Archive for the ‘2 Peter’ Category

2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3 has our author reminding his audience of the certainty of the last days and God’s promise.  There will be plenty of things to distract us from remembering what God has promised.  “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires”.  God has given us plenty of promises about our future, but there will be many that scoff and throw cold water on what we know to be true.

How will false teachers try to dispel God’s truth?  “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”.  God created the heavens and the earth.  He spoke them into existence.  He will also hold us accountable on judgment day when we stand before Him and give account of our life.  We’ll come up short.  It’s why we need Jesus!

It’s going to happen.  It doesn’t matter whether we believe it will or not.  God’s truth will happen. We don’t know when, but we do know that it will come.  “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. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. God doesn’t want any of us to perish.  But judgment is coming, and the world as we know it will pass away.  We’ll end up one of two places, depending on how we stand before God and give account.  Without Jesus, we won’t make it to heaven.  We need a Savior.

What should we do to prepare for judgment day?  “Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you….grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.  We need to be ready.  None of us know when our day will come to stand before God.  We all need to know that the day will come.  We will need to give account.  And the key to being able to meet God’s requirements of sinless perfection is to be covered by the blood of Christ so our sins are forgiven and God sees us as holy in His way.

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2 Peter 2

2 Peter 2 has the focus being on false teachers and how we need to watch for and avoid that teaching.  He reminds us of how God deals with those who sin and those who are “blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as  the wage for their wrongdoing”. These three examples of judgment show us the important principle that Peter wants to highlight.

  • God judged the angels who sinned, so no one is too high to be judged.
  • God judged the ancient world before the flood, so God doesn’t grade on a curve, only comparing man among other men.
  • God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so even the prosperous can be judged.

There is no reason to think you can escape God’s judgment.  It just can’t happen. Many have gone astray.  “They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing”. Balaam was guilty of the greatest of sins – leading others into sin, and that for the sake of his own gain. Balaam had to be restrained by a dumb donkey because he would not listen to God.  He “was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness”.  God will deal with us in judgment.

It is better for a person to have never known a thing about Jesus than to hear some truth, hold to it for a season, and then later reject it. Greater revelation has a greater accountability. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first”.  It can appear here that Peter is describing the potential of losing one’s salvation if you fall back into sin.  But that isn’t necessarily what it says.

Guzik writes that Christians warmly debate the issue of whether or not it is possible for a true Christian to ever lose their status as saved and fall away to eternity in hell. Perhaps the best way of understanding the issue is to say that it is certainly true that those who appear saved – those who fit the description of Peter here – can end up in a place where it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness.  Those with a Reformed perspective will say that they were actually never saved; those with an Arminian perspective will say that they were actually saved and lost their salvation.  We shouldn’t focus on which of those two outcomes are true, but focus on walking with Jesus so we don’t have to worry about what happens if we walk away from God and our relationship with Him.

2 Peter 1

2 Peter 1 has the Apostle reminding us that God has given us all things.  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire”.  We come to knowledge of Him as we learn of Him through His Word, through prayer, and through the community of God’s people. It is true that we need God alone, but God does not meet us only in our solitude but also in the community of His people.

Peter challenges us to grow in our walk with Christ.  It begins with faith….” For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love”….and it ends with love.  Love is the ultimate outcome of all God’s work in us. These beautiful qualities are not things that the Lord simply pours into us as we sit back and wait but we are called to work on these things, working in partnership with God to build them into our lives.

Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”. This shows how we can be sure that God called us, and that we are His elect. As we see these things in our life, we know that our lives are becoming more like Jesus. It shows that we are being conformed to the image of His Son.  We have to pay attention because the enemy wants to stop our efforts to become like Christ.  “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty”.  The enemy tries to deceive us.  We have to focus on growing our character.

We can have confidence in what will happen.  “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. Even in Peter’s day enemies of Jesus twisted Old Testament prophecies, giving them personal and bizarre meanings attempting to change the future of God’s plan through Jesus.

2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3 reminds us of what is to come.  Peter tells us to “remember the predictions” of the prophets and realize that “scoffers will come in the last days….following their own sinful desires”.  We are going to have folks going around and teaching things that just aren’t so.  How do we know what truth is?  By knowing what the Bible says.  That is the only barometer we have.  These folks will “deliberately overlook….that the heavens existed long ago….the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God….the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished”.  They will ignore and revise history.  They do so willingly – not because they don’t know better – but so they can change it to fit their needs.  We must pay attention and know what is true so we are not led astray! 

Sometimes we get impatient but remember that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”.  He is not in a hurry – certainly not on our timeline.  God has a plan.  He will execute it in due time.  His motivation for patience is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance”.  God wants all of us to be saved.  It won’t happen because we have free will and to be saved we must be willing to put self off the throne and put Jesus on it.  But God’s desire – and his willingness to wait – is driven by His heart of love.  He wants to save the world. That isn’t just a noble cause – it is His heart.  As we wait we must remember to “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace”.  We do need to live His way as we wait for His return.  In fact Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.  It’s about the relationship we have with Jesus.  We shouldn’t just coast and do whatever we want.  We need to be growing and becoming like Jesus.

