“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him” (2 Peter 3:14,15 NLT).
Peter’s letter reminds us of all that will happen “in that day” and assures us that just because it has not happened, yet–it will happen. His admonition is about what we can expect–fiery endings, all things destroyed, and new heavens and a new earth–it’s still going to happen, but he also says, while we wait–we must use the time to make sure everyone is saved–this why God’s promise for Jesus’ return has been delayed–He’s waiting for us to promote a true Gospel in how we live and for others to accept His Son as Savior and Lord.
Now, I know there are some religious groups who believe that the “new earth” is simply this one replenished, but that is simply an error in understanding or deliberate misinterpretation because it is taken out of context. If we look at the entire letter, we see that Peter has predicted “all the elements destroyed by fire”. In other words, everything needed by mere mortals–earth, water, and wind. But for those who have a relationship with God–we understand that the new heavens are not like anything we know, neither is the new earth like the one we know, because we will no longer be mere mortals. The real problem with people trying to determine that “one segment of scripture” means anything by itself is that it is religious propaganda born of a need to control others.
In this letter, Peter also reminds us that when Jesus returns, He will come as a thief in the night–completely unannounced--except for the sound of the trumpet and we’re all out of here in the twinkling of an eye (Paul says). There is no need to pack a bag, save food or money for this event–we won’t have time to grab it and I for one, am glad that all of our needs have already been anticipated and provided as we rise to live and reign with Him. Hallelujah!
At any rate, the message here is clear from Peter’s letter–while we’re waiting–we should “live according to God’s Word” loving and enjoying peace, doing nothing in His sight for which we might be ashamed. During our wait–we are developing patience and while patience is developing, we are (or should be) promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that none are left to experience the fiery ending that is promised.