2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 
2 Peter 3:18

We now come to the final verse of this magnificent epistle. Peter gives one final exhortation and finishes with a short doxology in it, beginning with, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is similar to how he began the epistle. In 2 Peter 1:2, he said –

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

In his words here, there is no article before either “grace” or “knowledge” in the Greek, and so various ways of translating the verse have been suggested –

In the grace and knowledge
In grace and in knowledge
In grace, and in the knowledge
In grace, and in the knowledge
In grace, and in [the] knowledge
In the grace and knowledge

These, and other variations, each determine what the translator feels was on the mind of Peter. For example, some make the first subjective and the second objective – Christ is the Giver (subjective) and He is the object of the knowledge. Others are both objective – Christ is the object of the grace and of the knowledge, etc.

Without being dogmatic, it is likely that Peter is saying that the believer is to grow in grace given by Christ, and that they are to grow in the knowledge concerning the Person of Christ. This seems to fit best with the idea of Christian maturity. We have been given grace and should grow in that which has been given. At the same time, we have a knowledge of Jesus from the inception of our walk with Him, but that knowledge can increase forever as we seek Him out (2 Peter 1:5-9).

This would then be in accord with the subject of what he has been saying concerning the false teachers and the twisting of Scripture by them – something he warns us to avoid being swept up in. To avoid this, it would be wise to grow in the knowledge of Christ. It is He who is found throughout Scripture, and it is He who reveals the unseen God to us.

Finally, Peter finishes with, “To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” In Isaiah, we read –

“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another.” Isaiah 42:8

This is stated elsewhere as well. For the Lord (Yehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures) to say this, and then for Peter to ascribe that same glory to Jesus in his closing remarks now, shows that either Peter truly believed that Jesus is the incarnate Yehovah, or he was an incompetent blasphemer. It is Jesus Christ who is granted “the glory” and, as the Greek reads, it is “to the day of eternity.”

This is a phrase not found anywhere else in the New Testament. Both the word “day” and “eternity” are singular nouns. It is one day, but it is an eternal day. In other words, it is the fulfillment of the thought which was hinted at in the creation account. Each of the six days of creation said, “So the evening and the morning were the xxth day.”

However, on the seventh day, this is not recorded. It is an eternal day, a day where tomorrow (the evening) will never come because the light of God in Christ will radiate forever. Thus, Revelation says –

“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:4, 5

This is what is in store for the saints of God, and it is – literally – a moment away at any time. Indeed, the Lord is not slack concerning His promise. He will, in the moment He has determined from the foundation of the world, bring His people to Himself. It is this marvelous moment that Peter anticipates, and which we can delight in as we continue in the stream of time, awaiting that moment as well.

Life application: Among other points, the epistles of Peter have given us great insights into our heavenly inheritance; life in the presence of God; God’s eternal and enduring word; the work of Jesus as foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New; living as pilgrims in this temporary abode; our need to submit to ruling authorities and others appointed over us; our call to be a blessing as we live our lives; the suffering of Christ which should mark our own willingness to suffer – which is to the glory of God; serving others; instructions for elders; resisting the devil; faithfully growing in Christ; the trustworthiness of the word of prophecy; destructive heresies; the depravity, deception, and doom of false teachers; the faithfulness of God’s promises; the coming Day of the Lord; and finally a note to remain steadfast as we wait on Christ.

Peter’s admonition of the final verse of his second epistle is an amazingly perfect way to end his letters. After all of these instructions and explanations, he sums up the entire body of his thought asking us to continue to grow in Jesus. His grace is that which has been given to us though we didn’t deserve it.

The knowledge of Him can only be obtained from the word written about him. Therefore, we look to the pages of the Bible, including the words of Peter, to grow in our knowledge of the mystery of Christ – now revealed to the saints of the ages.

Peter ends his note in a manner which confirms – as has been done countless times in the New Testament – the deity of Jesus. He does this by stating, “To Him be the glory both now and forevermore.” No God, jealous for His own glory and protective of His name, would allow a created being to be so praised. But God is pleased to receive our praise when it is given through Jesus – the incarnate Word of God; the God/Man. Amen.

