Author: Ron Graham
New Year and Still Here
—2nd Peter chapter 3
Some people would say that New Year’s Day is no more significant or special than any other day. They'd say that the first day of the week is much more important than the first day of the year. That's true enough; nevertheless for January 1st, 2013, let's reflect on some statements by Peter in his second letter (2Peter 3).
1 The World is Still Here
For some months now we've been hearing that some sort of apocalypse was going to occur on December 21st, 2012. Either the world would end or it would become a very different world. As it turned out, that was all false and the world remains as it was. Of course we shouldn't be cocky about that. Listen to what Peter says:
"Know this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”" (2Peter 3:3-4, ESV).
After going on to state that there will be a fiery end to the world, but not when it will happen, Peter then concludes:
"Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness... Be found by God in peace, spotless and blameless... Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord," (2Peter 3:11,14,18).
Since the world is still here, why not take those words of Peter as your goal for the new year?
2 There Is Still Hope
Peter says, "According to his promise we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2Peter 3:13).
Peter then refers us to the letters of Paul: "Regard the patience of the Lord to be salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you, according to the wisdom given him" (2Peter 3:15).
Paul teaches us, in his letter to the Romans for example, how we may go about receiving forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the sure hope of a heavenly and everlasting inheritance.
Steps to Grace
We must hear and believe the gospel:"Faith (or belief) comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:16-17).
We must repent of sins: "The kindness of God leads you to repentance, but because of your stubborn and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself..." (Romans 2:4-5).
We must confess Christ: "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9).
We must be baptized: "All of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death... buried with him by baptism into death... so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).
After those steps, Paul urges: "Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).
If you haven't already attended to these things, why not begin the new year by doing so? In what better way could you begin the new year that God has granted you?
3 Jesus Still Calls
The dawning of a new year reminds us of the patience and longsuffering of God toward us. Peter says, "The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Peter 3:9, NASB).
It would be easy to say, “Here we are at the new year 2013; still Christ has not come. God has forgotten us!” But of course that's wrong. Jesus is still patiently calling people to him through the gospel. The day of eternity will come when God is ready. Meanwhile he gives us opportunity to answer the call.
Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).
Jesus has "called us by his glory and excellence, for by these he has granted to us his precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2Peter 1:3-4).
This opportunity is still granted. Jesus still calls. He is waiting, but you should not wait. Take the opportunity and answer his call now before even one day of the new year passes you by.