2nd Peter Bible Study

I. Introduction (1:1-2)

II. Exhortation to Growth in Christian Virtues (1:3-11)

A. The Divine Enablement (1:3-4)
B. The Call for Growth (1:5-7)
C. The Value of Such Growth (1:8-11)

III. The Purpose and Authentication of Peter's Message (1:12-21)

A. His Aim in Writing (1:12-15)
B. The Basis of His Authority (1:16-21)

IV. Warning against False Teachers (ch.2)

A. Their Coming Predicted (2:1-3a)
B. Their Judgment Assured (2:3b-9)
C. Their Characteristics Set Forth (2:10-22)

V. The Fact of Christ's Return (3:1-16)

A. Peter's Purpose in Writing Restated (3:1-2)
B. The Coming of Scoffers (3:3-7)
C. The Certainty of Christ's Return (3:8-10)
D. Exhortations Based on the Fact of Christ's Return (3:11-16)

VI. Concluding Remarks (3:17-18)

The Purpose of the Letter

In his first letter Peter feeds Christ's sheep by instructing them how to deal with persecution from outside the church (cf. 1st Peter 4:12); in his second letter he teaches them how to deal with false teachers and evildoers who have come into the church (cf. 2:1;3:3-4). while the particular situations naturally call for variations in content and emphasis, in both letters Peter as a pastor of Christ's sheep seeks to commend to his readers a wholesome combination of Christian faith and practice. In this second letter we can find three reasons for writing the letter:

1. to stimulate Christian growth (chapter 1)
2. to combat false teaching (chapter 2)
3. to encourage watchfulness in view of the Lord's certain return (chapter 3)

Date of the Letter

2nd Peter was written toward the end of Peter's life (cf. 1:12-15) after he had written a prior letter (3:1) to the same readers (probably 1st Peter). Since Peter was martyred during the reign of Nero, his death must have occurred prior to 68 A.D. It is very likely that he wrote 2 Peter between 65 and 68 A.D.

2nd PETER

(ADD)

A--dd virtue to faith

D--eeds of false teachers

D--iligence before the Lord's return

The Author of the Letter

The author identifies himself as "Simon Peter" (1:1). He uses the first person singular pronoun in a highly personal passage (1:12-15) and claims to be an eyewitness of the transfiguration (1:16-10 cf. Matthew 17:1-5). He asserts that this is his second letter to the readers (3:1) and refers to Paul as "our dear brother" (3:15). In short, the letter claims to be Peter's, and its character is compatible with that claim.

Although 2nd Peter was not as widely known and recognized in the early church as was 1st Peter, some may have used and accepted it as authoritative as early as the second century and perhaps even in the latter part of the first century. ( 1 Clement (95 AD) alludes to it). It was not ascribed to it until Origen's time (185-253) . Eusebius (265-340) places it among the questioned books, although he admits that most accept it as from Peter. After Euseblus's time, it seems to have been quite generally accepted as canonical.

The Grace of God in the Letter

While 1st Peter treats God's grace in the trials of persecution, 2nd Peter deals with God's grace in the trials of false teaching. A firm conviction concerning the gospel of God's grace is the greatest defense against false teaching. Peter assures the readers that God has called them "by his own glory and goodness" (1:3), that they have "knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1:8) and that they have been "cleansed from...past sins" (1:9) Peter recalls his experience on the mount of transfiguration, where he heard the word of God (1:16-18) and he presents the clearest treatment in Scripture of the written word of God (1:20-21). The message of God's grace has been given to us by divine inspiration, for it surpasses our human reason. The gospel of God's grace--what a source of strength in the face of false teaching!

Chapter 1

1:1-2 Simon Peter is often represented as the "Prince of the Apostles." In the Roman Catholic Church he is even known as the "Vicar of Christ." How does Peter present himself to the Church?

As Simon Peter sees his own position in the Church...

(a) As he looks to Christ he owns himself only as a "servant" (slave) who has no will of his own, but wholly submits to his master's will.
(b) As he looks to the members of the Church he introduces himself simply as an apostle among other apostles, who has indeed an authentic message from God, yet has the same faith as other believers.

