2 Peter 3:3 “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires” (NIV).

Observation: Peter said in verse 1 that his purpose in writing was to stimulate the reader to wholesome thinking. He wanted to stir remembrance of Israel’s prophets and the commandments given by Christ through the apostles. Then he gave warning to expect scoffers in our midst, whom he defined as people who follow their own evil desires.

Application: How easy it is to see Peter’s warning played out all around us. Perversions of the prophet’s teachings and Christ’s commandments abound. Political and social movements present a rising tide of sin as people devoted to their own evil desires scoff at fundamental precepts.

Wouldn’t it be nice to believe that the problems of our faith and the resulting cultural devastation can be laid wholly at someone else’s feet? Surely our decline is the fault of all those scoffers “out there.” Gay marriage, rampant butchery of the weakest among us, hedonistic pursuit of every available toy—the advocates of such worldly pleasures are surely the scoffers of whom Peter warned. But much as I might wish otherwise, he nowhere lets me personally off the hook.

The awful truth is that I, too, have the capacity to be drawn toward destruction as a moth to flame. I am not immune to the desires of a deceitful heart, temptations that lead to financial debt, or lusts which can lead the heart away from the pure desire to love God above all.

In the midst of such discouraging confession, Peter reminded me of God’s gracious rescue when he wrote in verse 9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise. . . . He is patient with [me], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” And again, in verse 15, “Our Lord’s patience means salvation.”

In His graciousness, God is willing to flash-freeze my walk with Him as though I were a cod filet, affording me opportunity to work through temptations and enticements until I have fallen again at the foot of the Cross. Only then can I progress with Him. In that frozen condition I am locked down and stuck as I grope in darkness for His will. But on the other side, having finally silenced my own scoffing, I thaw to live again in His full embrace. More such seasons of testing are promised (see James 1:2, 12), but He always gives a way of escape (see 1 Cor. 10:13).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I confess I grow impatient for Your return, yet I am reminded today that what seems like slowness on Your part is, instead, Your gracious patience. I am overwhelmed by Your goodness.