Since all these things (the heavens and heavenly bodies) are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought we to be in lives of holiness and godliness!

2 Peter 3: 11

 

Most people spend a very great amount of time and energy on building up our world. This is not a bad thing to do. In fact, there is much about this effort that is both commendable and in conformity with God’s stated desire and will for us. Yet, there does come a time when we need to realize that everything that we do for the sake of this world and to improve its environment is headed for final destruction. In other words, we are a bit like the proverbial doctor who has spared no cost in working to save a patient who simply dies of old age at about the same time as the cure is effective. It is all a noble yet futile effort. Again, caring about and for creation is not futile and following God’s will in this matter is true obedience to our Lord; yet, in the end, Christ will return, and all that has been infected and corrupted by sin will be wiped away and then made new.

 

So, it seems to me that the point of our care for this world is about something other than the dirt, trees, and waterways of our planet, and the purpose behind these efforts needs to be aligned with a heart and a desire that is focused on something other than clean air, clear water, and the preservation of species. The very nature and character of God is reflected in the minute details of His creative handiwork. Although some will disagree with me on this, I state uncatagorically that God, Himself, made all of this world and every one of the other ones that proliferate across the heavens. He not only made them, the Lord fashioned them down to the smallest of details in and upon them, and He did all of this in order to set the context and the place for His engagement and relationship with the highest form of His workmanship in the form of people. I do not pretend to understand the whys of it all, and I certainly do not comprehend God’s methodology; however, I do accept that all that surrounds me is important to my Lord and that He desires that I view it in this same manner.

 

Yet, in so viewing creation, I am to maintain a balance and a set of priorities that holds God’s greatest desires as foremost to me. As much as the Lord is pleased by the care that we give to our physical world, He is even more delighted when we reach out to care for other people who dwell upon this earth. God does want us to protect our environment; yet, His intent in imploring us to do this is that there would be safe and sustainable places for humanity to dwell and so that people who do not know Him would see a tangible demonstration of Christ’s love for them in the sacrificial efforts of His followers. God calls upon His people to be holy and godly. We are to walk through our days as women and men who are neither afraid nor are we concerned about what it means to be viewed as different by our co-inhabitants of this world. We become god-like as our thoughts and actions reflect a form of care that will give our all for the sake of other people and that does surrender everything that we hold as dear or precious to serve Christ and to enter into living out His will. Thus, we care for creation with hearts and minds fixed upon the fact that the only thing that actually matters to God in the end of days is the souls of His beloved people.

Since all of things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?

2 Peter 3: 11

 

Peter is speaking of a time to come when the Lord is ready to fulfill His commitment to end the existence of all that has become broken by the presence of sin and then bring about the installation of the new creation in its sinless perfection. This event will be preceded by times of great upheaval and chaotic days when truth is hard to discern and where the usual points of reference will be lost so that up will seem as down and apparent friend may actually be fiercest of enemy. We are not at this place in history yet, but God does not promise to inform us of the coming of these harshest of final days. So, we cannot live in any certainty regarding the date and the hour that the Lord will set out as the moment to speak forth these days. This is the reality that leads Peter to set out this question for himself and for all other followers of Christ.

 

Everything that we see in this world, and even the relationships that we have worked to nurture and to build will come to an end. Nothing of this world is to remain at the end of this tumultuous period of conflict, purification, and restoration of the perfection of God’s pure creation. Although it is clear from Scripture that people who know Christ and are thus known by God do continue to exist into all of eternity, the exact form and manner of that new life is beyond human description and full comprehension. Also, there will be a very significant change in all of us in that the hard and very real presence of our sinful old natures that interrupts and disrupts our human relationships now will no longer exist. In God’s new creation we will love each other with the fullness and purity of Christ, and our love for God will know no limitations or lapses.

 

So, in light of the uncertainty of the events of the days ahead, in Christ we can enter into a very certain approach to life. We can trust God’s Word and His nature fully and can thus seek Him out for all wisdom, direction, and counsel. Christ is with us in all of the details of living as a victor over sin in this fallen world. We can enter into accepting the grace of salvation and the on-going provision of Christ’s grace for the various ways that we all do fail to achieve God’s standards of righteousness, and as we are granted grace and mercy, we must also be ever gracious and merciful with others, even with people who truly rub us the wrong way. Then, because of Christ’s love for each of us, we are enabled and empowered to love all others in a manner that is like Him. Thus, followers of Christ are to be a people who are known for our love and our mercy and grace; we must be the defenders of justice in our world and the people who work to make peace in the midst of the storm that swirls about us as the squall line of the end of days events begins to buffet our world.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

2 Peter 3: 14

 

We live in a time that might be called The Day of the World or perhaps The Day of Man. You see, the conditions that exist for us today are ones that we have made for ourselves. They are a reflection of the world that we humans have desired for ourselves since the first people defied God and moved themselves and everyone since out of dwelling in God’s perfect shalom and into the violent brokenness that is our home. We need to own what our hands have created, and we must accept the fact of the chaos that is the product of our industry. Yet, in stark contrast to all of this stands God.

 

The Lord is not distant or disinterested in our world. He is very engaged in it and with us. Even with those first people and their almost unimaginable rejection of God’s truth in favor of the temporary image of being like God, the Lord poured out grace and mercy on them. So He continues to do this for all people to this day. God had promised to bring about the purification and the restoration of His Creation. In Christ He provided the means for each and every person on the earth to be a participant in this restorative work. This is what Christ does in and for everyone who sets aside our inherited and false god-likeness and yields our self to the one true and eternal Savior and Lord, that is, Christ.

 

So, as we await that day when Christ will come, and God’s plan for the cleansing away of the evil that is sin in our world, we have choices to make. We can determine to live our lives in a manner that honors God and that follows Christ. We can do this absolutely or we can set out conditions and circumstances for our commitment to God. Most of us land somewhere in the camp of people who do hold back some things and parts of ourselves. Yet, God wants all of us, and He wants us to seek Him always. The standard that Peter sets for us in being found by Christ to be “without spot or blemish” is impossible to achieve. We all sin, and we all fall short of that righteous glory that is Christ. Yet, the One whose blood cleanses us absolutely is also the One who pronounces us holy and fit for God’s presence. Thus we can live in our imperfection yet diligently seek Christ and His will while resting in that perfect peace, the eternal shalom, that is found only in the presence of God.