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.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 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! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:10-18
THE END. What comes to mind when we see these words? Most of us think of the cessation or termination of something. Old cartoons and movies insult us by flashing “The End” on the screen, as if we don’t realize the show is over. But maybe there’s a message in there. We struggle to identify endings in this life. In this sense, Peter is quite interested in the end that is coming. He speaks of the day of the Lord, a day that will come like a thief, a day that will transform the heavens and the earth, a day that will mean judgment for some and salvation for others. At the close of our Sojourn series, Peter ends his letter by reminding us of the end. As much as we hear that “the joy is in the journey,” is there joy in a journey that ends in destruction? As the people of God, we cannot overstate how important it is to understand Who is coming, where we are going, and what that means for our lives as we watch and wait. You may have heard the question: “Where does the 800-pound gorilla sit?” The answer is, “Wherever he wants.” Something that big and powerful has the right to rearrange the room. In the Scriptures, the return of Christ is an 800-pound gorilla. In the midst of a thousand things that could lead us off the path, the coming of Christ fixes our gaze and sets our horizon. As we continue to travel together, how much will the return of Christ inform and empower our journey?
THE END. In our squishy English language, the end is not just about finish lines. The end also signifies an ultimate goal or purpose. Many of our children learn Question 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism at an early age. “What is the chief end of man?” “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” In this sense, Peter calls us to a life that aligns with the supremacy of God in all things. As we sojourn together, waiting, preparing, growing, we live under this banner: “To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18). In The End For Which God Created the World, Jonathan Edwards writes that “all that is ever spoken of in the Scripture as an ultimate end of God’s works is included in that one phrase, the glory of God.” Edwards imagines God’s glory shining upon us and into us, and then being reflected back to God through our lives. “The beams of glory come from God, are something of God, and are refunded back again to their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and to God; and He is the beginning, and the middle, and the end.” As we continue to travel together, for what (or for whom) will we live?
As we finish this season of our sojourn, we’re reminded of two precious truths. We know that the end is coming with Christ’s return, and with it, the beginning of eternity in His unveiled presence. Knowing that we have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading should give us joy and confidence as we walk by faith (1 Peter 1:3-5). We also know that, whatever happens, it is ultimately from Him and through Him and to Him (Romans 11:36). By God’s grace, let us live for the end for which we were created. The good news that God rescues, redeems, and reorients is as true for us today as it was for Peter in the first century. Jesus lived, died, and rose again so that we might no longer live for ourselves but for Him who for our sakes died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:15). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the founder and perfecter of our faith, the God of our sojourn. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.