In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij examines Peter’s teaching in 2 Peter 3:7-12 as to why the Lord Jesus has delayed his return and what is certain to happen at Christ’s return. As Pastor Babij explains, these truths from 2 Peter should cause us to rest securely in the character of God and to wait for and love Christ’s appearing.
1. The Lord Is Unlike Us (v. 8)
2. The Lord Is Patient towards Us (v. 9)
3. The Lord’s Return Will Be Surprising to Us (v. 10a)
4. The Lord’s Return Will Be Certain for Us (vv. 7, 10-12)
Let’s take our Bibles this morning and turn to 2 Peter. I’m coming to an end of this particular book very soon. Let me pray before I look at this text.
Lord thank You this morning for just giving this opportunity to us to meet together, to worship you, to fellowship, to hear Your word, to partake of the Lord’s table. And I pray, Lord, that we would do it with a sincere heart and a heart that wants to receive Your word and actually have our wills moved to do your work. So I pray, Lord, that we would be receptive to it. And I pray in Christ’s name, amen.
The second coming is the supreme hope of the church. Jesus promised that He would come back again. And through the centuries, believers have waited expectantly for His return. The Son of God came the first time in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. He was despised and rejected of men. He was arrested, beaten, ridiculed, and finally put to death, the just being put to death for the unjust. After three days and nights, He rose from the grave and spent 40 more days with His disciples to talk about the kingdom of God. Then He talked with His followers, and then suddenly was taken up to heaven.
You know, among the very small community of the military special forces, when they would prepare for their missions, they had a statement that they used to quietly tell each other. It was a statement of reality. And the statement really was this – prepare to self rescue because no one is coming. The reason for that is because everybody could be killed. So you’ve got to find your way to get out of there.
But someday, Jesus will come again. We don’t have to self-rescue. And just as the angels promised on the the day of our Lord’s ascension that He is coming back again, since then the church has spoke about Him, has sung about Him, has written about Him, has preached His gospel and taught His word. And we also pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. See, the true church longs to see Jesus. Suddenly, He will come. Again, He promised that. In fact, the New Testament mentions this over 300 times. No one knows the exact time Jesus will return, but Christians are not in darkness, as it says in Thessalonians, that that day should overtake them as a thief. The admonition for the believer is not get ready but be ready.
And if you noticed, the Lord has delayed His coming, and for good reason. And knowing the reasons for His delay should cause you and I to rest securely in the character of our God and our loving Savior Jesus Christ, and should cause us to wait for and love His appearing.
Now, what are the reasons for Christ’s delayed return? That brings me to the text, 2 Peter 3. Look at verse 8. It says:
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
The first reason why the Lord is delaying is because the Lord is unlike us. He’s unlike us. God is outside of time. That means that God’s relationship and view of time is enormously different from our own. Remember, this is all in the context, 2 Peter, of rebuking and exposing false teachers. The false teachers failed to grasp the vital attribute of the eternality of God. God is not bound by the constraints of time signatures like we are – the past, the present, the future. It was Vern Poythress who said – God does not compete with time, nor is he trapped by time. Everything that happens, it happens exactly when God planned it to happen. So God is outside of time. Thus to God, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. However, the false teacher is because the second coming has not occurred within their concept of time. It serves for them to be a verification that the idea of the parousia or the coming of Christ is unfounded. In other words, the question was, where is this coming? Where is He? It’s been a long time. I don’t see any visible things that He’s coming. It just shows their skepticism. See God, He is Lord over time.
I remember when I was a little boy. My parents would announce that this next weekend we’d be driving to Pennsylvania to visit my grandmother and my grandfather. A trip to my grandparents was always an adventure. So I often looked forward to visiting. I would ask my mom – how long would it take to drive there? And she would say about 3 hours. And on the way, we would stop and get some hot dogs and ice cream. I don’t know if you ever went past hot dog Johnny’s going towards the Delaware water gap. Get a good hot dog and some buttermilk and even some ice cream, but good stuff. So I looked forward to that. Now when Saturday came and the car was packed and my sisters and I would jump into the back seat, excited to get away for the weekend trip. Once we got out of town and onto the highway, about 30 minutes into the trip, the infamous question was presented to my parents, and I think you can guess what it is. Are we there yet? That question would be asked several more times with greater intensity and in different ways. How much longer? And that would all be done before arriving on time in my grandparents’ driveway that day.
My parents didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get there. Of course, I learned later that my perspective of time was very different than my parents. Their perspective on time was more mature than mine. They understood what it takes to get where we’re going. But as a little lad, I didn’t get it.
