We believe in Jesus Christ… who will come to judge the living and the dead.
II Peter 3:3,4
In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’
Jesus often spoke of the Kingdom of God as if it were just around the corner (e.g. Mark 1:15; Luke 11:20). But we are still waiting for Him to return as King after 2000 years! For many non-believers, this is a convenient excuse for rejecting the claims of Jesus altogether. If He was wrong about this, He was probably wrong about a lot of other things, too…
Jesus’ non-return was a stumbling-block for some people even in the first century, as Peter’s letter reveals. Two millennia later scepticism rules, and many people have difficulty with the whole idea of God’s existence, never mind divine intervention in the affairs of the world. And since there will surely be no Judgement Day without the Judge, why should we not ‘follow our own evil desires’ as much as we like?
Sadly, this attitude isn’t confined to unbelievers. In the UK, at any rate, while Christians might say that they believe in Jesus’ return, in practice we no longer expect Him to. The prospect seems so remote that we act as if it will never happen. Instead of ‘keeping watch’, the Church sinks ever deeper into torpor and becomes more and more like the surrounding culture.
It’s odd that while we can easily imagine the prospect of human society coming to an end as a result of a nuclear war or collision with an asteroid (both scenarios have been explored extensively in film and literature), we struggle with the idea of God stepping in and saying, “Enough!”
“But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief…” (II Peter 3:10)