2 Peter 3: 14-18
Peter is communicating to us that God is involved, that He does indeed care, and that He is concerned and does intervene in history, thus we can trust Him. If people come against your belief in Christ and good character, take comfort. No matter what others say or do, God will intervene in His time, and make them the ultimate fools. Peter continues to tell us to beware of scoffers who deny Christ's return! We often need to be reminded of this, no matter how long we have been in the Lord. We need that gentle refreshing to stimulate us into correct thinking so we can have the faith and strength to stay on His path. We are to know the Scriptures and be disciplined in the faith because this is what keeps our minds on Him, and when we practice these precepts, they become rooted and make us firmer in our faith.
Peter is closing his Epistle with encouragements and blessings. He is reminding his people of the importance of Paul's letter(s) to them and that they are to take what he says seriously. He also warns that if they do not understand something, they are not to twist it to fit what they do understand or want. Doing that only disrupts His Truth with our whims, resulting in disaster for all who do this heinous act.
· Peter's Benediction. He calls us to be on our guard by pursuing our relationship with Christ, allowing our bonds to grow and become stronger so no reproach can come against our church.
· Lawless men refers to the false teachers who have ignored God or have no regard for truth or morality. Do not be led away by errors or personal desires!
· Fall/lose…stability means to fall away from Truth, which includes God's percepts, call, and standards. This does not mean we lose our salvation. Rather, it refers to our weakness (John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; 17:2-24; Phil. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1:8; 9:1; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 3:32; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18). We are to be firm in our faith and not allow our desires or others to distract us from Christ. This reinforces the importance of sound doctrine and teaching (John 6:39; Phil. 1:6).
· Grow means to be steadfast in faith and in Christ. We do this by pursuing holy living through deepening our relationship and experiences with Christ. We are called to learn as much as we can about our Lord and His teaching and then apply it wholeheartedly into our lives. This is in contrast to the arrogance and pretentious knowledge and pseudo-growth of the false teachers and hypocrites who know little and apply none. Growing is an ongoing experience that should never stop until we are called home to heaven. It is not enough to know; we are also called to do. In conjunction, our persistence to know Him and His Word prevents false teachers from getting a hold on us or our church (2 Pet. 1:2-3)!
· Knowledge. The antidote to heresy is knowing the real truth, and we do this by going to God's Word. We are called to pursue education and practice knowledge so we can learn and know more about God, live for His glory, and help one another.
· To him be glory means that because of the deity and supremacy of Christ as God and Lord, all that we do in our Christian lives is to be about glorifying Him. This ties into Peter's opening statement in 1:1 (Col. 1:15-20; Rev. 1:5-6).
· Forever means "unto eternity." Time is endless and glory, through all time past, present, and future belongs to Christ alone (Isa. 60:19-20).
What we go through, even suffering, has meaning and purpose to it. We can remain spotless, as Jesus showed us by His words and His example. When something happens which you do not understand, seek answers in prayer, asking God what you are to learn. This is how we can better grow in the grace and love of our Lord. Then, your faith-development and steadfastness will be far more impacting and real for you and those around you.
So, clothe yourselves with an attitude that you are lowly, an attitude that you are not too good to serve, that you are not too great to stoop down to help another. And, by the way, this was the only humility the pagan world tolerated the involuntary humility of slavery. Therefore, Peter is saying you need to put on the garment of a slave and take on a voluntary humility, a subordinate mentality "first toward one another." With this essential attitude, we will be glorifying Him to keep our faith growing and in Him, thus preparing our church for now and our selves for His return.
God has given us a great promise to keep us in the faith: He is here and He is returning. Thus, we need to live our lives worthy in Him and not forget who and what He is and has done. If we have no accountability because we believe there is not anyone to whom we are accountable, we will engage in doing what we want; and that is sin. Many people in Peter's time (as well as ours) did not believe there would be a judgment and therefore there were no personal responsibilities or obligations. This thinking produces relativism and our postmodern mindsets (nothing new here), and leads to immoral behaviors and a society in distress headed for ruin. Such thinking says we can do as we please; however, that will only bring us damnation at worst and missed opportunities at best. Why would we want to play these games?
Disgrace and shame take place when we only fear and honor one another; scruples and character come from when we fear and honor God (Prov. 3:5).
1. What does it mean to live worthy in Christ?
2. Peter asked, what kind of people you ought to be; how would you respond to God saying this (by the way, He does)?
3. What does it mean to you to make the most of your life here and now?
4. What would your life look like if you did make the most of it and live for Him?
5. What can you do now so your Christian life will be more about glorifying Him?
6. How can focusing on Christ combat liberalism and false teachers?
7. When something happens which you do not understand, what can you do to grow from it?
8. How about seeking the reason for your setbacks and sufferings in prayer, asking God what you are to learn from it?
9. How would seeking Christ as Lord in dire times help you grow further and firmer in the faith?
10. What does it mean to be established in your faith? What can you do to keep your mind in Christ? Because God is involved, I can live my life this way…?
© 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org