Often, a pastor may begin his sermon in the pulpit with the apostolic greeting which is contained in our text: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." Here we see Peter's important greeting to His hearers. This greeting is important because of:

(a) Its contents ("grace and peace")
(b) Its basis ("righteousness of God our Savior")
(c) Its purpose (to arouse interest in the "knowledge" of God our Savior)

As Peter opens his epistle he starts with a salutation and blessing. Peter is the one who speaks to Christians, whom he, too, as an apostle is to strengthen. He is a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, and he addresses those that have obtained the same faith.

Faith is a gift of God. And those Christians have a faith of equal weight and value as that of the apostles. All Christians, irrespective of rank and position, have the same precious faith.

Peter now speaks of the value of faith. Faith gains its value "through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Faith rests on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that alone gives faith its value.

Righteousness is the object of faith, "of God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is our Savior, but at the same time He is our God. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is essentially the gift which believers have received. As Savior, Jesus Christ has procured this righteousness through His suffering and death. As a result, the righteousness obtained is sufficient because Jesus Christ is also our God.

The righteousness which Peter is speaking of is that which is given to us in God's Word and which you and I have obtained by faith. Christians have believed the Word! And so, they possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This righteousness is the Christian's most prized possession, it is this righteousness which gives our faith its real value. Even one who is "weak" in faith possesses this perfect righteousness.

Peter also reminds his readers of grace and peace. Christians are to increase in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. The greater the increase of the knowledge, the more will grace and peace be increased for them. This increase of knowledge and of grace and peace is what Peter wishes for all Christians

1:3-11 The Apostle Exhorts His Hearers To Prove Their Faith In All Kinds Of Good Works

Here Peter tells us that Christians are partakers of the Divine Nature. So he reasons that no Christian can ever complain saying "I can't!" when Christ calls. How is this so?

1:3 In the hour of his regeneration the Christian was given every thing that pertains to life and godliness.

"As the divine power has given you all that is needed for life and godliness." Christ's divine power has given all things. His power has supplied all that is needed for life and godliness. All that belongs to the Christian life and godliness is supplied by God alone. It is given to every Christian. God has provided us with sufficient strength to practice our faith in every good work.

This was given us ."..through the knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and virtue." Through this knowledge God has supplied us with power, grace, and everything else required for a godly life. The moment we received this knowledge, the same moment we were fitted out to serve God who called us. The moment we believed (in Baptism) God took us into His fellowship. He called us that we should be His own. When we became Christians we were completely equipped with all the necessary powers to do what we are to do till the end. We lack nothing.

1:4 The promises of the Gospel ever and again recall, convey and stir up the power needed.

."..through which the greatest and most precious promises are given to us," We were called to God by the Gospel. Through the Gospel all of the prom.ises of God are ours. Not only have these promises of God been made known to us, they have also been appropriated to us. God has given us these promises, He put them into our heart so that we recognize them as our own. When one is called, converted, and begins to believe, he carries in his heart all the grand promises of God.

."..that we might become partakers..." is the end and aim of the giving of those promises of God. When we are called and converted we are these partakers.

All this happened "when we escaped the corruption in this world, which consists in lust." Lust ruins men. When we are converted we are drawn away from lust. We are taken out of this world, not physically, but spiritually. In conversion (Baptism) God draws the Christian away from the world to Himself, plants the divine nature in him, and with it he possesses the fullness of divine power.

In short, what Peter is reminding us is that we were called by God. We belong to God. We are already partakers of the divine nature. With that we possess everything that belongs to a godly life and true peity. We have obtained sufficient power for it.

1:5-7 The Christian Life that we live is a miracle of God's glory and virtue. In the opening verses Peter has told us that we should learn to know this to be a fact. Now he exhorts us to prove it in the world in our everyday life.

Peter presupposes that we have faith. Now he tells us it is necessary to exercise and manifest this power of faith. "And in your faith put forth virtue." How?