So you see, God’s perspective on time is very different than our own. What we hold to be a long time, two thousand years, is just a watch in the night for our sovereign God. The apostle Peter is relating, actually to his readers, what Moses learned concerning the character of God while he was wandering in the desert for 40 years. Could you imagine wandering in the desert for 40 years? How much time dragged on from sunrise to sunset and then the nights were long and hot? This is Psalm 90 verse 1, a prayer of Moses, the man of God:
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.”
And then he said this:
For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.
See, Moses was also relating in that passage of Scripture that while wandering in the desert, there are many funerals too. A whole generation had to die before they got to the promised land and they can go in. So probably at least maybe a couple of funerals a day in the desert. We will never know that, but it was bad news too.
So, when we are tempted to think like a skeptic, because we are being bombarded with bad news every single day in our country, we must consider these verses. When we see how much hatred and bad news and violence and unkindness and death that is in this world, we may think – if God is good, why is He taking so long to set things right? We may have thought that. But when that thought comes into your mind, you must remember – God’s perspective on time is very very different than our own. But you can bank on this – He promised He’s coming back. That truth remains unmovable. So see, the first reason that the Lord is delaying is because He’s not like us and we have to just trust Him that what He says and what He’s going to do will come to pass because everything He said in the past came to pass. So you have to trust Him.
A second reason for Christ’s delay is found in verse 9 of chapter 3 of 2 Peter. It’s this – the Lord is patient toward us. Notice what it says in verse 9,
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
The Greek term used here is the term that really describes the patience and the long-suffering that God has. It brings out the large amount of constraint the Lord displays to contain His anger, to hold back His wrath, to hold back His second coming. In fact, the word in Greek is makrothumeo. Macro meaning large, that He has a large amount of power to restrain His own judgment coming. And thank the Lord He does that. It means to delay, to slow, to be forbearing. The false teachers, they just don’t understand who God is. Therefore, they also failed to consider the gracious ways of God. Yes, in relation to time, it does seem things are moving slowly and are taking a long time to pan out. But when you get to a certain age, that kind of changes. And because of this delay, one may conclude that all remains the same or maybe God has forgotten or changed His mind and forgot to tell someone. See, the mockers were accusing God of being slow or not being involved at all.
Here’s the wonderful thing about our Lord. He has not left us to speculate about the reasons for His delay. He tells His children what He is doing. Understood from God’s perspective, His delay clearly goes to the heart of what God desires for humanity. His delay is evangelistic, and God is on schedule. The parousia, the coming of the Lord, has been delayed due to God’s patience and seeking redemption for all His sheep. In other words, God is not wishing, He is not willing that any of His elect will perish. The passage may be read as follows in verse 9,
the Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any of you, His chosen ones, to perish but for all to come to repentance.
The ESV actually even includes to reach repentance. In other words, we’re all going to make it there who are God’s children. We’re all going to make it there. See, the reason He is not acting is so all the chosen will come to repentance. God is waiting for all He has chosen to come to Him to believe in Christ and to be save. The lost souls have to have a change of heart, to turn from sin to serve the true and living God. That’s why I like he says here, that He is patient toward you, toward us, toward His people. The loving nature of God has led to His patience desiring more time for more and more people to repent.
It was J. I. Packer who helpfully comments on this particular way of thinking. And he said this – does not the existence of evil, moral badness, useless pain, and waste of good suggest that God the Father is not almighty after all? He answers that with a question – for surely He would remove these things if He could. Then the answer is, yes, He would. And He is doing so. How is He doing it? Through Christ. Bad people like you and I are already being made good and being sanctified by the Spirit of God, made ready for His presence right now. Also, new pain and disease-free bodies are on the way, and a reconstructed cosmos with them. So if God moves more slowly than we wish in clearing out evil from His world and introducing a new order, then we can be sure about this – it is an order to widen His gracious purpose and include in it more victims of this world’s evil than otherwise could have been done.
This is the Lord’s doing this why? So people can be saved. People could be saved. So your children could be saved who are not saved yet. So your neighbor could be saved. So your co-worker could be saved. So your grandparents and your parents can be saved if they’re not saved yet. God is waiting patiently so the church could do its job, to go and tell people about what the Lord Jesus Christ has done.
