Jesus Christ is - The Wonderful One
To Him be the glory both now and forever.  Amen.

2 Peter Book Study

2 Peter

Daily Bible Verse

By Charlie Garrett
and Rory Wilson

 

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.  Psalm 115:1



This page comprises the Daily Devotionals that I sent out while working through the book of 2 Peter. If there's a particular passage in this book that you don't understand, scroll down to read my analysis. I hope what you find will bless you. I want to give my sincere appreciation to Rory Wilson who took the time to compile and edit these for me. God bless you brother!


 

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Peter 1:1

Today Peter greets us with the name “Simon Peter.” Simon bar Jonah (or Simon son of Jonah) is his given name and Peter is the name given to him by Jesus. He is always listed first when the apostles are named in the gospels and it normally states “Simon who is called Peter.” Peter means “rock” as does the name “Cephas” given to him in John 1:42 – “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).”

This is important, because he is occasionally called by any of these names in the gospels or elsewhere in the New Testament. One time he is called Simeon (Acts 15:14).

Today he calls himself a “bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” A bondservant is an unpaid servant; a slave.

An apostle is a “sent one.” The position “apostle” is one which ended with the closing of the New Testament canon and today there are no true apostles even though some people claim the title in ministry. Despite this, true apostles are only those so named in the Bible.

Today Peter is addressing all who have “obtained like precious faith” meaning that their faith has brought them to the same saving grace as he himself obtained. This was bestowed upon us by “the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Peter is certainly stating that Jesus is both “our God and Savior” instead of making a distinction between the two “our God and (Jesus) our Savior” thereby making a distinction between the two. This conclusion comes from the fact that the Greek will bear the construction of the first option. As this is so, it would seem unlikely Peter would have written this way if there was any doubt of Jesus’ deity.

O God, help us to look with both delight and care at the verses which make up the book of 2 Peter. May we be found to properly handle Your word and to come to reasonable conclusions which honor You as we study. In the end, may You receive the glory for our attention to this wonderful book. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


 

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,… 2 Peter 1:2

Peter says the same thing in the second verse of his first epistle as he does in today’s, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you” …very consistent fellow! Today we’re normally not as formal in our salutations as the writers of the New Testament letters. It’s a shame too because there’s something lost when we skip over a heartfelt greeting and just jump into the purpose of our notes.

Likewise, when people greet each other, we’ve gotten to the point where our words have been cut to the absolute minimum… instead of “Good morning Rebecca” we find it difficult to simply utter “Morning…” Going back to the book of Ruth, we see how Boaz greeted his employees in the field as they worked –

Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!”
And they answered him, “The LORD bless you!”

This wonderful exchange shows us several things.

1) The Lord is on the minds of the people not just on Sunday morning, but as they work during the week.

2) The presence of the Lord should be considered a special blessing for those we greet.

3) The people – both the boss and the employees – took the additional time to recognize each other and not just mumble over a weak greeting.

Imagine especially the workers in the field. They were busy with their reaping. But instead of just raising a hand of acknowledgment, they took due care to recognize Boaz. The encounter is a touching look into the lives of people who have gone before us, but who have something valuable to teach us. Remember this lesson and determine in yourself that you’ll take time to greet others in a pleasant and heartfelt manner.

Lord, I’m often a bit too careless in my greeting of others. Today’s thought is something I really need to work on, and I will – hoping that You’ll be there to remind me of this. Help me be attentive to those around me in a way that makes them realize I truly am concerned about them. By doing so, may they see Jesus in me! Amen.


 

…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,… 2 Peter 1:3

The complexity of this translation comes from the use of “God” and “Jesus our Lord” in the preceding verse. Peter is explaining the unique bond between Jesus and God in terms that we can comprehend. The translators then bring it to us from Greek to English in a way we can understand, but which is rather difficult to grasp.

The divine power of God “has given” to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. This means that the moment we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we’re marked with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the Scriptures to us and leads us into the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Despite being granted immediately, this is not a complete action. Only the ability to receive these things is granted, but it is up to us to pursue the knowledge which is now available. And this is a lifetime pursuit. As we study the Bible and contemplate the work of Jesus we grow in that which pertains to life and godliness. This is why we have so many denominations and why so many people within Christianity disagree on both the minor and even the major precepts of the Bible.

Believers accept Jesus and are saved at that moment. They are also sealed as a “deposit” or “guarantee” of eternal life. The problem arises though when people who are untrained in proper doctrine are appointed (or appoint themselves) teachers and pastors. When this happens, bad doctrine is inevitable. As they teach that which is incorrect, entire groups of people are raised up believing things not based in sound reasoning or interpretation.

Yes, we have been granted “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” but we must be careful to cultivate these in the proper way as we grow “in the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”

Lord Jesus, may You fill me with Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and knowledge. Give me proper understanding in all things which pertain to life and godliness that I may be an acceptable and responsible follower of You and instructor to others of the majesty of Your splendor and grace. Amen.


 

…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4

The term “by which” is referring to the knowledge of Jesus “who called us by glory and virtue.”  This knowledge, and its ensuing splendor, has brought to us promises which are both exceedingly great and precious. They come as a result of the divine power of God which pertains to life and godliness. As we increase in the knowledge of these things, we will actually share in Christ’s nature.

According to Paul, this comes in different stages as we mature. God predestined us for salvation even before creation. He knew those who would believe in the message of Jesus from eternity past. Those whom He predestined, He called. When we’re called, we began a glorious process.

After being called, we were justified. This is where we are declared “not guilty” of the offenses we’ve committed. Jesus took the punishment we deserve at the cross. As God judged our sin in Him, it can never be judged again; hence, we are justified before God.

Once justified, we go through sanctification which is an on-going process. As we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Scripture, learn to live our lives in the Spirit, and are molded into the image of Jesus, we grow in sanctification.

Eventually, we will be glorified. This is the final state of the believer when we will be like Christ. This is what Peter means when he says we will be “partakers in the divine nature.” Although glorification isn’t something we can attain in this life, Paul speaks of it as already accomplished in the mind of God. We have every assurance that we will be carried through to this state.

If you’re struggling in sanctification, ask the Lord to help you grow into His likeness. Make sure to study your Bible regularly and also to pray for guidance and wisdom as a faithful believer. These things will help you grow in Christ and will be added to the list of heavenly rewards you will receive when you face the Lord.

Lord God, sometimes I don’t feel as if I’m growing into Your likeness. In fact, I often feel I’m slipping backwards. I know that You have saved me and that I am eternally Yours, but I feel unworthy of Your favor. Help me to grow in You, give me wisdom as I study Your word, and fill me each day with Your Holy Spirit that I may become more and more like You. Amen.


 

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,… 2 Peter 1:5

In verses 5-7, Peter is going to give an orderly development of our faith and practice so that we might be fruitful as believers in Jesus Christ. Today he starts with “But for this very reason…” indicating that what he said in the previous verses was to lead us to the development of thought he’s going to provide.

Having established that, he adds in that this is something which requires “all diligence.” In other words, it’s not something automatic and we simply can’t expect to behave the way he asks without thought, proper direction, and training. And what is it that we’re to follow? He starts with “add to your faith virtue.” Faith is merely the beginning of our walk with the Lord. As the author of Hebrews says –

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

We can’t please God without faith. Equally as important is the fact that misdirected faith is wasted faith. Yes, Muslims and Buddhists, etc. have faith, but their faith is misdirected. What the Bible makes clear is that faith in Jesus Christ alone is what pleases God. From this launching point, we’re to add virtue.

Peter is telling us that we are to strive for holy excellence with moral power as we progress in our faith. Next, we are to add to this virtue knowledge. The word here is “gnosin” and means awareness or intelligent insight. As we ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit and live in a manner aligned with this, we will begin to see biblical truths properly; the lens will come into focus for our doctrine and our lives.

Heavenly Father, though my faith be as small as a mustard seed, I ask that You increase it. And O God, help me to exercise it in a way which is proper and honoring to You. May I increase this faith with virtue and from there may my virtuous faith lead to a proper knowledge and understanding of Your word and Your great character. Amen.


 

…to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,… 2 Peter 1:6

Yesterday, Peter taught us to step from faith to virtue and then from virtue to knowledge. Today He admonishes us to make the difficult and trying step of going from knowledge to self-control.

“Self control” is translated by others as “temperance” and may lead some to use this as a justification for not drinking any alcohol. Examining the Bible in a study dispels this thought and finds that conclusion otherwise unjustifiable. 

The Greek word here is “enkrateian” and is being related to the complete lifestyle of the believer. It refers to self-control, restraining one’s temper, and guarding all of one’s physical appetites. This then would be the opposite of self-indulgence.

If we have knowledge without self-control, our knowledge would be useless. To understand it’s wrong to over-indulge, but to do it anyway is to reject the knowledge. Peter rightly places this as the next step. As we exercise self-control, we add to it perseverance.

Again, this is a logical progression of thought. We have knowledge so let’s use it to control ourselves; we have self-control, so let’s exercise it continuously – with perseverance. Let’s not falter from our self-control and step backwards, but rather we should heroically press on despite opposition of the world and of our own weak flesh. As we persevere, we work towards godliness.

Godliness is a condition of living a pious, devout, and holy existence. It would make no sense to desire this if we had no self-control. And even if we did at one point, unless we persevered in restraining our desires, we could never expect to live in a godly fashion.

As you can see, each step that Peter mentions must logically precede the following step as we march on toward living as God would have us live. Live for Christ; be filled with the Spirit of God; and press on in this attitude all the day of your lives!

O precious Savior, how hard it is to persevere in right conduct and self-control.  You know, O Lord, my weaknesses both in temptation and in endurance. Strengthen me as I walk through this life of trial and testing and give me the supernatural ability to live as You would have me live. I ask this so that You will be glorified in me. Amen.


 

…to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 2 Peter 1:7

Peter comes to the conclusion of his progressive thought. Yesterday, he told us to go from knowledge to self-control and from self control to perseverance. After perseverance we were told to progress to godliness. Today he relates to us that from godliness we should advance to brotherly kindness.

The word here is “philadelphian” and is a fraternal affection. Until we progress in godliness, our brotherly kindness will be lacking its proper support. But when godliness is pursued first, then our inter-personal affections will be rooted in Christ and demonstrate Christ-like attitudes. This doesn’t mean that the unconverted world can’t show a similar kindness, but it will naturally be based on a misdirected attitude unless it bears the resemblance of Jesus.

Peter sums up the thought with the final step, love. This is completely in line with Paul’s thoughts on the matter as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 – the Bible’s great discourse on love. If we have a Christ-like brotherly kindness towards each other, then we can properly love without hindrance or pretense.

The word Peter uses is “agapen.” This is the wider, deeper love that transcends brotherly kindness and enables a person to love volitionally, rather than emotionally. A deliberate choice is made in this type of love which says, “I will love my enemies and even put them ahead of myself.” In other words, we are to put others in the same position in our attitudes as God put us when He sent Jesus to die for us.

We were once enemies with God, but He – in His great love for us – sent Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. This is the goal to which we should aspire as well and it is something we need to work towards as we follow the steps Peter has laid out for us. May we endeavor to faithfully reach this high and favorable state!

Lord, help me to become the faithfully loving person You intend for me to be. You know the depths of my heart and soul and the limits I have placed there. Break down these barriers and give me the supernatural ability to overcome these limitations so that others, even my enemies, may see You there. To Your honor and glory I pray. Amen.


 

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8

Let’s review the “things” Peter’s mentioned and which, when they abound, bring about fruitfulness –

Faith – The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Virtue – The quality of possessing valor, holy excellence, moral power, and fortitude.

Knowledge – Awareness, intelligent insight – seeing the truthfulness of things in the proper perspective.

Self Control – Maintaining mastery over your temper, lusts, and other emotional and physical appetites.