Thank You Lord God for the beautiful letters of Your sacred word. Thank you for the selection, protection, and love You bestowed on Your prophets and apostles until they were able to transmit Your word to us. Each of them had faults, trials, temptations, and failings. But through their lives, we see a glimpse of our own great need for an even greater Savior… and You are the One we look to in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.




2 Peter 3:17

Monday, 2 March 2020

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 2 Peter 3:17

Peter has been careful to show that what Paul writes is on the same level as that of all other Scripture, but that there are people who would take Paul’s writings and twist them. He said that they would do this just as they would with the rest of the Scriptures.

Because there are such people out there, Peter now warns them. In this, he says, “You therefore, beloved.” He had just called them beloved in verse 14. He then called Paul the same in verse 15. He now returns to this same word one last time in the epistle. He is using this term of endearment to ensure that they would make the connection between their state as believers and their need to apply their state to right conduct and holy living.

Understanding this, he then says, “since you know this beforehand.” In particular, he is speaking of those who would twist Scripture, including Paul’s letters, for their own perverse agenda. They now know this and are to be on guard against it, “lest you also fall from your own steadfastness.”

In other words, by following false teachers, and by listening to their own twisting of Scripture, these who are beloved in the Lord would be led off of the sure and sound course which they had begun on. The thought is similar to what he said earlier in the epistle –

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10, 11

In his words, Peter does not state, nor does he imply, that in following these people they could lose their salvation. It is simply a statement of fact that if a person isn’t careful to watch his doctrine, he can easily get swept up in the false teachings of others. In this, they will be brought back into bondage – exactly as Paul notes of those who are led astray by false teachers.

The words of Peter here are nothing short of an exhortation to know the word of God. If one does not know the word, then that person cannot tell when the word is being twisted. Only by knowing and constantly remembering the word can a person avoid this pitfall, and thus “being led away with the error of the wicked.”

Here, the word “wicked” should be “lawless.” It is a word used in ancient Greek to signify that which is contrary to a statute. Without the law, a person is lawless. But equally so, when one twists the law, understanding the way to be obedient to that law is confused. As the word is the believer’s way of understanding the right and proper path to follow what God expects, we cannot be obedient to those expectations if our understanding of His word is either lacking or has been twisted. It is a solemn warning that we must know and carefully apply the word of God to our lives.

Life application: The context of Peter’s words here comes from verses 14-16 directly, and 11-13 as a basis for verse 14. Here is a paraphrased breakdown of what Peter is indicating –

We should look forward to the coming Day of God where the heavens and earth will be destroyed and replaced with a new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells.
Until that day, be found by the Lord in peace; spot-free and blameless.
Consider the longsuffering of the Lord which is described so pertinently by Paul in his letters.
Paul’s letters contain the wisdom given him by the Lord.
What Paul says is often hard to understand.
And, his words are manipulated by unstable people to their own destruction.

Because these things have been revealed to us, Peter says that we should therefore beware so that we don’t fall from our own determined outlook in our faith and practice. We should remain steadfast, or we are just as susceptible to being led away with the error of the wicked (those mentioned as “unstable” and who manipulate what Scripture says.) In other words: read and know your Bible!

By Peter stating that Paul’s letters are on the same level as all other Scripture, it implies is that what Paul writes should also be taken in that same light as well. How can one sit in church, or listen to someone on TV, or the radio, and trust what they say blindly? Rather, we need to have at least enough familiarity with our Bible to know when we’re being led down the primrose path.

Be wise, be discerning, and be prepared. Know your Bible.

Lord Jesus, each of us is accountable for our doctrine. Therefore, provide us with the sense to search out Your word now so that we are not led astray by the unstable and wicked. Rather, may we be prepared and know when right doctrine is being proclaimed or when false teachings are being presented to us. To Your honor we pray this. Amen.








2 Peter 3:16

Sunday, 1 March 2020

as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 2 Peter 3:16

In the previous verse, Peter noted Paul and “the wisdom given to him” by which he wrote to these same people that Peter was writing to. He now says, “as also in all his epistles.” This same wisdom that was conveyed to the Jews through the epistle specifically directed to them (which is certainly the book of Hebrews, as already noted is to be found in all of his epistles. Peter is standing on the surety that Paul’s letters carry the very wisdom of God, and that they convey accurate, reliable truth concerning the gospel, proper doctrine, and contextual reliability.