See, have you received the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life only to be found in repenting of your sins and receiving Jesus Christ as your own Lord and Savior – have you done that? Do you know somebody who hasn’t done that yet? Are you praying for them and asking the Lord to send you to speak with them? When the author of the gospel is given to anyone, to you or anyone else, we should never despise the offer of mercy and grace because it may not come again. We must all thank God for His great patience and His long-suffering toward us, not only in bringing us to salvation, but even now in our sanctification, He’s patient with us. He’s gracious to us. He’s good to us. He’s kind to us. And that should cause us to be very thankful for our salvation and not ever take it for granted.
There’s a third reason for Christ’s delay, found in verse 10, the beginning of verse 10. And it’s this – the Lord’s return will be surprising. It says,
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
Let me backtrack a little bit, because remember, the context of false teachers is in the background here. The distorted thinking of the scoffers and the mockers, with their distorted reality, their twisted moralitym and their perverted spirituality will not be ready for this surprise. A judgment will come on the mockers and deniers when the coming of Christ and the final judgment of God fall on the ungodly of this world. The false teachers, spoken of in chapter two, are again manifested by their denial of Christ’s coming, their denial of God’s final judgment, which allows them to live the way they want. The free living teaching that they display to their audience to justify their lifestyle.
But just think, who could let himself or herself go into immoral excess or some sin if they really believe that the Lord is coming at any moment, ready to return to judge the living and the dead. If they really believed that, would they change what they’re doing? I believe they would. If they said they believed it and there was no change, they don’t believe the first part. Because what you believe, you will do. What you say you believe in don’t do makes you a hypocrite.
So you see the dangerous result of free-living teaching of the false teachers was an outright denial of Christ’s coming in final judgment. And moral laxity is always to be found in false doctrine in some form or another. A Sunday school teacher asked her class – what is false doctrine? One of her pupils, the son of a physician, had this answer. He said, false doctrine is when a doctor give sick people the wrong stuff. How true is that? False doctrine is false doctoring. Indeed, false prophets give the wrong stuff to sin-sick people. They don’t need what they want to hear. No, you’ve got to give them what they don’t want to hear, and that is God’s truth, right? If you want to give people what they want to hear, you’ll never save them. In a sense, the gospel is offensive. It’s going to convicted people. It’s going to bring people to a place where they say they don’t want to hear, but they know they’re suppressing the truth and they need the truth.
So false teachers and those who follow them do not live in light of eternity. Their temporal mindset keeps them earthbound, pursuing only what they can acquire in this earthly realm. It was Leland Ryken – he used to be the pastor of Tenth Pres in Philadelphia, now the president of Wheaton University, who rightly said, faith, real faith orients a person to eternity, where as scoffers remain children of time.
We need to be like Jonathan Edwards, who used to pray – Lord, stampede eternity upon my eyeballs. Don’t let me get locked into the temporal things that distract in this world. False teachers were so locked in to the present pleasures of this life that they thought of Christ’s return and God’s future coming Kingdom was just for them a blur in their greedy hearts and their corrupt desires. Their minds were so clouded that the second coming seem to them just a fairytale story. That’s all it was. But the day of the Lord is coming. It’s not here yet, but it is coming.
The mockers mock the notion of Christ’s return and willfully conclude he is not coming. They proceed in this thinking because they don’t want to give up their lusts. They don’t want to give up their sin. They love their sin. By their assessment and their forgetful view of history, things seem to remain the same as far as their selective memories can recollect. A generation with this mindset will be unprepared for His coming. They will not be ready. See the warning in 2 Peter is that this day of God’s justice will come like a thief, like a burglar who comes in by stealth to sift through your belongings while you sleep, trying to come in undetected.
The day of the Lord will happen when people least expect it and are least prepared for it, even though they have been given ample evidence it will happen. People, in general, will be ignorantly unprepared. And false teachers undermine the belief in God’s promise that He’s coming. But God keeps His promises and He will be back and it will be just at the right moment because God’s timing is always right.
So what is the church to do? The church is to be ready. Be ready, for it is coming. The point is that this world will end and this close of human history will come unexpectedly. When a cataclysm arrives, it will be final. He will destroy the cosmos with fire as well as the ungodly. And He will create a new heaven and a new earth for his people. That’s what Scriptures tell us.
See, God is delaying. This last one is not necessarily telling us about the delay, but it’s telling us what God will do. The Lord’s return will be certain for us, for everyone. If you notice in verse 7 of 2 Peter chapter 3 and then verses 10 through 12 also. Before I read that, I just want you to notice. It says,
But the day of the Lord will come…
in verse 10. It will come. Just because God is delaying His coming does not mean God’s justice will not prevail. For the past several messages, I wanted to bring to your attention the phrases that the apostle Peter uses in verse 10 and 12 in 2 Peter chapter 3 to point believers to keep their focus on the plan of God and on the end of the ages. If you noticed in verse 10 chapter 3, it says this:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, in the earth and its works will be burned up.
