Remember The Basics

Bible Book: 2 Peter  3 : 1-7
Subject: Fundamentals
Series: Our Precious Faith - 2 Peter

Also note: [John 1:1-3 / Luke 17:26-30-37]

After defining the characteristics of genuine believers in chapter one and the characteristics of false teachers in the second chapter, Peter turned his eyes upward and forward to the time when Christ would come again. He points us to God for God is the One who is always to be trusted. He asks us to trust the revelation of God, His Holy Word.

So, yet again, we are encouraged to be unshakable in our acceptance of Scripture for it and its message will come under severe attack. Because of society’s moral climate its leaders will question the Bible and do their worst to cause believers to question it also. Because Jesus Christ second coming calls for and justifies a godly lifestyle, it particularly will be belittled. Believing in the Second Coming of Christ is basically a matter of faith in God and accepting Scriptures as His revelation.

I. Peter's Aim, 2 Peter 3:1-2

Peter begins his message of love and encouragement by speaking to believers with gentle and endearing language in verse 1. “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

Addressing his readers as loved ones or “beloved”(agapētoi, the first of four usages in this chapter: vv. 1, 8, 14, 17; Jude 17–18) recalls that we are loved by God and therefore we are loved by those who love God. Peter called this epistle his second letter and said both letters are reminders. He wanted to remind us of the truths that had changed our lives and that keep on changing our lives.

This second letter, like his first, was written to stir up the believers’ soul and spirit. If they will take hold of God’s Word and let God’s Word take hold of them, Christ’s indwelling presence will stir them up. [He points to Christ’s indwelling presence in the believers’ lives and to the primacy of God’s Word as their only guide for faith and practice.] These letters were to rouse their readers to honest thought, to assist them in becoming mentally alert spiritual discerners of truth and error.

This stirring up occurs in those with a “sincere mind.” [The phrase “sincere mind” [eilikrinēdianoian] may also be rendered wholesome thinking or “pure disposition.”] The English “sincere” is from the Latin words sine cera, which literally means “without wax.” Some pottery salesmen would use wax to cover cracks and weak places in pottery. Such a cover-up could be detected only by holding the jug or vessel up to the sun to see if any weaknesses were visible. Such a vase was “sun-judged” [the lit. meaning of the Gk. eilikrinēs]. God wants His people to honestly judge their lives in the light of His Word instead of waxing over their sin spots.


In verse 2 we are again reminded of the need to remember the Word and what it has taught us. “that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

The basic source for the believers’ knowledge of God and His work among man is found in the holy Words or Scriptures. God would have us center our faith upon the Scriptures which He has both given and recorded for us. All matters for Christian faith and practice are found in the holy Bible. We are therefore called upon once again to remember the words that God has spoken to us. [Spoken is in the perfect tense indicating that what these prophets and apostles uttered in the past is still valid in the present. The word holy differentiates the true prophets from the false.]

“The command of our Lord and Savior” refers to the teachings of Jesus’ which were being proclaimed by the apostles (Jude 17). Linking the prophets and apostles together placed them on the same level of authority (Eph. 2:20). The unity of Scripture is also pictures by referring to both the holy prophets or the Old Testament and the apostles or the New Testament. Because he places his writings alongside those of the holy prophets, Peter is wonderfully aware of the inspiration of the Spirit flowing through him as surely as it had flowed through Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.


II. PETER’S ADMONITION, 2 Pete4 3:3-4.


Verse 3 proclaims a critical warning to believers of the scoffers that will come toward the close of human history. “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,

The great water shed that divides mankind in two groups is those who accept the revelation of this Book and those who reject it. First of all means “above all” (as in 1:20), calling attention to a matter of foremost importance. It is critical to know that in the last days there will be mockers of God’s truth. In the last days they will not only reject God’s Word, they will mock it.

