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.” As we go through this Christian life, we are to pursue a lifestyle of peace and one that no one could find fault with. That peace comes from a constant intimacy with him. I love how 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “never stop praying.” Never stop talking to him and there will be peace. Philippians 4:6 says not to be anxious but “in everything to pray.” And as we pursue this lifestyle of peace, we will also pursue a lifestyle that is spotless and blameless. We will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Living like this is also attractive to nonbelievers. Your attitude and lifestyle of hope will be uplifting and will cause nonbelievers to want a part of it. This is how we can wait well for Christ’s return. This is how we take part in the Great Commission to win every person for the name of Jesus.