2 Peter Survey
THE ESTABLISHED WORD
This 2 Peter Survey follows well from Peters 1stEpistle to the Elect in Christ, his desire above all things is that the lambs of God would grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord, and that the way to attend to such maturity in Christ is through the very words and promises of God.
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
As is the case in most of the letters written the name of the writer is given at the beginning. It is futile to acknowledge this as the word of God and yet doubt the authority of the introduction of the author. If this letter was not written by the Apostle Simon Peter, then the letter in its entirety needs to be rejected as being the Inspired, Infallible, Inerrant word of God.
To Whom is it written?
And he writes to them that have obtained like precious faith.
In chapter 3:1 he records that this is the “second epistle” he has written unto them. If our desire is to know who specifically it is written to, we can turn to 1stPeter 1:1-2 “…to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…)
They are the immediate audience of this letter. But as it addresses issues deep into the future, we can take comfort that it was written to all the elect.
THE EFFICACY OF THE WORD
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Everything from the obtaining of that precious faith Peter speaks of in the first verse, to the adding of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity comes from the precious promises given to us that Peter speaks of in verse 4, that is The Word of God.
All the promises of God, from our believing of the Gospel of our salvation that is written about in the word of God, the Bible, showing us the way to escape the corruption of the world, through to adding of all those virtuous characteristics, come directly from our faith and diligence in the word of God.
All these promises are for one declared purpose, note verse 4 that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.
And Peter further writes to us in verse 8
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is an EFFICACY in the word of God, “the promises of God”, and that is its ability to change and transform us into the image of Christ.
You remember Peter in his first letter revealing to us that we are, As newborn babes, (to) desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Pet 2:2).
You recall Paul’s chastisement in Hebrews of those who have need again to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God, but should have been teachers themselves, even speaking of its value to help us discern Good and Evil saying;
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,eventhose who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
There is a transformative power in the scriptures that will make none of us barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, even as Romans 8:29 indicates that we are predestined to be conformed to his image.
Think of that which was declared to us in 2 Tim 3:16,
16 All scriptureisgiven by inspiration of God, andisprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
This is the power of the word of God to transform a person, nothing else is as effective to do so. Turn back with me to Isaiah 55:10
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Here the Lord gives the comparison of the effect of scripture upon the life of those who receive it. God compares it to rain, as the rain falls it waters all the Earth and brings forth all that is needed to sustain life on the Earth, this is the effect of the word of God according to the word of God.
In verse 5 of that 1stChapter Peter says we are to “give all diligence”, to persist, to be consistent and thorough, to make every effort and to be tenacious, allowing nothing to get in the way of the effort to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through this book.
In other words, we need to set the reading and learning of the Bible as the first priority in our lives and in our days. We cannot use excuses to get in the way.
What is the most famous excuse of them all?
Yet we make time for everything else in our lives, anything we want to do we find the time to do it. None of us are too busy to dedicate an hour a day to prayer and the reading of the most precious book on Earth.
Peter warns now in verse 9 what happens to some who will not do so, saying;
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
All he sees is the here and now, todays troubles and woes, he has no eternal perspective on matters, no knowledge of the Lord, no temperance, no patience, no godliness, no brotherly kindness or charity; the focus of such a life is one dedicated to a view of this world ONLYbecause he simply “cannot see afar off”.
Which here describes you today? Which would you rather be?
If you lack these things, if you are blind and cannot see afar off and are content in that, you must also question your place in Christ, are you born again?This is why Peter goes on to encourage in verse 10
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
But note the other diligence, to “make your calling and election sure”. Are you truly born again? Have you made sure of that? How can you know it for certain?
This is the EFFICACY of the Bible, in its trust and through our diligence in its use and application, ye shall never fall.
Beloved, so important is this for Peter that he set it as his last purpose in life for you, read on with me from verse 12
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
If there is one thing Peter desires that you might do, it is to be grounded and established in the present truth, so much so that he wants to stir you up by putting you in remembrance, so much so that after his death we might have these things always in remembrance.
And now he explains why, v16
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Here Peter tells that the word of God is a more sure word of prophecy than even those things he was an eyewitness to concerning what happened on the mount of transfiguration.
