10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12)
Through the Bible: 2 Peter 1-3, Jude 1
Bummer of a blog post for Christmas Day, huh? The birth of Jesus is the beginning of hope, not the end of the world. What are we doing here?
Well, we are doing what we’ve been doing all year long as we have gone through this journey together: we are going where God’s Word takes us. And today, God’s Word takes us to the end of the world.
Much of today’s reading sounds frankly terrifying. There will come a day when the heavens will pass away with a great noise. The heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved. The very stars and planets will melt as they burn (v. 12, ESV). I read this, and I expect Bruce Willis to show up at any moment, ready to fly a desperate mission to save the world from Armageddon.
In the midst of all this, Peter asks a rhetorical question: “What sort of people ought you to be?” (v. 11). I can think of a lot of answers, from a human perspective: we ought to be a terrified sort of people. We ought to be fearful sorts of people who build concrete bunkers deep underground, right?
Wrong. That isn’t at all Peter’s answer. In verse 14, Peter says, knowing all these things, we ought to be at peace:
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
How is that possible? Well, here’s where the perfect timing of God’s Word comes into play:
We can be at peace because of Christmas Day. Because when Jesus was born, the angels proclaimed “on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). It is possible because, by the blood of Jesus I can be found by God to be without spot or blemish. I am so thankful that I don’t have to rely on my own righteousness when I stand before God. If I did, I would probably start digging the bunker now!
Instead, I stand in the righteousness of Jesus, who became sin for me in order that I might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). I stand in righteousness because the Prince of Peace has come into this world. And for that reason, and that reason only, I have peace.
Father, thank you for your perfect peace, which will sustain me even in the coming judgment.
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