2 Peter 3

Greetings!    Jesus said He would return, and He will.  Everything in this present earth will end then and all will be judged.  But He didn’t give a specific time.  There were some general comments made, but Christians often look foolish when trying to predict exactly when he’ll return.  So far they have been 100% wrong 100% of the time.   But that doesn’t mean He won’t return.  God is very patient, and that is good for us.  Sometimes we wish God would remove all evil, but as Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason asks, if God removed all evil from the planet at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01 AM?  If He eliminate every element of evil then we’d all be gone. 

2 Peter 3 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 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.

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

This is a great promise of God: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”   

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

When Peter refers to a “new Heaven and a new earth,” I don’t think he means this planet will be blown up and a new earth created.  If that were the case, Satan would have won because God would have had to destroy his creation.  I think God will make over the present earth and this is where the final Heaven will be. 

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Note that Peter’s last recorded words were a warning to be on our guard against false teaching and a blessing to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.  As Peter notes, “To him be glory both now and forever!  Amen.”   

Please share any comments or questions you have. 

2 Peter 2

Greetings!   False teachers should read this section and shudder.  When I speak of “false teachers,” I mean those who deny or distort the essential elements of Christianity: The divinity of Jesus, the exclusivity of Jesus for our salvation, the authority and inspiration of the original writings of the Bible, etc.  I am not talking about debatable issues or preferences like what kind of music is used in service, how often we have communion, how we baptize people, etc. 

2 Peter 2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

Some “Christian” teachers are universalists, meaning that they think everyone is going to heaven.  This teaching is clearly in opposition to the Bible, as Peter points out.  He refers to stories of Soddom and Gomorroah (Genesis 19) and Balaam (Numbers 22) as examples of God’s judgment. 

 Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

We are all slaves to something, or more specifically, someone – God or Satan.  We may not consciously follow Satan, but if we are following the patterns of the world and rejecting God then we are doing Satan’s bidding.   Please share any comments or questions you have. 

2 Peter 1

Greetings!  Welcome to this new study.  It is always good to begin by praying that God will open your heart and mind to the eternal truths contained in his Word.  He created you, He sent his Son to die for your sins so you could be saved by trusting in him, and He has plenty of things to say to you in the Bible. 

2 Peter 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Peter emphasizes that it is by God’s power that we have what we need for life and good living.  He gives us “very great and precious promises.”  The Bible is full of wonderful promises, but they are easy to skip over.  I encourage people to look for them whenever they are reading the Bible. 

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For 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.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter makes a key statement about the claims of the Bible writers: They didn’t follow “cleverly invented stories” about Jesus.  They were eyewitnesses.  All the New Testament writers were close companions of Jesus (Matthew, John, Peter) or witnessed Jesus separately (Paul) or were close companions of the Apostles (Luke, Mark).  These weren’t fables handed down over the decades or centuries.  Their stories were documented within a generation or so of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Plenty of people were living at the time who could have refuted these stories or showed the body of Jesus.  But the tomb is still empty! 

Peter also points out that prophecy did not come from men but from the Holy Spirit (God).  As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

Please share any comments or questions you have.  Blessings to you, and have a wonderful day!

2 Peter overview

Greetings,

This is an overview of 2 Peter.  I almost skipped this overview since we just did the overview of 1 Peter.  But this book has a much different focus.  While 1 Peter focused on external dangers and hardships (the suffering from the persecution for being Christians), 2 Peter focuses on internal dangers of false teachers.    Christianity has fought a two front war from its earliest days: From those who would persecute it from the outside and those who would distort its teachings from the inside.   

Who wrote it: Peter, one of the twelve Apostles who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry.  Peter was brash and outspoken.  He denied Jesus three times the night before the crucifixion of Jesus (just as Jesus predicted he would) but was restored to fellowship later and became a key leader of the early church.   Also see the 1 Peter overview

When written: Roughly A.D. 67, about 3 years after 1 Peter was written.  Peter was killed for his faith shortly after this was written. 

Why was it written: Jesus warned against false teachers, and much of the New Testament carries similar warnings and corrects false teachings.  Also see Doctrine Counts.