Peter recalls in this passage that which he, James and John had seen in Matthew 17 when Jesus was transfigured before them and was seen with Moses and Elijah, then he relates of that voice that came from the excellent glory saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matt 17:5).
Yet no matter what our experience is, no matter what it is we have seen with our eyes, the scriptures are a More sure word of prophecy, they are to be relied upon even more, and then he gives the reason for it in verse 20;
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
This is the Biblical manner in which the word of God came to us, and Peter testifies that this is the reason they should be trusted and believed.
But as Satan, the great corrupter and deceiver desires to create doubt in the word of God, knowing the effect it had from the beginning causing the entire fall of mankind, until ultimately he replace the worship of God with the worship of himself, he places his ministers and his teachers to deceive all who would otherwise be transformed by the word of God;
Peter speaks of them in detail, warning as did Paul with tears night and day (Acts 20:31)
THE CORRUPTION OF THE WORD
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious (EVIL) ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
So much so will these false teachers corrupt the word of God, so divisive will their teaching be that the way of truth, the very way which leads us to eternal life, the very purpose of the Coming and dying and resurrection of Christ, “shall be evil spoken of”.
Beloved we are living in the days when this is all occurring before our very eyes, the transition of good being considered evil and evil considered good is already here and will continue until the worship of God is replaced by the worship of Satan.
Recall 2 Thess 2:3-4 where the man of sin, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Revelation 13 tells us that all the world will worship him and the dragon (Satan) that gave him his power.
This is why such teachings are called Damnable Heresies. Today even telling or revealing that some teachers teach heresy is considered heresy. 26 of the 27 books of the New Testament warn of false teachers and false teachings, things that are diametrically opposed to scripture, but we are told we need to “not judge”. Peter did not bring this warning for us to ignore it.
Consider the strong words he uses against them and what it will do to us if we remain ignorant to the Bible;
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
A hint is given us in this passage of the demonic horde that helped in the wicked mischief of the world before the deluge who God cast down to hell, indicating that much of the evil that transpired before the flood was devilishly motivated. And this is of interest to us because when asked about the day of the Lord, Jesus said;
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be
We will consider this more when we come to Jude and Revelation but keep this passage in mind.
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making the man ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
Up until today Sodom and Gomorrha were the perfect example of the judgement of God upon the ungodly. False teachers however have turned the truth of God into ‘Cunningly devised fables’ and taken away the example and warning to the wicked but teaching this as a myth and not history.
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Two things we notice;
- No matter what it is that sinners think they can get away with, they won’t, for they are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished. Regardless of the temporary justifications people employ for the evil in their lives, regardless of false teachers thinking they have gotten away with heresy, they won’t.
- The Godly will be delivered while the unjust are not.
- Both Lot and Noah are the examples set forth by Peter, proving that when the time comes, God will remove from Judgement those who are not appointed unto wrath.
Consider the end of these false teachers who corrupt the word of God
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
You recall the event in the book of Numbers 22 when Balaam was promised great reward by Balak the King of Moab to curse the people Israel. His donkey however saw and angel in the way and would proceed no further. Balaam could not discern that his way was perverse before the Lord and smote his ass three times until God opened the mouth of the dumb ass and she rebuked him. I wonder what testimony some animals would give against their owners if they could speak?
The point is that no matter what is taught or believed by these false teachers, they will be held to account by the very words they have rejected and mishandled of the Lord. Their teaching leads astray many with the cost of eternal life to those who would otherwise here it.
Beloved it does not matter if the false teachers are ministers in Churches, or musicians in concert halls, it does not matter if they are Pastors in Pulpits or Show Hosts on Television; Peter describes their nature in verse 17;
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
ALL who create doubt in the truth of God and the value of his word are heretics who’s primary desire is to create division between God and those who would come to him. All false teachers that people entertain, have the effect of ensuring those who hear them inherit damnation, encouraging in them a hatred for the truth.
These false teachers do this by promising liberty to the hearers yet being themselves servants of corruption, and they will increase more and more in the last days, turning the hearts of many to bondage.
