2 Peter 3:10-12 speaks of the end of the world. The phrase, “The elements shall melt with fervent heat,” is mentioned twice within the three verses.
Verse 10 sets the stage by giving a vivid description of the end of time, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
For many people, the verse is terrifying.
The next two verses continue to talk about everything melting away, but it often goes unnoticed that verses 11 and 12 are a question; not a statement. 2 Peter 3:11-12, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
Reading about the universe dissolving can send people into panic mode. Allow me to discuss the end of time, and then I will come back and address the main thrust of the question within the passage.
The event the passage describes is the end of time and the beginning of eternity. As I write this, the world is at least 1,007 years from the fervent heat.
The next event on God’s calendar is the rapture of the church (2 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
Shortly after the rapture, the 7-year tribulation begins with the signing of a treaty between the Antichrist and “many” (Daniel 9:24-27).
At the end of the 7-year tribulation, Jesus Christ returns to earth at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21).
Upon His return, Christ reigns on earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-6).
Once the millennium ends, Satan leads a short-lived rebellion, as Christ devours the enemy (Revelation 20:7-10).
At this point, when evil is finally defeated, we see the events Peter describes — the end of the universe (Revelation 20:11). Immediately after the fervent heat, the last judgment takes place (Revelation 20:11-15).
A new heaven and a new earth appear, and eternity begins (Revelation 21-22).
The question from 2 Peter 3:11-12 is in the light of since you know the end of the world is coming; what type of person should you be?
To me, the passage brings a picture to my mind. Jesus Christ is grabbing every Christian by the shoulders, looking into our eyes, and pleading with us, “I’ve told you of the rapture! I’ve told you I am coming back! I have given you the signs to look for! I have left you the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth! Be holy! Be godly! You are going to need a heart like mine to get through life on earth! This is especially true as you get closer to my return. Wake up! Love my Word! Love me! Make me a priority on how you live! I can do far more than give you good feelings! I can give you life more abundant! You, my child, please, please, please, allow me to change your life. What type of person will you be?”
Working with the phrase, “what manner of persons ought ye to be?” I figured if God asks us a question, He will give us an answer. He does. There are 27 places in the New Testament where it says, “Be ye (fill in the blank).”
Please note it is “be ye;” not “do ye.” Being a Christian is not about what we do; it is about what we are. Word of warning, though, what we are will dictate what we do.
The most significant “be ye,” the transformation of the mind, is located in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The transformation of the mind starts by becoming a living sacrifice. Being a living sacrifice is far more than going to church and praying when we do not know what else to do. A living sacrifice is giving your life to God. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).
There is a negative involved — nonconformity to this world. If you stand in line for hours to get the latest smartphone or miss church to watch the Super Bowl — conformity to the world is a higher priority than sacrificing for God.
The renewing of the mind is thinking in a way that puts God first. How much is God in your decision-making process? Do you decide what to do based on how the world thinks, or is the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” a priority?
If you are frustrated, thinking, “how can I know the will of God?” Reread Romans 12:1-2 — A living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, nonconformity to the world, and renewing your mind to think in a godly way is the answer.
As we see signs of the rapture and second coming falling into place; Christian, what manner of persons ought ye to be?
It will not be easy, being the type of Christian God wants you to be, but we are one day closer to the end every day. With every sunrise and sunset, the urgency grows with what manner of persons we are.