2 Peter 3:14-18
Hello everyone! Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and welcome to Thursday’s edition of EDiBS. It’s good to be with you today, and I always appreciate that you take the time to come along and draw near to God and His Word with me each day. Today’s session actually finds us coming to the end of our time in 2 Peter, so let’s take a moment, prepare our hearts, and get ready for some good time in our Bibles. Will you pray with me?
Father, thank you for this time to be with you in your Word today, thank you for the blessing of the Internet that enables this kind of study time in the Scriptures, and thank you most of all for all the promises of your Word, which we are always alive and full and free to us in the name of Jesus. Please help us to grow today in our walk with you. We ask this in Christ’s name, amen.
As we get started today, Peter ends his second letter to his beloved readers with some parting words of exhortation and encouragement. Our focus: Growing in Christ.
2 Peter 3:14-18
14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear 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. 16He 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. 17Therefore, 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. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
When we were together yesterday, we ended our session by talking just briefly about the things to come for us as believers in Jesus Christ. Today as we finish up our look at 2 Peter, I’d like us to take a moment and focus on the things that are now; the things that, until we go to be with the Lord, are to occupy our lives. In the final five verses before us, I’m sure you noticed very quickly that Peter is reviewing some of the main points that he has covered earlier in his letter, giving us, as it were, some summary statements about our lives as people belonging to God.
Verse 14: In verse 14, Peter reminds us that rather than getting bogged down in the temporal issues of our earthly life, we are to be forward-looking in our faith; focused on the promises that are to be fulfilled in us at the Lord’s return. This is the attitude that is to drive our living. No fear, just faith. And as we exercise that faith, being diligent to be found in the righteousness of Christ and living in His peace, our lives will reflect more and more the reality of who we are and whose we are, which incidentally is very important to our witness in these last days.
Verses 15-16: In verses 15-16, Peter makes reference to precisely that point as he reminds us that the Lord’s patience leads to salvation. The implication here is that just as God is exercising patience before judgment in order that more people will come to repentance, He is also calling Christians — by their ways and their words — to be agents in spreading that message. Salvation in Christ alone is to be our exhortation and our example to a world sitting in darkness. Paul, says Peter, has written the same thing in his letters, though sometimes they are hard to understand! Don’t you love that? I agree — Paul’s epistles are sometimes hard to understand, as are other portions of Scripture. Yet I praise God that we have the whole counsel of His Word and the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit to help us through areas where things aren’t always immediately clear. But the reason Peter mentions Paul is that it is on the basis of Paul’s letters that some of the false teachers are twisting and distorting truth to cause harm to the church. Remember, much of the aim of this letter has been to warn against false teachers, and Peter is taking one more opportunity to drive home a warning against them.
Verse 17: Verse 17 puts it in concrete for us: we are to be on our guard against those who would cause us to fall from our secure position. Their ways are laden with errors, their motives are impure, and if it were possible, they would lead us astray from the truth of the Gospel. What are we to do in order to combat this?
Verse 18: It’s summed up for us in verse 18, a verse which is actually the driving force behind EDiBS: we are to combat the ways of false teachers and ward off their attempts to lead us astray by focusing on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How many times a week do I encourage you with those words? As much as I may do so, there’s no way I can ever do it too much. In fact, in my daily time with the Lord, I always pray that these brief daily journeys through the Word of God are helping you to do what Peter exhorts us to do in this verse. The more you know Jesus and understand His incredible, selfless love for you, the more you learn to understand just how much it cost Him to buy you out of the slavery of sin. And the more you learn of His plan for your life, both now and for eternity, the more you will stand in awe of Him and respond to His love with a life of joyful worship and service. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen!
As we wrap things up, let me just say a few quick things. First, I hope you have a fantastic day in the Lord. Go to Him with your life laid bare and let Him minister His love and forgiveness into your life. He is with you, and He will not fail you! Second, I want to let you know that we’ll be dark tomorrow — in other words, no EDiBS for the day. We have some audio issues to work through with our sound equipment right now, as well as some other updating to do before we begin our new study series on Monday. That said, tomorrow will be an in-service day for us around the office so that we can prepare. Finally, when we do return on Monday, I’m super excited to say that we’ll be moving into Part 2 of our four-part study on the book of Genesis! We covered chapters 1-11 in a previous series, and now the time has come to begin again, so I hope you’ll join in as we kick things off and introduce the next section, one which will introduce us to Abram and his wife Sarai, who will of course become Abraham and Sarah.
God bless you in a mighty way in the days ahead, everyone! Thanks so much for being part of this ministry, for learning alongside me each day, and also for sharing Christ and His Word with your friends and loved ones through EDiBS. Together we shine, and by God’s grace we’ll keep doing what we do here for as long as we can do it so that more people will be Brough to an understanding of the saving love of our Lord Jesus. I’ll see you back here soon — until then, have a great weekend, and do take care!