Those are very clear, definite words that’s going to take place in the future because God says it will, and it will take place. And when it does take place, what will happen? The elements of the universe will be wrecked. Look at what it says in verse 7:
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.
So Christians are to be sure that just as at one time water brought judgment, this time fire shall do so. Fire as a picture of enforcing God’s judgment is a common theme throughout Scripture. All you got to do is go to all the prophets and somewhere you’re going to find in there what God is actually doing. For example, Joel 2:30-31 says:
I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
That’s talking about the day of the Lord there. And then Isaiah tells us something similar. Nahum tells us something similar. The last prophet who speaks, Malachi, he says this:
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
See, you look in the Scripture and the Bible is already telling us a long time ago what God is going to do. Peter is just making it very clear. This is what’s going to take place. Also the passage of Scripture in Isaiah 34 that speaks about God judging the nations. I like this passage of Scripture, but specifically verse four says this:
And all the hosts of heaven where wear away, in the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree.
See God’s going to do this. He is going to definitely destroy what is left with fire. So this is the time that is sure to come, and only God Himself knows how close it is. It is even interesting how scientists describe the second law of thermodynamics. It kind of proves this truth. Second law of thermodynamics is a scientific axiom describing how systems tend to decay and use up their available energy, and then the energy changes into another form. So if we think of the universe as one system, over time order will disintegrate into disorder. I guess Greg was telling me that’s entropy disorder. It’s like trying to clean you room and the more you try to organize it, the more it gets disordered. We all have rooms like that, don’t we? No matter how neat and clean you are, you have a room like that, or a closet, or a basement or an attic.
See, this means our universe must have had a beginning. It could not have existed eternally. The word of God proves this to be true. If you just take your Bibles and turn to Genesis 1:1, what does it say:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The heavens and the earth have not always been here. Peter is telling us it’s not always going to continue, this present heaven and earth. So because our universe is continually depleting, it will also have an end. The Scriptures say the energy or the universe is diminishing. It’s breaking apart. Like it says in Psalm 102:25-26:
Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
All over Scripture, you see what the Lord is doing. It was Rudolf Clausius who expressed this view of the second law of thermodynamics when he said, and I quote – “since every conversion of energy from one form to another produces some heat, in the long run all energy will be converted to heat. In the end, there will be a uniform distribution of heat. In the end, heat death must overtake a closed system.”
Now look back at 2 Peter verse 7:
But by the word of the Lord the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement and the destruction of ungodly men.
Look at verse 10:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat,
And then in verse 12:
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
So because the second law of thermodynamics is true, and yes scientifically true, it cannot also be false. Now some have debated whether to understand these verses metaphorically or literally. That is, are we do understand that the elements that compose the present heavens and earth will literally melt in fire and disappear? Or are we to take these terms as a forcibly metaphorical way, in a metaphorical way of expressing how complete will be God’s judgment and the change in character between the old and the new forms of a continuing creation? Will there be a cleansing by fire of all that is spoiled by human sin, though not a removal of the whole material universe?
It’s hard to believe that the apostle would switch from the literal to the metaphorical, since he has been all along describing literal, historical judgments by water in the worldwide flood in Noah’s day to fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham and Lot’s day. Plus, he piles up descriptive words to support the context as being literal. This actually is going to happen. The flood actually did flood the whole world. This is going to take place, and God is going to destroy the heavens and the earth.
And again, looking 2 Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed…
Will pass away is a way of saying something is coming to an end. It is perishing. It’s disappearing. It’s losing its force to stay together.
Even Mark 13:31 says,
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
So the temporal is being put up against the eternal. Something will be gone. Something will stay. And then it says in verse 10 – will be destroyed. Actually the root word for the Greek word here is the word luo and the basic meaning of the word luo is too loose. Translated with the various meanings in the context, it literally means to break something up into its component parts, to destroy it, to tear it down, to break it apart. So what will be loosed in the future? Although the word stoicheia means elements, the elements it says in our text – the elements will be destroyed. Elements is literally things in a row. It’s the rudimentary elements of anything which belongs to a basic series of a field of knowledge. Like in grammar, things in a row would be a, b, c, d. They would be in a row. You really can’t reverse them. And then speech, basic sounds like a e i o u, when you learn those things. They are basics. Basic rudiments in physics, the four basic elements of earth and air and fire and water. Or the elements of heavenly bodies – sun and moon and stars. In astronomical physics, you have atomic particles, which are the basic structure of nature. What’s going to happen is that they’re going to come apart. They’re going to be loosed at God’s word. It’s all going to happen.
