“…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…”
as also our beloved brother Paul
Peter gives the apostle Paul two characteristics:
Notice the respect that Peter gives to Paul even though Paul severely rebuked Peter years earlier in the book of Galatians (2:11-21). Peter had compromised the gospel by accommodating doctrine to please those at Antioch. He showed spiritual timidity. He denied the grace principle and embarrassed himself. So Paul personally and publicly confronted this veteran leader. He did not do this behind Peter’s back.
Peter was a leader of the apostles and their spokesman. He evidently sold Paul short. He had not properly estimated the spiritual caliber of the erstwhile Paul of Tarsus. Paul was willing to take a stand for truth even at the cost of risking friendship. Peter had the respect of many throughout the Christian world yet Paul called him a “hypocrite.” Still, Peter can still call him “beloved.” This is also a statement about the spiritual caliber of Peter.
About fourteen years after Paul rebuked Peter at Antioch, Peter wrote 2 Peter. He calls Paul “our beloved brother.” Would you be able to do that? If someone rebuked you publicly, could you say “I love that person?”
We can tell much about the caliber of a man by how he treats his colleagues. Peter calls Paul “our beloved brother Paul.” We can imagine how humiliated Peter was when Paul called him a “hypocrite.” Yet, he was man enough to admit his mistake and not hold a grudge against Paul. Rather he had a great reputation to uphold, he accepted the rebuke and did not try to justify himself.
Principle: We can tell much about people by the way they treat their colleagues.
Application: Grudge-holding is not right no matter what others have done to us. We cannot afford to harbor an unforgiving spirit in our hearts. We cannot afford to nourish a grudge against someone. It will nullify our spirituality.
What if the Lord came while we were in the middle of grudge match against someone? The Lord might come at any moment. If He should come and find us holding bitterness against someone, He will straighten that out very quickly. Develop a caliber of soul that transcends bitterness.
“Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9).