This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.
I was reminded by my mother that I missed a dental appointment today. It was written on our calendar and I didn’t see it. I now have regrets because I feel irresponsible. However, my children were up all night last night and I had to take care of Amelia today. She had two naps instead of her usual one. I joined her on the second one. We could say that I have an excuse, but the fact remains that I did not see the reminder and I missed it. Peter gives us a reminder in the text above. Each of us has capacity for thoughtful and significant living, but we miss it because we forget. We fill our lives with things that seem important and we miss what is more important. We are busy completing our to-do list and never quite get the time to read the Bible, pray, or think about God. In so doing we are not mindful of God’s word, his presence, or what he wants to do. Like I missed my dental appointment, we miss divine appointments and our lives are impoverished.
Recently I have been aware, more and more, of how I am not the man I want to be. I have tried to organize my life spiritually to provide a service to others. This might sound like it is in line with the second commandment, “love your neighbour as yourself,” but it is not. I have not put the things of God before the wants of others. In some ways I have pandered to the dissatisfied consumerism of others and become unsatisfied myself. I have been reminded that God has given me insight into the kind of living he wants and rather than descend to the level of others I need to uphold the standards I espouse. For example, when I think of how my small group reports each week that they do not read their Bible regularly, I do not feel motivated to read mine. I am too focused on them. Instead I must continue to read the Bible for God. When the small group could dissolve because of lack of commitment, I should remind myself of God’s command that people keep meeting together. I should then be committed to those who show up rather than bemoan the lack of commitment others might have to me.
One thing that should inform all of our thinking is the thought of Jesus’ return. We should live with a sense that it could be at any moment, but we are prone to forget. In fact, the false teachers of Peter’s time were scoffing at those who lived with expectant hearts. I know that I can think that 2000 years of waiting is a long time. Then I remember that these huge amounts of time are nothing to God. As America slides into a dreamless sleep, where all religious memory is lost and a new age spirituality replaces the truth, we Christians must remind each other and stay awake and alert. Some of us are so consumed by the culture that we are unaware of our lack of authentic relationship with Jesus. Is this a sign that we are apostate, or can we be awakened by Peter’s reminder?
Jesus, lack of sleep leaves me drained. I feel like I have forgotten something more than a dental appointment. My flesh seems to drag me down and encourage my mind to turn to trivial and temporal things. Change my mind, may it be renewed, that I may have a day when I think of you deeply and sincerely. Let me pursue you and exhort others to do so. May I not descend into apathy, but be conscious of what is good, and right, and true.
- What had the recipients forgotten?
- What two elements are referenced in the passage?
- How do you think Peter adapts his style for a Greek audience?
- How do others around you teach you to forget?
- How do you counter the apathy and forgetfulness around you?