Beware! There Will Be Scoffers
By Allen Nell
The Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, knew that people in the last days would use the seeming delay of our Lord’s return as a means by which they might scoff at the Biblical teaching of coming judgment. And thus, in the third chapter of his second epistle, Peter felt the necessity of writing to warn Christians not to be deceived by scoffers …
In 2 Peter 3:3, we read that “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.” A scoffer is someone who treats lightly that which ought to be taken seriously.
The people in Noah’s day scoffed at the idea of a Flood, and the citizens of Sodom scoffed at the possibility of fire and brimstone destroying their sinful city. In this verse, the scoffers referred to by Peter are those people who refuse to take the Bible seriously when it speaks about Christ’s return and the certainty of judgment.
It is apparent that there are many scoffers in the world today—not only those who openly deny the end-time events, but also those who by their ungodly lifestyles imply that the Biblical teaching concerning our Lord’s return and coming judgment should not be taken seriously.
The reason why there is scoffing today is given by the Apostle Peter in verse 3: they are “walking after their own lusts.” Because people want to continue living in their sins, they scoff at the idea of judgment. Verse 5 goes on to describe them as “willingly ignorant.”
In other words, they don’t want to believe what is revealed by the prophets and the apostles concerning coming judgment, because they want to continue in sin without the threat of judgment hanging over them. And so they dismiss it from their minds (“willingly ignorant”), and in addition, come up with their own arguments to console themselves, essentially saying that judgment is not coming.
Their arguments are contained in verse 4. Their first argument has to do with the delay in Christ’s coming. “Where is the promise of His coming?” They don’t want Christ to come because it will mean judgment for them, and thus they argue that because the promise of Christ’s coming has not been fulfilled, there is little reason to believe that it will ever take place.
Their second argument has to do with the stability of the laws of nature and the uniformity of the processes of nature. “For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” They maintain that nothing catastrophic has happened in the past, so there is no reason to believe it will happen in the future. They argue that the laws of nature are fixed and settled. The sun rises and sets, the tides ebb and flow, and the seasons follow each other in their usual order. Thus it is impossible for an upheaval (such as the prophesied fiery judgment) to take place in a universe with such highly fixed laws....
Peter tells us, “Beloved. . . beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17,18).