By "knowledge" we strive to do what God wants us to do. In this knowledge we practice "temperance" which is moderation in actions, words, thoughts, and desires. "Patience" becomes necessary especially in times of suffering. When one is truly patient, when suffering comes, we totally resign ourselves and put everything into the hands of God.

These virtues are where Christian love is to show itself. When a Christian's heart and his relation to God is right, his attitude to his neighbor will also be right. Is it any wonder that Commandments 1-3 are before 4-10?!

1:8-11 We are justified and saved by FAITH ALONE! However, this is not a "dead" faith. It is a faith which is ever active and fruitful.

THE WAY TO ETERNAL GLORY & FAITH ACTIVE IN GOOD WORKS

1:8 Our glory in Christ is one of faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Works also belong to the very nature of true faith.

Christians are to exercise themselves in all these virtues with diligence, so that the knowledge of Jesus Christ may be approved as genuine. In this way their virtues bring them the satisfaction to know that their faith is of the right kind, and that it is not a "dead" knowledge.

1:9 Our glory in Christ is one of virtues flowing from faith therefore our works guard against a common self-deception and apostasy.

If a person calls himself a Christian and has no such works he is blind, He has ceased to be a Christian. He lacks entirely the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Works and faith can not be separated, if a person lacks good works entirely, he also lacks faith. Whoever then is not diligent in his life, loses the source of all works: faith, the right knowledge of Jesus Christ.

1:10 Our glory in Christ is one of certainty which helps the Christian be personally sure of their calling and election.

What does calling have to do with election? First we must say that Christians have been called. Second, it is God who called them. Therefore, in the call God carries out a purpose of His election. The purpose of God's eternal election is carried out in time in such a way that God calls those whom earlier He elected to become His own. In other words, those who God in eternity has chosen to be His own He in time calls and draws to Himself. This is ALL God's work ALONE, it is puIly the work of His grace.

1:11 Our glory in Christ is one of triumph. Having faith in Christ leads the Christian without fail by God's grace to a glorious end.

With "these things" Peter points us back to what he said in verses 6-7. As faith increases, so our progress toward eternal life is made more certain. We don't get to heaven sparingly, "Just by the hair of my chinny chin chin" but ABUNDANTLY, so that we enter the gates of heaven in triumph!

1:12-21 Some early Christians in their poverty wrote parts of the Bible for themselves on waste paper (called Papyrus). In the days of the Reformation many were put to death for reading and possessing a Bible. Should we not make much more of our Bible today

Here Peter tells us that we have a sure prophetic word--the Bible.

1. Here we have the account of reliable witnesses (verses 16-18)
2. Here we have the result of divine inspiration (verses 19-21)

The office of the public ministry is the continuation of the apostolic office. Hence ministers often look to the apostles as examples for the performance of their office.

HERE IS PETER'S CALL TO A LIFE OF VIRTUE

1. It is addressed to all Christians, also to those who are taught and tried.
2. It proceeds as from a dying man to dying man (verses 13-15)
3. A deep personal experience on the holy mountain inspires him to call for a life befitting the glory of their wonderful Lord. (verses 16-18)
4. The sure prophetic Word concerning the power and glory of Christ gives his exhortation a most reliable basis.(verses 19-21)

As we lock at the verses that remain in this first chapter try to recall these important points as we look at this section verse by verse.

1:12 "Therefore I intend always to call to your remembrance these things." Peter sees "these things" as a matter of great importance. The practice of Christian virtues stands in intimate relationship with faith. One can not exercise his faith with out the existence of good works. The two go hand in hand.

1:13 Peter uses the time yet left to him to fulfill the duties of his apostolic calling. Even seasoned and mature Christians need to be stirred up, prodded on through the call of the Gospel.

1:14 Peter is coming to the end of his life, this is something he is certain of. By special revelation the Lord had made known to Peter that his end was near at hand. Peter is simply referring to what Jesus after His resurrection had intimated to him, namely, that through his coming martyrdom he would praise the Lord.

1:15 Since Peter knows he has not much longer to live, he feels all the more impelled to stir up the Christians by his epistle to perform their duties. This writing is to be taken as the truth and is "set in stone" so that when he is dead and can no longer speak to them they will still know of his instructions.

