This is how we GROW in GRACE and KNOWLEDGE >>>>>>>
This book will address issues inside the church while the first letter addressed issues outside the church. Watch for words like holiness, diligence and walking according to Gods kingdom rather than one’s own will. Following Gods voice is the mark of a Christian and walking after the flesh is a sign of unbelief. 2 Peter is an excellent book to study as a church group. It is easy to compare to those “out there” rather than do the hard work of looking within and conforming to the character of Christ. As the days grow darker, this book will help the believer to stand and have hope.
One of the main exhortations is in the first chapter: “ His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” Everything we need – that is good news. Peter goes on to say that in addition to one’s faith we need to add virtue which is moral goodness or purity. That is a different standard than the world which simply proposes that all you have to have is faith and love without any standard of holiness. Virtue alone is not enough either, to that we need to add knowledge – something many churches today seem to shun, to their own detriment. We all have much to learn until the Lord returns. Learning is a sign of humility and education is much less expensive than ignorance. In this day we need to be the best we can be to reach the most people we can. Learning from others is imperative. We fully see Christ when we see Him in other people. The modern church is severally limited when we do not listen to children, poor, men, women, disabled or those from other generations. Add to your faith – knowledge both of Christ and those He wants to reach.
Peter goes on to say that he is telling them the truth, especially concerning the return of the Lord in power. “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” What a testimony and it was firsthand! Peter saw the risen Lord, he heard God declaring that Jesus was His son. Peter promises that this same Lord will return – in power.
Peter exhorts the early Christians to not follow after false prophets. These were not people with different opinions – they were actively denying Christ and promoting heresies. The word righteous appears many times in chapter two. It was a name given to Noah, it guided people in the right way. Note that righteous Lot was tormented by seeing and hearing the lawless deeds of the people around him. It must have been pretty public for that to occur because there was no CNN or MSNBC. When the righteous flourish the wicked go inside. When lawlessness abounds, the wicked do their evil deeds in public, there is no shame. We mindlessly take in the behavior of the prevailing culture- to our detriment. Lot recognized that watching these things was impacting his mind and soul. Whether its real life, television or on our phones – are we guarding what vexes our souls?
As we ponder what those deeds are we can add something else to that list – despising, disdaining, and talking against those in government. Ouch. Those are not my words – they are Peters. In our day bashing politicians seems to be acceptable behavior, but it was not to Peter, nor is it to God. The Bible clearly calls us to pray for those in authority and government leaders. “Go Brandon” is daring (the definition of disdain)– it is also considered sin. Mocking, scoffing at leaders in any camp does not produce honor. Whether it is Obama, Trump, your pastor, Bishop, or Sunday school teacher – God wants us to pray for and support those in authority, so it may go well with us. Polls and popularity do not change Gods opinion on these matters. We must be short on opinions and long on love. God sees leaders and knows if they are doing wrong or hurtful things, He is a faithful judge. We are still called to keep in Gods path. Open rebellion or scorn does not promote unity. It can be difficult, but God is still sovereign and will deal with those not walking in righteousness.
There are two national situations I would love to write about on this blog but do not want to use this platform for a soap box. What I can say is that public fighting over leaders who are not acting right may feel good in the moment but at what cost? There are unbelievers watching, there are depressed people calculating, there are hopeless people waiting for any excuse to give up. My mama used to tell us to be loyal and not “air our dirty laundry in public.” Still wise advice. Yes, there are concerns when racism, sexism or other issues go unaddressed, but we become like these people when we start branding all of “them” as blind, arrogant or uninformed. If we are all left blind by infighting –who will see the coming Christ or His bride that He is preparing? Prayer, mutual submission, humility, and Peters list in this book (faith, virtue, kindness, love) are all good steps to walking in Christs kingdom. Some will loudly demand their rights; some will passively shrink in silence– but there are others waiting on the Lord to give guidance and continuing to walk in His will and voice. God will ultimately have His way.
There are some scholars who continue to question this books authorship but in chapter one, vs one as well as here in chapter three, Peter tells us that he wrote it. “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
Peter desires they have wholesome thinking. Righteous thoughts lead to righteous actions. He also wants them, as a solution for their stress – to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by Jesus through the apostles. Reading and understanding the holy prophets words will require study, reflection and knowledge. Those who love Jesus will invest the time to get to know Him. It is a heart posture – not a gender issue. The word of God calls us to do this. Rather than share my thoughts, I will ask the question, “how do these words comfort us?” We are exhorted to recall them, so they are important. Please email me your thoughts regarding Peters instruction. Peter does not leave the Old Testament on a dusty shelf but tells us that these words are still very important for our consolation and hope.
God is reserving the scoffers for judgement. The ungodly may deliberately forget God is creator, but God will not forget His creation. My favorite verse in this letter is in vs. nine, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ALL. Are welcome and ALL are needed to impact the Harvest. ALL.
“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” Heaven will be filled with righteousness and holiness – not everyone’s rights and preferences. I am not sure everyone will still want to go there if they know that, but nevertheless, it is Gods dwelling and He is righteous. Votes, Polls and news reports do not change Gods righteousness.
14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this,
make every effort (be diligent with speed, effort, and promptness),
to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Peace means tranquility, harmony, and rest.
17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard (beware) so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”
If this were not possible, Peter would not warn against it. We must do our part to resist the devil and lawlessness, trusting in Christ. It is an imperative that we stay alert and on guard against the temptations and evil around us.
18 But grow (another imperative, meaning to become larger, augmented, become greater and increase)
in the GRACE (favor, benefit, reward, kindness)
and KNOWLEDGE (moral wisdom and understanding)
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
These nuggets of wisdom from Peter who knew Christ, was an eyewitness of Christ and heard the voice of His father declaring this was His son are priceless. Study them, reflect on them and apply them. If we do that, we will understand how to navigate the stress and frustrations of our culture. We will have hope for the coming of the Lord and stand strong in the midst of a crooked generation.
Continuing to HOPE in the One who is Righteous and His return,
Renae Roche 2022