Perseverance – Withstanding opposition to the gospel and living faithfully and strongly in Christ even against the surging tides of antagonism.

Godliness – Having a pious, holy, and devote attitude in all ways and in all circumstances.

Brotherly kindness – Maintaining fraternal affection towards other believers in the Body of Christ and demonstrating that affection with one’s actions.

Love – Having a volitional rather than an emotional love regardless of lesser feelings which war against the soul. This means to love and demonstrate that love deliberately.

If we exercise these qualities properly and in increasing measure, we will be “neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Isn’t this the goal we should each aspire to as we live our lives in the presence of God? Let’s pray about this –

Gracious and infinitely wise Creator, You certainly know my proclivity to falling short of today’s points. Be with me, sustain me, and help me grow in each of these aspects that I will be a sound and faithful follower of Jesus. Thank You for hearing my prayer and responding according to Your great glory. Amen.


 

For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 2 Peter 1:9

Maybe a handful of times this devotional has said “memorize this verse” and think on it. This is one of the verses you’re recommended to remember. Read it carefully again, think on it, and then come back for your analysis…

Peter went through a list of eight things we should grow in so that we will be “neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those eight things are faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. By growing in these attributes, we are molded into Christ’s likeness as we are sanctified by the Spirit of God.

To fail to do so means we are “shortsighted.” The word here is referring to someone who is nearsighted. In fact, they’re so nearsighted that they are even in a state of blindness. Without special treatment like corrective lenses (or possible laser-therapy!), they simply can’t see the bigger picture, nor can they look ahead to the glory promised by Jesus Christ.

The aspect of this verse which is so incredible though is the fact that, regardless of their blind state and life which is lived in the lack of these virtuous facets, Peter only says that he’s forgotten that he “was cleansed” from his old sins. In line with the doctrine of Paul and all apostles, Peter doesn’t question such a person’s salvation. Instead, he acknowledges quite clearly that they are saved, washed, and clean. The blood of Jesus has covered and will cover every failing they have.

When considering the doctrine of eternal salvation, this verse makes it quite clear that it is not only sound, but that it is the only correct doctrine for the person who has called on Jesus by faith. If you’re in a denomination which teaches you can lose your salvation, or that you can’t know with certainty that you’re saved, or that you need to do extra works in order to be saved, then you need to consider your affiliation with that denomination. The blood of Jesus Christ is fully capable of both saving and keeping the believer safe – despite his own blindness.

He saves me from every sin and harm, Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm; I know He’ll guide me all the way.
Saved by His power divine, Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete, For I’m saved, saved, saved! Amen.


 

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;… 2 Peter 1:10

Great care is needed in evaluating today’s verse. Should we take it as a statement that we need to do things in order to be saved and to ensure this is what God intended, then the verse would be at odds with all other verses which proclaim salvation is a gift, is immediate, and is eternal in nature. It is God who calls; it is God who elects. As this is so and as there is no change in God, then our calling and election for salvation are guaranteed and certain from God’s perspective.

However, if we have called on the name of Jesus and if we are truly saved by His work, then we should have the internal desire to reflect what occurred by our fruitful deeds. If we fail to act this way then it is ourselves, not God, who are actually unsure if we are saved or not. The unfaithful but saved Christian goes through life ever-questioning the salvation they were granted.

Every time something bad happens, they will wonder “What did I do to deserve this? Maybe God doesn’t really love me.” Every time they do something inappropriate they will also mentally ask themselves “I wonder if God will be able to forgive me?” Such an individual is like a small boat tossed about on a raging sea. They have no sense of direction and no sense of security in their own lives.

`This is the person Peter is speaking of. If we are diligent in reading and understanding the Bible, we will have every surety of our call and our election. We will understand the nature of God and that what occurred is complete and eternal. Poor pastors! When their flock fails to dig deeply and often into Scripture…they must be bombarded by a continuous stream of self-doubting believers! It is the individuals, and in turn the congregation, who know and trust their Bibles that understand the great nature of the salvation given by Jesus.

Lord God, thank You for Your eternal and unchanging nature. By understanding who You are, I can understand my position in You – eternally saved and free from condemnation. Give me wisdom to diligently evaluate and understand difficult verses that can be easily twisted or misconstrued. Thank You for my eternal salvation; thank You for Jesus! Amen.


 

…for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:11

 “For so” is based on the first half of the idea Peter has given us. This is recorded in verse 10 –

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;…

Access to the everlasting kingdom of Jesus is obtained by faith in Jesus. This was stated by Jesus and is repeated again and again by the apostles in the New Testament. Cherubim were placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were expelled from there; they guarded the entrance, ensuring that there was no access in keeping man from the Tree of Life. This was likewise pictured on the veil in front of the Ark of the Testimony –

You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. Exodus 26:31

However, when Christ Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn in two. This symbolized access was restored to the Tree of Life through His torn body. The book of Hebrews says the veil symbolized His flesh. The book of John shows us that the ark was a picture of His sacrifice as well. Every detail of the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in Jesus. It is through Him that we obtain entrance into His everlasting kingdom. Therefore, we are wise to increase our knowledge of Him and His word now so that we will be supplied “abundantly” with access into His eternal dwelling. What we put off today will affect what we receive in the time to come.

O God! Give me more of Jesus. Fill me with an ever-increasing desire to know Him and His mighty works. Open my understanding concerning the pictures and symbols of the Old Testament and how they relate to, and are fulfilled, in the New. May my eyes be opened to the marvelous fulfillment of these things in Jesus my Lord! Amen.


 

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 2 Peter 1:12

The wording here in the NKJV can be misconstrued, so read how the NIV translates the last portion of this verse – “…and are firmly established in the truth you now have.”

Truth is fixed and immutable. Today people say “all things are relative” or “what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me” in an attempt to justify their stand on something which is otherwise unjustifiable. But this thinking is amiss. When Peter says, “the present truth” he is speaking of that which has been revealed, not that which was untrue but has now become true.

Having clarified this, we see his desire to drum into the heads of his recipients (meaning us too) the things he’s already taught them. Should he fail to do so, he would be “negligent” in his responsibilities. Learning often involves and is enhanced by repetition. To hear something once leaves the possibility of forgetting. Hearing it twice or three times helps solidify what’s been relayed. It’s for this reason that Peter repeats what he’s previously taught.

Likewise, the Bible itself reinforces precepts throughout its pages. What the Old Testament proclaims is reiterated or fulfilled in the New; what Matthew teaches is repeated in Mark, Luke, and even John at times. What Acts tells us occurred is repeated at the pen of Paul. What Paul states as prescriptive for the church is reconfirmed by Peter and the other apostles. All of this repetition is given so that we will be firm, fixed, and established in sound biblical truth.

And yet, how often do we see huge disparities in doctrine between one pastor and the next; between one teacher and the next; between one denomination and the next. Such differences result because we fail to spend due time and reflection in the pages of the Bible. Let’s take heed to Peter’s word today and get ourselves “established in the present truth.”

Heavenly Father, keep me from wrong considerations of modern thought which teach that “all things are relative.” Your word teaches that there is one truth and one way to be saved. Despite varying opinions on the matter, You don’t waiver on it and so neither will I. Keep me sound in my doctrine and faithful in my allegiance to Jesus my Lord. Amen.


 

Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,… 2 Peter 1:13

Peter said yesterday that the letter’s recipients knew and were established in the revealed truth about Jesus. However, he says again today that it’s right to continue to remind them (and us) of the same matter.

When you haven’t studied math in a long time, you tend to forget the way to do calculations (long division anyone?). When you don’t study a foreign language you once knew, you tend to forget its proper construction and eventually you forget even the words to speak. Likewise, if we distance ourselves from studying the Bible and what it reveals; when we neglect church and the fellowship it provides; when we skip over sharing in the Lord’s Supper etc, we grow cold and forgetful about the very things which brought us to Jesus in the first place.

As Peter said four verses ago – “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” Yes, there can even be a point where we forget we had even called on Jesus at all. What an immense shame it will be for such a person to face Jesus, not for condemnation, but a salvation that brings no rewards. Such a life is one wasted on fruitlessness and a complete lack of appreciation for the great salvation He wrought on their behalf.

Because of our short-sightedness in life, Peter wants to stir us up by reminding us not to fall away. He says that he would do this “as long as I am in this tent.” The tent he is speaking of is his body. He uses the term to indicate that it is only a temporary dwelling place and not his permanent home. His wording is used to remind us that we should feel the same. We are merely pilgrims passing through this life and we should be ever-expecting a greater dwelling place; an eternal abode where we will be in the presence of the Lord who saved us.

Lord, give us hearts and minds that look, like Peter, with expectation of a better home and a permanent dwelling. As we abide in our current tents, may we continue to refresh our memories concerning the great truths which the Bible proclaims concerning Jesus and His glorious gospel. Amen.


 

…knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.  2 Peter 1:14

Peter is referring to this particular passage in the book of John –

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”  This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” John 21:15-19

As is recorded in all four Gospels, Peter denied Jesus three times on the night of His crucifixion. This discourse between Jesus and Peter follows a similar pattern in the way in which it is presented and serves as a link between the two occurrences. It is the basis for the complete restoration of Peter in his apostolic position - but there would be a cost for serving Jesus. He would die a martyr’s death.

Tradition has it that he was crucified, but that he asked for it to be upside down because he felt unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as his Lord. Are you willing to face whatever the Lord hands you with confidence and obedience. Like the apostles, we may be expected to give more than Sunday morning offerings. Let’s determine now that we will follow our Lord with unwavering commitment.

Lord Jesus, just as Peter was willing to go to his death for the sake of the gospel, give me the same desire – whatever the cost, may I faithfully follow You all the days of my life. May You receive the glory You are due as I live my life in this temporary tent! Amen.


 

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. 2 Peter 1:15

Peter’s already spoken of reminding his letter’s recipients about Jesus, but today he says that he wants to make sure they “always have a reminder” of what he has to say. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we can deduce that he’s speaking of the very letter he’s writing. As this is so, we can expect him to substantiate why his letter is valid and acceptable. Until we get to those verses, let’s think on the importance of the Bible.

It’s safe to say that there are still over 1000 languages without a copy of the Bible. Christian churches spend a great deal of money sending missionaries overseas to evangelize the lost. This is most noteworthy, but without a strong follow up, only the people who originally hear the word will benefit. Therefore, it’s important to not only tell of Jesus, but to put in place safeguards so that the message will continue to be told. One way of doing this is schooling, raising up elders, and establishing churches. However, without a copy of the Bible bad doctrine can easily creep in.

Likewise, missionaries from non-conforming sects such as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses can come in and steal away the truth. To provide copies of the Bible in English is arrogant and presumptuous when it isn’t the native language of the people. Therefore, it has been the practice of faithful Christians throughout the ages to translate the Bible into the language of the natives.

Today, that strong desire and goal is being accomplished by the Wycliffe Bible Translators. This world-wide organization is steadily making progress in the translation of the Bible into every known language on earth. If you have the desire to be a part of this team, contact them. Likewise, if you feel so moved, help them out by a charitable gift. The word is eternal, but needs to be understood. Let’s get it out to the people who so desperately need it.

Lord Jesus, I pray for each of the men and women of the Wycliffe Bible Translators. Whether they’re overseas in difficult conditions or filling a support role in the office of a big city, be with them and guide them. May Your Holy Spirit move in a splendid way and bring about the knowledge of Your majesty – just as the waters cover the sea. Amen.


 

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 2 Peter 1:16

In the next two verses, Peter is going to give an explanation of today’s verse. But understand today that Peter’s message is completely consistent with the other New Testament authors. Here are a couple examples of many which testify to those who were eyewitness –

1) “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1

2) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

History records that many of these people were martyred for what they claimed they saw. Unlike modern suicide bombers who believe what they’ve been told and are willing to die for what they haven’t seen, the apostles and followers of Jesus were willing to die for what they had seen. The gulf between these two concepts is vast. People die all the time for lies they believe to be true, but no one of sound mind would die for what they knew to be false. They would simply deny the lie and be granted life. Instead though, they died for the truth. We have a sound faith in Jesus Christ, never doubt that where you’ve placed your faith is worthy of eternal reward.

