Archive for the '2 Peter' Category

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2 Peter 3:16b

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“…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”
 
which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction
 
The Greek word for “untaught” occurs only here in the New Testament. These “untaught” types were neophytes in New Testament truth. Many people are biblically illiterate. But we cannot afford to be ignorant of Scripture if we are going to grow spiritually.
 
“Unstable” people also have a problem with the Bible. This word occurs twice in the New Testament–both times in 2 Peter (2:14, “unstable souls”). They believe one thing one day, and another thing the next. They have no sure foundation upon which they can rest. Unstable people have difficulty with the Word of God. They constantly waver in their views and attitudes.
The “untaught” and the “unstable” distort Scripture. The word “twist” means to wrench or distort. The Greeks used this term for the ratchet wrench whereby they placed a person on a torture rack. This instrument tore muscles and broke bones. A body that went through this process came out deformed, twisted and gnarled. In this verse, “twist” means to torture Scripture. Often those who know the Bible the least, distort it the most.
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
There are those who “distort” the Word of God by handling it deceitfully. They are not fair to the Bible. They make it say what it does not say. They take the Bible out of context and read their own theology into the passage [eisegesis].
Christians place the entire significance of their souls upon the support of the naked, infallible Word of the living God. The Bible is the only book that tells us we have eternal life by grace, by the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins. In it, we learn that man has no character or good works which can impress God in any way.
“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” (1 Peter 1:23).
Principle: People twist Scripture according to their biases.
Application: Do you distort Scriptures for your own purposes? Some people learn a thing or two about Scripture and all of a sudden they become world experts about the Bible.
More people attack the Scriptures than any other book on earth. More Bibles are burned than any other religious book. So-called “religious scholars” twist Scripture to make it teach what they want it to teach. However, the infallibility of Scriptures makes it withstand all these attacks. What other reason could we give for the Bible living today in the hearts and lives of people? The Bible is still the bestselling book in the world.
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2 Peter 3:16

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“…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”
 
as also in all his epistles
 
Peter says that Paul wrote about the same things in all his “epistles.” “All his epistles” refers to the collection of the Pauline epistles already placed into the canon by Peter’s time. Thus, the collection of canonical Scripture did not begin with the post-apostolic fathers but with the apostles themselves.
 
speaking in them of these things
Paul spoke about the subject of 2 Peter in his epistles.
in which are some things hard to understand
The Greek word for “hard to understand” occurs this once in the New Testament. Other literature used this word for something obscure. Peter had difficulty in understanding some of Paul’s teaching.
This ought to be an encouragement to some of us since we find some things difficult to understand. Keep at it; it will come. Only “some” things are difficult to understand, not most of what Paul wrote. Though Peter did not have a formal education, he understood most of what Paul wrote. Keep in mind that we will never understand everything about God, if we did, we would have to be as smart as He is.
Principle: Most of the Bible is clear and gives instruction for the improvement of our souls.
Application: The Bible is the only book inspired by God. All other books contain the inspiration of men, and therefore, contain error. But because God inspired the Bible, it is inerrant, infallible and unalterable.
We will have to wait until we get to heaven to understand some things in the Bible. However it is not the Scripture passages that I cannot understand that disturb me, but those passages that I do understand. We read Scripture to critique our souls. We may not like this process, but it is crucial to our spiritual growth.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
If we allow the Bible to work in our souls, we will be the better for it. If the Bible does not change us, it is because of our unwillingness to listen. We think the poignant passages of the Bible are for someone else: “Oh, that is something that Mrs. Jones needs to hear.”
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2 Peter 3:15c

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“…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…”
 
according to the wisdom given to him
 
“According to” means the norm or standard. God gave Paul wisdom for knowing the revelation of Scripture. In fact, he wrote one half of the New Testament. That is the “wisdom” that God gave him. God chose to give to Paul wisdom in unusual dimension to write much of the New Testament.
 
This is a significant statement about the canonization of Scripture. Paul is dead at the writing of 2 Peter and his thirteen epistles are complete. Note that Peter recognizes them as part of the canon of Scripture.
has written to you
The church in Peter’s day used Paul’s writings as Scripture. This is in part how we determine the canon of Scripture. Peter gives the Apostle Paul’s writings the credence of Scripture. Paul’s letters were known, collected and widely read as the Word of God even in Peter’s day.
Peter wrote two books of the Bible while Paul wrote thirteen books. Notice that Peter gives praise to the man who wrote half the New Testament and did not envy Paul. Envy renders us useless for God’s service.
Principle: Envy puts leaders on the shelf.
Application: Envy can creep into the heart of any Christian leader. If we permit envy to remain in our heart, it will prevent us from the will of God. God will effectively by-pass us. He will put us on the shelf (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The shores of Christian work are strewn with spiritual shipwrecks and those God has disqualified. Their envy probably began with a grudge. Then it extended to belittling and slandering other Christian leaders. Finally, it ended in a state of bitterness. But Peter did not have that kind of attitude. He released his anger. He dealt with it.
Have you severed your relationship with someone because she hurt you? Can you still respect people who hurt you? Peter did.
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2 Peter 3:15b