This is especially important to understand, because Paul had personally challenged Peter concerning faulty doctrine at one point. But this isn’t something that was lightly brushed over, nor was it something found in a non-apostolic writing. Rather, it is something found in one of the very letters Peter is now referring to, Galatians. The entire account of Peter’s departure from the truth is laid out – openly and fully – for any to read. Peter confirms that Paul’s doctrine in this is correct, and that what Peter had done was “to be blamed,” as Paul states in Galatians 2:11.

Understanding this, Peter continues with, “speaking in them of these things.” The substance of the letters which Peter presented is the same substance of the letters of Paul. It is a way of saying that the content of their letters, though unique in style, was in complete harmony concerning content. For example, Peter wrote of the return of Christ, and so did Paul. Peter wrote about the gospel, and so did Paul. Peter wrote about the inspiration of Scripture, and so did Paul. These men were not writing two gospels, or two sets of promises – one to Jew and one to Gentile. Rather, they were writing one message which then fit into the same overall message of the Bible.

Peter then acknowledges concerning Paul’s letters, “in which are some things hard to understand.” Here, Peter uses a word unique in Scripture. It is a compound word from “difficult” and “understanding.” The things Paul wrote about are hard to mentally grasp and process. Capturing their true meaning, and mentally perceiving how what he says then fits into the greater context of the Bible, is a mentally challenging task.

Anyone who has read commentaries on Paul’s letters must acknowledge this is true. For example, the idea of the rapture is debated heavily to this day. Will there be a rapture? When will it occur? What is the sequence of events if it is to occur? Something which is written about by Paul, in only a few verses of his writings, cannot be easily agreed upon. How much more his extremely complicated doctrines! Peter acknowledges that what Paul says must be carefully contemplated. However, he next says, “which untaught and unstable people twist.”

Both words are only found in Peter’s writings. The first is only found here. It signifies “unlearned” or “ignorant.” The second is found in 2 Peter 2:14 and then here. It signifies “not established.” Literally, it is a person who does not have a staff to lean on, and thus he cannot be trusted because he is unsteady.

This statement of Peter, from two thousand years ago, has been proven throughout church history. Further, with the advent of the internet, this has bloomed into a worldwide and daily occurrence. The saying, “everyone is a specialist in the Bible, but almost nobody knows his Bible” is true. People who are both ignorant of the context of the Bible, and those who are completely unstable in their doctrine, make constant claims of spiritual insight into the meaning of various passages, usually completely ripping them out of context.

Unfortunately, these supposed teachers then pass on their uninformed teachings to others who, likewise, don’t search out the context of what is being said. From there, entire denominations bloom into large apostasy fests. Eventually, the Bible itself – when shown to contradict what these heretics teach – is dismissed as secondary to the supposed experiential knowledge of these adherents. Sound doctrine, and a right understanding of what is being conveyed, is subordinated to sensationalism. But such teachers twist the meaning and purpose of Scripture “to their own destruction.”

Bad doctrine is sin. How much more if it is intentional. People twist Paul’s words for profit, for sexual exploitation, for political motives, and on and on. Whatever agenda someone has, even if he dismisses the words of the Bible in every other aspect of his life, will cite Paul’s words out of their intended context in order to justify some unholy stand. But this isn’t unique to Paul’s writings. Peter notes that they do this, “as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

To such people, Scripture is a means of satisfying earthly desires, lusts, and agendas. It is one large body of “pick and choose” in order to justify the unjustifiable. Context has no meaning, and the intent of what is said is irrelevant. All that matters is that an agenda can be satisfied with the precious word of God.

And that is exactly what Peter says Paul’s letters are. In connecting Paul’s letters to “the rest of the Scriptures,” he is elevating what Paul has written to the full authority of all other Scripture. Thus, what these untaught and unstable people are doing is manipulating the very words of God. No person can do this and go unpunished. This is why James was so careful to say, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

If sincere teachers of the word will be judged for their incorrect analyses and teachings, how much more severe will be the punishment upon those who purposefully twist God’s word for their own perverse agendas!

