Tuesday, 14 January 2019
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 2 Peter 1:12
Peter has exhorted his audience, and then he explained why he gave the exhortation. Now he builds upon that with promised encouragement beginning with, “For this reason.” If they fail in heeding his exhortation, they will be shortsighted and unfruitful. If they pay heed, they will not stumble, and they will be rewarded abundantly. Like a father wanting the best for his children, he desires the latter, and so he next says, “I will not be negligent to remind you always.”
He has reminded them, and he will continue to do so. They could thus expect personal visits or more letters from him. Or maybe Peter would send along others with his approval to continue to instruct them in the proper way of the Lord. And more, his continued words of the epistle will also be a further reminder of what to do or what to be wary of. He then says, “of these things.” That then comprises all of what he has said from verse 5 until 11. They are the things which will keep them sound and walking properly.
At this point, Peter carefully remarks, “though you know.” The Greek is a perfect participle, active. It is therefore literally “knowing.” They received the knowledge and it is ongoing in their minds. However, how easy it is to forget instruction. As he noted in verse 9, a person can know something, and come to the point where he completely forgets the matter. He desired not only that they know, but that they continue to do so into the future.
As Peter is long dead and gone, it is a note to each person that hearing something once in a church is not enough to ground him in the truth. Nor is reading the Bible once. The word must be continually referred to, in order to know and to be knowing. This is the force of Peter’s words, even though they “are established in the present truth.”
The wording here, though not incorrect, can be misconstrued. Some versions say something better like, “…and are firmly established in the truth you now possess.” Truth is fixed and immutable.
Today people say, “all things are relative” or “what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me.” This is often done in an attempt to justify their stand on something which is otherwise unjustifiable. But this thinking is amiss. When Peter says, “the present truth,” he is speaking of that which has been revealed, not that which was untrue but has now become true. He has presented his words, they contain truth, and his reader’s minds are now in accord with what was presented. He desires that this will continue on into the future.
Life application: Peter desires to drum into the heads of his recipients (meaning us too) the things he has already taught them. Should he fail to do so, he would be negligent in his responsibilities. Learning often involves and is enhanced by repetition. To hear something once leaves the possibility of forgetting. Hearing it twice or three times helps solidify what has been relayed. It is for this reason that Peter repeats what he’s previously taught.
Likewise, the Bible itself reinforces precepts throughout its pages. What the Old Testament proclaims is reiterated or fulfilled in the New; what Matthew teaches is repeated in Mark, Luke, and even John at times. What Acts tells us occurred is repeated at the pen of Paul. What Paul states as prescriptive for the church is reconfirmed by Peter and the other apostles. All of this repetition is given so that we will be firm, fixed, and established in sound biblical truth.
And yet, how often do we see huge disparities in doctrine between one pastor and the next; between one teacher and the next; between one denomination and the next! Such differences result because we fail to spend due time and reflection in the pages of the Bible. Let us take heed to Peter’s word today and get ourselves “established in the present truth.”
Heavenly Father, keep me from wrong considerations of modern thought which teach that “all things are relative.” Your word teaches that there is one truth concerning proper theology, and that leads to only one way to be saved. Despite varying opinions on the matter, You don’t waiver on it, and so neither should we. Keep us sound in our doctrine and faithful in our allegiance to Jesus the Lord. Amen.