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…
This year my Advent plans had a very different ending. This was the first Christmas of my life I’ve actually been physically alone, thanks to a positive Covid test on December 22. Alone by definition is “to be separated and isolated,” not words anyone would purposefully connect to Advent or Christmas. The whole point of observing Advent has always been God’s reminder of His intervention to correct the condition of humanity; being “alone or isolated.” I’ve remembered that so many times over the years.
What I will remember about Advent and Christmas 2022 is the very physical way I was reminded of the truth I already knew. In the midst of the unpleasant, worrisome and murky details of Covid, family and friends used every opportunity and technology known to man to remind me I wasn’t “alone and isolated” and God chose their kindnesses to refresh my memory of His truth about the birth of Jesus Christ. I will remember this week in between 2022 and 2023 because I tested negative for Covid…AND was reminded of so many reasons I have to be positive about the truth of God!
John 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
It isn’t the still small voice this time, “Jesus cried out!” Listen up…I am the Light God has given for you to believe and see Him. I’m not your judge, the Word God has given me to speak will be your judge. My commandment is to say and speak His Words in order “to save the world.” “His commandment is eternal life”…yours!
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus assurance to Himself is His obedience to His father’s commandment…“For I have not spoken on my own authority.” Of course that‘s His assurance to us too.
What does it say about people?
Is there anyone alive who can’t hear Jesus’s frustration in the words of that first phrase “And Jesus cried out”? Is there any believer alive who doesn’t know first-hand the frustration of longing for someone we care about to believe, hear and accept the truth from Jesus about life from God’s viewpoint of forever?
Is there truth here for me?
This exercise of answering these questions each post is where I often learn the most. I want to assure God of my commitment to Jesus so I write. I want to assure you of the reality of Jesus so I write. There is another truth I saw this morning about why I spend so many hours each week writing. I saw Jesus assuring Himself because of His obedience. I write every day to assure myself I am obediently learning to be like more like Jesus and writing to you challenges me to find the truth.a I have one prayer before I press “publish” each time. Lord do not let your Word be voided by my thoughts. If there is error, correct me and let it be so obvious to the one who reads that it compels them to find the truth in your Word.
a So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 2 Peter 1:12 NIV
John 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Advocate: one who pleads the cause of another, defends and maintains a proposal and supports the interests of the cause.
The Word is so much more than just words. It is the place God captures our hearts through our mind. There is only one condition: you must accept that the Lord has placed His Advocate in your heart to begin the process of training your mind to first go to “He will” before it goes to that other place, “I should” which has a very different manager.
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.
“We let our mind descend into our heart and
there stand in the presence of God.”
Henri Nouwen in Spiritual Direction
John 12:47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” ESV
These Words are the last thing Jesus says before separating himself from his public ministry to begin this very personal “Passover” preparation. Jesus speaks these Words as a commandment from His father. They are the judge, not Jesus. God’s commandment is eternal life and He has given Jesus the power to Pass Over His judgment to liberate those who will hear and keep His Word.
2 Peter 3:9 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. NLT
2 Peter 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. [ESV]
“Man ceases to be in any sense a pilgrim [if] there is nowhere to which he can make pilgrimage. He must simply drift in a kind of lostness, coming from nowhere and on the way to nowhere.”a
The Day of the Lord is an unspecified period of time that stretches between two well defined points; creation and a new heaven and a new earth. Those are the boundaries of the time of pilgrimage for everyone, believer or nonbeliever. The difference is where you begin and where you end. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient…not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The pilgrimage of a follower of Jesus Christ begins at the point of becoming a new “creation.” The unspecified period of time is the life of faith that weaves the pilgrim into the strength of a cord that is “not easily broken.” The reward of the pilgrimage is found in the Day of the Lord – a new heaven and a new earth.
a William Barclay
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,