“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;” – 2 Peter 3:13-15
This verse calls us to diligence in the commitment to pursue righteousness. We look forward to a time when righteousness is the norm, and it won’t be a struggle. But that’s later. Right now it takes a lot of effort to live righteously. It’s hard.
The word translated patience is probably better rendered “long-suffering”. And any time we hear the term salvation, we ought to ask ourselves “what is being delivered from what?”
Our salvation in this verse is being delivered from a life of sin, and being delivered into a life of peace. It is being delivered from a life where we waste opportunity to a life that seizes opportunity.
The impact of being delivered from sin in our daily experience is to avoid destruction. One of the main things that is destroyed when we sin is the opportunity to grow in grace. Growing in grace is probably better translated “grow in favor”. There will be only one opportunity to gain the favor of God by walking by faith. And it is in this life.
Perhaps it’s particularly difficult to follow this admonition on the mountains and plains. The mountains and plains make it seem we don’t need to be righteous. The plains make it seem that righteousness doesn’t matter. After all, what difference does it make if I am mean to the waitress. Or short with the cab driver? What difference does that make now, or in eternity?
It is, in many respects, easier to be diligent in the valleys. The circumstances demand effort. If we aren’t diligent we can drown.
This perspective of hope, in the face of long-suffering, saves us from a life of apathy, sin, and destruction. And invites into a life of faith in all things, on all days, at all times.