II PETER 18
PETER’S LAST WORDS: WARNINGS AND HOPE
At the beginning of chapter 3, Peter presents one of the premier principles of teaching. He is not about to teach them something new, but instead, he is reminding them of important things they have already heard, and is urging them to consider them again until they are riveted in their mind. I want to spend a little time discussing this point, for it is a key to getting the most out of your Bible study.
A great many people feel that they have read or heard everything the Bible has to say, and so, there is no reason to read it again. Nothing could be further from the truth. To use a personal example: I had been preaching for a number of years before I was asked to speak on the Great Commission. Of course, I had read it many times, but I went back and read it again. It was then that I discovered the word “therefore”. The longer I looked at it and thought about it, the more amazed and fascinated I became. I began to realize that it referred to the entire Old Testament and even the complete life of Christ. Because of the entire history of God’s dealing with His creature, man, Jesus was about to tell His disciples what it all prepared for them to do. From the Creation and the fall of man, the entire history of the people of Israel, God’s promise to Abraham, the coming of Jesus Christ, His life, death and resurrection…because of all that…”Therefore, go ye and teach all men the good news of God’s love and the salvation He is offering to all who accept Him as their Lord”.
All of this suddenly became evident to me because I went back and read again, and listened carefully to what God was saying to me. What an incredible revelation as the result of repetition, i.e., reading again what I thought I was thoroughly familiar with.
We come now to the close of this book in which Peter pours out his deep concern for all who read his words. He begins the book by giving a wonderful view of the characteristics that comprise the Christian personality, and then he expresses his deep concern that false teachers, working for their own selfish desires, will distort these great truths, and that doubters and agnostics will deny the authenticity of the very promises of God. His defense for all of this is for the Christian to read and think again and again about what the prophets and apostles of the Lord have said to them.
In spite of the fact that Peter wants his readers to study the Word of God, he realizes that there are difficulties that they will encounter. When he speaks of God, he makes it clear that God is beyond our understanding. “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. Such a statement says that our standards of time do not apply to the God who created all things. He is warning that false teachers will use such things to discredit our faith. However, he tells them that God’s delay in coming is only the fact that He is being patient with us and giving plenty of time for men to come to repentance. This is because He is a God of Grace and is not willing for any to perish, but that all will come to repentance.
Admitting that what the Apostle Paul has to say is sometimes hard to understand, Peter is implying that some of the things he is saying are also beyond human understanding. However, he raised the victorious flag of hope for all who put their trust in the Lord, for He is a God of mercy, patience and love, and for that, we can all be grateful.
Finally, do not become weary in well-doing, nor lax in your diligence at reading and studying His word, for it contains the very power of life eternal. Paul said it best when writing to the Philippians.
He said that saying it over and over again did not weary him, but that it was essential for them.
This closes our study of II Peter, and, the Lord willing, we plan to
begin a study of the Thessalonian letters of Paul next week.