The penitent robber on the cross rebuked the one who was not penitent: “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve” (Luke 23:40-41). Godliness involves fear of God. For the most part, this is a reverent, worshipful fear. A fear born of respect and admiration. Fear of failing the one who is so great and so good. But there is another element of godly fear. We must have a healthy fear of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).
Peter concludes his second letter with a call to live in view of coming judgment. In the first part of chapter 3, he admonishes those who feel that time will always go on. We should not think God will not end the world and usher in eternity. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” ( 2 Pet. 3:9). This world will burn up and we will go to our eternal destination. What shall it be? Peter warns, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet. 3:11-12). An old song says, “What shall it be? What shall it be? Where will you spend your eternity?”
God has done what he can to save us. The rest is up to us. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). We must live with the realization that God is watching us, aware of our every thought and deed. For the saved, it is comforting to know God is watching and listening (1 Pet. 3:12).
To be a child of God is the greatest privilege we have, but we also have responsibility. May God bless us all as we work with his Spirit to develop the character the Father expects of his children. TC