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. Chapter 3.

The Promise of the Lord's Coming

1 THIS IS NOW my second letter to you, my friends. In both of them I have been recalling to you what you already know, to rouse you to honest thought. 2 Remember the predictions made by God's own prophets, and the commands given by the Lord and Saviour through your apostles.

3 Note this first: in the last days there will come men who scoff at religion and live self-indulgent lives, and they will say: 4 'Where now is the promise of his coming? Our fathers have been laid to their rest, but still everything continues exactly as it has always been since the world began.'

5 In taking this view they lose sight of the fact [Or: They choose to overlook the fact ...] that there were heavens and earth long ago, created by God's word out of water and with water; 6 and by water that first world was destroyed, the water of the deluge. 7 And the present heavens and earth, again by God's word, have been kept in store for burning; they are being reserved until the day of judgement when the godless will be destroyed.

8 And here is one point, my friends, which you must not lose sight of: with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. 9 It is not that the Lord is slow in fulfilling his promise, as some suppose, but that he is very patient with you, because it is not his will for any to be lost, but for all to come to repentance.

10 But the Day of the Lord will come; it will come, unexpected as a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a great rushing sound, the elements will disintegrate in flames, and the earth with all that is in it will be laid bare. [Some witnesses read: will be burnt up.]

11 Since the whole universe is to break up in this way, think what sort of people you ought to be, what devout and dedicated lives you should live! 12 Look eagerly for the coming of the Day of God and work to hasten it on; that day will set the heavens ablaze until they fall apart, and will melt the elements in flames. 13 [ Is.65.17, Is.66.22. ] But we have his promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice.

14 With this to look forward to, do your utmost to be found at peace with him, unblemished and above reproach in his sight. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience with us is our salvation, as Paul, our friend and brother, said when he wrote to you with his inspired wisdom. 16 And so he does in all his other letters, wherever he speaks of this subject, though they contain some obscure passages, which the ignorant and unstable misinterpret to their own ruin, as they do the other scriptures. [Or: his other writings.]

17 But you, my friends, are forewarned. Take care, then, not to let these unprincipled men seduce you with their errors; do not lose your own safe foothold. 18 But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [Or: But grow up, by the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and by knowing him.] To him be glory now and for all eternity!

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