The word Peter used above, which is translated as “twist,” is also unique in Scripture. It literally speaks of an instrument of torture. A person would be put on a rack, and his body would be “twisted” or “dislocated.” Imagine how these people tear apart and abuse God’s precious and sacred word. Now imagine how God will punish them for what they have done. Theirs will be a punishment which we cannot even imagine. But it is as certain to come as is the fact that God is holy, and He cherishes and protects His sacred word.

Life application: Paul’s epistles are authoritative for the church – there is no missing this. What Paul writes has the same weight as if Jesus Himself were speaking. This is confirmed in Acts 9:15 –

 “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”

Jesus said that Paul is His “chosen vessel.” Therefore, what Paul writes is on the same level as all of God’s words breathed out in the pages of the Bible. In his letters, he speaks of the mysteries long hidden by God, but now revealed in Jesus Christ. He provides doctrine for the church which must be taken in proper context and with an understanding of how God is dealing with the world during the church age. Unfortunately, “unstable people” – and also those who haven’t taken time to rightly divide God’s word – twist what is given and confuse those who are seeking the truth.

The lure of profit, fame, and power are strong enticements for the depraved mind. Far too many churches today diminish the authority and power of Paul’s words because they aren’t politically correct, but to reject what He writes is to reject the authority of Jesus Christ who chose Paul to be His messenger.

If your denomination, church, or pastor speaks ill of Paul’s doctrine, or of any part of the word of God, find another place to worship. Such teachings are in no way honoring to the Lord.

Lord God, because the words of the apostles carry the same weight as if You had spoken them directly to us, help us to understand them properly and to follow them obediently. We often find it hard to follow what they intend for us to understand, and we need our spiritual eyes opened. Provide us, Lord, with sound teachers who will properly explain them to us. Amen.






2 Peter 3:15

Saturday, 29 February 2020

…and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 2 Peter 3:15

Here Peter reaches back to verse 9 where he stated that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise. Rather, it is His will that all come to repentance. With that in mind, he expands on that thought by saying, “and consider that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation.” In other words, the “come to repentance,” means “salvation.” The people have a change of mind about the Lord, and they go from actively rejecting Him to seeking Him out.

The word “repentance” simply means, “to change one’s mind or purpose.” Therefore, those who have heard the message of Christ, and who have subsequently rejected it, will hopefully repent (change their mind) about their rejection and turn to Him for salvation. This is the longsuffering of the Lord. He awaits those who are at enmity with Him to have a change of heart.

Scholars debate (unnecessarily) over the issue of who is being spoken of here by the term “Lord.” Is it “God,” or is it “Jesus?” The debate is unnecessary. Jesus is God. The members of the Godhead are united in purpose. It is not as if the Father is impatient, while the Son and the Holy Spirit are patient. All have the same purpose and intent concerning such things.

Peter next says, “as also our beloved brother Paul.” This is speaking of the apostle Paul, the author of the thirteen epistles which bear his name, and which were written to the Gentile churches and/or to individual Gentiles. Of Paul, Peter next says, “according to the wisdom given to him.”

In other words, Paul’s wisdom is that of the inspiration of his words by the Holy Spirit, a process which Peter has already explained in this epistle –

“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21

Peter is ensuring his audience that what Paul has said is in accord with both what he is writing, and that it is inspired by God. This will be seen further in the next verse. Peter finishes the verse with these words concerning the wisdom that Paul, “has written to you.”

Peter’s audience is “the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” as noted in 1 Peter 1:1. That is confirmed by 2 Peter 3:1 which says, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle.” However, as was just noted by Peter, Paul had written this Hebrew audience a letter which is inspired by God. This is a sure and reliable note that Paul is the author of the book of Hebrews. Along with many other internal evidences of the epistle, this is certain.

In understanding that Paul is that author, it gives a sure and reliable testimony to the fact that Peter and Paul were in complete agreement concerning both the gospel of Christ, and of the unity of the one gospel to provide salvation for both Jew and Gentile. The only difference is the main audience of their ministry, not the content of the message conveyed.

Though the word Peter uses here, and which is translated as “longsuffering,” is used only once in the epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 6:12), the thought of God’s patience with the Hebrew people is conveyed again and again. It is a principle precept found in the epistle, and Peter conveys that to his reader now.

