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Showing posts from March, 2024

2 Peter 3:18: But Grow In Grace, And In The Knowledge Of Our Lord And Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him Be Glory Both Now And For Ever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV) As the Apostle Peter concludes his second letter to the church he includes a phrase that can be helpful to understand a little more deeply. The reader is encouraged to grow in two areas; the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and also, the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not an accident that they are both mentioned, as both are important. If we were just growing in the grace of Jesus Christ, but not growing in the knowledge of our Savior we might be loving and gracious to everyone, but we would not know the truth of Christ. We would be likely to excuse all kinds of immoral behavior, thinking that we were being gracious. It is important that we add to our gracious lifestyle, a proper understanding of the knowledge of Jesus. Suppose we diligently grew in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but did not see fit to grow in g

2 Peter 3:17: You Therefore, Beloved, Knowing This Beforehand, Take Care That You Are Not Carried Away With The Error Of Lawless People

2 Peter 3:17 [17] You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. (ESV) The first question you might be asking as you read this verse is, "what does the reader know beforehand?" Peter has spent much of this epistle talking about the false teachers who had already infiltrated the church and caused much damage. They are greedy for money. They deny the deity of Christ. They mock the promise of his return. They are immoral. They are lawless. One would think that Christians would recognize these terrible character traits and appropriately stay away from them. Sadly, Peter's warnings are quite necessary. People are often carried away by the error of false teachers because they are not careful to study the Word of God and live by it. False teachers don't say everything false. They incorporate some Biblical truths to help the poison pill go down easier. Every book in the New

2 Peter 3:16: As He Does In All His Letters When He Speaks In Them Of These Matters. There Are Some Things In Them That Are Hard To Understand

2 Peter 3:16 [16] As he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (ESV) The Apostle Peter is speaking of his fellow Apostle, and brother in Christ, Paul. He describes Paul as saying some things that are hard to understand. It would be helpful to note the background of both Peter and Paul. Peter was a fisherman. This does not mean that he was uneducated, but he was more familiar with working with his hands. Paul had a different background. In Acts 22, we have Paul describing his background. In verse 3, he says, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day." To be educated by Gamaliel would be akin to saying, "I studied at Harvard."

2 Peter 3:15: And Count The Patience Of Our Lord As Salvation, Just As Our Beloved Brother Paul Also Wrote To You According To The Wisdom Given Him

2 Peter 3:15 [15] And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, (ESV) In much of this epistle, the Apostle Peter has spoken of the coming judgment of God. From a contextual standpoint, Peter was dealing with the infiltration of false teachers in the church. These unfaithful frauds had caused much damage. Not only is Peter right to point out their deceptions, but he is also right to remind them of the coming penalty for the poison they had been peddling. I am sure that Peter, and the faithful believers whom he was writing to, were more than anxious for the Lord's judgment to come upon all of those who had caused such trouble in the church. Perhaps you can identify. Maybe you have reached a point in which you long for the Lord's return because you are tired of all the destructive people that you encounter. It is understandable to be frustrated while you wait for justice to come for those who

2 Peter 3:14: Therefore, Beloved, Since You Are Waiting For These, Be Diligent To Be Found By Him Without Spot Or Blemish, And At Peace.

2 Peter 3:14 [14] Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (ESV) The teaching of the church was that Christ was coming again. The false teachers mocked and scoffed about Christ's return because they wanted to continue living in their lives of sexual immorality and greed. They were not waiting for Christ's return because it would mean judgment for their sinful lives. If anything, they dreaded his return, if they believed he was coming at all. The ones whom the Apostle Peter refers to as, "beloved," are the believers in Christ Jesus. They are the original recipients of this letter. They are beloved in two distinct ways. Peter himself loves all the believers in Christ Jesus. Also, and more importantly, the original recipients of this letter are loved by God himself. God demonstrated his love for mankind at the cross.  The beloved Christians are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. They k

2 Peter 3:13: But According To His Promise We Are Waiting For New Heavens And A New Earth In Which Righteousness Dwells.

2 Peter 3:13 [13] But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (ESV)   Many people hear of God's return and they can only think to mock. The idea of God is absurd to him. The thought of him coming to bring and end to the earth as we know it is even more preposterous. This is because they do not know him. This is why the false teachers did nothing but mock the coming judgment for their false deeds. They truly did not know God at all. It is very different for those who know the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we think of His return we are filled with joy deep in our hearts. We know that his coming means new heavens and a new earth. It would easy to take delight in the reality of the physical wonder and beauty of new heavens and a new earth, but there is something else that the Apostle Peter describes. This new heavens and a new earth are described as a location where righteousness dwells. There will be no devil, tempt