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“…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:
1. “Beloved”
2. “Brother”
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).
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2 Peter 3:15

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“…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…”
 
and consider
 
The word “consider” means to think something through to a conclusion. The Greek present tense here means to persist in thinking this through until you come to a conclusion.
 
that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—
We understand this phrase better when we remember verse nine.
“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).
“Longsuffering” means forbearance, patience. Longsuffering is a state of emotional calm in the face of provocation. Though God has much to be provoked about, He holds back His judgment. He is not in the business of vengeance at this time. God does not use revenge tactics. He patiently waits for those who will come to Him through Christ.
Principle: God patiently waits for people to come to Christ.
Application: God gives time for people to come to Him. He is longsuffering. The reason Jesus has not come yet is that there are still people who haven’t come to Christ. God is longsuffering because He wants to see those people come to Him. God’s longsuffering also leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4).
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2 Peter 3:14d

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…”
 
and blameless
 
“Blameless” means without blemish, not open to censure (as in a lamb without blemish–see 2 Peter 2:13). God will not censure us or hold us in adverse criticism when we keep short accounts with Him. He finds no fault with us when we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His power.
One day Jesus will present us blameless, without blemish and not open to censure to the Father.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen” (Jude 24-25).
Principle: God expects us to be at our best when Jesus comes.
Application: God finds no fault with us when we confess sin. Christians are blameless, not sinless. Many of us have been washed in the blood of Christ but we have not been ironed, so to speak. We still have some spiritual wrinkles. Some of us have more spiritual wrinkles than others. As we become more like Christ, some of the wrinkles begin to go.
Do you have a personal vendetta against someone? This is a wrinkle. This is something about which God will blame you. You are not at your best spiritually.
God takes those wrinkles out of our lives in many ways. At times He blesses us. Other times He disciplines us. He takes out his divine iron but even then some of us will not hold steady while He tries to iron out the wrinkles of our lives. God progressively works on our lives so that we become more like the Lord Jesus every day (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:15).
One day we will be sinless. In the mean time, we should sin less. We sin less when we confess our sin and use the Word of God to overcome sin in our lives.
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2 Peter 3:14c

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…”
 
without spot
 
“Without spot” means without defect, without stain, without a mark (1 Timothy 6:14; James 1:27; 1 Peter 1:19). The spot here is unconfessed sin. Make sure that when Jesus comes he will not find you in carnality.
 
Principle: Expecting the coming of Christ should keep us from unconfessed sin.
Application: God wants us to obey the Word without any infractions of any kind.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself from being polluted [unspotted] by the world” (James 1:27).
Are you flirting with the world? God is in the business of removing spots from Christians, the baubles and follies of the world. God’s spot-remover is the Word of God.
“How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:9-11).
If we have a spot on a clean shirt, it seems to be all people see. It may be a little drop of salad oil but that is what people focus on. That is the way it is in our lives as well. A little inconsistency, one irregularity, one moment of thoughtlessness, one sentence uttered in haste, and we gain a spot in the eyes of other people and especially God.
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2 Peter 3:14b

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…”
 
be diligent
 
“Be diligent” means to make effort (2 Peter 1:5,10,15). We make every effort to deal with our lives now because of our anticipation of something new. This is an issue of application.
 
If we keep short accounts with God, we purify ourselves. If I know that the Lord might come before tonight, I keep myself ready.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
to be found by Him in peace
In what kind of condition will God find us on the day of God? What kind of relationship will we have with Him? The word “found” means discovered. How will you be discovered on that day?
“Peace” here is an objective, not subjective, peace. This is the peace that Jesus earned for us before God (Romans 5:1). This is another way of referring to the reconciliation He made on the cross.
Peace in the Bible is not stillness but animation–animation without agitation. A person with “peace” is a person with a well-arranged soul. It is not the absence of problems but the absence of antagonism. The bearings of a person at peace are smooth. Their soul is well greased. Here is harmony of soul that can only break when we get out of accord with God. Harmony depends on cooperation of all the parts. Does your whole being move in harmony with God?
Principle: Christian peace comes from harmony of soul.
Application: When Jesus comes, will He find us in good spiritual health? Although our problem might be as acute as ever, you relax in your soul. You have tranquility in the middle of turbulence. You are at rest.
Some people are so tense that they are about ready to snap. They hold to their problems tenaciously. Why not give them to the Lord?
“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Instead many of us risk burnout because we do not let God take our problems. We risk short-circuiting our nervous system. Can you find rest in Him? Make sure there is nothing between you and the Savior or between you and someone else.
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2 Peter 3:14

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…”
 
The closing verses of 2 Peter set before us the conduct of Christians in view of the coming of Christ (vv.14-18; compare 3:11).
 