When He comes – it will be a surprise to all of us.  Peter writes that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed”.  Big change is coming when Jesus returns.  We won’t have any warning – so we can’t just sit around thinking we will get our act together when we know He is on the way.  He will come unannounced and will take control of all things.  All things will be made clear – even those things we have hidden and even thought we got away with.  He will expose it all – deal with sin – and turn the world upside down.  Jesus is coming again my friends.  Are you ready?  Have you dealt with Him so you will be part of His return?

2 Peter 2

2 Peter 2 talks about the reality of sin.  Peter makes it clear that we aren’t going to escape.  God is not going to have second thoughts about how He will deal with sin.  “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment”.  There will be a price to be paid for sin. There is no getting off without that price being paid in full.  If the angels couldn’t get away with it – what makes you think we can?  We can’t and in fact – the judgment day is coming.  What happens if we don’t deal with our sin problem?  “For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved”.  It isn’t going to be pretty.  There is no question why Jesus had to go to the cross.  It was to pay the price for our sin – to set us free with His grace and mercy.  Are you free indeed?

We do have a problem.  We have “eyes full of adultery….insatiable for sin…. hearts trained in greed”.  Our sin nature is strong.  It is not something we can overcome on our own.  But make no mistake about it – sin is a choice.  It happens this way according to scripture:  “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray”.  Sin isn’t accidental.  It happens when we choose to forsake the right way – God’s way.  It is no mere accident.  It is eyes wide open choice – and the willingness we have to follow our own way.  It happens when we allow our flesh to be enticed by sensual passion.  We follow bad advice and examples.  “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption”.  We can only follow God’s direction if we want to live the right way.  He alone gives us clear instruction on how to live a holy and godly life.

Here is the reality – we become a slave to sin.  Scripture says it this way: “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved”.  We have to choose to not allow things to become our master.  It can be good things – but anything that takes God’s place of being most important in our lives is slavery.  What are you a slave to?  Work?  TV?  A hobby?  Money?  There are dozens of things that can take control of our lives – but if we are going to walk with God we have to remember always that we choose what is most important.  We choose what matters.  We choose to follow God and not give in to sin.  Is it ok to know God and then fall away?  Not exactly according to scripture.  “For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them”.  Sin is serious business.  It matters a lot.  Peter makes it clear in this chapter that we have to work hard at avoiding the choices that will drag us into a bad place.  Run from sin.  Choose holiness!

2 Peter 1

Peter’s second letter contains some powerful truth for us.  He begins by reminding us what effect “His divine power” has on us.  He tells us it has “granted to us” some things – “all things that pertain to life and godliness….. his precious and very great promises”.  What does it mean when we are granted something.  It is given to us – it is for our well being – we don’t have to repay Him.  God has given us much through His grace.  We have all we need – life and godliness and promises.  We can live victoriously in His power.  It is ours for the taking.  Have you latched on to that? 

Peter goes on to give us a series of character qualities that we should grab onto to escape the corruption of the world around us.  It is these things that allow us to put off the old nature.  These are the new nature we need to use to “supplement our faith”.  Check out the progression here:

–       “faith with virtue

–       virtue with knowledge

–       knowledge with self-control

–       self-control with steadfastness

–       steadfastness with godliness

–       godliness with brotherly affection

–       brotherly affection with love

Do you see the progression from faith to love?  Seven characteristics of a godly person.  They grow upon each other.  We need them all to truly achieve what God intends for our life.  Too often we just think as a Christ Follower we need faith – that is enough.  But Peter reminds us here that how we live matters – our life speaks volumes and should exhibit these traits.  Do you walk with faith….virtue….knowledge…..self control…..steadfastness….godliness….brotherly affection….love?  That is what God desires and requires. 

The list has an outcome we need to understand too.  If we have these things “they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful”.  Does that mean that those who are not bearing fruit probably are missing a few, or most of these?  Unfortunately it probably has some relationship.  Wonder why your life doesn’t result in regular fruit bearing?  Look in the mirror and see how you are doing with these things.  Peter goes on to say “whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins”.  That pretty well summarizes it and smacks us between the eyes.  If we aren’t living like this – we are missing God’s truth in our life.  We are failing His call.  Our response should be to “be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure….for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”.  Pretty powerful promise eh?  If you do this you will NEVER fall.  Want to live with some assurance – live a life like Peter writes about here.

Peter ends the chapter reminding us how powerful scripture is for our lives.  “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  We have the written Word of God.  It is given to us to turn on the light and shine in the darkness and show us how to live.  It is the greatest gift we have from God.  How much can we depend on it?  We must never forget that “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”.  God’s Word is God breathed, God inspired, God stamped.  It is all from God and was given to us to give us a roadmap for living.  Have you spent the time learning it?  Are you reading it daily?  It is the way we find out how to live for Him.  Don’t miss the map.  Get into God’s Word today!

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