Life application: Despite having a bit of a controversy early on which is described in Galatians 2, Peter and Paul mended their dispute and moved on. As you can see in this verse, Peter holds Paul in high esteem, calling him a “beloved brother.” He also acknowledges the “wisdom given to him.”

Peter’s words about the “longsuffering of the Lord” permeate Paul’s epistles. It is a point that these men of God faithfully proclaimed, but it is not a point which should lead a person to delay a choice for Christ. There is a time when the age will come to an end. It is a time which is unknown to all but God. For now, Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians should be taken to heart –

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

God’s goodness and His great patience are manifest in each of us when we finally turn to Him and call on Jesus as Lord. There is a day, however, when this longsuffering will come to an end. This isn’t because God has given up on us, but because we have finally given up on Him to such an extent that no remedy is possible. This, combined with the completion of His temple, built with the living stones which are his people, will bring an end to the current age. This end is the destruction anticipated by Peter in Chapter 3 of this epistle.

Thank You, O God, for Your longsuffering. Were You to mete out what we deserve, we would have been swept away eons ago. But because of Your faithfulness and patience, we are granted life unto salvation through Jesus. Now Lord, grant us the ability to be longsuffering as we patiently explain His work to others who don’t see their own great need. May their eyes be opened to the truth of Jesus and the brevity of life. Amen.




2 Peter 3:14

Friday, 28 February 2020

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14

Translations of this verse vary widely, but in the end, they all speak of the condition of the believer before the Lord. Peter begins with “Therefore.” In this, he is referring to the key points which he has already addressed –

1) The Day of the Lord is coming as a thief in the night. Because of this, we should live our lives in holy conduct and godliness; hastening the coming Day of God.

2) This coming time will result in the destruction of the heavens and the earth.

3) Despite the first two points, God has promised a new heavens and earth; one where righteousness dwells.

Because of these things, he asks believers to look “forward to these things.” He does so using the term “beloved.” In this, it is a note of reassurance. God has a plan for His people whom he cares for. Peter’s use of this word is to comfort them in this. Instead of fear and trepidation, there should be eager anticipation. The world is heading for bad times, but the Lord has something prepared for His people, the glory of which will far exceed the temporary times of destruction which are to first come.

He next tells them to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace.” Times of turmoil lie ahead because the Lord will judge the wicked. As Isaiah 57:21 says, “‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” However, because believers are beloved of the Lord, there should not be worry about this coming judgment, but rather peace – knowing that these things must come to pass in order that the world of righteousness can then be ushered in.

With that in mind, Peter finishes his exhortation by noting that believers should be “without spot and blameless.” These words are closely tied to the word he said in his first epistle concerning Christ –

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19

It also is a contrast to what he said of the false teachers in the previous chapter –

They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you.” 2 Peter 2:13

The idea then is that believers are to emulate that which is good and right as seen in Christ, and to shun that which is perverse and unholy as found in the false teachers. Peter’s thoughts are consistent and beautifully laid out to show the proper and orderly way for his reader to conduct his affairs in this temporary, fallen world.

Life application: As believers who live in a world which is set for destruction, we need to actively work towards calmness, not fretting over that which has already been ordained. God’s plan has been recorded and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. So rather than wringing our hands and losing sleep over what is already determined, we should mentally look forward to this time with peaceful hearts. The promises which come after the Day of the Lord should be our heart’s encouragement.

We are also to emulate Jesus at all times. Just as His work was prefigured in the Old covenant Passover lamb; one without spot and wholly fitting for a sacrifice to God, so should we work towards such a state in our own lives.

Should the Lord come today, would He find you secretly having an affair, cheating on finances, or engaging in morally questionable activities? Or will He find you pursuing righteousness and godliness? The Lord is coming…be about His business so that when He arrives you won’t be ashamed of your deeds.

Glorious and Almighty God! How we long for the day of Your coming and the ushering in of that which is eternal, perfect, and satisfying. Give us the wisdom to seek holiness and right living now so that upon Your return we won’t be found ashamed of our actions. This we pray, knowing that only You can so direct our steps. Amen.