Thursday, February 23, 2023
Some people find it easy to get excited about the judgment of others. Even in Christian circles there is a dangerous tendency to want the Lord Jesus Christ to return to the earth primarily for the purpose of destroying evil and evil doers. It’s hard to listen to such people for very long. They display very little compassion for the lost and are overwhelmed with a self-centered arrogance that seeks to enhance their own image by condemning others. It really is distasteful, and at times unlovable.
It is true that Peter reminds us of the coming judgment of sin, as we discussed yesterday. But he immediately tempers what he said and puts it into its proper context.
2 Peter 3:8-9 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Peter reminds us – in fact he emphasizes that this one point should never be forgotten – that our primary focus should be on the days we have left and how we will use them to accomplish God’s will. We are not to desire the Lord’s return for the purpose of the destruction of evil people so much as we are to be thankful for the time He has given us to rescue more people from their sin.
As impatient as some of us get with the corruption of the world in which we live, imagine how impatient God must get when viewing it from His perfect perspective. Or does He?
Our desire to elevate ourselves by belittling others is an attempt to achieve perfection in our own eyes. It causes us to see others critically and judgmentally. When we carefully evaluate that position, we realize that it is the most immature perspective we can have. It is such a self-centered attitude. The logical conclusion of it is the destruction of all others who don’t meet our self-imposed standards – and the sooner the better. The problem is that as soon as the objective is accomplished there is no one left with whom to compare ourselves, and we are left as empty as ever.
But God, who is perfect, displays the mature attitude – patience and grace. The more we grow to be like Jesus, the longer we will endure the failings of others. The more we reflect the heart of the Father, the more we will desire the sinners around us to come to repentance and be saved. The more filled with the Holy Spirit we are, the more we will look with eyes of compassion on those in the bondages of sin and seek to set them free.
Maturity of faith brings identity with Christ. As we grow up in Him we reflect more and more of His nature, character, and mindset. His mindset is patient towards those who sin. He has not left us here as an unloving Father to suffer at the hands of sinners: He has allowed us to remain in His service of bringing people to Jesus.
Every day we awaken to a new sunrise on this degenerating planet, we should arise with thanksgiving that Jesus has granted us more time to win the lost, especially those we know and love in this life. God is patient with us and with the lost. Not because He is slow (the Greek word means “retarded”), or unfaithful to His Word, but rather because He is loving and gracious. His love does not desire judgment. His justice will accomplish it someday. But for now, His love is being extended.
Maybe His love should come through us a little more clearly.