2 Peter 3:1…I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder…5 by the word of God…9 The Lord is patient…that all should reach repentance…11 in lives of holiness and godliness…13 We are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells…14…without spot or blemish, and at peace…18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory both now and
to the day of eternity. [ESV]
Almost two years have passed since I last posted about this chapter. How I happened to know that is interesting. It showed up as a Facebook Memories notification this week which was certainly a timely reminder. [read here] As I re-read that post and looked at other versions, verse 9 stood out…”The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” [v9 NLT] The Lord’s provision is bigger than “yesterday” which captures our memory or “today” which occupies so much of our daily experience. The Lord has given us His purpose for the recipe for tomorrow. “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.” [v15 NIV]
2 Peter 2:17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
This is Peter’s reminder that God will not ignore false prophets or bold and arrogant false teachers that continue to be a threat to the real freedom He offers. It’s a grim, but necessary record of the consequences that accompany deliberate sin. The skillset of evil is designed to cleverly manipulate truth. The word “evil” barely covers how bad “these people,” are who purposefully seduce others with demonic lies while luring them into believing they’re offering freedom. “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
“Think of a traveller in the desert being told that ahead lies a spring where he can quench his thirst and then arriving at that spring to find it dried up and useless. Think of the husbandman praying for rain for his parched crops and then seeing the cloud that promised rain blown uselessly by.”a This is not freedom. This is the recipe of evil created to enslave people: it changes the character of the past, alters the present with suspicion and finally destroys the expectation of hope for the future.
a Barclay commentary on 2 Peter
2 Peter 2:1…there will be false teachers among you…3…these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories…4…God did not spare angels when they sinned…5…did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood
7…he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. NIV
Genesis 2:7 tells us “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Dust + the Breath of God combined to become the recipe of man. Consider this – God Himself created two separate natures in the soul of human life; the physical [dust] and the spiritual [His breath]. The God of all creation designed us to be evidence of His love, not puppets.
Those two natures were at war even in that first perfect environment. That first sin was a shocker. Clearly the soul of human life has the dual ability to respond to the instincts, passions and impulses of the physical nature at the same time it has a longing to respond to God’s love with the instincts, passions and impulses He breathed into us. We need to be shocked by that realization. “Our great security against sin lies in being shocked at it.”a.
Peter doesn’t sugarcoat the consequences of the physical nature of sin or neglect to remind us God breathes within the spiritual nature of the righteous. “IF this is so, THEN the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.”
aJohn Henry Newman
2 Peter:1:17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. NLT
The prophets spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit of things they had not themselves seen. Peter is a witness that speaks from personal observation and experience that confirms what he what he has previously only known by word-of-mouth from the prophecy of the prophets.
Prophecy is “pre-seeing” but prophesying is something different. Prophesying is not just knowing what is predicted but speaking of the witness of the Holy Spirit in your personal observation and experience. I write to you today from personal awareness of the gap that exists between all I know should be a part of my life of faith and the reality of my heart’s desire to honestly be able to prophesy Peter’s encouragement to you. “You must pay close attention to what they wrote,for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. NLT
That is the one relationship that fills the gap between what we know but have not personally experienced and what we speak. That’s what makes the words from these other witnesses the prophesy of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives,
and that is what confirms the truth of our witness.
2 Peter 1:12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. NIV
Reminders are familiar to us. Now they often come to us as notifications with banners and alert tones on computer, smart phone or tablet screens. God can use something as simple as a Verse of the Day banner on a screen to remind us of His truth and how much it still matters to Him.
God knows we need those reminders! We need His truth to matter as much to us as it does to Him! The many versions of the Word that populate our digital library remind us we have opportunity at our fingertips to read and understand God’s truth more clearly than ever before. These are God’s reminders to you of what matters to Him in June of 2020 through Peter’s Word.
Support: I will
Purpose: remind you of these things.
Faith: You know them and are firmly established in the
truth you now have.
Commitment: I think it is right to refresh your memory
Durability: after my departure.
Encouragement: You will always be able to remember these things:
Add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection,
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. NIV
There are two words that are the mystery of God we all deal with in our feeble attempts to understand what is humanly unknowable. I call them flashpoint words – preordained and predestination. Neither of them is in this passage but as I read they are what came to my mind. The word “orchestrating” is how I deal with them as part of the natural system put into place during, and even before, the time of creation that includes “everything” I do know. God is in control. God is ever-present. God knows all things.