2 Peter 3:12: Waiting For And Hastening The Coming Of The Day Of God

2 Peter 3:12 [12] Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (ESV) When I was a child I could not wait until Christmas. As soon as the month of December started I could not focus on anything else. I remember the three major department stores, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Wards, and Sears, had special Christmas catalogs. I would highlight each item I wanted. I would dog ear the pages. I wanted to make sure that my parents knew exactly what I wanted! This word for hastening that Peter uses here speaks of "eagerly desiring something to happen." Do you eagerly desire for the coming of the day of God? This day of God means an end to the "day of man." It is the time when we will forever be in the Lord's presence. I don't have any special catalogs to look at in expectation of this "day of God." However, I have his holy word which describ

2 Peter 3:11: Since All These Things Are Thus To Be Dissolved, What Sort Of People Ought You To Be In Lives Of Holiness And Godliness

2 Peter 3:11 [11] Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, (ESV) All that we hold dear in this world will be destroyed. If you have ever done traveling across the world you have likely seen beautiful sights. God is a wonderful creator. He has brought into existence things that can literally take your breath away. None of it is going to last. God is going to destroy everything by fire. As the Apostle Peter reminds us, these things are to be dissolved. If you know that God is bringing judgment upon all of mankind, what kind of life should you live? Peter could have posed this to the false teachers who were trying to destroy the church. He knew exactly what kind of lives they were planning on living in light of the coming judgment. Their plans were to continue in immorality, greed, and manipulation of people. Peter's question is aimed at the Christians of his day. His question is an appropriate one for Chr

2 Peter 3:10: But The Day Of The Lord Will Come Like A Thief, And Then The Heavens Will Pass Away With A Roar,

2 Peter 3:10 [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) There is a bumper sticker that says, "Jesus is coming back. Look busy." The basic point of the bumper sticker is that Jesus is going to return at a time when we are not expecting. When he does return we want to be about the Father's business. How embarrassing it would be to be engaged in some kind of sinful activity when the Lord returns. When I was a child my father would give me work to do. Perhaps, weeding a number of rows in the garden. At other times, I would be asked to bundle up sticks in the yard. Other times, I would be doing some sort of cleaning inside the house. I would not want to be goofing off. If my father came into the room and I was not busy with the task assigned to me there would be some kind of reprimand.  Consid

2 Peter 3:9: The Lord Is Not Slow To Fulfill His Promise As Some Count Slowness, But Is Patient Toward You

2 Peter 3:9 [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. (ESV) We are sometimes very impatient with God. We struggle with his timing. As Peter told us in the last verse, one thousand years is as a day to the Lord. God does not seem to be in the same kind of hurry that we are in on a regular basis. We ask the Lord to answer our prayers. If he does not give us the answer that we want, or demand, we are upset. Peter tells us the reason that we should not be upset with God's timing. God is not "slow," but rather, he is patient toward us. That is a very different perspective. What is God's patience based upon? His desire that we all would come to repentance. Peter is giving us a glimpse into the character of God that encourages our hearts. He is patient with us, desiring that we would repent. This patience is aimed at those whom he has called unto

2 Peter 3:8: But Do Not Overlook This One Fact, Beloved, That With The Lord One Day Is As A Thousand Years

2 Peter 3:8 [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. (ESV) False teachers were scoffing at the idea of Christ's return. To them, time seemed to just go on and on with no imminent threat of God's judgment. Peter properly reminds them of the error in their thinking. God does not reckon time the same way that man does. Because God exists outside time, as the very author of time and space, he is not restricted by it. This comparison of a day to a thousand years is not a specific ratio, but rather a statement concerning how time is not factored the same way in God's plans. He will return exactly when he intends to. It may seem like forever to us, but God is always right on time! For those that like to scoff about God and his plans, they will find out that he will deal with them in his time. If you love Jesus, you are looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are getting di

2 Peter 3:7: But By The Same Word The Heavens And Earth That Now Exist Are Stored Up For Fire

2 Peter 3:7 [7] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (ESV) We are limited in our understanding of just how powerful our God is. By his word he created the entire universe. Consider all that we see in our world. God made it all. Consider all of the planets, stars, and galaxies. All of it made by God. The universe is bigger than our finite minds can even conceive. Scientists can measure the universe, but none of us can truly grasp it's immensity. Peter brought up the fact that it was God's word that created the heavens and the earth. By the same word, given by the same God, there will come fire, which is now stored up. This fire of destruction is coming on the world. God is a righteous judge. We know that there will be a new heaven and earth. God will judge the sin of this world, and replace it with a new one. The false teachers were intentionally ignoring the doctrin

2 Peter 3:6: And That By Means Of These The World That Then Existed Was Deluged With Water And Perished.

2 Peter 3:6 [6] And that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. (ESV) Peter has a reminder for the false teachers of the flood, in which God brought judgment upon the whole known world. The heretics wanted to believe in a theology in which they could live lives as immorally as they desired without any fear of facing God's judgment. Here they are reminded that God did bring judgment, and he will bring judgment again when he returns. There is a great similarity between these false teachers whom the Apostle Peter is addressing and the people who rejected the warnings of judgment that Noah brought. For over one hundred years, while Noah was building the ark, he was warning the people of the coming judgment. Only Noah's family went onto the ark and were rescued. All the rest perished in the flood. In Genesis 6:7-8, we read, "So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creep