1:16 The Apostle Peter had told the Christians of the coming of Jesus Christ, of His return to glory. When He comes again He will return in power. Here Peter reminds his readers that as he had spoken of a glorious reappearance of Jesus, he had not followed cunning, invented myths. The return of Christ is not a myth which men have dreamed up! It is a truth and a reality. The Apostles themselves had already been privileged to see some of His glorious majesty. Can you recall portions of the Bible where men saw Jesus after His resurrection and ascension?

When Peter says "we have been eyewitnesses of His great glory" he is referring to Jesus' transfiguration. When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, He showed forth His divine power and glory. In the transfiguration Jesus gave us Christians a promise that in the future we will be partakers of His glory. Peter was one of Jesus' disciples who was privileged to behold this great glory. On the basis of his experience as an eyewitness Peter could assert: We ourselves have seen the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, when on the mountain He sat on the right hand of God in glory." Thus Jesus' transfiguration is simply a prelude to His heavenly glory which all of us will see one day in heaven. I can't wait to get there! How about you?!

1:17 & 18 Now Peter portrays further this marvelous glory which they had witnessed in Jesus Christ. What they saw and what they had become eyewitnesses had earlier been mentioned. No essential thought has been omitted. At that time on the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus received from the Father honor and glory here divine glory shone through Jesus' human form. He was transfigured, though only for a few moments. As the voice came down from heaven Jesus' glory was made manifest. The very majesty of God declared Jesus to be God's Son, "This is My beloved Son!"

That glory which Jesus showed on the mountain was just a prelude of what He has now, and in which He will appear when He returns. What only three men saw on a mountain for a few moments will appear in the future to all the world. On the basis of this experience Peter bears testimony to Christians that Jesus Christ now and forever has received divine glory, and that He will come again in great power and glory. Here Peter can speak from a definite personal experience.

1:19 Now Peter proceeds. Being an eyewitness of the transfiguration was a powerful, moving experience. Yet Peter says to us that we have something more powerful then this "mountain top experience." Peter says "we have the prophetic Word."

Over and against an experience the Word of Scripture is more reliable and certain. If the Apostles were to base their faith only on experience some could question if their witness were subject to mistake. It could be argued by some that their senses were deceived, as they were only humans. Remember the arguments of the Jewish leaders on the day of Pentecost? They said "these men are drunk!" Faith based only on experience is left open to question and doubt. This is why Peter tells us that the Word of God is firmer, more reliable, than the human experience of even the disciples of Jesus. To this day we do not deny the dreams and visions recorded in the Bible however on which our faith rests is the Scripture, the prophetic and apostolic Word of God. One of the few things God is unable to do is go back on His Word, therefore, we base our faith on the true promises of God's Word found in the Bible.

1:20-21 God's Word stands alone! Divine truth does not come by any one man's opinion, nor does it come about by human explanation. In short, it is not for any person to say of himself: This Word of Scripture means this or that.

Man is not able of himself to interpret Scripture. As a result Scripture interprets itself: Scripture interprets Scripture. We can understand the Scripture for it is the Scripture itself speaking to us.

Just think about it. When cults try to "sell themselves" to us, they come across in one of two ways. They either have a "book" which they claim is higher than the Scriptures or they will take the Scriptures and rewrite them to fit their own human beliefs.

CHAPTER TWO

2:1-3 Peter now warns against false prophets and deceivers who with false doctrine and an ungodly life shall mislead many of the faithful. As a result, faithful pastors preach not only the truth, but they also combat error. (This is not always the most easy thing to do.)

As we open this new chapter Peter definitely foretells of things we can expect to happen as we wait for the Savior to return in glory.

