Read: 2 Peter 3:1-13
If you’re anything like me — an obedient Christian who loves Jesus, goes to church most Sundays, and memorizes my favorite verses — you probably read Peter’s commentary on the scoffers and their scoffing (v. 3-5) and thought, “Yeah, you tell ‘em Peter! Put them in their place.” I mean, we worship a powerful God who shouldn’t be mocked and whether or not the scoffers believe it, God will one day judge the world. As Peter says, “the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” These enemies to the Gospel need to be called out; our precious God doesn’t deserve haters like this and they’re only causing trouble! Right? Maybe not quite …
If you’re anything like the real me – a broken, wretched sinner, more selfish than I’d ever admit – you might read those verses and realize … I am the scoffer. Before my eyes were opened to the truth, I was in the same position of disbelief, mocking the idea of the coming of Christ, living life according to my own rules and desires. And, even in the context of this passage, I still, despite having my eyes opened to truth by the grace of God, act like a scoffer, failing to believe God’s promises and commands on a daily basis. “I don’t need God, I got this.” Or, “Talk to people? About Jesus?! Awkward.” And, I definitely don’t typically operate under the belief that Jesus is coming back anytime soon! Imagine the sense of urgency or concern and sympathy I’d have more often for people if I didn’t scoff at the idea of Christ’s return. Fortunately for us scoffers, that’s not how God operates.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 2:9
Despite my disbelief and continued disobedience, God was (and is) patient toward me. At best, I was ignorant of my need for a Savior; at worst, I mocked Jesus for who He claimed to be. Despite that, as we celebrate during the Advent season, He sacrificed His throne in Heaven, exchanging it for a lowly manger, so that He could live the perfect life I couldn’t, die the death that I deserved, and will now take me with Him when He comes back!
That is love.
We celebrate Advent because it commemorates Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of His second coming. As Israel longed for their Messiah to come, so Christians long for their Savior to come again. And despite once being in the shoes of these scoffers in 2 Peter, God promises us a future we never deserved, made possible solely by His love for us.
“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 2:13
“Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held him there,
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life,
I know that it is finished.”
– Austin Deardorff