As Peter completes his second letter he asks a question “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord … “ [3 v.11,12]
What is to be dissolved? He writes that it is “the heavens and the earth” [v.7] But this is not to be understood as the physical heavens and earth; this is clear when he writes that “we are waiting for the heavens and the earth in which righteousness dwells” [v.13]
We understand that “heavens and earth” as meaning rulers and the people they rule over. The present rulers and people (especially those who encourage the permissive laws the rulers put in place) is to be destroyed, in the same way (but not by the same means) as the very first “world that then existed” was destroyed; that is, the world before the flood [v.5,6]
It was the people and their rulers who were destroyed.
This is going to happen again, this way of life is going to be “dissolved” Peter says, and asks, so what sort of people ought we to be? If our answer is that we are not aiming to be holy or trying to be godly, then we will be classed with that which is to be “dissolved.”
Peter foresees that people will be saying “Where is the promise of his coming?” [v.4] Time has gone on and on but people “overlook this one fact … that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” [v.8] He then writes in the next verse, and these words are very significant, “The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” [v.9]
Now turn up and read verse 10! It tells us “the day of the Lord will come like a thief…” and pictures the Divine judgement to dissolve our world and replace it with one in which “righteousness dwells.” Will you be there? You and I make the answer now.