11. Since everything is to be dissolved, what kind of person should you be? Here’s how – a holy lifestyle, with godliness,
12. expectantly waiting for and hastening the coming Day of God. At which time the heavens will be set on fire and the fundamental elements of creation will melt away and dissolve into nothing.
13. Righteousness dwells in expectantly waiting for his promised new heavens and new earth.
14. Therefore, dear ones, those waiting expectantly for these things strive to be found spotless and unblemished in his peace.
15. You should consider the patient salvation of the Lord, about which our beloved brother Paul, in the wisdom given him, wrote to you.
16. He speaks about these things in all his letters, which are difficult to comprehend. Some ignorant and unstable people distort them as they do the other scriptures, all to their own destruction.
17. Therefore you, dear ones, since you know ahead of time, be on guard so as not to be led away in unprincipled error and fade away from your one foundation.
18. Instead, you must grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Messiah Jesus. To him be glory today and forever. Amen.
The key theme in today’s reading is the pregnant phrase in verse 13 — ‘righteousness dwells in expectantly waiting’. Waiting is the key theme of Advent. We wait on the Lord. Righteousness doesn’t come after we wait: it comes in the midst of waiting. The prophets of old went into the desert to hear God’s voice, to wait for it. Elijah heard it in the cave. Moses heard it at the bush.
Our lives are lived in a kind of desert. The land is dry with sin. Our lips are parched with blasphemies. The heat of lust and temptation beat down upon us and often break our will. If we can learn to wait in this desert, then righteousness will emerge as the fruit of our expectations. This is the stuff of hope. Some day the waiting will be over, and the celebration begins.
This is an elixir for the constant desire to triumphantly proclaim victory too soon.
On a personal note, I find it comforting Peter thought Paul’s words were hard to understand. Me too, Peter. Me too. I wonder if he wrote this line after meditating upon the book of Romans.