Therefore
The word “therefore” draws the bottom line. Peter adds up all the truth of the previous thirteen verses. He challenges us to reply to all the truth about the Lord’s return, the consummation of God’s program for the heavens and the earth and the anticipation of a new heavens and earth.
The word “therefore” means on which account. The “therefore” is the bond between belief and behavior. What the apostates destroyed by their denial of the coming of Christ, believers can fix with their anticipation of the coming of Christ. Peter links character to the expectation of the “coming day of God” and the creation of the new heavens and earth. One day there will come a melt down of the universe as we know it and God will start over with a new one.
Beloved
Peter punctuates this chapter with the word “beloved.” He loves his readers even though they almost bought into the lies of the apostates.
looking forward to these things
Peter used the words “looking forward” in the previous verse for anticipating the new heavens and earth thus picking up the argument of the previous verse. In the new heavens and earth we will receive our resurrection bodies.
In general, non-Christians neither know nor care about the things that Christians care about. They may not believe for example, in a coming judgment or they may not believe that God is a God of justice. Meanwhile, the Christian confidently expects great things for the future.
Principle: We should stay expectant and eagerly anticipate Christ’s coming.
Application: Spiritual Christians expect the coming of Christ for them. This keeps them at the pinnacle of spiritual performance. They operate at the maximum rather than at the minimum.
Those without Christ have little hope or anticipation of the future. They do not know what the future holds for them. They may be very well educated but spiritually illiterate. Can you call yourself educated if you do not know what will happen to you after death?
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Christians should be not afraid to die. They know their future and take comfort in knowing that their loved one does not lie in the casket. Rather, only their body does. But Non-Christians view death as frightful and horrible because they think of it as the cessation of existence.
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2 Peter 3:13

Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

 

Nevertheless we, according to His promise
 
"According to" means norm or standard. Christians have a promise according to the norm of God’s promise. God promised something more than the "day of God" where He will judge the world. He promised something beyond the day of God; He promised a new earth and heaven. 
 
God promised that we will gain a new earth and new heavens. We hold Him to His promises like we would hold an insurance company who makes a promise to pay up when we need it. He will faithfully discharge His promise to us. 
 
look for new heavens and a new earth
 
The words "look for" mean to watch toward, to look for, expect. Christians anticipate new heavens and a new earth. This new creation will not be like this creation with all of its corruption, failure, pain and problems. 
 
Christians will experience “new heavens and a new earth.” This cosmos will evaporate and a new cosmos will be put in its place. That place will not be like this place for it will be "new." The Greek word for "new" here means fresh. It is not yet used and will always remain new. It seems like no one ever bumps our old car. If we buy a new car it seems that someone always puts a dent on it the first week we buy it. In the new place we will never have a "bump" on our car. There will be no rust, no wear, and no scrapes in heaven. We will never have to buy a new car because it will always be new [the latest and best model as well!].
 
Is 65: 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
 
Is 66: 22 “’For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,’ says the Lord,
‘So shall your descendants and your name remain.’"
 
Re 21: 1 "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’”
 
in which righteousness dwells
 
"Righteousness" does not dwell down here. Anything but! We look forward to the day it will dwell here. In that day we will not lock our cars or homes. There will be no police or army there. We will not worry about some wild man launching a gas attack or nuclear launch. 
 
The word "dwell" means to permanently dwell. It carries the idea of to live at home. God permanently dwells at home there. Each Christian will live in the eternal state and will be completely at home with God. 
 
“Righteousness” dwells there because God dwells there. Righteousness is there because the personification of righteousness is there. The new heavens and the new earth will be characterized by righteousness that corresponds with who God is. Heaven is going to be one long experience with that which characterizes God, the righteousness of His essence. God is just, righteous and true. We can count on Him to be true to who He is. 
 
PRINCIPLE: We believe God will keep His promises according to the norm of His faithfulness to keep those promises.
 
APPLICATION:  There is no "righteousness" on earth at this time. This is the Devil’s domain (Ep 2:1-3). We do not get justice here. We will get our justice there. 
 
Righteousness will pervade every aspect of life in this new home. We can relax completely in the new situation. We will not have any concern about someone undermining us. We can completely relax about people there. No one will carry vindictiveness, implacability, hostility, jealousy, resentment or sour grapes. We will have perfect rapport with people. Our relationships will be full and complete. 
 
Christians have a wonderful future. God made this promise us to it. We hold Him to His promise. 
 
We are headed for home. Would you like to go along as well?
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