Lord, when my faith is weak, I am so grateful to be reminded of the faithful apostles who proved Your coming by their martyrdom. When I think on this, I have renewed confidence that my faith is sound and properly directed. Thank you for these faithful men who gave their lives that I may be strengthened in times of doubt. Amen.


 

For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:17

This proclamation was made upon Jesus twice during His ministry. The first time was at His baptism and is recorded in Matthew 3:16, 17 (also in Mark and Luke) –

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

It was also made at the mount of transfiguration in Matthew 17:5, 6 (also in Mark and Luke) –

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.

Peter is speaking of the latter incident in today’s verse, and he’s confirming what he said earlier – that he and the others were eyewitnesses of the glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus told his apostles “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” In each of the three gospel accounts, the transfiguration immediately follows this statement, indicating that this is what He was speaking of. The occurrence was like a note of deposit for the apostles to reflect on and stand by when times would get tough. Peter uses this to assure us that what he says is both true and reasonable.

Lord, because of the testimony of the apostles and because of the reliability of Your word, I have every confidence that my faith is properly placed in Jesus. In Your word I find comfort, hope, strength, and encouragement enough for every doubt and every trial. Thank You for this wonderful testimony! Amen.


 

And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 2 Peter 1:18

Peter says “we” because James and John were with him. The Law of Moses required two or three witnesses and so their testimony is valid concerning this occurrence. Here is the account –

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

The attendance of Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets – Jesus being the fulfillment of each. Further, Moses’ death is recorded in the Bible while Elijah was taken to heaven alive. Therefore, these two reflect God’s control over both the living and the dead who are in Christ – the realization of this will be at the rapture when the dead will rise first followed by those who are alive at the Lord’s coming. We will be gathered together!

Peter’s eyes were directed at the splendid arrival of these two heroes of his past, but God’s response was clear – fix your attention on Jesus. This is what the Bible proclaims from beginning to end. We’re to have our thoughts, hopes, aspirations, eyes, and ears fixed on Jesus. Nothing less hits the mark.

Yes Lord God! Forgive me for directing my attention to lesser things. Forgive me for being distracted by fame, notoriety, wealth, or any other fleeting aspect of our human state. Give me the wisdom to look beyond these temporary things to the eternal glory of Jesus my Lord. May He be the focus of my entire being. To Your glory I make this prayer. Amen.


 

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;  2 Peter 1:19

This verse is also translated “And so we have the more sure prophetic word…” Either Peter is saying that the “prophetic word,” meaning the Hebrew Scriptures, is confirmed in the Person of Jesus Christ, or he is saying that the Hebrew Scriptures are actually surer than the eyewitness testimony that he and the other apostles claim to have seen. Either way, he is giving complete credit to the surety of the Old Testament as a “light that shines in a dark place.”

Without them, which are now combined with the New Testament, the darkness around us is like that of the hours before the dawn – the darkest of all. Without the Bible as a guide, we can only grope through life blindly and our footing is completely unsure. But with the words which form the sentences, and the sentences which form the pages, and the pages which fill the books of the Bible, we have a light which dispels the great darkness of this world and illuminates the path for us.

The psalmist understood this truth, looking forward to the great revelation of Jesus Christ –

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Likewise, as we wait on the return of Christ, we have the same surety as the saints of old as we consider Scripture, but with the added benefit of the Holy Spirit. He illuminates the Bible for us as we rely on His leading. Let us never neglect this surer word of prophecy until the morning star rises – a reference to Jesus also in Revelation 22:16 – and dispels the final darkness of this world; illuminating the heavens with His splendor at the daybreak like the sun; the Sun of righteousness Malachi spoke of – our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

O God! We wait with high expectation for the return of our Hope, our Love, our Lord Jesus. Until that glorious day when the skies are illuminated with His splendor, we thank You for the pages of the Bible which give us comfort and hope. We also thank You for Your Holy Spirit – Who leads us through this dark world on the path to our final home. Amen.


 

…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,… 2 Peter 1:20

 “Private interpretation” means “own interpretation.” In other words, what is contained in the prophecies of the Bible is of divine origin and not of man or demon. In contrast to this are countless prophecies which come to us from an almost unlimited number of sources.

We have prophecies or predictions from other religions such as Islam, Buddhism, etc. There are also those from Nostradamus, horoscopes, tarot cards, palm readers, and even generated by computers for example. The list is long and always lacks one essential element that the Bible contains – divine inspiration.

Not only do they lack divine inspiration, they are forbidden by God. Although part of the Old Testament Law, the same principles apply to us today concerning these types of activities as it did when recorded in Leviticus –

 ‘And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. Vs. 20:6

Any prophecy which is not specifically of God is not to be trifled with. The reading of Tarot cards and Ouija boards, for example, relies on a manipulation of the created order in anticipation of helpful clues about one’s personal future.

The same is true with daily horoscopes. To view these as innocuous and fun is akin to taking hot coals and placing them in your own lap – the result is detrimental to one’s well-being. It’s shocking that Christians – true believers who have called on Jesus as Lord – participate in these activities. One cannot be held guiltless when they hold Jesus with their right hand and hold out their left to a palm-reader. We need to have single-hearted devotion to the Lord lest we find ourselves subdued and torn away by a lesser master.

O God, I pray today that your face would be turned toward me, not against me. I pray that my heart and soul would be directed completely and solely toward you and that you would keep me from those prophecies which are not of divine origin. Help my doctrine to be pure and my heart to be steadfast – directed to You alone. Amen.


 

…for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21

Today’s verse is one of the clearest and most definitive statements of the divine inspiration of Scripture found in the Bible. Peter states that the authors of the Bible weren’t inspired like artists or poets might be – as if their ideas came from an internal thought process. But at the same time, they weren’t completely controlled in the process either.

A pen or typewriter has no active part in the compilation of a book, but the prophets of the Bible did. Instead of being completely in control of the process, or being completely controlled by the process, the Holy Spirit moved these men using individual their vocabulary styles, background knowledge, and even personalities and moved them along in a divine way. This is the reason that we can tell differences in authors’ styles and yet see God’s handiwork in each word, sentence, paragraph, page, and book of the Bible.

If someone plays the guitar, Eddie Van Halen for example, his personal style shows through. Anyone familiar with his work will say, “Hey, that’s Eddie Van Halen…” and yet he may be playing a tune composed by Beethoven. If you’re also familiar with Beethoven’s style, without ever hearing the song before, you could say, “Hey, Eddie Van Halen is playing a tune composed by Beethoven!” Imagine now an entire orchestra playing this music.

Each person’s instrument and their individual style comes through and is entirely unique. But at the same time, these people were all moved by the same great master – Beethoven. Divine inspiration does not negate individual style. Rather, it takes it into account and these men of God were moved in a way which reveals that “every word of God is pure.”

We can have complete assurance that the Bible is God’s perfect revelation to mankind. It is for this reason, as confirmed by Jesus’ own words, that we cannot dismiss any part of the Bible. The Bible is a unified whole and is authoritative in all it proclaims, teaches, and expects for the conduct of our lives.

Heavenly Father, may I never arrogantly assume that I can dismiss parts of the Bible I disagree with. Give me the wisdom to understand that You are the divine source of all Scripture and that Your Holy Spirit actively ensured that we have in its pages exactly what we need in order to properly live our lives. Amen.


 

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1

Peter speaks volumes in today’s verse. He preempts anyone who would attempt to lead others away from the lordship of Jesus Christ or who would pervert the gospel by watering it down or adding to it. A false prophet isn’t only one who makes a prediction which fails to transpire. He is anyone who would purposely or even unintentionally proclaim a heretical message. For the sake of clarity, we need to simply go back one verse to see the root of all heresies –

 “…for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21

The Bible is the only witness to the work of Jesus. It tells of His work from before time all the way through to eternity future. We cannot have a reliable view of Jesus without the Bible and the Bible provides everything we need to have a complete and untarnished view of Him. In turn, Jesus reveals the unseen God.

Therefore, we cannot have a competent view of God without a proper view of Jesus. The three are inseparable. Therefore, to dismiss even a single verse of the Bible tarnishes our view of God.

For example, we cannot hold onto Gods’ love without also proclaiming his wrath. Heresies are any teaching which will keep another from salvation through Christ. This is in contrast to bad doctrine which is something that doesn’t keep another from salvation, but leads them to misunderstandings of proper life in Christ.

Heretical teachers, though profiting in this world, will receive swift destruction when they face God. Unfortunately, those who follow heretics will be swept away with them. This is why knowing and properly handling your Bible is of eternal value. God doesn’t force Himself upon the sons of men; He expects us to reasonably and intelligently pursue Him and His expectations for us.

O God, how can I know if what I hear is true? By standing firm on Your word! Keep me filled with the strong and lasting desire to read, study, and remember what the Bible proclaims. For by it, I have an understanding of Jesus and through Him I have an understanding of You. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Bible. Amen.


 

And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:2

Yesterday’s verse spoke of false teachers who bring destructive heresies into the church. Such people are set on their own appetites and how they can manipulate others for their own benefit and glory. Unfortunately, in order to be a false teacher with followers, there must be those who follow.

History is replete with such groups and sects. In the 1800s, there was a huge turning away from the truth and many heretics flourished in the freedom provided by the US Constitution. The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some Adventist groups grew rapidly in numbers. All of this occurred because people followed a charismatic leader rather than paying heed to the Bible which admonishes us to follow the Lord; to think on the Lord; to fix our eyes on the Lord.

Cults continue to spring up in our times, but something much less obvious has arisen in the 20th and early 21st century. Heretics have infiltrated mainstream denominations – both in the seminaries and in the pulpits. Bad doctrine abounds and there has been a grand shift from reliance on the word of God to the traditions and teachings of these heretical leaders.

What the Bible clearly forbids is heralded as “tolerant” and God “doing a new thing.” But God is unchanging and His standards never fluctuate. Sadly, the congregants who sit in these denominations are accountable for their failure to investigate what they’re taught, but the majority will fail to do so. As you attend church, please compare what is taught with what the Bible says. If the two contradict each other, the problem rests with the church or the pastor, not with God and His loving intent for you.

What He speaks is for the good of His creatures; the Bible is for our well-being and to dismiss it will only bring sadness. Be filled with the joy of the Lord; read, learn, and love His word – the Holy Bible.

Heavenly Father, You are a great and loving God. I know that Your word is meant to lead us down paths of righteousness and safety and we divert from it at our own peril. Please continue to give me the desire, time, and ability to study and discern Your word and intent for me. All glory to You. Amen.


 

By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:3

The false teachers that Peter has been speaking of have fallen into the same trap of the world as any common criminal – covetousness. Their eyes are full of greed and lust as they look at the pleasures of the world around them and betray the truth of the Bible for dishonest gain. This is accomplished by exploiting their followers with “deceptive words;” the truth of the Bible is twisted and manipulated for the sake of money.

A perfect place to go in order to witness first hand such twisted teaching is televangelism. A large portion of these people are simply common crooks. They take something good, turn it to financial gain, and make it appear as if what they are doing is the standard.

This happens on Wall Street and it happens in their ministries – mixing what’s right with that which is inappropriate. Anytime (anytime!) a pastor, evangelist, preacher, priest, or teacher promises you a financial or other blessing for sending his ministry money, you should run, not walk, from this person. There are no “financial breakthroughs” “financial harvests” “miracle healings” etc. to be found by following this avenue. There is only an exchange of money from your pocket to theirs.