They will disrespect or mock the truth of Christ by using their own perversions that they want to be the truth. They scoff at God’s Word not knowing that this very scoffing fulfills Bible prophecy. Even though these people have always existed to threaten the church of Jesus Christ from its earliest days, their ungodly activity will increase in “the last days,” that period of time preceding His second coming. Peter, John, Jude, and Paul all make reference to the increase of false teachers, warning the church with prophetic passion that they are not to be alarmed (1 John 2:18; Jude 18-19; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). [Peter understood that he and his readers were living in the last days, the period of time between the Lord’s First and Second Advents. If Peter believed so then, believers should certainly believe so now.] This flouting of the Word and the terrible apostasy [from within the “church”] was also predicted by our Lord. Do you recall the question put by our Lord, “When The Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? (Lk. 18:8).[Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Expository Sermons on 2 Peter. 1983. Banner of Truth Trust. Carlisle, PA. p. 170.]

This scoffing at God’s truth is the expected course that this world system will take with one heresy leading to another drawing mankind further away from their Creator. They mock God’s Word so that they can believe what they want and do whatever they want. They want no Word from God influencing their thinking or behavior.


Another characteristic of the last days is that self-willed people will doubt the coming of the Lord as verse 4 indicates. “and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

The implication of their question is: “There is no Second Coming, we can live any way we want. God will never judge us.” Those who mock and reject the Lord hold the position that the universal system is stable. That existence is the way it always had been since the beginning ofcreation or, in the case of most, since we evolved. [One would surmise that earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, fires floods and tidal waves don’t make their intended impact upon them.] The intent is that there is no reason to be concerned about pursuing righteousness or about God’s punishment for unrighteousness. These people pursued their own lusts scoffing at the idea that they would be judged. They foolishly claimed that Christ was never going to return and that there was no such thing as a final accounting before the holy God. [Easy-To-Read Commentary Series. The General Epistles: A Practical Faith.]

The root of skepticism and cynicism lies in a desire to follow one’s flesh and fulfill one’s lust. A denial of the return of Jesus allows people to live however they want because it removes accountability to the God who made them and who will return for them. People can verbally deny the return of Christ but most simply deny it by they way they choose to live their life, as if His return and their accountability for how they have lived has no evident impact on how they live or what they do.




Verses 5 & 6 answer the previous arguments by reviewing some ancient history. Verse 5 refers to the fact that people persistently ignore an obvious fact. “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the Word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,

Their reasoning is faulty, for how can it be otherwise? If they don’t believe that existence came into being by the Word of God, all their reasoning is based on a flawed premise. The scoffers deliberately (thelontas, “willingly”) forget that God’s Word brought the Creation into existence and that He desires that men acknowledge it. [Willful forgetfulness is an interesting contrast with Peter’s constant reminders to his readers to “remember” (2 Peter 1:12–13, 15; 3:1–2, 8).]

When the lives of these people mock God, they willfully forget that God created everything that exists. [Peter obviously believed in a ex-nihilo creation, or the idea that all things have been created out of nothing (Heb. 11:3).] God’s Word created the heavens and the earth. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was already with God in the beginning. [3] Everything came into existence through Him. Not one thing that exists was made without Him” (John 1:1-3). Yet, scoffers deny that God created the world in the beginning and deny that God would judge the world at its conclusion.

Creation though was all due to the divine Word of God. There is no evolutionary concept of creation, with the act taking place over millions or billions of years.

The heavens existed refers to the expanse or sky created on the second day of Creation (Gen. 1:6–8); and the earth was formed out of water and with water refers to the land appearing from the water on the third day of Creation (Gen. 1:9–10).

[Some believe that this verse implies that a water canopy surrounded the earth in the early days of its existence, protecting it from the harmful effects of the sun. This water canopy perhaps created a "hothouse" effect which made possible the tropical plants and the large reptile like creatures which we know as dinosaurs. Some even cite this canopy as the reason for the longevity of man as described in the early chapters of Genesis. But the Flood brought about a great change in the earth's climate and topography. Barbieri, Lou. First & Second Peter. 2003 The Moody Bible Institute. Chicago. p. 135]


Verse 6 states a direct intervention by God in the course of human history. “through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.

The scoffers’ claim is short-sighted and ignorant because they ignore the fact that things have not continued as they were from the beginning. In the previous verse, Peter stated that the universe and all contained within it were created by the Word of God. Now Peter informs his readers that by the same Word of God, judgment was meted out upon every living being in response to humanity’s great wickedness.