2 Peter 3:5: For They Deliberately Overlook This Fact, That The Heavens Existed Long Ago, And The Earth Was Formed Out of Water And Through Water By The Word Of God

2 Peter 3:5 [5] For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, (ESV) There are facts being overlooked. When you consider who Peter is talking about there should be no surprises that facts are not treated as being relevant. These false teachers, scoffers, mockers of God, have no intention of yielding their lives to God or following the truth. As the Apostle rightly points out, the facts are deliberately overlooked.  We continue to encounter people like this today. Perhaps you have had a conversation with a co-worker, neighbor, or even a family member. You have done your homework. You know their objections to Christianity all too well. You engage the person with a thoughtful collection of data. Does the person you are speaking to listen to you? Not at all. They deliberately ignore the truth. This is a constant frustration for those of us who are trying to share the truth of the Gospe

2 Peter 3:4: They Will Say, "Where Is The Promise Of His Coming?

2 Peter 3:4 [4] They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (ESV) The scoffers whom Peter is speaking about do not believe God. They question whether God will ever keep his promises. Perhaps you have met people like this. They ask questions about God's promises. They ask with no intention of exercising faith in God, whatsoever. Their questioning is nothing but an attempt to criticize and mock. Truth is not their goal. Peter exposes the weak theology of those false teachers who mocked the idea of God returning to bring judgment to wicked people, such as themselves. They claim that God has never brought judgment to mankind throughout all of the centuries of history, going back to the Creation event. This proves that they did not take their own history seriously. It is fascinating to consider how intentionally delusional people can be. I have read of scientists who a

2 Peter 3:3: Knowing This First Of All, That Scoffers Will Come In The Last Days With Scoffing, Following Their Own Sinful Desires.

2 Peter 3:3 [3] Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. (ESV) When Peter says the phrase, "first of all," he is referring to first in importance, not necessarily first in a list of things. In this section of his letter he will emphasize more about the character of the false teachers. They are scoffers. They look at the judgments of God, which was prophesied by many prophets, and also spoken of by apostles of God at that time, and mock them. When we read that scoffers will come in the last days we should have a proper understanding of when the last days take place. When are the last days? Have they come yet? Are we still waiting for the last days to come? Very simply, the last days are the days between Christ's ascension until his return. If you are reading this right now, you are living in the last days! Peter was living in the last days. He was dealing with scoffers in his time. He is not spea

2 Peter 3:2: That You Should Remember The Predictions Of The Holy Prophets And The Commandment Of The Lord And Savior Through Your Apostles.

2 Peter 3:2 [2] That you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, (ESV) Peter is reminding his readers of the the words given by prophets and apostles. These words are in contrast to the false words given by the false teachers whom he has been speaking against in the previous chapter. Where the people gained their information was important. God has always spoken through men and women appointed by him to deliver truth. The false teachers were imposters. Peter mentions the predictions of the holy prophets. The false teachers would have used Scripture as something to be twisted to accommodate their own sinful behaviors. Much of what God's prophets spoke of in the Old Testament had to do with a pronouncement of God's judgment on his people for following after false teaching and immorality. In addition to the holy prophets speaking of coming judgment, they were also speaking of Christ's advent. Not onl

2 Peter 3:1: This Is Now The Second Letter That I Am Writing To You, Beloved. In Both Of Them I Am Stirring Up Your Sincere Mind By Way Of Reminder.

2 Peter 3:1 [1] This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, (ESV) Peter is telling his readers of the importance of reminding them of the truth. In his first letter he reminded them. Now, in this second letter he is reminding them. He is not being a nag, but rather, he is intentionally doing what is best for them. Peter is an under-shepherd for the Kingdom of God. He is concerned about the people who belong to Jesus. He knows that they need to be reminded of the truth. It would easy for us to think that these reminders would be for the ones who are not walking with the Lord the way that they should be. Perhaps he would be trying to reach the ones who have drifted away from walking faithfully with the Lord. But, who is he addressing in this verse? Those whom he calls, "beloved," and who have a "sincere mind." There is something for us to see here. If you are a faithful followe

2 Peter 2:22: What The True Proverb Says Has Happened To Them: "The Dog Returns To Its Own Vomit

2 Peter 2:22 [22] What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (ESV) In this verse the Apostle Peter uses some graphic illustrations to describe the behavior of false teachers who have heard the truth and continued to live in their sinful condition. One of the illustrations is taken from the book of Proverbs. The other one is apparently original with the Apostle Peter. We will look at each one of them individually. Proverbs 26:11 tells us: " Like a dog that returns to his vomit  is a fool who repeats his folly." The false teachers, like everyone on earth, were sinners. They came to an understanding of the truth found in Scripture. Sadly, they did not obey the truth. Instead of repenting of their sins, and submitting their lives to the truth, they went right back to their barf-like behavior. In Peter's own illustration, he compares these false teachers to a sow, who a