Peter has strong words of condemnation for those who would twist Scripture for gain – “their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” These people, seemingly pious and sincere, will receive enormously large and lengthy doses of God’s wrath for perverting what He has given to man in love – His Son.

Jesus hung on a cross to free men’s souls, not to enrich the people of His flock. We don’t kiss the ring of the notable, we don’t look forward to profit by our gifts, and we don’t expect a miracle for our faith. Rather, we look to the Lord with gratitude and thanksgiving for having saved us from what we rightfully deserve – judgment and condemnation. Thank You Lord for having mercy on us!

Lord, You have given me more than I could ever imagine – forgiveness and redemption. This came at the highest cost of all, the cross of Jesus my Lord. May I never expect more and may my soul be satisfied in You alone. Keep me from those who would lead me into covetousness and keep my heart, mind, soul, and thoughts on Jesus alone. Amen.


 

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; 2 Peter 2:4

 “For” is setting up a comparison in the verses to come, but is also expanding on the previous verses. These previous three verses are speaking of false teachers and end with “their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” The contrast then is between the judgment of angels and that which can be expected for false prophets.

Believe it or not, Peter will spend the next 18 verses of this chapter talking about the punishment of such people. If the coming analysis doesn’t show you the seriousness of properly handling God’s word and also following it, then you’re not taking these passages in the light that God intends.

As is stated today, God didn’t spare those angels which sinned. By saying it in this way, Peter is intimating how much more should those who know God’s word be judged for sinning when they misuse it. Just look at the amount of false teaching in the world – pastors and priests who stand in the pulpit and deny or diminish truth in the Bible; evangelists who twist passages in order to profit financially; Bible teachers who aren’t qualified to teach because of a lack of knowledge and dedicated time spent learning to reason out the intent of passages, etc. The list is long and grows daily concerning those who have turned from sound analysis to a manipulation of what is proper.

So, today Peter sets his contrast. If the angels were sent to hell; put in gloomy dungeons as they wait for judgment; just imagine what was prepared for these people. God holds His word out to us as a guide for our life, for our salvation, and for our holiness. God forbid then that it would be used in any way which is unintended. The consequences for doing so are horrible in the extreme and eternal in their duration.

God, O God, keep us from misusing and mishandling Your precious word. May we be found worthy as teachers, preachers, and pastors, and as congregants who follow You and Your word alone – not the wiles of those who would pervert Your truth. Keep us from false teachers and lead us on the sound path of righteousness. Amen.


 

…and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;… 2 Peter 2:5

As is typical with Peter, he packs a lot of thought into a small portion of a single sentence which comprises this one verse. Yesterday he said that God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but sent them to hell (Tartarus – the deepest abyss of Hades) as they await judgment.

Today he continues with the ancient world, meaning prior to the Flood. Again, as has been demonstrated several times in the New Testament – including by Jesus’ own words – the Flood of Noah is taken as a truth we can rely on, not a myth which was invented to project a moral lesson. In fact, the entire flood account is considered trustworthy, not only that it occurred, but that there was a real ark, a real man named Noah, and seven people with him.

Nothing anywhere in Scripture or in the geologic record demonstrates that this was a myth. Rather, the evidence for a flood is found throughout the world – both in the legends of every major people-group on earth, within the geologic record, within the mitochondrial DNA of humans, and even in the alphabet of the Chinese people – an alphabet which reaches back to antiquity, even to the time of Babel itself.

We have every reason to be sure that God’s judgment occurred exactly as Peter proclaims and that his previous and coming analysis on the judgment of those who falsely portray the gospel will also be judged. Peter says that the despite the righteous preaching of Noah, the people of the world rejected his words. Because of this, there was no remedy and God destroyed the world of unrighteousness.

Likewise, man is again setting himself up for destruction. The world of today has a testimony far superior to that of Noah – the gift of God’s own Son. Despite this ultimate demonstration of love, the world is rejecting God’s offer and is ripe for His wrath.

O God, may my heart break for the lost souls of the world. May Your glorious gospel go forth and snatch precious souls from the sure destruction to come. Use me, O God, use me as an instrument of Your righteousness and for the sake of Your gospel of peace. May the nations be glad when they hear the good news of Jesus. Amen.


 

…and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;… 2 Peter 2:6

Sodom and Gomorrah stand as the premier example of judgment in the Bible, even above the Flood of Noah. Maybe this is because the sins of Sodom are specifically addressed whereas the Bible only mentions the “wickedness of man was great upon the earth” at the time of Noah.

Comparisons to Sodom are made almost 20 times elsewhere in the Old Testament and about 10 times in the New. To this day, a term for a specific type of perversion derives its name from Sodom – a perversion which is condemned as unnatural, unhealthy, and worthy of destruction. Because of this immorality and aberrant behavior, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – leveling them to ashes.

As Peter says, God made “them an example” to anyone who would later lives in such an ungodly fashion. The prophet Jeremiah speaks in the same manner as Peter concerning the false prophets of his time –

Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:
      They commit adultery and walk in lies;
      They also strengthen the hands of evildoers,
      So that no one turns back from his wickedness.
      All of them are like Sodom to Me,
      And her inhabitants like Gomorrah. Jeremiah 23:14

The leaders and prophets steered the people away from God and towards their own twisted paths. Eventually the people were destroyed and exiled.

The same occurred again in Jesus’ time. In fact, Jesus said that Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment wouldn’t be as severe as for those who rejected His offer of peace. Let’s hold fast to Jesus’ words, His ministry, and His work – accomplished on our behalf. Otherwise, a terrible fate awaits us too.

Lord, surely You O God cannot tolerate sin. Because of my own sin, cover me with Jesus’ righteousness and grant me protection from the storm of judgment which will again surely cover the earth. My heart, O Lord, purify my heart and allow me to live from this day forward a life that is holy and pleasing to You. Amen.


…and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked… 2 Peter 2:7

It seems rather strange to read the term “righteous Lot” when comparing him with other noted figures in the Bible… even figures who were fault-filled still seem to exceed Lot in righteousness. However, making comparisons to others is a fundamental flaw of people looking for personal justification rather than that which comes from God.

In other words, if you ask a person, “Why should God accept you into heaven?” the answer quite often is, “Well, I’m a good person…I’m not like Adolph Hitler.” The fact of the matter though is that neither Adolph Hitler nor any other person is the subject of the question. To answer in this way is a diversion brought in to move the question away from the main point.

A more direct and appropriate question would be, “What have you done to deserve eternal life.” The question demands a direct answer, and the answer must be precise – “I have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” Any other answer fails the test of righteousness. One cannot say, “I’ve led a good life;” “I paid tithes to my church;” “I did this;” or “I did that.” Such answers exclude the righteousness demanded by God – that of appropriately placed faith.

The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and He credited it to him for righteousness.” Taking God at his word is the path to imputed righteousness. The word of the Old Testament is fulfilled in and sealed in the New Testament. This full revelation of God tells us of the work of Jesus. Lot’s righteousness, like Abraham, didn’t come from works or a perfect life. If we try to find that in the telling of his life, we’d be left scratching our head about God’s selection. But his greatness isn’t what’s important; God’s is. Lot, despite his faults, received God’s imputed righteousness by faith, just as we must.

Lord God, you’ve made it both very difficult and yet supremely easy to be justified before You. It’s so very hard to put away our personal attempts at righteousness and few truly do it. However, once we have left ourselves out of the equation, we have access to the greatest Gift of all – our Lord’s righteousness. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.


 

…(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 2 Peter 2:8

We learned yesterday that Lot is who is being spoken of in today’s verse.

We also learned that from a study of Lot’s life he was a fallible guy in many ways. One account of his errors in life led to eons of grief for the people of Israel in later years. This occurred when his daughters got him drunk and slept with him. The children they bore became the fathers of the Ammonites and the Moabites. These groups of people were at conflict with and warred against God’s people during their time in the land. Not only that though… their descendants continue to war with them today, having been gathered into the collective peoples of the muslim nations around them.

However, and despite these and other failings, Peter calls him a “righteous man.” While living in Sodom, Peter says that “his righteous soul from day to day” was tormented by the lawless deeds of the people around him. This isn’t specifically recorded in the account of Lot in Genesis, but Peter acknowledges it as truth – either from an extra-biblical writing or a verbal tradition.

As noted yesterday, failings of character don’t exclude someone from being known as righteous. If they did, King David and most of the other noted heroes of the Bible could never be considered as such. We as well, with all of our idiosyncrasies and our propensity to foul up at the drop of a dime, could never possess the righteousness demanded by God.

As Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” What God demands is a righteousness we simply cannot attain on our own. This is the glorious purpose of God’s “imputed righteousness.” Jesus came and fulfilled the Law on our behalf. He then went to the cross and now offers us an exchange – our sins, judged at the cross, for His righteousness. It is – without a doubt – the greatest offer in the world.

All we need is to accept it, by faith, and God is faithful and just to forgive. Thank You, O God, for the cross of Jesus!

Heavenly Father, I know my unworthy state and that without Jesus I couldn’t stand in Your presence. O, but Father, I thank You for His perfection, given to me by grace. I thank you for the cross and I thank You for Your perfect plan which has reconciled me to You. Amen.


 

…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,…  2 Peter 2:9

One needs to review all the way back to verse 4 in order to get the entire context of this verse. This will refresh our thoughts –

1)      If God didn’t spare the angles which sinned, but rather cast them to hell and delivered them into chains as they await judgment, and

2)      If He didn’t spare the entire ancient world (the pre-flood world) with the exception of Noah and his family, but instead took away the breath of their lives, and

3)      If He didn’t spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness, but instead turned them into ashes (ashes to ashes, dust to dust we say…), condemning them to destruction for their ungodliness, but

4)      He spared Lot, a righteous man whose soul was tormented by the ungodliness and oppressive wickedness around him as he dwelt among them, then

5)      The Lord also knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and

6)      The Lord knows how to reserve the unjust under punishment for that great Day of Judgment.

A good way of looking at this is to know that we are living in a fallen world and surrounded by moral decay and perversion – even the influence of demons. Despite this, the Lord can keep us from falling into the same pattern as those around us, just as He did for Noah and for Lot. More than that, when we mourn over the perversion of our society, we have the assurance that our faithfulness is not in vain. God will judge the unrighteous and vindicate our steadfast and heartily maintained attitude of righteousness in Christ.

You, O Lord, are a rescuer of Your people and a defender of the weak. You look away from the proud, but give grace to the humble. May You be with us as we walk the difficult path of righteousness in this troubled and fallen world. How we look to You for guidance! Amen.


 

…and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,… 2 Peter 2:10

Well, here we have the evening news in a nutshell. It appears that things haven’t changed in the 2000 years since Peter wrote this and instead they’ve probably gotten worse. Not because of the already wicked heart, but because of the availability of access and communication with those who act in the same manner.

Whereas trouble in earlier times was localized and contained, today people in the US can stir up trouble in Egypt. Someone at his computer in France can email whatever perverted thing he’s dreamt up to people in 100 countries. Disobedience and the despising of authority are practiced and expanded upon in blogs and at news centers around the globe.

TV shows have gone from wholesome family values to complete perversion of both word and thought in less than two generations. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Israel is condemned for its restraint while those who perpetually attack her are called the victims – and the lie increases with every biased broadcast of the presumptuous and self-willed commentator.

The Marxist left challenges the authority of duly elected officials; those who are in the minority and who are elected to do their jobs simply pack up and leave their post when they disagree with the majority – never considering their duty to the people who elected them.

Those who legally bear arms are called criminals and those who illegally misuse them are said to have been brought up in sad circumstances and should be given light treatment.

Societies promote abortion as if the life conceived has no value, but they forgive murderers who rape and mutilate their victims before killing them.

All of this twisted and unhealthy thinking can be traced back to despising of the ultimate authority – Jesus Christ. The nations rally now, but He will be vindicated. A time of His reign is approaching where all uncleanness will be removed.