“Orchestrating” is more than those two flashpoint words. They are only a mysterious part of the music of the Sovereignty of God. Imagine God as the composer and conductor directing each of these parts of His symphony of faith. The music begins with the conductor. You want to see faith? Let me bring in goodness… Now in the flow of His personal arrangement for His creation each of those lovely parts is brought in to enhance the music of life. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and mutual affection are added at just the right moment as the overall music swells to the beautiful conclusion that explains everything God pre-ordained and predestined as He composed His symphony – LOVE.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“ ESV
It’s happened again! This one verse just happened to show up twice out-of-the-blue in a week’s time. It’s meant for my heart. It still surprises me to be reminded in such a simple way that the Word of God is meant for that specific purpose. It’s not just accidentally falling into place.
God has a plan for your life:
the right Word at the right time in the right place.
The right Word is COME. That’s all Jesus asks. Don’t clutter it up with anything else like needing a perfect place or time or whether it happens to to feel meaningful right then. The main thing is the choice to come. I know you want to validate your time but if you will just come, Jesus will do that for you.
The right time is NOW. NOW is the word used to draw attention to a particular moment. NOW is the moment when so many of life’s systems seem to have fallen apart. NOW is the moment when our labor is being challenged and redefined. NOW is the moment when hearts understand heavy laden in ways never before imagined. NOW is the moment when so many are behind closed doors. NOW is the moment of availability “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9). NOW is the moment of opportunity “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.(Rev 3:20). NOW is the particular moment to come.
The right place is YOU…”Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)
Jesus simply says “come to me“… that’s the “rest” of the story.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ESV
This morning I was thinking about an article I’d read by Billy Grahama that referenced this verse from Matthew. It was only one part of the big truth the article contained but it was the catalyst that opened my eyes to a new idea about that one last word…”rest.”
It’s such a simple revelation but I think it’s a meaningful one. Life, even a privileged one involves labor. The good life certainly has moments that are heavy laden. We know the Word is a reliable place we come to find rest in Jesus. The daily reading of the Word is a blessing. We plan to read daily and we’re frustrated with ourselves when we don’t do it. We know that devotional time seems to be impacted by…well…everything!
There will be circumstances when your “daily” devotion may fail you but your rest is not dependent on that circumstance. Rest is a relationship with Jesus and His devotion never fails you. THAT dear friend is His perfect provision that overcomes circumstances that interrupt best-laid plans. Jesus’s relationship with you is what makes it possible for you to enjoy the “rest” of your day…today, everyday and forever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11 NASB
Dominion and domination are very similar words in construction but neither word is commonly used today. Hearing “dominate” be used in public reporting this last disturbing week was startling. That made the other uncommon word “dominion” stand out when I read it as a Verse of the Day from 1 Chronicles in the same week.
Dominion is a descriptive noun used to identify God’s complete sovereignty and power to partner with His people to protect and preserve His creation. “And God blessed them. “And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV
Domination is an action verb the Bible uses to indicate an exercise of power. A very simple word sturdya of “domination” resulted in two conclusions: 1)The most important one was it was never God who was dominating and 2) God’s displeasure at Israel’s opposition to His dominion was clear and the natural consequence of their rebellion was domination.
In some places it’s “domination to, of or by” that represents God’s action to move Israel “to” repentance. In other places the references were “delivered from domination” that represented God’s repeated rescue for Israel “from” those who would destroy them. In all those places the Word reveals the same timeless truth of 1 Chronicles: God is still prepared to respond to repentance and deliver His people from the domination of an enemy.
“Yours is the dominion, O Lord,
and You exalt Yourself as head over all. “
Yet today’s attitudes tend more towards the domination idea. Domination has undertones of manipulation, coercion, and force. Bending the earth to our will, rather than working in a state of collaboration and cooperation. Extracting what we want at the expense of others. Not caring about the broader impacts of our actions…” currentcoach.com
There are only two choices: Dominion or Domination
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. NIV
Be alert and watchful, of sober mind and spirit. The devil is not an adversary content with luring you into sin but one who is intent on your complete destruction. All my children are united in this struggle at this time of suffering…but I am the God of all grace who has called you beyond death to eternal glory with me. I’ve given you faith to make you strong beyond your own ability to stand firm and resist. I myself will support and strengthen you and make it happen. Stay in toucha.
a A composite of ESV, NIV, NLT and NASB versions