If the end of the world came tomorrow, would we be ready for it?
The apostle Peter, in chapter 3 of his second letter, says that the day will come “like a thief”: nobody will know that it is coming until it happens. But when it does, everyone will be caught up in it: “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”
Some people feel that this is just scare-mongering, the verbal equivalent of the man who used to wander around the West End wearing a sandwich board that read “The end of the world is nigh” – nothing has yet happened, so they assume that nothing is going to happen – which is a logical fallacy. Peter calls them “scoffers”, who deliberately ignore the warnings of a merciful God.
God is holding back from bringing this world to an end because, says Peter, “he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…” – even the scoffers.
But to those of us who have come to repentance and been given God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, Peter asks a very pertinent question: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?”
Our readings this week explore the answers to that question.