Lord, Peter speaks of hard issues which we often fail to take to heart. We forget that You aren’t only a loving and gentle Creator, but that You also are holy, righteous, and just. Better for me to put my hope in You and Your cross now than to attempt to stand on my own lacking righteousness on the great Day You have prepared. Amen.


 

…whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.2 Peter 2:11

Today Peter makes a contrast between angels and false teachers. By doing this, he shows the utter contempt of these people for the holiness of God. This demonstrates that their judgment is more than deserved.

He said yesterdays that false teachers “are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,” but rather use their tongues to destroy the line of authority God has ordained. They do this despite being mere mortals who have no true power or authority over anything, including the moment of their demise.

On the other hand, angels are aeviternal beings – they have a beginning, but no end – and “are greater in power and might” than the false teachers. If one or the other had a right to speak accusingly of the authority over them, it would be the angels. Instead however, they “do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.”

In other words, the angels have more power and might than these leaders, and yet they allow the order established by God to continue. These beings understand the sovereign and unlimited rule of God and that their position is not one of defiance, but obedience. False teachers and those who follow them take just the opposite stand – railing against all leaders, both earthly and heavenly. Their message belies their position; their words condemn rather than justify them.

The Bible lays out certain precepts, for example that elders and deacons are to be the husband of but one wife. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, chose to disobey this. Likewise, the Bible condemns any sex not within the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. Despite this, leaders in denominations and churches actively engage in illicit sexual behavior – daring God and reviling the boundaries of authority He has given. Such examples are what Peter notes as worthy of destruction.

Be careful who you follow and why. Know your Bible and know your God!

Lord God, it is You who are to be obeyed. Below you is a line of authority established by You and for Your sovereign purposes. May we endeavor to obey the rulers and authorities appointed over us and may our tongues be careful to not revile them – even when we disagree with the direction they choose. Rather, remind us to pray for them. Amen.


 

But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,  2 Peter 2:12

Wow, Peter’s been really coming down on false prophets! As he’s speaking the words authorized by Christ and on His behalf, he’s stating what is close and personal to His very heart. To get a clearer picture of what Jesus abhors, take 20 minutes and re-read the 7 letters to the 7 churches in the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. These letters give a direct look into the thoughts of how carefully Jesus considers the state of His church.

We stray from His precepts at our own peril and we add to or detract from His word at our own condemnation. Leaders with false prophecies or false doctrine are “like natural beasts.” Beasts are unreasoning, without care of other animals or thought of their own end. Rather, they do what comes through instinct alone; they live for the moment and for their own appetite.

False teachers are just like this. They “speak evil of things they do not understand.” This is much like many in the church today. This year (2011), the Episcopal Church has stated “On Good Friday, the day we mark the crucifixion of Christ, God in the flesh, might we suggest that when Earth is degraded, when species go extinct, that another part of God’s body experiences yet another sort of crucifixion…” This note goes on to state that it is notable that many religious leaders are celebrating both Good Friday and Earth Day as “holy.” Equating global warming with the crucifixion of Jesus is not only contemptible, but the theology made in the comparison is severely deficient.

The earth is not a “part of God’s body.” Rather it is a part of His creation. Man has been given dominion over the earth, but the earth – its climate, its future, and its existence – is under the complete control of God. Man’s role in earthly matters will be judged based on its relationship with Jesus, not on global warming – the invention of unsound reasoning. Teachers of such theology, rather than on the truth of Christ, will “perish in their own corruption.”

O Lord, surely sound doctrine is of great value and its lack can only bring sadness and eventual destruction. Open our minds to properly reason out our theology that what we teach and believe will be acceptable in Your glorious eyes. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

…and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,… 2 Peter 2:13

Today Peter uses the term “wages of unrighteousness.” The wages are death and destruction. This theme is consistently used by both Peter and Paul. Paul gives us an introductory look into this concept in Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As all have sinned, all receive death – there is no difference between young and old, male or female, Jew or Gentile. All are under the sentence of death because Adam’s sin is transferred to all of us. Wages are what we earn. Just as when we go to work, compensation is due, so it is the case that when we come into the world, wages for our fallen state are due.

But God, who is rich in mercy, offers a gift – eternal life through the Lord Jesus. Peter takes this concept and says (still speaking of false teachers) that they will receive their wages. These are the people who actively disobey the gospel of Jesus and yet they are the same people who sit at feasts with believers.

Think on those in Christian circles that fit this description – people who claim to know Jesus, but deny His authority by the life they lead. They “carouse in daytime” and openly flaunt their disobedient lifestyle while wearing garbs of the pious.

There is never a reason to trust someone just because they have on a minister’s attire and are credited in a theological seminary. Rather, an instructor in Christianity is to be evaluated on how he handles the word of God and how he treats the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Lord God, You have stated that judgment begins at Your house. How terrifying it will be for those who have improperly handled Your word and the glorious work of Jesus Christ. They sit in Your church now, but they have never truly been a part of it. Keep us from such teachers that we may be found approved on the Day of Your visitation. Amen.


 

…having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.  2 Peter 2:14

Peter’s still talking about the false prophets. He’s come at them from every way imaginable and has more to go…false doctrine and living under false pretenses are serious business and need to be taken as such.

Today’s verse starts with “having eyes full of adultery.” People who stand in the pulpit and preach piety and moral living and yet live in a fashion contrary to this standard are repulsive. They go from bad to worse and simply “cannot cease from sin.”

It’s shameful to hear about televangelists who preach “prosperity” for those who send money to their ministries, telling them that a “financial breakthrough” will come from their obedient and sacrificial giving. Unfortunately, those who fall for this are those who are in rough times already. If things were going well, they wouldn’t be worried about a financial breakthrough.

Eventually, these supposed ministers are exposed through lavish living – large houses, expensive cars, fashion clothing, etc. There is no sense of decency or morality in their lives. They have profited by enticing unstable souls and “have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.” Regardless of how they appear to those following them, the Lord reads their thoughts and the motives of their hearts. Destruction and hell will be their reward.

Take the time to look into the lifestyle of those you intend to follow before, not after, you start giving. What’s being taught here isn’t unique to Christianity. Rather, even the secular world – both in ancient times and today – understands the attitude addressed in today’s verse. As Homer said in the Iliad, “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”

If we simply look at actions, rather than flowery speeches, we can discern the truth. Inspect the politicians you choose, not on what they say, but on what they do. Be discerning in the leaders you look to for your government, your business, and especially your spiritual life.

Lord, keep me from those who are bent on evil gain at my expense and guide me to sound leaders who properly handle the word of truth. May those who lead our government, our financial institutions, and our churches be held accountable when they covetously strive to prosper at the expense of those who trust in them. Amen.


 

They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;… 2 Peter 2:15

The main story of Balaam the son of Beor is noted in the book of Numbers, chapters 21-24. He’s referred to again in Numbers 31, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Nehemiah, Micah, Jude, and Revelation. He’s mentioned so many times because he was a diviner who sold to the highest bidder. His initial story showed someone who was supposedly pious and reliant on the Lord, but later he sold out for profit in an attempt to subvert the goals and mission of the people of Israel. In his attempt to do so, he used the women of Midian to seduce the men of Israel and lure them to the worship of false gods. As Peter said, he “loved the wages of unrighteousness.” In the end, it cost him his life as he was killed along with the five kings of Midian - Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. Jesus speaks of him in Revelation 2:14 in this way –

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

Compare him now to the false teachers Jesus warned us of. He says they do three things to hinder their followers –

1) putting a stumbling block before the congregation,

2) eating things sacrificed to idols;

3) committing sexual immorality.

When evaluating a supposed religious leader, look for such things in his character. Notable figures of the past that held to such practices are Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, etc. Even a host of televangelists have engaged in unrepentant sexual immorality. Jesus gives strong warnings that such leaders will take their congregants down paths which lead to condemnation. Pay attention to who you follow. If he’s not leading you to Christ, or if he’s doing it in a way contrary to Scripture, then flee from him and his wayward teaching.

Heavenly Father, let me never trust in man who is fallible. Give me the wisdom to follow Jesus alone and to attend a congregation led by one who is solely devoted to fearing You and adhering to Your word. Keep me from the false teachers who would lead me astray for the sake of money or immorality. Amen.


…but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. 2 Peter 2:16

The story of Balaam isn’t that long and is full of intrigue and special insights into the spiritual realm of the Bible. If you’ve never read it, take a few minutes today to look it over. It’s given in Numbers 22-24 and is actually a very fun read. From it countless generations of songs and stories have come about, but it also holds deep truths of the sovereign workings of God in the affairs of man. It also reveals God’s eternal love for the people of Israel and how He deals with them and through them. In addition, how God views the nations which come against Israel is also dealt with.

It’s important to understand that God’s covenants with Israel are binding and are in effect to this day. When analyzing the different aspects of God’s relationship with Israel, we make a fundamental error when we view the church as having replaced Israel.

Balaam, a diviner, was asked to curse the people of Israel by one of the surrounding nations. At first he refused, but was eventually given authorization to proceed. On his way, the Angel of the Lord “took His stand in the way as an adversary against him.” Three times his donkey attempted to avoid the Angel of the Lord who was unseen to Balaam. Each time he beat his donkey for being a careless mode of transportation.

Eventually the Angel of the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey to speak to him. It questioned why he’d beaten him. Balaam in turn stated “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

In time, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Balaam’s eyes as well and stated “The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

Even conservative scholars will attempt to weasel out of belief in the donkey actually speaking, but rather they claim it brayed in a manner which made Balaam understand something was going on. However, the Bible is clear that the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth in order to speak. God created man; God created donkeys; and God made a way that the two were able to communicate. In real speech the donkey’s intentions and purposes for its actions were made to Balaam.

Lord, if You can open the mouth of a donkey, then surely You can open my mouth to speak to others about Jesus. Give me that ability, and also the strong desire to do so. Let me never shy away from those around me who need to hear the good news. With You as the inspiration for my words, I know I can effectively communicate what they need to hear. Amen.


These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 2 Peter 2:17

Today Peter describes the lacking value of false teachers in a way which would be clearly understandable to the people, particularly those who had traveled to Jerusalem for the annual religious feasts of Jewish society.

The land of Israel has many desert areas; dry and formidable. Like much of the earth, the land is wholly dependent on the rains provided by the Lord for its very survival, but particularly in these more arid areas. Should one be thirsty, the only source of water would be the local well – dug perhaps thousands of years earlier.

Towns were built around these sources of water and couldn’t exist without them. When the wells dried up, there was nothing to sustain the people. The point of this analogy is that a false teacher is just as useless and just as deadly to the spirit as an empty well is to the body. Likewise, Peter says they are “clouds carried by a tempest.” A cloud carried along by a slow moving wind has some sense of order and its purpose can be easily determined – shade, a bit of rain, enjoyment to the eye, etc.

But a cloud carried by a tempest is completely lost amid the chaos around it. It is ever-changing and unreliable as a source of any enjoyment or benefit to those who are near it. In the same manner, false teachers become lost in the chaos of confused theology.

As God is a God of order, doctrine concerning Him can be determined and clearly understood. But the instruction of false prophets is ever-changing and never stable. As a contradiction in theology arises, diversionary tactics are used to hide the error. Teachers who are represented by Peter’s analogies have something in store for them from God… “the blackness of darkness forever.” The chaos and lack of nourishment they provided in life will be returned to them for eternity. 

O God, thank You for the well of instruction You have provided in the pages of the Bible. Likewise, thank You for those who properly handle and clarify Your word to us. You haven’t left us without a sure word; instead we have one which we can turn to time and again for the filling of our souls. For this we praise You; for this we thank You. Amen.


