So why does this great fall happen at the end? Why can people build a house on lawlessness until they finish building? The apostle Peter answers this question by first recognizing that a storm is coming. This storm, as Paul hinted, will be a firestorm. Peter says, “The present sky, universe, and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (2 Peter 3:7). Peter stresses that life as we know it will explode in a great fire. This destruction is far more destructive than a hurricane. In fact, this storm is going to be a cosmic firestorm!

Delay as Opportunity

Still, this storm doesn’t happen at once when people sin. This delay in destruction is a deliberate choice of God. To help us understand this deliberate delay, Peter continues discussing the approaching, cosmic firestorm. His explanation details God’s delay. He says, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to stop doing evil” (2 Peter 3:8-9). 

Delay as Goodness

Peter points out that the promise of the firestorm remains real. But its arrival may seem afar off. But Peter explains this delay is not because of God’s slowness. Instead, the delay is because God wants everyone to live with him forever. The time in this delay is an opportunity for people to follow God. Thus, God uses time to give people an opportunity to follow him. Paul makes this point clearer. He says, do we not know “the goodness: forbearance and long-suffering of God leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4)? Here, Paul shows that God’s use of time is ultimately good for us. This time is an opportunity for us to recognize building on sand is useless. It’s an opportunity to build on a rock.