In the next three insights I will be considering the New Testament book of 2 Peter as a follow on from the recent insights from 1 Peter. The Apostle reminds us about the importance of holding onto our Christian faith in the face of many beliefs and teachings that may cause us to lose our faith and not retain a holy and disciplined lifestyle.
It has been argued amongst some biblical scholars that this second letter is not written by Peter but had been published by his followers using his name after his death. Some aspects of the letter are very similar to Jude 4 – 18 and as a whole the letter took a long time to be accepted as part of the canonical New Testament.
Peter refers to the Apostle Paul’s writings and its date of authorship may be from 60 – 150 AD but certainly before his death. It is argued that 1 Peter was written from Rome so on that basis we may assume that this second letter was also written in Rome!
The purpose of the letter is to address the Christian church scattered throughout Asia Minor that included both Jews and Gentiles who were being influenced by Gnostic teaching. Peter calls his readers to resist false doctrines and be consistent in holy living and actions especially in the light of the Lord’s return. Thanks Dim Hou unsplash.com
Read 2 Peter Chapter 1
Greetings (verses 1 – 2)
Peter confirms his spiritual calling and credentials as a Servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ of whom he personally knew and lived alongside. He writes to all who treasure the same faith in Jesus Christ as himself and encourages each one to grow “more and more” in God’s grace and peace which will result in knowing Jesus “more and more” personally.
Question: For a moment think about how you greet people that are known or unknown to you? Do you bring a sense of foreboding and sadness or share in a measure, the grace and peace of God that naturally flows from you because of you faith in Jesus?
A call to Spiritual Growth (verses 3 – 11)
Peter confirms that God promises spiritual gifts that will be sufficient for daily Christian living and devotion to all who respond to the call of being a disciple of Jesus. It is only through God’s divine power and promises that we are able to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”.
There are certain qualities that Peter wants his readers to embrace that will help them to resist evil and give them power to live a godly life such as: self-control that leads to greater self-understanding which produces increased patience and results in boundless kindness, and love.
As we grow and mature spiritually the Lord wants us to share them freely to everyone we meet on a daily basis without fear or favour. Peter emphasises that without God’s gifts and qualities we would be like a blind and short sighted person who is in a fog and has forgotten that their sins have been forgiven and washed away.
Peter’s main point here is that as a Christian we have repented of our short comings before God and it is only through Jesus that we have been called and chosen to serve in whatever way he asks us.
In maintaining the Christian faith it will bring its own personal rewards that helps believers to be strong and not to fall away like so many have done. In being faithful to the Lord we may fulfil the promise of entering into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Annie Spratt unsplash.com
Question: Pause for a moment and think about the promises that the Lord has in store for each one of us? Are you taking advantage of them or neglecting them and in so doing realising that you are not growing spiritually?
The Apostolic Witness (verses 12 – 18)
It is often said that we need to be reminded of truths that we already know but perhaps haven’t fully applied to daily living. This compares to new teachings that have to be tried and tested to see if they are from the Lord and will be a benefit for us in our quest for holy living.
Peter had been made aware that his days on earth were numbered. He felt that it was his duty and responsibility to remind his readers that the life and teachings of Jesus are different from “cleverly invented stories” which are not to be followed. As we know the living presence of Jesus, we all have a responsibility to share about his saving grace and love until we take our own last breath.
Peter refers to the blessing and approval of God the Father, upon Jesus the Son of God at his baptism and also during the shared experience of the Transfiguration of Jesus that Peter personally witnessed. (Matthew 17: 1 – 8, Mark 9: 2 – 8, Luke 9: 28 – 36)
Question: In life we are often looking for new truths and experiences that we think are better than the ‘old ways’. For a moment consider if you might have to go back to ‘old truths’ that you have known in the past and maybe disregarded in this present time?
The Value of Prophecy (verses 19 – 21)
When we are reminded of certain truths that have existed in world history we trust that it is a source of wisdom that will prevent us from making similar mistakes and short comings in the present. Peter is stressing here the importance of Christian prophecy that should not be forgotten and acts like a ‘light shining in a dark place’ until the dawn rises and the morning star is revealed.
Peter affirms that all prophecy from the Old and New Testaments are important and no individuals can suddenly declare that it should be seen in a different light which may cause people to turn away from their Christian faith.
True prophecy is from the inspiration and personal word of God who speaks to his people through creation, the Holy Spirits presence and the written word as found in scripture. God’s word acts like a two edged sword and lives forever and does not get lost in the fog and mists of life.
Thanks to Ravi Sharma unsplash.com
Question: How confident are you in the value and power of God’s word? Can you remember when God’s word spoke out to you very clearly and how did you respond? Think about how you are responding to God’s word speaking to you today?
Selah (Pause to carefully consider what you have just read)