In Peter’s second letter, he tells the Christians to live disciplined lives out of their love for Jesus Christ. Since our faith is a gift from the Lord, we are not able to do anything to obtain our faith or our salvation. However, we are to partake in the battle of denying self and living for Christ – “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
Peter, knowing that death is quickly approaching, urges the Christians to hold firm to the truth of Jesus Christ that is revealed in the Holy Spirit inspired prophecies of the Scriptures, and is verified through eyewitness testimonies – “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place… knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, every time we open our Bible and read Scripture, we are hearing directly from the Lord, and His word is what transforms us.
Peter warns of false teachers “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words.” However, the Lord will eventually bring judgment upon these false teachers because “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.”
Peter is certain that this day of judgment is coming. And on this day, the Lord will bring judgment upon all of the wicked just like in the days of Noah when he wiped out the entire world with the exception of Noah and his seven family members who were saved by grace through faith. “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
God is delaying this judgment because “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance… Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”
Our best defense against falling for the lies of false teachers is becoming Bible literate so that we know truth for ourselves. And the truth is that Christians are at peace with the Lord and declared blameless through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are given the ability to live lives turning from sin toward the Lord and reflecting the characteristics of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Christians do not have to fear this coming judgment upon the depraved world.
Tomorrow we begin the first of three letters written by John, so keep reading.
(1 Peter 5:12-14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18)