Read: 2 Peter 3:4-9
They will say, Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Just deserts, means “to be punished or rewarded in a manner appropriate to one’s actions or behavior.” The just, here, doesn’t mean “only” but “fitting, appropriate.”
When we speak of someone receiving their “just deserts”, we usually mean punishment or reward that is considered to be what the recipient deserved. What kind of person is deserving? I think most of us would list people like Hitler, Manson, Dahmer, Mussolini and other murderers and child molesters, but another person who was certainly deserving of the “fire being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” was the man named Saul before he encountered the living Christ on the road to Damascus.
Paul persecuted the church in his “zeal” for his faith. He dragged people off to jail. He stood by approvingly while Stephen was stoned. But Paul was among those included in God’s plan listed at the end of the passage above saying that God ” is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The alternative to repentance will not be a pretty sight. Jesus constantly depicted hell as painful fire and “outer darkness” (Matt 25:30) a place of unimaginably terrible misery and unhappiness. If Jesus, the Lord of Love and Author of Grace spoke about hell more often, and in a more vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth.
Each of us are no better than anyone else. We are just as deserving and just as lacking when we stand on our own merit. Thankfully there is Grace and Redemption. So,as we begin the week, let’s commit to being light in a world that appears to be growing darker each day.