Even in the days of our Lord we had seen such things and heard such language against those teachers and leaders of men who lead them astray; turn for a moment to Matt 23:27
The entire chapter is the most frightening rebuke of Jesus you will see in the scriptures against the false teaches of his day, but we will take six verses from verse 27
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Turn forward to
Luke 11:52 as we include some other words of Jesus to the same men that links well with 2 Peter 2:19-21
52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered
Those who have long created doubt in the words ordained to eternal life run the most terrible risk of being described in these passages. These men were so identified by Jesus, Peter also warns that we too will identify them, but this will never happen if we do not read our Bibles.
False teachers simply CANNOT deceive those who have their senses exercised to discern between Good and Evil. And we do ourselves, our families and all those around us an eternal disservice when we allow excuses to hinder that good work.
If you have time to watch TV, you have time to spend in Prayer and Reading.
If you have time to play games, you have time to spend in Prayer and Reading.
If you have time to be Amused, which has the effect of nullifying the senses, you have time for prayer and reading which have the effect of exercising the senses to discern both good and evil.
THE RECOMPENSE OF THE WORD
1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue asthey werefrom the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Peter now desiring to stir up the Church that she will remember the words of the Lord and warning us of a type of heresy that shall come specifically in the last days, “Scoffers” who ask where is the promise of his coming.
It interests me that in the very days closest to the Coming of the Lord is a sign of people claiming that there is no expectation on their part for his coming, they scoff at the thought and because so many scoff, many more will also.
Today the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church is being given up in greater numbers than ever before. More and more people are denying that Jesus will come to deliver the Godly out of temptation. They scoff at the silliness of the notion claiming that nowhere is this doctrine taught in the scriptures.
The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world is also rejected. They call it fairy tales,or myths. It is referred to by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Christian evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer, as a cultish belief that takes the Bible literally.
What I rejoice in is that the more it occurs and the more people I hear who have turned from faith to scoffing, the more it confirms the apostle Peters words in 2 Peter 3:4
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
And why do they scoff?
Verse 5 says they are willingly ignorant.
Beloved this is by far the worst affliction that I have witnessed come upon even those who I believe love the Lord.
The Apostle Paul acknowledges that he was a Pharisee of the Pharisee’s, but he says but I obtained mercy, because I diditignorantly in unbelief.(1 Tim 1:13), yet what was it that was so different between him and all the other Pharisees that the lord dealt with?
Saul was certainly far worse in his persecution of the Church, why then was his ignorance received with mercy and not the ignorance of the other Pharisees?
Here we see the distinction between ignorance and willful ignorance. Sadly, far too many pastors suffer from the latter, especially in those things respecting the nature of the Word of God.
A willful nature desires self to have the exaltation and not God.
I had times in my Christian walk where I did not want to be held to account to anything or anyone, I desired to do things my way and to trust my own mind and heart.
It is when we are brought to our knees before the holy living God as did Job, even so low as we might say with him;
Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the nightin whichit was said, There is a man child conceived. 4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. 5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. 6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. 7Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein (Job 3:3-7)
When all trust in your own ability and your own wisdom is gone, when failure after failure comes to mind of efforts done by your own self-aggrandizement, when there is a true recognition of our own ignorance, then will you obtain mercy of the Lord.
Salvation comes to those who have come to the end of themselves.
Respecting the coming of the Lord and the doubts imposed by those who scoff at the long awaiting of it, Peter writes;
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Time is of little consequence to he who is outside of time.
Beloved verse 8 is not giving an equation in saying a day = a thousand years, those who think to fit the creation week into thousands of years by this verse ignore the context, those who think also that every time frame can be considered as indistinct periods of time by this verse do the same foolishness.
It is with the Lord that this applies and not man, it is to demonstrate that God is not slack concerning the promise of his coming, but that he waits is to demonstrate his long suffering “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.
The Day of the Lord is not the rapture of the Church, but the day of vengeance of our God, it is a day of darkness and not light. It is the full and complete recompense OF THE WORD written for all men to know and be warned.
In fact, the very one who will come to judge the Earth is mentioned in Revelation 19:12-13
His eyeswereas a flame of fire, and on his headweremany crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And hewasclothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
But how are we to be before this time?
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 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.
Peter concludes his final letter before his death with a warning and a charge.
So Grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.