 

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 2 Peter 2:18

To help with the terminology, we’ll quote the NIV along with the NKJV today –

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” is still referring to false teachers. When they speak their tremendous words of emptiness, they do it in a manner which allures their audience “through the lusts of the flesh” and “through lewdness” (sinful human nature). In doing so, they set up a conflict in those who have heard the gospel, encouraging them back into the exact same lifestyle that they were previously held captive in. This can be done in any way which promotes the value systems of the world.

Some speak of the gospel in terms of financial profit; some of sexual freedom; some of the blessings of promotion and power – yes! You too can have this desire of your heart because God wills your happiness; God wants prosperity for His children; God has forgiven you in Christ and so you are free from condemnation, even while living in sexual sin. There becomes no difference in the carnal desires played out in members of the church from those in the world around it.

Accountability is reduced to catch phrases and the cross is left alone on the Place of the Skull as a mere symbol to be admired from a distance – devoid of its true meaning and significance. May we never treat the work of Jesus Christ on that instrument of torture and death with anything less than our complete and undying devotion.

Lord God, today I see my own condition revealed in the words of Peter. I am, from time to time, pulled away from holy living by the temptations of power, wealth, and impurity. Renew my mind, purge my unhealthy desires, and turn my soul to wholehearted devotion to You. I look to You and Your glorious work – may I never forget what You accomplished for me. Amen.


 

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 2 Peter 2:19

There is a truth in Peter’s words today which echo throughout the history of humans. The 2nd Psalm begins with these three verses –

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

One who fights against the Lord and His purposes is already a slave of corruption. However, he will rally the people against the Lord saying, “Let us break their bonds…” and thus promise liberty to those he’s trying to influence. However, the very people who are being promised liberty find themselves brought into the same bondage they were told they would avoid.

Nazi Germany is a perfect example. In the world of today we see the same anger and railing in the Muslim nations as they fight in the streets – promising revolution and a new direction when in fact the end is already determined. Likewise, false teachers of the gospel act in just the same way.

They promise “freedom from poverty,” “freedom from ailments,” “freedom from fear,” etc. All of this is promised by sending them money. If you don’t believe this happens, objectively watch the Christian TV channels for a few hours. For every decent hour of broadcasting, there will be two which teach nothing doctrinally, but rather promise the blessings of heaven…all at the low cost of sending them an offering. The very bondage you expect to be freed from will be what holds you fast though.

Be attentive to Jesus and His word – the only true source of freedom.

Lord, may I be overcome only by You and may the chains I wear from a life of sin be exchanged for the glorious promise of being Your slave alone. Let me never be enticed by promises of power, riches, or glory in this world, but rather may I long for a seat at the Feast You have prepared for those who love You. Amen.


 

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 2 Peter 2:20

Today’s verse shows the sad state of a person who calls on Jesus as Lord, but then is misdirected from that calling to follow the doctrines of a false teacher. The question is, if someone calls on the Lord and is then diverted to a cult do they “lose” their salvation? The answer, based on a sound interpretation of the Bible, is “no.” However, what can they expect from their misdirected faith? Jesus speaks of the same type of situation in Luke 11:24-26

 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

When a person cleans up and gets things right, their house is ready for a good purpose. If it’s not filled with what is good, then it becomes more susceptible to evil than it was at the beginning. The word “entangled” that Peter uses above is the Greek word “emplakentes” which is used of braiding hair. The evil is simply woven into every facet of the person’s life and it becomes increasingly difficult to discern good from evil.

Remember this – bad doctrine doesn’t keep a person from being saved, but it does keep the next person from being saved; there is no foundation for telling what is true and what is false. Secondly, bad doctrine leads to “drinking the Kool Aid” syndrome. The words of a false teacher are so seductive that people will simply follow them to their own destruction.

The Rev. Jim Jones, David Koresh, and others all led their congregants down the path to earthly destruction. DO NOT assume you’re above such brain-washing. Unless you personally study Scripture you cannot determine what is right and what isn’t. Watch your lives carefully, lest you be led astray – to your own peril.

Lord, you allow us to follow our own path – even after salvation of our souls. We can pursue You and a sure knowledge of Your word, or we can trust our pastors and priests to properly explain it to us… at our own peril. Give us the mind that would seek out Your truth, but also give us teachers who properly handle and can rightfully explain proper doctrine. Amen.


 

For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2 Peter 2:21

Peter, speaking of the false prophets, may have been thinking of those who received the Law at Mount Sinai but who later turned from it at the cost of their lives. They had been delivered from Egypt, taken through the Red Sea, brought safely to Mount Sinai, and received the Ten Commandments as the Lord spoke to them from the awesome display – thundering, lightening, thick clouds, and the trumpet blast. However, after all of this they turned their hearts away from the Lord and back to Egypt. They rebelled against Moses and began an open insurrection.

In the end, those who rebelled were destroyed and the people were held accountable – their bodies perished in the wilderness. Likewise, Peter says that the false prophets would have been better off to have never heard about the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned from it. This is not speaking of people who have heard the message, accepted it, and then fallen away. These are people who have heard and simply not believed. Instead of accepting the message, they see it as a tool of opportunity to manipulate others. Just because someone preaches the gospel, this is no indication that he really believes it.

The world is full of people who have learned to use Christianity to increase their wealth and position. This is why it’s so very important to always fix our eyes on Jesus. When we trust the message of a mere man and follow him, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Churches crumble and close around men who appeared godly, but were bent on serving their own appetites. Families have been destroyed by pastors who have manipulated women in the congregation. Life investments have been handed over to ungodly preachers who have taken the money and left the donors disillusioned and penniless.

All of this temporary gaining of wealth, position, sex, or power will lead only to their destruction though. What they feel they’ve gained will be taken from them and they will perish in their wickedness. It would have been better for them to have never known the truth.

Lord Jesus, You have shown us the way which is right and have given us the truth of Your word. Give us wisdom to follow You and not be led astray by manipulative and self-seeking people. Keep us from such people and provide us with godly leaders who have only Your gospel as their chief aim and purpose. Amen.


 

But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22

The first half of today’s verse comes from Proverbs 26:11 –

As a dog returns to his own vomit,
      So a fool repeats his folly.

The second half of may be from an ancient story about a pig that went to a public bath with people of high status. Later when coming out of the bath, he saw a stinky drain and went and rolled in it. The moral of both of these concepts is that just as a perverse person hears the message of the gospel, maybe even taking it to heart and half-heartedly participating in it, there is no acceptance of it. When they see what they left behind, even though it is disgusting and far less acceptable, they return to it.

Dogs often eat excitedly and too quickly. Their system can’t handle the load and so they vomit up what they’ve eaten. However, this doesn’t deter them from going back and reengaging their meal.

Pigs, can be bathed, showered with perfume, painted with lipstick, and given a soft pillow to lie on, but a pig is still a pig. If it looks to the left and sees a hole of mud, it will immediately head for it. There is no sense in either of these beasts as to what is clean or unclean – they are merely unreasoning animals.

Peter says the same is true of false teachers. Other animals participate in equally disgusting habits, but by using these two animals in particular, he is showing an additional level of uncleanliness in them. Dogs and pigs are both considered unclean animals under the Law of Moses. By using them as examples, he’s implying that false prophets are unclean in their very nature and have no redeeming qualities at all.

When evaluating spiritual leaders, don’t look at the soft coat or the fancy perfumed persona; rather, look at the whole person and evaluate them based on their adherence to God’s word.

Lord, please keep me from the false appearances of wayward teachers. Let me not be deceived by those who are outwardly showy, but who are inwardly unreasoning and unclean animals bent on the consumption of filth. Send me to leaders who speak the truth in righteousness and who exalt you with their lives, both in public and in private. Amen.


 

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 Peter 3:1

The book of 2 Peter was the last one recognized by the church as canon, or meant for inclusion in the Bible. Other books were disputed as well, but eventually the 66 books we know as the Holy Bible were all accepted as received from God as His word to mankind.

This particular book was claimed to have been written by Simon Peter in the first verse of Chapter 1. Then again in Chapter 1, verses 13-18 he makes claims concerning his time spent with the Lord. Then today he claims this to be his second letter. None of this proves it wasn’t written by an imposter, but the style of writing and the admonitions it proclaims fit into the overall theme of the Bible. It contains the power of God’s written word and it is written in a manner which edifies the individual and the church overall. Certainly it is an inspired text.

In this verse today, he uses the term “stir up” which is the Greek word “diegeiro.” This has the intent of arousing the reader to be fully awake and attentive in their understanding of what he is speaking about. By using the term “in both” he means that not only this letter, but his previous one as well has the same intent and purpose.

Likewise, we should read the entire Bible with this frame of mind. Rather than reading it in a way which helps us to sleep off our earthly lives, we should read it and take it to heart in a manner which arouses us to be active, watchful, and careful in our life and doctrine.

The previous chapter – dedicated almost exclusively to false teachers – is a clear indication of the importance of sound doctrine, right living, and proper focus. Let us be ever-attentive to the words of Scripture and keep our minds pure by continuously referring to it in our daily lives. Above all, let’s return praise and honor to the Lord for so tenderly caring for us that He sent Jesus for our sins, the Holy Spirit for our comfort, and His word to build us up until we meet Him face to face.

Yes Heavenly Father! Thank You for the pages of the Bible which inform us, correct us, instruct us, and lead us to a fuller and more intimate relationship with You. Stir up our minds to be pure and clear of defilement as we pursue you through its pages. To Your honor and glory we pray. Amen.


 

…that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,… 2 Peter 3:2

The sentiment in this verse is similar to that given by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 –

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…

Both the Old and New Testaments are God’s revealed word to man. It was received by the prophets and the apostles and its words are given to us to be mindful of what God is telling us; the Bible means just what it says and the words are our commandments.

When Peter says “the apostles of the Lord and Savior” he is indicating that this is a privileged office that came only to the early church. There is no rite of “apostolic succession,” nor are there apostles appointed or designated for the church today. When the canon of the Bible was sealed, the apostolic office ended.

This is important to understand because it is the Bible and not the on-going dictates of church leaders (or supposed leaders) who govern our affairs. We have everything we need for holy living and right anticipation of salvation, glorification, and losses and rewards, right in the pages of Scripture. Please remember this and take time, each and every day, to read and meditate on the words of the Bible. God has spoken; His word is sealed; and we have no worry that something has been left out for the knowledge of pleasing Him.

Lord, I stand on Your word and know that I can trust in what it says to lead me to You. The Bible tells me of Jesus and Jesus is the One who allows me to know You personally and intimately. Thank You for the choice food which is the Holy Bible. Amen.


 

…knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,… 2 Peter 3:3

The term “last days” isn’t some point where the Christian’s of the world will suddenly realize things have gone from bad to worse. Nor are they a time by which we can say, “See the world has become just like the Bible predicted.”

The context of what the apostles mean for last days is from the ascension of Christ until the time when He comes for His people – it is of indeterminate length and has people who fit the biblical description of “scoffer” throughout its duration. It simply isn’t appropriate to pick up the morning paper and come to the conclusion that things have gotten so bad that we must be in the last days. But this is what many people do.

In particular, 2 Peter 3 and 2 Timothy 3 are used to justify their stand. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 reads,

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

If you consider these verses and compare them against the backdrop of history, you’ll see that it reflects the heart attitude of people throughout all ages. Likewise, men have been “walking according to their own lusts” since the time of Adam.

Know then and understand that we have been living in the “last days” since Jesus left. It is our business to be about His business, knowing that the world around us needs the knowledge of Jesus, not unsubstantiated predictions about why the world has finally arrived at “the last days.” There are other ways of discerning the timing of prophetic events from the Bible which are revealed in proper context.

Heavenly Father, give me wisdom and prudence as I walk before You, knowing that just as Christ Jesus ascended to heaven, so He will return again to earth. May I be found productively going about His business when He returns rather than sitting idly by waiting for a day which is unknown to me. Amen.