In fact, it says in Scripture, these things will pass away with a roar. And this word roar is an onomatopoeic words, an adverb describing the sound of how it will take place. It’s like a rushing sound, a hissing sound, a crackling sound, like the hissing of a snake or the flapping of wings of a bird or the cracking sound of a bullet moving at a high speed through the air. Military snipers have this saying – if you heard the cracking sound of the bullet, I wasn’t aiming at you. And why? Because the bullet is moving faster than the speed of sound. So if you heard the sound, the bullet had already passed you by. But if you didn’t hear the sound, the sniper was aiming at you. You may rest in peace.
So the Bible is saying, the wizzing sound produced by rapid motion through the air accompanied by a crash or a great noise. With the modern movies we have today, there’s a lot of things blowing up in most movies, right? And when they blow up, you can hear the “sss” sound, right? The wizzing sound of all the parts being flung all over the place. That the sense here in this passage. Whatever or whomever is holding these elements together. We know who’s holding these elements together. One day, He will allow them to be loosen at His word. Some have called this – God’s going to let the nuclear glue that holds things together dissolve and things will simply disintegrate. They’ll fall apart part and ultimately they will burn up. That’s what’s going to take place. And God is going to be in full control of that.
So this creation event will include a reordering of the universe, a cleansing of all sin and evil followed by a new birth for all God’s creation. Just as the apostle Paul told us in Romans chapter 8:
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
So the creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now, until end of creation. What are we waiting for? We’re waiting for the full redemption to come – the dropping of our bodies to new bodies that come and we will be fully redeemed in the presence of God, and we will be in a new creation and a new earth.
Even when you come to the book of Revelation, which we read this morning, it uses a similar language to describe the events of the end. It says in Revelation 20:11,
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, for whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
And then in Revelation 21:1,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
So God, not only does He do this when He comes, not only does He allow the elements of the universe to be wrecked, but He also has come and will come that the wicked inhabitants of the earth will be destroyed. Where it says in verse 7 at the end – the destruction of ungodly men. And of course, His judgment will be fair and will be just punishment for mankind’s sin.
And then, what else will He do? well, I want you to look at that last part of verse number 10. Notice what it says:
and the earth and its works will be burned up.
See, this is what God will do. He will reveal the deeds of men and women and He will expose them in his courtroom. That’s what He’ll do. Translators kind of had a hard time translating this because the New Revised Standard version translated like this,
everything that is done on earth will be disclosed.
it will be laid bare.
The NLT says,
it will be found to deserve judgement.
And then the ESV says,
the works that are done on it will be exposed.
So God is going to expose what is hidden, and there’s a lot of things hidden. We know evil’s going on but we can’t always identify it. It’s hidden. And people have a good way of hiding it, protecting other people to hide it. But someday, it won’t be able to be hidden because God’s going to expose it. So when the heaven and the earth pass away, the only thing left is man to give an account himself before the Creator. Therefore the great white throne is located somewhere in limitless space outside human history. It was my professor, Robert Thomas, who said that. And Revelation 20:11 says,
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
So although the great white throne is not a trial. There are no lawyers. There are no witnesses. God has made provision for records to be kept which will be presented as evidence at judgment. There will be two record books there actually. Revelation tells us that. Revelation 20:12
and books were opened; and another book was opened,
so God’s going to judge according to His perfect record. Divine records of people’s lives history will be available for inspection. And this means that the record of each human being has been kept in God’s books, and there will be two kind of books. The first book will be the book of man’s works. In revelation 12:21 – the books were opened. See, the record book of deeds of people are those who died. Now remember, this great white throne judgment is for people who died in their sin and not in the Lord. So they’re going to be judged by God. A record of all people’s deeds are kept by God. Memories, conscience, and violations of conscience, sin acts, motives, character, thoughts. Scripture makes consistent references to register human action. All kinds of human actions are registered in the book in God’s word. Malachi talks about the book of remembrance. Psalm talks about – they will be in your book. Psalm 56:8 says,
Record my lament. List my tears on your scroll. Are they not in Your record?