1. False teachers will come who will try to destroy the truth. (verse l)

Peter now warns his readers of false prophets and teachers who will come just as they did in the Old Testament. For instance, in the days of Jeremiah, there were prophets who came before the people and said, "Peace, peace!" when there was no peace. (Jeremiah 8:11) They condoned the sins of the people. That was written for our learning, Peter would say. There is nothing really new under the sun as Solomon would tell us Old Testament conditions repeat themselves in the New. "There will also be among you false teachers." These words of Peter are to alert and warn Christians in all times against the reality of error and errorists arising in the midst of Christendom. (Cf. Jude verses 3-4; Acts 20:29-30)

2. False teachers will also succeed to lead many away from the truth. (verse 2)

Here is one such way in which many are lead away from the truth, it happened in the early stages of the church, it happens even today. We have a beautiful message that man is justified and therefore free. Bible quotes which come to mind are such as "man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law," and "Christ has set you free indeed."

People can get the wrong idea from these two true statements however when they say that a Christian may go on in sin without receiving any harm, or that we should sin as often as we can so that we can be forgiven even more. "Sin now and get forgiven later" is a false, "libertine" gospel which has caused many to walk away from the truth of the gospel.

3. False teachers lead many to blaspheme the truth. (verse2b)

"See, that is what a Christian does! He is worse than we are who do not go to church!" m is is the argument from those outside of the church. It is an argument which we should take to heart. Here Peter asks us to answer the question "who is to blame for such vile blasphemies?" The answer: those who fall away from Christ and disgrace Him in their lives.

4. False teachers fall under God's certain condemnation and therefore can never be taken lightly by a faithful pastor and member. (verse 3)

Peter gives us a warnning here "And their destruction is not falling asleep!" False teachers now are going about in great security, as if they could mislead men without even a dog barking at them! But suddenly there shall burst down upon them God's avenging judgment, bringing on their eternal destruction.

2:4-9 When an atheist insists "mere is no God," that is bad. But when Christians and Christian teachers who know God do not walk in His fear, that is worse.

2:4 God's mercy towards men as seen in the light of the judgment of the angels that sinned.

One purpose of the doctrine of the evil angels is to magnify the goodness of God toward men, so that they may accept His mercy in Christ and avoid the final doom of the evil angels.

  1. When some angels sinned, they were not given another chance, but were at once laid in chains to be
  2. reserved for judgment, while when we have sinned we were promised and granted a Deliverer, if only we might believe in Him. Should we not all make the most of this second chance?

  3. When those angels despised God's goodness in heaven, they were at once cast out and consigned to everlasting torture in hell. How much more are men who despise God's mercy in Christ worthy of sharing the eternal doom of evil angels. Let us then make the most of God's mercy!

NOTE: "GOD WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED AND TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH!"

2:5 Noah, a preacher of righteousness to the "old world."

1. he called men to repentance and directed them to the only Savior.
2. God spared not the "old world", as they rejected Noah's testimony, saving only eight souls in the ark.

2:6-9 Lot--a righteous man in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We cannot follow the example of Lot in every way. But in certain respects he is set up as an example for us to imitate. How?

1. He clung to his God and His salvation in the midst of the allurements of sin. (cf. Genesis 19)
2. His soul was wearied by what he saw and heard of his wicked country men (verse 8)
3. By God's mercy he was rescued from the awful catastrophe of the wicked city. (verses 7-9)

2:10-16 False teachers corrupt others and themselves sink ever deeper into corruption.

2:10 Christians know as they pass through this world and perform their works that they are watched from above by the heavenly powers. The angels of God see everything that is done, both that of the godly as well as that of the ungodly. And to indulge in carnal pleasures is ever a brazen defiance to the heavenly host, is hurling a wicked insult into their face.

2:11 A "hard verse"! Peter would say these false teachers are so utterly forgetful of their proper place in this world, that they undertake to do something which even the angels of God will not dare to do!

Compare this verse with Jude 9. When Moses had died, the devil came and wanted to claim his body, that like other sinful mortals he should see corruption. When the devil was about to seize his body, Michael, the prince of angels, interfered, and wrested the body from him and carried it into heaven. But Michael would not say: "Damn you Satan!" He would not dare to bring such a railing accusation. Rather he said: "The Lord rebuke thee." So even the good angels show a certain respect to the evil angels. And now-that is the point here- evil men show no respect to the celestial powers, not even to God Himself! Let us remember this has reference to the false teachers.

