348 - Peter’s Follow-Up Letter to the Persecuted Believers
December 14 - Nº 348 2 Peter 1 – 3
Not long after he sent his first letter to the churches in the northern provinces of Asia Minor, Peter sat down to write a second one. The believers were being persecuted, and Peter’s first letter instructed them how they should live during such difficult times. He urged them to pursue godliness, kindness, and self-control. But as tough as their external hardships were, there was something even more devastating going on inside the church. False teachers had infiltrated the leadership and introduced a message filled with sexual sin, arrogance, and greed. While “submission to God” was the proper response to persecution, Peter wrote that “knowledge of the truth” was the proper response to false teaching. He challenged those weary believers to keep growing in their faith by studying God’s Word. Its precious promises would help them become more like Jesus. Rather than being known for indulging their own sinful desires, they should be known for their godliness, self-control, affection for other believers, and love. Peter then addressed some of the false teachings (heresies) that were being circulated by the false teachers (heretics): · These wicked men claimed that the apostles had made up the story of Jesus’ resurrection. They insisted that he was still dead and that stories of his return were only false promises. Peter refuted this by pointing to the time that he and two other disciples had accompanied Jesus to the top of a mountain. They had watched as his body was transformed and he was exalted as King. “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty!” Peter exclaimed. “He received honor and glory from God the Father. A voice came from the Majestic Glory and declared, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We heard the voice ourselves!” (see #245 - December 11). · These wicked men also taught that there would be no final day of judgment, therefore there was no reason to deny their fleshly desires. But Peter pointed to God’s judgment on the angels in heaven when they rebelled (see #1 - January 1); on the world at the time of the flood (see #6 - January 6); and on Sodom and Gomorrah (see #14 - January 14). Why would God hesitate to bring judgment again on people who lied about Him and led others astray? · The false teachers mocked the idea that Jesus would one day return for the believers and then destroy the world as they knew it. But Peter reminded them again of the flood. If God destroyed the world once with water, what would keep Him from doing it again—this time with fire? He pointed out that God is not slow about fulfilling His promise to return. He is patient. He is waiting as long as possible so that as many people as possible will have a chance to be with Him. There was a sense of urgency as Peter wrote. He realized that his life was almost over. It is possible that he was already in a Roman prison where historians tell us he was later executed. “Don’t fall for these evil lies,” he wrote. “Instead grow in the grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! To him be glory both now and forever.”
Not everyone who claims to be a “Christian” leader is a child of God. It is important to evaluate what others teach by studying God’s Word. It is the only true source of knowledge about Him. Is the Bible your ultimate “go-to” source for truth?