 

….and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4

This is one of the most common sentiments among those who would undermine the teaching of a literal return of Christ… “Where is the promise of His coming?” This isn’t reserved only for atheists or adherents to other religions, but rather is a common method of dismissing the truth of the Bible among “Christian” theologians as well.

The book of Revelation says several times, “Behold, I am coming quickly…” The argument is that this was written 2000 years ago and yet Jesus still hasn’t come – the “fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning…” The term “quickly” however (also translated “soon” in some Bibles) is not speaking of when Jesus is coming, but rather the speed at which He comes.

When Jesus returns, it will be in a moment; in a flash. The heavens will open and the victorious Lord will return in full view of the peoples of the world. Likewise, before this awesome day there will be a secret return, specifically for those who have trusted in His promises. This moment is known as the rapture and will be sudden and final. As it says in the book of 1 Thessalonians –

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17

It is no less reasonable to believe in the rapture of the church than it is to believe that in Jesus God truly united with human flesh, died on a cross, and was resurrected to eternal life. If such things are true, then the doctrine of the rapture is no less difficult to believe and accept. The promise of Jesus’ return will be fulfilled literally. This is as sure as the ground under your feet. Don’t become disheartened by those who would attempt to undermine the truth of this event!

Glorious Lord Jesus! Nothing will ever sway my faith and hope in the promise of Your return. I look and wait with anticipation for that glorious moment when I will be taken to Your presence... there to rejoice in Your glory forever. May it be soon! Amen.


 

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,… 2 Peter 3:5

Those who scoff at the second coming of Christ fail to reason out the truthfulness and power of God. As Peter says, “they willfully forget.” It’s so much easier to bury one’s head in the sand than to acknowledge that there really is a God, that He really did create, and that all creation therefore is within His purview. If this is so, then the same God who did these things will fulfill His promises, including the return of Christ.

Peter goes back to the first chapter of Genesis to remind us that God created the heavens and the earth. During this act of creation, God separated “the waters from the waters” and then “let the dry land appear.” In other words, there was a time when these things didn’t exist in any form; there was nothing. God spoke these things into existence and then actively worked to form them into the universe and world we know.

One only needs to look at a tree to think the entire process through. “There is a tree; the tree didn’t create itself; the tree is connected to the ground; the ground is part of the earth; the earth didn’t create itself; the earth is in the universe; the universe didn’t create itself; all of this order came from somewhere; the universe didn’t always exist but now it does; there must be a God; this God must be intelligent because the tree (along with all the universe) has order and beauty; I can perceive the tree and contemplate it; I must have reason and intellect; my reason and intellect must have come from somewhere; order cannot come from chaos; therefore God must be actively involved in the entire process – from the tree to me.”

As we continue to think on these lines, we can make reasonable deductions about God. These deductions will inevitably lead to understanding His nature. He must, by the very nature of who He is, be truthful. If He has said Jesus will come again, then this must be true. Naturally, we’ve skipped a multitude of deductions which lead us to this point, but the end result is that we are without excuse when we fail to acknowledge both the sovereignty and also the truthfulness of God. Think it through and have faith that God will fulfill every promise, just as His word states.

O God, surely You are in control. The splendor of a mere bumblebee tells me You are wise and loving. How much more should I be able to trust You when I look to the rest of creation and see Your majesty displayed in it. May I never doubt that You are competent to fulfill every promise You have made…including the promised return of Jesus my Lord. Amen.


 

…by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 2 Peter 3:6

In the verse yesterday, Peter spoke of the “heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water.” His point was that just as obvious as it is that the world was created, men have no excuse when they deny the truth of God’s written word, even when it says Jesus will return. God spoke the world into existence with a word and God’s promises in the Bible are just as sound as the very act of creation.

Today Peter turns to the account of Noah’s Flood. The ancient pre-flood world was destroyed because of its wickedness. Certainly a lack of faith in the Creator embodies this wickedness. Were they to have had faith in His sovereignty, they would have acknowledged Him and honored Him. Instead, they turned to ever-increasing moral depravity until there was no remedy and God destroyed the world with water.

The very waters from which the earth stood out became the tool of destruction of the earth. Peter speaks of this account as a real occurrence, not just a myth or moral example which isn’t based in reality. Peter is surely indicating that just as the ancient world was destroyed for its unbelief, so false prophets and those who deny the authority, miraculous working, and promised return of Jesus will likewise be destroyed.

God isn’t a cosmic pushover who can be flagrantly denied and held in contempt. Rather, He is the sovereign Creator who holds in His grasp the fate of all men. If you hear conflicting accounts about the surety of the flood narrative, the lordship of Jesus, the truth of the Gospel, or the promised return of Christ, you would fare well to trust God’s word rather than the naysayers. God who assures us of these things cannot lie, so stand firm in His word and have faith! Let’s take a moment to praise Him today…

Creator God you gave me breath so I could praise
Your great and matchless name all my days
So let my whole life be a blazing offering
A life that shouts and sings the greatness of our king. Amen.


 

But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:7

Way back in Genesis 9:11, we read these words –

 “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

After the Flood of Noah, God made a promise that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood. This doesn’t mean there won’t be large floods on the earth, but rather not a flood to completely destroy the earth. However, God didn’t promise that He wouldn’t again destroy the earth in a different way – and this is the subject of the next few verses.

The same God who spoke the universe into existence and who continues to hold all things together by the power of His word has reserved the earth for a different type of judgment. Such judgment comes because we as humans continuously fail to learn lessons from the past.

God created Adam and Adam rebelled. Despite knowing this, his son – the first person ever born – killed his own brother. When wickedness abounded to such an extent that there was no remedy for man, God destroyed the world by flood. Later, man’s continued rebellion led to the dispersion of the people’s of the world, dividing them into various people groups and languages.

After that came the redemption of the people of Israel and their own stubborn rebellion. Twice they were exiled for disobedience. The church has continuously fallen away from the truth of the Bible, one denomination after another apostatizing. Eventually, man will stray so far from God’s purposes that the world will face the Great Tribulation of the book of Revelation.

These things happen because we simply don’t acknowledge and properly respect the Creator. Individually, we are all responsible for our actions and will receive judgment based on them. Likewise, mankind will be collectively judged with fire on the Day of Judgment. Call now on Jesus and be saved from the wrath to come.

Heavenly Father, You have been more than patient with us as we continuously stray from Your intent and purposes for us. In wrath, remember mercy and look tenderly upon those who have called on Your offer of peace which comes through Jesus our Lord. Amen.


 

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

Today Peter quotes from the 90th Psalm, A Prayer of Moses and the oldest Psalm in the Bible – For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.

Peter’s been talking about those who deny the Lord’s return because it was just too long ago that He lived. For example, someone today could claim that it’s unreasonable to believe some guy who claimed to be God 2000 years ago is really going to return to rule the earth. This attitude fails to take into account the workings of God. It’s likely from the looking at the biblical pattern that God’s plan for man is on a 7000 year time-frame.

Jesus came right around the 4000th year, directly in the middle of the timeline. Based on this, and based on a literal 1000-year millennial reign of Christ (as is clearly indicated in the book of Revelation), we can estimate a return of Christ after approximately 2000 years from His ascension. Before the millennial reign, the book of Revelation first tells us of a 7-year period known at the Great Tribulation which focuses on the Jewish people.

Knowing this, we can look to the book of Hosea for a pattern based on today’s verse –

“After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.”

If thousand years is like a day to the Lord, then we could expect that Israel would be revived after 2000 years of dispersion – exactly what has happened.

Likewise, we can expect that at the dawning of the “third day” the Jewish nation – with Christ as its Head – will be raised up to rule the nations, just as is promised in the Old Testament.

Likewise, they will “live in His sight” as He rules from a literal throne in Jerusalem. This isn’t idle speculation, but a sound analysis of what God is doing in human history. Jesus Christ really will return and He really will rule the nations from Jerusalem. The time is coming and may it be soon!

Lord, I long for the day of Your glorious return. There is no thing in heaven or on earth that I would rather see than the beauty of Your countenance. I look to You now in faith, but I long for that faith to be turned to sight! It is my great hope and my desire. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.


The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

So, today we see what Peter’s been leading up to for the past eight verses. Those who laugh at or argue against the Lord’s return because of the many intervening years have failed to understand the purpose of them. It’s not for our personal benefit that the Lord is waiting, but for the sake of all who will be a part of His heavenly temple. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-22 –

 “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The Lord is building a holy temple and is using the saved of the ages as living stones to form it. What we may perceive as “slackness” is the Lord’s longsuffering. As wickedness abounds in the world, He is holding out His hands to those who would call on His name. He is doing it as a master Architect. No builder would start a project without considering the materials needed to complete it. God knows the exact number of souls it will take to build His temple and when the last person who is needed to finish the project calls on Jesus, the rapture will occur.

The Lord is not willing that any should perish in the process, but that all will call on Him. Those who actually do will receive their reward; those who fail to do so will be condemned. The process is completely just and is perfect in its scope and execution. What a great God!

O God! How precious it is to be one of the elect – a living stone in Your glorious temple. Thank you for having been patient and longsuffering and that I was given the chance to call on Jesus. Now, give me patience as I watch You work in other lives, bringing them to the same state of salvation which I now stand in. To Your praise alone! Amen.


 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

Today Peter equates the coming of the Day of the Lord as a “thief in the night.” This term is used to remind us that just as a thief comes stealthily and without notice, so will the terrible trials of the Day of the Lord. Paul uses the same terminology in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 4 –

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

Paul’s warning includes the concept of destruction being sudden and “as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.” The time between the contractions shortens and the pains increase. Despite these signs, the Day of the Lord will fall on a completely unsuspecting world.

Peter describes the destruction mentioned by Paul – “the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat.” Whether accurate or not, it seems to be that he is describing nuclear conflict – “elements will melt with fervent heat.” The world will rejoice at the thought of “peace and safety” brought about by a treaty between Israel and the surrounding nations, but the very thing they believe will bring peace is what will bring about destruction.

The dividing of the Land of Israel as prophesied in Joel 3 will lead to judgment. The land belongs to God and He has given it to Israel as a heritage. But the world is now working to divide it. This will come about as prophesied and the nations will be judged because of it. The book is written and the prophecies have been spoken. The question isn’t whether these things will come to pass, but when.

Lord Jesus, when You come for Your faithful at the rapture, I want to be counted among that number. Just as important to me though is that the world around me hears and accepts the gospel now so that they too will be saved from the Day of Judgment to come. Open my heart and my mouth that I may proclaim the Good News now! Amen.


 

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11

When reading the Bible, always remember your rules of study and analysis – one of which is “when you see the word “therefore,” go back and see what it’s there for.” It may sound a bit silly, but using this approach will open up the verse to its proper context. Sometimes “therefore” goes back quite a way, so pay attention to everything it’s explaining. In today’s case, we need to review verse 10 only –

 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

 “But” is the marker setting the thought on a new direction and is where the thought starts. But –

1)      The Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night;

2)      When it comes –

a)       The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and

b)       The elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works in it.

Therefore, since all of these things will be dissolved, we need to evaluate what manner of persons we ought to be – in holy conduct and godliness.

Whether you like the thought of the world being destroyed by fire and everything man has done being destroyed along with it or not, the fact is that God has spoken and it will be so. The end of all things is at hand and so we need to look forward to what God has planned after this age, not during it. This means that our lives in the current age need to be conducted in holiness and godliness.

Is this something you’re pursuing? You alone are accountable for what eternity holds in store for you. Make sure you live without the prospect of eternal regret.

Heavenly Father, let me live my life without fear of the promised coming destruction, but with the hope of a surer foundation in a world without end; a world where I will live in the presence of Jesus. Give me the wisdom to live my life for Him now so that when that time comes, I will be welcomed into my eternal dwelling with joy, not regret. Amen.