2:12-13 With their daring, impudent conduct they have been defying and insulting the heavenly powers, whom they do not know. For that reason "they receive the wages of unrighteousness", the reward set upon such acts of injustice.

They also make people believe to indulge in such revelries is quite permissible by taking part in them themselves. They join other people in these excesses of the flesh to salve the consciences against the sting of guilt.

2:14 These false teachers are given to adultery, who feel well at home in those seductive feasts. Their eyes are always on a watch for an adulteress, and from them beam forth adulterous desires, which they seek to gratify.

They are restless in their sin, Peter tells us. They are full of ungratified lust of sin, their eyes reflect what is going on in their soul.

With loose talk they try to induce others to go the same way they are going, declaring even fornication, "free love" as nothing wrong or harmful.

2:15 "Voluptuous living costs money!" And so, they have been trained ever to get more. The love of money is the root of all evil. So their whole way of life has made of them children devoted to the downward road, to doom and destruction, as is exemplified by the case of Balaam.

2:16 Madness for money was that false prophet's besetting sin. It took an ass to expose his madness and to

administer a most mortifying rebuke. But that was not all. Balaam was also punished otherwise. As we know, he was finally killed by the sword of Israel, when the children of Israel took revenge upon the Edomites and Midianites. (Cf. Numbers 22:21-39; Numbers 31:8 )

The love of money has blinded them, so that they lost the right way of godliness.

2:17-22 The vanity and tragic end of false prophets

In 2nd Peter 2:1-16 we have seen Peter describe the intrigues of the false prophets of the last times. In verses 17-22 he points to their utter vanity and tragic end.

2:17-l9 False prophets are those who depart from the truth and maliciously hold to, defend, and spread false doctrine. Christians must never leave their faith to follow after false prophets. Why?

  1. False prophets are wells without water; whereas true pastors and churches always lead their flock to the
  2. Fountain of Life and make their sheep lie down beside the still waters (cf. Jeremiah 2:13; Psalms 23:2)

  3. False prophets are empty clouds that are carried with a tempest only doing damage; whereas true pastors
  4. and churches in preaching Christ, bring on the rain which brings fruits of righteousness (cf. Joel 2:23)

  5. To false prophets the doom of darkness is reserved; whereas true pastors and congregations that have turned
    many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever. (cf. Daniel 12:3)

2:17-19 sum up this important truth as we look at the future of all false teachers and groups. They have become overcome by sin, and so they are complete slaves of sin and corruption. They cannot liberate themselves. This assertion that they are completely enslaved is substantiated by the next two verses...

2:20 "the latter end is worse with them than the beginning" (cf. Luke11:24-26) If Christians allow themselves to be drawn back into their old slavery of sin, it is much harder to renounce these sins again, than it was at their first conversion. (Note, not impossible but a lot harder!) They are, as it were, tied with new fetters, stronger than ever before, and they also serve sin with greater devotion than ever before. There is no standing still on the way of a "secure" sinner!

2:21 An ignorant heathen living in sin is better off than a man, finding the way out of sin through faith in Christ and then relapsing into sin. Luther: "It is better to be a damned heathen than a damned Christian!" This truth is also expressed in the following proverbs.

2:22 "But it is happened to them according to the true proverb 'The dog is turned to his own vomit again' and, 'The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."' (KJV)

The Apostle Peter does not mince words when he comes to speak of false teachers. This last picture which he presents of them must fill every Christian with a holy disgust.

CHAPTER THREE

The Apostle Peter incites Christians to a holy and godly life by reminding them of the end of all things. In view of the base denials of coming scoffers, the apostle alerts us to the certain end of the world.

3:1-2 Peter tells us why he is writing, to arouse and keep alive a Christian way of thinking. This is the purpose of all Christian admonition. Peter understood that the new man is apt to go to sleep if he is not continually aroused from what we could call "spiritual lethargy." Christ has spoken concerning His coming and exhorted them to be ready for His return at any time. Such a commandment deserves, not only to be heard, but also heeded.

