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.
2 Peter 2
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
4 For if God did not spare angels
5 if he did not spare the ancient world
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
7 and if he rescued Lot
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.
This is a convicting chapter filled with evidence of the reality of humanity. It’s undeniable evidence that makes it easy to jump to the wrong conclusion. It’s not about “them vs us. It’s about the undeniable separation between God and man. Anything else is a wrong comparison.
I felt a little twinge of mean-spirited satisfaction that I’m not “them” as I read. Having to admit to a mean-spirited attitude at all is bad enough but I read on to discover I have another issue; a kind of holier-than-thou satisfaction that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment” and God “rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless.” That’s the “us” I identified with. I liked it but then I realized I missed the point entirely.
The grim evidence of this chapter is only a reminder we aren’t rescued and renewed by the separation of “them vs us” but by this undeniable truth: God’s Divine justice is absolute, unlimited, unrestricted, unrestrained, unbounded, boundless, infinite, ultimate, total and unconditional.
NIV 2 Peter 1:3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence…5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My husband once commented about the oddity of buying yards of pricey fabric and then cutting it up into little pieces and reassembling them to make a quilt. It’s a labor intensive process and undeniably costly…but at the end of that process you have a beautiful and useful work of art to show for it. Reading and pondering this portion of Peter’s words brought to mind that process and this awareness: we have God’s pattern and all the supplies we need to make a very special quilt. “God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” – yards and yards of the beautiful fabric of His Word.
Living a Godly life is a process just as making a quilt is. Even two quilts made from the very same pattern by two different people will look very different. Peter’s words aren’t a list of clever steps you can tick off as they’re accomplished. They are like pieces of a quilt that require choices to be made as you’re collecting, selecting, arranging and piecing together what often seems like odd, unrelated and even crazy combinations of fabric. Peter’s words describe the pattern God has given to help each of us create a uniquely designed quilt that becomes the beautiful and useful work of art that is our inheritance of faith.
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.” Follow God’s pattern and Peter’s list; choose, collect, select, arrange and piece together your personal quilt from this fabric of words God has provided for you. “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”…and your inheritance will become a beautiful quilt of worship.
II Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare…14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. [NIV]
History records the action of evil we remember of “yesterday.” It’s over and done with and we emerged still standing. “Today” feels like it’s a heads-up time. There are a lot of signs Satan is working hard to destroy our world ahead of time and that makes it especially important for each of us to consider just what it is we are “looking forward” to and begin to let that impact our own daily life.
Here’s what I know: Jesus wins. I intend to invest my time, my behavior and my efforts to “to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” I’m looking forward to a new heaven and earth: a kingdom of Grace. I’m not looking forward to the destruction of the heavens disappearing, or the elements being destroyed by fire and the earth being laid bare even though I trust God’s word all that is somewhere between today and tomorrow.
“Today” is teaching me how important it is to read Scripture, to stay informed and most of all to pray. Those three things are the heads-up for me. My prayers in the midst of “today” aren’t targeted, eloquent or lengthy. They are dependent on the sovereign power of God: “Be present here Lord. Watch over this world you created and protect us. Raise up your people and give me the courage to trust that you are. Amen, Amen and Amen again!
2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Time and opportunity are God’s gift to keep us aware “he is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” We focus on that gift because it’s personal but it’s interesting to consider it’s about so much more than us. The “more” is based on these words from John Piper in Desiring God: “God has the right and power to do whatever makes Him happy.” Think about that for a minute before you read the rest of the quote.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115: 3). That is what it means to say that God is sovereign… Just as our joy is based on the promise that God is strong enough and wise enough to make all things work together for our good, so God’s joy is based on that same sovereign control: He makes all things work together for His glory.”
It’s good to acknowledge the impact of God’s gifts on our happiness but it’s a blessing of humility to realize God has a vested interest in our happiness for himself; his own glory. When we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” it’s evidence of His glory and that makes him happy.