Matthew 12:37 says,
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
So Revelation 20:12 –
and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
So God will reach back into a person’s life to retrieve buried memories, half forgotten desires, and will bring these to an accurate and utterly faithful assessment at the bar of divine justice. Nobody will escape. The works of people are all written down. Secret sins will be brought to judgment. And God knows secret sins. He knows what’s done behind closed doors. He’s not blind to that. All of them are recorded and one day will be openly presented. Your skeletons will come out of your closets. There’ll be trembling and anxiety. There will be torment of soul when these sins are made available.
It’s Proverbs 28:13 who says,
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
There’s no compassion there. There’s no mercy left. There’s no grace. All there’s left there is judgement. And you don’t want to be there. God knows what is perfectly in your heart at all times. Every person who goes to the lake of fire makes his own way and pays for his own ticket.
On the other hand, those who trust Christ alone for eternal salvation escape the wages and get instead the gift of God – eternal life. No condemnation can be brought up against those who know Christ. And besides the record books, another book will be opened in the judgment. It is the book of life. That is the final humiliation, the final condemnation, the final blow of every sinner at this terrible judgment before Jesus on the great white throne. And what is the purpose of this book of life? It’s God’s final answer to every plea of the sinner. When the book of life is closed, mercy is gone forever.
And what is the book of life? The book of life only comes into the discussion only to show the names of these dead are not written there. They’re not written there. So this book, what does it contain? It contains the names of all those who have true spiritual life in Christ Jesus. Revelation 3:5,
He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My father and before His angels.
It is a book that uniquely belongs to the lamb of God and is related to His death. Revelation 13:8,
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
So there are going to be people whose names are not on that list. See brethren, your name needs to be there. My name needs to be there. And your name must be written in this book in order for you to enter the heavenly city. Revelation 21:27 says:
and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
You know that in the ancient world, that if you want to go into a city, you had to come to the gate and they had to check to see if your name was on the roll of citizens. And if your name was not on the roll of citizens, you were not staying in that city. You would have to leave it. See, those names written in the book of life are citizens of heaven and God’s special people. So rejoice today because your name is on the right roll. If it’s not, you need to get it there. And that’s only by coming to Christ. If your name is there, then you need to joyfully rejoice in God’s salvation that you never deserved. No matter what you would have done or not done, you never deserve salvation. I never would have deserve salvation. Even Luke 10:20 says,
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.
That’s where rejoicing comes from – sins forgiven, your name written down in heaven, possessor of eternal life, partaker of the divine nature, born of God, passed out of condemnation into life. What a blessed blessed state to be saved and in Christ. And when you die, you will die in Christ and not in your sin, delivered from the wrath of God at the cross. Jesus delivered all those who put their faith and trust in Him. And I pray that your salvation would never be commonplace, but every time you think of how God saved you, you would experience in your heart a fullness of joy.
The destination of those who are judged and die in their sin, it says in Revelation 20:14-15,
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
So here’s the question – is your name written there? And how do you know it? Are you sure of it? Peter started off his book saying – make sure you’re safe. Make sure you’re one of God’s elect. Don’t be fooling yourself on that great tremendous point in your life. Brethren, there’s one other passage of Scripture I want to close with – 2 Peter chapter 3. I want you to see verse 11, which I’ll pick up next time. Now, here you are. You’re the church, right? You say you’re in Christ. You know things that other people don’t know. And because you know what I preach today, it should automatically change your whole life, your whole direction. Look at what it says in verse 11:
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
Because you know this, where’s your godliness? Where’s your holiness? Do you have enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? I pray you do. And I pray that if you don’t, today would be the day of salvation. Today would be the day you come and believe in Christ. Don’t put it off any longer. I’ll pick that up next week. So be ready. Because I tell you what – Jesus is coming.
Let’s pray. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for Your kindness. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Your grace. Thank you, Lord, for Your patience. Thank you, Lord, that You’re not like us. Thank you, Lord, that Your patience awaits those to come in salvation. And Lord, even in our sanctification, Your patience is a very real thing that believers experience everyday. But Lord, I pray that we would be found to be Christians. To live for you each day, to bear the fruit of our salvation, to know that we’re elect, to know that our name is written in the book of life, the lamb’s book of life. And if it’s there, it’s because Christ did all the work, paid the price, turned away the wrath of the Father, took us from being enemies to becoming friends. Then He died, rose again to defeat Satan and death, went to heaven to pray for us and prepare a place for us, and He’s coming again. I thank You Lord for these great truths that really do transform our lives, the way we think, what we do, where we go. And I pray Lord, it would always bring us to worship you in a better and clearer away, a more sincere way. I just pray this this morning in Christ’s name. Amen.