3:3-4 What about the mockers which say "He promised to come what has happened?!" As they see things nothing has materially changed in the past, so no change can be expected for the future. This is the conclusion they draw from their observations over against the Christian hope.

3:5 As these mockers wish there were no Judgment Day, they justify themselves by simply denying its coming. How convenient! They put up an argument to make themselves believe their denials really had good ground.

3:6-7 It is true, heaven and earth were not entirely destroyed, but were radically changed, so that a new world and a new world order resulted from it. Mother earth looks like an "old lady" because of this change! Heaven and earth have a different form than they had originally.

Luther often elaborates on this one. Before the flood there was obviously a more wholesome climate. Men lived long lives, all around the earlier world was better than the present one. Those were "the good old days!"

But as the old world was destroyed by water, so the present one is reserved by the Word of God to be destroyed by fire. The same Word that once created the world, then commanded that it should be destroyed by water, will finally cause it to be destroyed by fire.

This is the wicked, the false teachers and scoffers, should know and remember. When that judgment shall once overtake them, their laughing and scoffing shall cease and give way to everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3:8-9 But why then does Judgment Day take so long to get here? God is patient and tarries with His awful day to give sinners time for repentance.

God does not calculate and reckon as we do. He has a purpose, a grand purpose, when He yet puts off the great Day. He does not delay His promise concerning His Day, as some think He does. It is not slowness or negligence on God's part that makes Judgment Day appear overdue to waiting Christians. Rather, what some men call slowness is longsuffering and patience on God's part. He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to reach repentance. God postpones His Day, so that He might yet turn many to repentance. Why should any man fault Him for this?

3:10 With a whizzing, swirling sound the heavens will fade away and disappear, and they are no more. And the elements subjected to heat will be dissolved, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. The works that are upon the earth are the proud structures of men. This the Apostle here asserts and prophesies to his readers who are Christians.

3:11-13 In view of the dissolving of the old and the coming of the new heaven and earth, Christians ought now already be found walking in righteousness. The soul of sincere Christians is wearied by what they daily have to observe in this evil world. So they pray: "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Here Peter outlines a Christian's attitude towards the Coming of the Great Day..

1. Trusting in His Savior, he reminds himself daily of the imminence of His Day with sincere anxiety (verses 11 & 12a)
2. Aware of the perishableness of this world, he detaches himself from the things of this world by exercising his faith in a sober, pious conduct
(verses 11 & 12)
3. Basing his hope on divine promise, he looks for a new heaven and a new earth, in which dwells righteousness (verse 13)

Scripture has been given to us to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Also what the Scripture teaches about the Last Things must serve this purpose.

3:14-18 Peter's final exhortation, urgently calling all Christians to a holy life.

Peter, aware of his soon pulling stakes and putting off the tent of his earthly existence, writes his last letter, replete with exhortations, to his Christian readers, and is now about ready to lay down his pen forever.

Judgment Day will be all decisive. There comes God, as Christ appears. Christians should always bear in mind, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." And so, Judgment Day becomes a mighty incentive for us to live our life in true trust, repentance and faith.

A final word of exhortation to all Christians of all times.

1. Make sure that you possess perfect peace through faith in Christ (verse 14)
2. Beware of making of Christian liberty license for the flesh by a false pretense of Scripture teaching (verses 15-17)
3. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 18)

Some have argued that the Bible is a "dark book" and that nobody is able to understand it. Is the Bible a "Dark Book"?

1. The Bible is a clear book (verses 14, 15)
2. Some claim it is "dark" on the basis of verse 16
3. Peter traces any darkness to the reader rather than to the writer (verses 16,17)
4. In all things necessary for our salvation the Bible remains clear! (verse 18)

Remember: When the devil can't keep the Word of God away from men, then he will try to pervert it!

The Apostle Peter's last word is a solemn doxology. That all honor and glory be given to God alone is the end and aim of all true religion. That is also the highest goal Christians should strive for in their faith and life!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Sources

Lectures on the Second Epistle of St. Peter by George Stoeckhardt, translated by H.W. Degner, Concordia Theological Press, Ft. Wayne, IN. 1980