Day 345 – Thru the Bible
Today we read Second Peter. Here’s the overview video for Second Peter.
Video – Read Scripture: Second Peter
How does this video help you understand Second Peter better?
2 Peter 1 – Peter addresses his letter “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ,” thus establishing the foundation of the gospel from which all else he writes will flow. This dynamic is reiterated in verses , in which the “effort” urged in verse is “for the reason(s)” stated in verses .
The great message of the Bible is that God has provided a standing for sinners not through their own self-generated efforts but through a righteousness (a right standing) granted freely in grace, achieved by Jesus on our behalf.
Growing in grace (and peace, along with the other fruits of the Spirit) results from growing in our knowledge of Jesus. On this principle of growth in the gospel, Paul writes, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). An increase in the apprehension of God’s glory in Jesus is how Christians mature.
Peter begins his second letter reminding his readers that grace is multiplied (made apparent and applicable in increasing dimensions of our lives) through the knowledge of Jesus.
God has left nothing to chance. He knew He was calling messy sinners to Himself, and so He has “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” by the “divine power” that comes through “the knowledge of” (i.e., an informed relationship with) Jesus. In Jesus we have everything we need to live a life that glorifies God.
How do we live such a life, given our proclivity toward sin and failure and the tendency of our hearts to wander? Peter tells us it is through “his precious and very great promises” that Believers become “partakers of the divine nature.” As we receive, believe, and are changed by the lavish promises of God, supremely the promise of the gospel, we are restored to the status of the sanctified and God-glorifying men and women we were created to be. As partakers in the divine nature, we are freed from the bondage of sin.
Peter urges Believers to “make every effort” to corroborate their faith with behavior consistent with the “qualities” of those who are being sanctified by the Spirit. The gospel is not opposed to effort but to earning. We live in accordance with our transformed hearts.
What we do flows from who we are.
Note how Peter concludes his list of virtues: “whoever lacks these qualities” has “forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” The cultivation of godly virtue comes, according to Peter, as we remember the gospel cleansing of our sins. The gospel is not something we move past; it is something we remember and enjoy our whole lives long. It is grace that changes us from the inside out.
Peter highlights the power inherent in the Word of God (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). The grace of God that justifies sinners through their faith is a “capital-S” Spiritual force embedded in the Word of God.
How does this chapter help you see how the Gospel is the foundation to all we do?
2 Peter 2 – Notice the contrast between the gospel’s authoritative power ( ) and heresy’s serpentine seduction. In these words about false teaching infiltrating the church, Peter makes two promises and therein one great encouragement.
The first promise is that God will not let the guilty go unpunished. What may seem like leniency or passivity about blasphemy and injustice is in fact sovereign patience (Romans 2:4). But Peter minces no words: “Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
The second promise is like the first: God is just. And so, just as His justice will result in condemnation for the wicked, His justice will also result in “rescue” for those whose sins were punished at the cross of Jesus.
These two promises—God will punish the wicked, and God will rescue the godly—are an encouragement to live holy, hopeful lives even amid trials and false accusations (Colossians 2:4), and to remain firm in the faith when the seductive winds of heresy begin to blow.
Verses 17-22 are a difficult passage, not least because it appears to imply the falling away of those who have been saved. But the careful reader will note that, as in Hebrews 6:4–9, whatever knowledge of the Lord (verse 20) those in question have obtained has not freed them from their enslavement to corruption (verse 19). Earlier Peter has called them “creatures of instinct.” Rather than being transformed by the power of the gospel as Peter described earlier (1:16–21), they have perhaps given the appearance of being a part of the church but have actually rejected the gospel (verse 21). This becomes evident in their unrepentantly turning to their former defilements.
How do the two promises of God in this chapter encourage you?
2 Peter 3 – For good reason, the cry “How long, O Lord?” is a recurring refrain in the Psalms (examples, Psalm ; ; ; ; ) and in the Prophets (examples, Isaiah ; Habakkuk ; Zechariah ). It is the cry of a troubled heart tuned to God’s glory. Those who hope in the Lord amid affliction are no less human than those who hurt apart from faith in the Lord. Like all people, Believers cry for justice and deliverance; but unlike children of the world, they cry out to God as a loving Father.
In , the apostle offers a unique comfort. What seems to us to take so long is but a moment to our transcendent God. He is neither slow nor forgetful. He is not faithless to us. What we see here is that “eternal weight of glory” up against the “light momentary affliction” that Paul writes about in . In , Peter assures us of God’s faithfulness, and His commitment to finish what He’s begun with us (Philippians ), so that none of His loved ones shall perish from His eternal purposes.
God’s loving kindness is everlasting. He will ensure the perseverance of his saints—not ultimately because we are faithful but because He is.
God’s vision for the world is that every square inch will be covered with the knowledge of His glory, like the waters cover the seas (Habakkuk 2:14). God’s cleansing renewal will one day wash over this globe and restore all things.
We, along with all creation, groan inwardly for this restoration (Romans 8:22–23). To this restorative conclusion of history Peter now turns. He knows it will be a great encouragement to those suffering spiritually from the corruption of the church and also suffering bodily from outside persecution and hardship. The destruction of the world to which Peter refers is not the final word about the fall of humanity and the resulting corruption; no, there is the promise of “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
In his concluding remarks, Peter reiterates the need to keep ourselves holy and blameless in these days of heresy and hardship. He does not hold out these efforts as the means of salvation but as the natural result of salvation. Peter knows that the Christian life is not lived on autopilot. Those who are born again fight to grow. But it is a fight they cannot lose. God’s own power has provided all we need.
If we are in Jesus, we will grow “in the grace and knowledge” of Jesus. What incredible blessings awaits the Christian who comes to see that we cannot wear out the gospel of Jesus! We do not and cannot graduate from the gospel, because once it promises our union with Jesus, it announces God’s making good on all the promises entailed in that promise. The same grace of Jesus that empowers our saving knowledge of Jesus will empower our growth in that knowledge, nurturing our relationship with the One with whom we have been united, until that final day when we meet Him face to face.
How does this chapter encourage you in your walk with Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheBibleProject.com.
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