He reminds us of another time in human history when men scoffed. Day after day, decade upon decade, as Noah constructed a prophetic warning of gigantic proportion, the ridicule of his friends and neighbors accompanied the sounds of his saw and hammer. But eventually, the collapse of the water canopy that surrounded the earth in days of antiquity caused rain to fall, and the bursting forth of the underground water system resulted in a world-wide flood. A world wide flood is evidenced to this day not only by geological data, but by its appearance in the written or oral history of virtually every culture. Jesus Himself pointed to this incident which resulted from people’s behavior then linked it to His future return (Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26-30-37).

In other words, people should not rely on their false assumption that God has little or nothing to do with the world that He created. Instead, they must realize that by His Word He can create anything that He desires, and by His Word He can destroy anything that He has created.


Verse 7 refers to the day when God will come to judge the earth and cleanse it from evil. “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

“By the same Word” meaning the Word of God that brought existence into being (v. 5) and brought the watery destruction upon Noah’s day (v.6), by the same Word God also sustains His Creation. God not only created existence, God also maintains and preserves His creation every moment of every day for as long as He desires. By the Word of God alone the world continues to exist, dependably consistent in the orbits of the galaxies, giving to the earth the life-sustaining nourishment of sun and rain, day and night, spring and fall (Colossians 1:15-17). Moreover, there is a specific limitation to this world’s existence according to the sovereign will of the Almighty. The power of the Word which sustains all living things will one day release the fire of His judgment upon on the world and on its wicked people. In fact, the world is preserved for just such a catastrophic fiery destruction when the world will come to an end in a blazing inferno, as Peter describes in later in this passage. [Easy-To- Read Commentary Series, The General Epistles: A Practical Faith.]

Let the cartoonists draw their caricatures of prophets of doom. Let the world make its jokes. But you can go to the bank on the fact that just as the world was flooded with water in days ofold, it will one day be burned with fire. This fire is described in Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15. Isaiah (51:6, 66:15–16) and Malachi (4:1) associate fire with the return of the Lord also.

At that time the earth as we know it will undergo a far greater impact of God that water. The judgment of the earth by fire refers to the day when God will come to judge the earth and destroy all evil (This is called the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament.) Peter envisions the great and final judgment of the earth.

[We may reasonably conclude that the Lord Jesus will intervene in history by His second advent to institute His kingdom on earth.] In spite of the fact that the Lord has not yet returned, the hope of His return is a present reality for the believer. The Flood and the future renovation ofthe earth by fire remind the believer that God accomplishes what He purposes, and He has declared that Jesus Christ will come again someday (Acts 1:11).




It may seem that God is remote, that He is not very involved in His creation. However, it would be a big mistake to arrive at this conclusion. Judgment day is as certain as day follows night. There was a beginning and there will be an end to all things as determined by the unchanging will of Almighty God. Therefore, people should not be casual about their ungodly behavior. The righteousness of God demands righteousness from those who have been created in His image.

The argument is simple. If God would so completely destroy His own creation because of the sin of Noah’s day, then everyone should be assured that sin upon the earth in our day will not go unpunished forever. The Lord will eventual reach an end to His patience and mercy for His righteousness and justice will not permit unrighteousness to continually go unchecked or unpunished. Those who conclude that He is an uninvolved, uncaring God will one day be impacted by the fact that He is an All-knowing Sovereign God who has expected all His creation to yield His rightful place to Him. By the very holiness of His nature, His judgment should be expected on those that deny His rightful place in life and their life. [The Easy-to-Read Commentary Series – The General Epistles: A Practical Faith.]

Since man lost his righteousness and forsook the image of the God that created Him, there is no way he can escape the horrors of this judgment day. All will perish because of their own sin and because they have defied their Creator by rejecting their only Savior. Only those in Jesus Christ will escape this punishment. May we remember that “The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). As surely as there is salvation for the believer, there is terrible judgment for the scoffer, scorner, and ungodly.

The inevitability of God’s judgment is a call for the unbeliever to examine his sinful condition, and for the believer to be consistently obedient to His Word. God has the end in mind and in sight. Next week we will learn why God seems to allow sin to increase in such a detrimental way within His world.