TODAYS READING: II PETER 1-3
Growing in our faith; the superiority of God’s Word to experience; false prophets and teachers; the Second Coming of Christ.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Peter writes his second epistle to remind these believers of truths they already knew, but needed to always have in remembrance. Do you ever need to be reminded of what you already know? I know I sure do! There is a major difference between knowing something in our minds, and seeing it become operative in our lives. That’s what Peter is driving at.
This Book starts out by revealing the growth process of a believer in Jesus Christ. Just like a baby is born and immediately begins a natural growth process, a believer in Jesus Christ is born again and should likewise immediately begin a process of growth. The result of our growth in Jesus Christ is a life that bears fruit. Peter lets us know, however, that the result of not growing is that we lose our ability to see spiritually, and may even get to the point of forgetting that we were saved! Eternal security is a fact. Once someone is born into God’s family they are His child forever. The assurance of our salvation, however, comes only from our growth in Christ. If someone is doubting their salvation, it is not our job to tell them whether or not they are saved. That’s the Spirit’s job. Our responsibility is to point them to the Word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to them their true condition.
II Peter 1:16-21 is a key passage to understanding the importance of God’s Word and its reliability. The event Peter is talking about is found in Matthew 17:1-8. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a mountain and revealed His true glory to them (the glory that will be His at His Second Coming). At that time, God the Father spoke so that the disciples heard Him say, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”. Can you imagine that experience? Go check out Matthew 17:1-8. Peter, James, and John were totally blown away! What could be more sure than seeing Christ in His glory, and hearing the audible voice of God? Only one thing – the Bible! That’s exactly what God is saying in verse 19! We have a “more sure word of prophecy” (1:19). More sure than what? More sure than the experience Peter witnessed! In other words, more sure than even the audible voice of God! That is why we must let the Bible judge every experie!
nce. The Bible is what is true. The Bible is what does not change. Do not judge the Bible by your experience, but rather, judge your experience by the Bible.
Just as there are false teachers today, there were already many false teachers in Peter’s day. God does not mince words in His condemnation of false teachers. Many people today get upset if you mention false teachers by name. However, we’re not talking about people who are simply misguided themselves, but people who are actively propagating a message that condemns others to hell! Notice that these are also the people to which Peter is referring in 2:19-22. Some have mistakenly believed that 2:20-21 teaches that a person can lose their salvation. However, the context makes completely clear that this is in reference to teachers who have never been saved in the first place.
This Book ends with a reminder of the most important date on God’s calendar – the day of the Lord! Even in Peter’s day, there were already people mocking the Second Coming of Christ, just as there are today. You gotta love Peter’s line in verse 5, “For this they willingly are ignorant”. It is interesting that the world considers Bible-believers to be ignorant, when the Bible says that they are actually the ignorant ones, and willingly at that! Why does God say that? Because the evidence for the reliability of God’s Word is open for all to see. God is saying that the problem isn’t that they CAN’T see, it’s that they don’t WANT to see!
Keep in mind why Peter is writing this epistle. It is to put his readers in remembrance of what they already know. Though we know the truth of 3:11, may we always keep it in our remembrance: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
It is indeed a strange phenomenon that we who know that we should invest our lives in eternal things, spend most of our time pursuing and accumulating things that will simply be dissolved by the presence of our Lord. May that reality cause us to invest our lives in the only two things that will last forever: the Word of God and the souls of men!