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Hastening or Eagerly Awaiting?

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16 August 2014 by romanin

First off, I have to apologize, like I often do, for failing to be consistent in blogging.  It is a goal of mine to be more present on the internet, but alas, I haven’t the discipline yet.  As a matter of fact, it is not at the top of my priority list for discipline, but I am getting there.

First, my goal was to be disciplined in bible reading.  I am there now.  Every morning at 5:30 or 6:00 am, I am reading 5 chapters and praying.  My next goal was exercise.  Lydia and I are doing P90X-3 every day at 1:30 pm.  Check.  Next I want to be consistent in language study (Chinese) and then blogging.  So I’m getting there!

Anyway, I was reading this morning 2nd Peter, and something in the 3rd chapter caught my attention.  Verses 11 and 12 are verses that I’ve often heard.  Here they are in the ESV:

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved (the heavens and the earth), 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!” (parenthetic mine)

I always thought that this verse suggested that as we strive to live holy lives we should be excitedly hastening forth the day of the Lord.  But the wording here seems confusing as to whether this is a good thing.  Now certainly living holy lives is a good thing, but should we be hastening the terrible day of the Lord!?  The next verse says this:

“But according to his promise we are waiting or new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

So perhaps what we should be eagerly awaiting is the new heavens and new earth, a place in which righteousness dwells.  This is different than hastening a day of destruction.  Here are two other verses that will support my final conclusion:

2 Peter 3:9 “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 3:14-15 “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…”

We often look at passages like the great commission and say that “as soon as we reach every tribe, tongue, and nation, Jesus will come back!  And we hasten his return with these words and even with plans to evangelize the world.  Plans to evangelize the world in love are good.  But with this philosophy are we to think that as soon as one person from the last tribe on earth comes to know the Lord, all of the sudden, Jesus will come back?  What about the rest of the tribe?  I certainly do read that Jesus will not return until every tribe tongue and nation has heard, but I have never read that Jesus will come as soon as every tribe tongue and nation has heard.  The point I’m making is one of heart and motivation.  This passage in 2nd Peter is suggesting to me that I should not hasten the day of destruction.  After all, should I not be thankful that God had the patience to at least wait until I came to faith?  He says to count the patience of our Lord as salvation!  If we pray for a hastening of Jesus’s return, we are praying against his patience and against opportunities for the lost.

We have a purpose on this earth as Christians.  That purpose is to share the Gospel with as many lost as we can before we die.  I honestly believe that.  If I pray for a hastening of Christ’s return, I am praying for a shortening of my purpose and I am praying for destruction for those who have not yet been reached.  However, when I eagerly await the coming kingdom of righteousness, I am holding on to a hope!  A reason to carry on in my purpose with confidence!  Knowing that I am not wasting my time and my life!  I am giving my own heart fuel to carry on even on the toughest days.

As Christians, I am suggesting that we not hasten the day of the Lord, but eagerly await the coming kingdom.  Pray therefore for God’s patience to endure!  For the sake of your friends, family, and the countless news stories full of people that are lost without the love of Christ!  God’s patience was salvation for you, perhaps there are a few more that will be saved with the patience of our Lord.

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