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.
–2 Peter 3:9
Where exactly are we on God’s timetable? How close are we to the end? There are two places we need to look to answer that question.
First, we need to look at the world situation. The Bible says the final events that usher in the return of Christ will take place in and around Israel. We can’t know the hour or day, but we can know some important things about the world situation. In the last days, there will be increased hostility toward the Jewish people and Israel. Right now, we see nation after nation turning their backs on Israel. Also, there is a striking similarity between our world and the world the Bible describes at the end of time. We may be the generation to experience the rapture of the church. Our confrontation with God is soon. Every sign points in one direction: it won’t be long now.
Second, we need to look at the Bible. People ask me, “Why doesn’t the Lord put an end to this world situation and come back?” Peter answers that question in 2 Peter 3: “In the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 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 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. 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 the earth and its works will be burned up” (vv. 3, 9-10). There are three insights from this passage to remember.
Number one: the Lord’s return is certain because God promised it. Scoffers say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” People were also saying that before the flood. God had promised to destroy the world, but the flood was delayed. So people scoffed. But while they were eating, drinking, and marrying, the flood swept them away. So will it be when Christ returns.
Number two: the Lord’s return will usher in a day of judgment for the ungodly. When the flood came, it swept away unbelievers into everlasting judgment. God promised He will never again destroy the world by water. He will destroy it by fire. Everything we see will be burned up one day at the Lord’s return. The Lord’s return signals his judgment.
Number three: the Lord’s return is delayed to give people a chance to trust in Christ. God gave this delay to give people a final chance to repent. God loves people, but He is also a God of justice. He must judge sin. God has provided a way of escape through faith in Jesus Christ, and God is giving every person one last chance to repent before the Day of Judgment comes.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Should We Now Live?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.