 

…looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Peter 3:12

The book of 2 Peter has spent a great deal of time speaking of false prophets and destruction. When analyzing it, it’s hard to miss the fact that unlike Jesus’ earthly ministry, there is another side to His expectations.

Jesus came and spoke a gospel of peace to the world. He preached about love and servant hood and he demonstrated these attributes personally and faithfully. So why do Peter and other apostles write so much about faithlessness and destruction?

The reason is that Jesus’ ministry was an example to us of how we should live and conduct our lives now – following His lead. Additionally, it was intended to show us our own state of moral depravity – what He did we could never do.

Finally, He gave His life to reconcile us to God the Father. All of this was accomplished for our benefit and to give us a choice – to accept His lordship and be saved from what we deserve. Peter is merely showing us what to avoid, how to avoid it, and also the consequences for not paying heed to Jesus’ work. The “day of God” is coming and we need to choose now what we will do about Jesus Christ.

When His visitation arrives, “the heavens will be dissolved” and “the elements will melt with fervent heat.” This isn’t some exaggerated speech intended to scare us into loving God. It’s intended to show us the consequences of not loving Him. Peter says we should look forward to and hasten this coming day. No one in their right mind would do this, knowing what it will be like, unless they were already securely protected from that day.

The fact of the matter is that God’s justice demands the destruction of the wicked. This is all of us. None of us meet His standards, but in His great mercy, He judged wickedness in His own Son. If we accept the payment rendered at the cross, then we are free. If not, we’ll meet our Maker in the vast inferno prepared for that horrifying day.

Lord Jesus, what You endured on the cross clearly demonstrates the guilt we as humans bear and the punishment we deserve. Thank You for giving us life through Your death and hope through Your resurrection. We look forward to the day of Your visitation, knowing that through You we are safe from the wrath to come. What a splendid Lord You are! Amen.


 

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

Today Peter gives us a taste of happy hope after his words of peril and doom for the present earth.

Yes, what we have now will be destroyed by fire – the earth and all it contains. The things we treasure now will be completely burned up. Because of this, we’re told time and again in the Bible to not let ourselves become attached to earthly things, nor to let them run our lives. Rather, we live here, use the world while taking care of it, but we should be willing to look beyond what we have now to that which is eternal. And God won’t fail to surprise us!

He promises new heavens and a new earth. And what He has prepared is surely beyond anything we can imagine or hope for. Best of all though, it will be an earth where righteousness dwells. Think on that for a moment… Even the things we cherish most can’t keep us happy. This is because we live in an unrighteous world.

The showy car we spend so much time on is bound to get scratched or dented by a person jealous of what we have. The large house with expensive delights in it is susceptible to robbery, leaving us with a sense of being violated. The whopping bank account we saved diligently for and which we relied on for our “golden years” is lost in a moment when some hacker replaces our personal information with his own. Even our unrighteous governments seize what has been earned, taking from the rightful owners and handing it over to those who haven’t worked for it.

The list can go on to everything we have, every person we love, every hope we’ve stored up for. In the end, this world of unrighteousness will be replaced with a world where contentment reigns, where justice is established, and where peace and joy are the hallmark of our dealings with others.

Best of all though is the prospect of sharing eternity with Jesus – the One who made it all possible. His work destroyed the devil’s work and allows us access once again into the paradise lost so long ago. What a great and wonderful Lord!

Yes Lord Jesus! How wonderfully splendid will be the day when we share in Your eternal kingdom – one established in righteousness and with all the heavenly delights we once had with you at the beginning. May we never become consumed with this temporary and fallen world when that which You have prepared for us is yet future. Amen.

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14

Peter is referring to the following when he says “therefore” –

1)      The Day of the Lord is coming as a thief in the night as previously discussed. Because of this, we should live our lives in holy conduct and godliness; hastening the coming Day of God.

2)      This coming time will result in the destruction of the heavens and the earth.

3)      Despite 1 & 2, God has promised a new heavens and earth; one where righteousness dwells.

Because of these things, as Peter has so clearly lain out, he asks us to look forward to them – not in fear or trepidation, but in peace. In fact, he says we should be “diligent to be found by Him in peace.”

We need to actively work towards calmness and not fret over that which has already been ordained. God’s plan has been recorded and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. So rather than wringing our hands and losing sleep over what is already determined, we should mentally look forward to this time with peaceful hearts. The promises which come after the Day of the Lord should be our heart’s encouragement. 

We’re also to be found “without spot and blameless.”  This statement is asking us to be as Christ – a spotless Lamb without spot or blemish. Just as His work was prefigured in the Old Testament Passover lamb; one without spot and wholly fitting for a sacrifice to God, so should we work towards such a state in our own lives.

Should the Lord come today, would He find you secretly having an affair, cheating on finances, or engaging in morally questionable activities? Or will He find you pursuing righteousness and godliness? The Lord is coming…be about His business so that when He arrives you won’t be ashamed of your deeds.

Glorious and almighty God! How I long for the day of Your coming and the ushering in of that which is eternal, perfect, and satisfying. Give me the wisdom to seek holiness and right living now so that upon Your return I won’t be found ashamed of my actions. This I pray, knowing that only You can so direct my steps. Amen.


 

…and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, Peter 3:15

Despite having a bit of a controversy early on which is described in Galatians 2, Peter and Paul mended their dispute and moved on. As you can see in today’s verse, Peter holds Paul in high esteem, calling him a “beloved brother.” He also acknowledges the “wisdom given to him.”

He is specifically writing today about the “longsuffering of the Lord” which Paul describes in detail. If he is referring to a specific epistle, it would be the letter to the Romans where Paul mentions the Lord’s longsuffering twice – in chapters 2 and 9. Paul speaks elsewhere about longsuffering, but it is concerning our longsuffering, not the Lord’s – with the exception of once in the book of 1 Timothy.

As Peter says today, “consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” The sentiment given here is that the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but come to a saving knowledge of who He is. The “longsuffering” comes from the fact that we as humans continually rebel against Him. Even when we call on Him, the next generation falls away and the cycle must begin anew. And so as Paul says in Romans 2:4 –

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

God’s goodness and His great patience are manifest in each of us when we finally turn to Him and call on Jesus as Lord. There is a day, however, when this longsuffering will come to an end. This isn’t because God has given up on us, but because we have finally given up on Him to such an extent that no remedy is possible. This, combined with the completion of His temple, built with the living stones which are his people, will bring an end to the current age. This end is the destruction anticipated by Peter in Chapter 3 of this epistle.

Thank You, O God, for Your longsuffering. Were You to mete out what I deserve I would have been swept away eons ago. But because of Your faithfulness and patience, I was granted life unto salvation through Jesus. Now Lord, grant me the ability to be longsuffering as I patiently explain His work to others who don’t see their great need. May their eyes be opened to the truth. Amen.


 

…as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.   Peter 3:16

This is a continuation of yesterday’s verse where Peter speaks of Paul and the “wisdom given to him.” Today Peter makes several notable points – chief among them is that he actually compares Paul’s epistles to “the rest of the Scriptures.” Don’t miss this point because it is of great value when defending the inspiration of the Bible and particularly the books Paul has written.

Paul’s epistles are authoritative for the church – there is no missing this. What Paul writes has the same weight as if Jesus Himself were speaking. This is confirmed in Acts 9:15 –

 “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”

Jesus said that Paul is His “chosen vessel.” Therefore, what Paul writes is on the same level as all of God’s words breathed out in the pages of the Bible. Peter acknowledges though that what Paul writes is often “hard to understand.”

Paul speaks of the mysteries long hidden by God, but now revealed in Jesus Christ. He provides doctrine for the church which must be taken in proper context and with an understanding of how God is dealing with the world during the church age. Unfortunately “unstable people” and also those who haven’t taken time to rightly divide God’s word twist what is given and confuse those who are seeking the truth.

They do this “to their own destruction,” but the lure of profit, fame, and power are strong enticements for the depraved mind. Far too many churches today diminish the authority and power of Paul’s words because they aren’t politically correct, but to reject what He writes is to reject the authority of Jesus Christ who chose Paul to be His messenger.

If your denomination, church, or pastor speaks ill of Paul’s doctrine, find another place to worship. Such a teaching is in no way honoring to the Lord.

Jesus, because Paul’s words carry the same weight as if You had spoken them directly to me, help me to understand them properly and to follow them obediently. I often find it hard to follow what he is intending and I need my spiritual eyes opened. Provide me, Lord, with sound teachers who will properly explain them to me. Amen.


 

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 2 Peter 3:17

The context of “you therefore” in today’s verse comes from verses 14-16 directly and 11-13 as a basis for verse 14. Here is a breakdown of what Peter is indicating –

1)      Looking forward to the coming Day of God where the heavens and earth will be destroyed and replaced with a new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells.

2)      Until that day, be found by the Lord in peace; spot-free and blameless.

3)      Consider the longsuffering of the Lord which is described so pertinently by Paul in his letters.

a)       Paul’s letters contain the wisdom given him by the Lord.

b)       What Paul says is often hard to understand, and

c)       His words are manipulated by unstable people to their own destruction.

Because these things have been revealed to us, Peter says that we should therefore beware so that we don’t fall from our own determined outlook on our faith and practice. We should remain steadfast or we are just as susceptible to being led away with the error of the wicked (those mentioned as “unstable” and who manipulate what Scripture says.) In other words…read and know your Bible!

Peter couldn’t be clearer that what is given to us from the hand of Paul is authoritative for instruction and correction in the church. What is implied here is that the things he is writing should be taken in that same light as well. How can one sit in church or listen to someone on TV or the radio and trust what they say blindly? Rather, we need to have at least enough familiarity with our Bible to know when we’re being led down the primrose path.

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at the door, the moment has come for a discussion – will you be ready with a defense of the truth of the Bible, or will you be ready to delight in their choice delicacies of destruction. Now…right now is the time to study and know your Bible.

Lord Jesus, I know that I alone am accountable for my doctrine. Therefore, provide me with the sense to search out Your word now so that I’m not led astray by the unstable and wicked, but rather know when right doctrine is being proclaimed. To Your honor I pray this. Amen.


...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

We’ve arrived at the end of the book of 2 Peter. I hope you’ve been blessed by the precious words penned by this man of God.

The books of 1 & 2 Peter have given us great insights into our heavenly inheritance; life in the presence of God; God’s eternal and enduring word; the work of Jesus as foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New; living as pilgrims in this temporary abode; our need to submit to ruling authorities and others appointed over us; our call to be a blessing as we live our lives; the suffering of Christ which should mark our own willingness to suffer – which is to the glory of God; serving others; instructions for elders; resisting the devil; faithfully growing in Christ; the trustworthiness of the word of prophecy; destructive heresies; the doom, depravity, and deception of false teachers; the faithfulness of God’s promises; the coming Day of the Lord; and finally a note to remain steadfast as we wait on Christ.

Today Peter admonishes us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It’s an amazingly perfect way to end his letters. After all of these instructions and explanations, he sums up the entire body of his thought asking us to continue to grow in Jesus. His grace is that which has been given to us though we didn’t deserve it. The knowledge of Him can only be obtained from the word written about him. Therefore, we look to the pages of the Bible, including the words of Peter, to grow in our knowledge of the mystery of Christ – now revealed to the saints of the ages.

Peter ends his note in a manner which confirms – as has been done countless times in the New Testament – the deity of Jesus. He does this by stating, “To Him be the glory both now and forevermore.” No God, jealous for His own glory and protective of His name, would allow a created being to be so praised. But God is pleased to receive our glory when it is given through Jesus – the incarnate Word of God; the God/Man. Amen.

Thank You Lord God for the beautiful letters we now know as 1 & 2 Peter. Thank you for the selection, protection, and love You bestowed on this servant of Yours – one who had faults, trials, temptations, and failings. But through his life, we see a glimpse of our own great need for an even greater Savior… and You are the One we look to! Amen.



 

Website Builder