This is Episode #357 and today we’ll read 2 Peter chapters 1-3 together. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
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Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #357 and today we’ll read 2 Peter chapters 1-3 together. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I'm your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me - from the beginning - simply reading God's word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to 2 Peter
Here we are…the second letter from Peter. And for three little chapters, it is a dynamo. In this letter, Peter not only goes after false teachers, but empowers and encourages us as he goes.
I always come away from reading this first chapter with a sense of awe. Peter and the other apostles were actual eyewitnesses to Christ’s miracles and teachings. I know we read about them in the Gospel accounts, but we can be lulled into keeping our aesthetic distance as if we’re reading a story or watching a play. But Peter’s passion jumps off the page and all the experiences we read about in the Gospels take on a new dimension of power and truth.
According to chapter 1, verse 14, Peter was about to be martyred. Or in his words, about to lay aside his bodily tent. He didn’t seem too stressed about that. But there is an urgency in his teachings, as if he had so much to pass on while being painfully aware that time to do that was running short. Tradition tells us that Peter was crucified but refused to assume the upright position of his Savior. His wish was granted by being crucified upside down.
In preparing this intro, I found an interesting point made by John MacArthur. He said that Peter never really identifies any particular false teachers but offers more of a characterization of their ‘destructive heresies.’ They deny Christ, they twist Scripture, bring truth into question, and mock Christ’s coming again.
Peter also spends some time in this letter teaching believers how to stand strong and defend their faith. Interestingly, the word ‘knowledge’ or some form of it appears 16 times in these three short chapters. This leads us to believe that knowledge of the Scriptures is our primary offense against false teachers. At the end of the first chapter, he states clearly that no prophecy ever had its origin in man.
2 Peter Chapter 1:
Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ:
To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Growth in the Faith
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have. I think it is right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder, since I know that I will soon lay aside my tent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has indeed made clear to me. And I will also make every effort so that you are able to recall these things at any time after my departure.
The Trustworthy Prophetic Word
For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter Chapter 2:
The Judgment of False Teachers
There were indeed false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved ways, and the way of truth will be maligned because of them. They will exploit you in their greed with made-up stories. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but cast them into hell and delivered them in chains of utter darkness to be kept for judgment; and if he didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood on the world of the ungodly; and if he reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the depraved behavior of the immoral (for as that righteous man lived among them day by day, his righteous soul was tormented by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) — then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority.
Bold, arrogant people! They are not afraid to slander the glorious ones; however, angels, who are greater in might and power, do not bring a slanderous charge against them before the Lord. But these people, like irrational animals — creatures of instinct born to be caught and destroyed — slander what they do not understand, and in their destruction they too will be destroyed. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. They consider it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight. They are spots and blemishes, delighting in their deceptions while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery that never stop looking for sin. They seduce unstable people and have hearts trained in greed. Children under a curse! They have gone astray by abandoning the straight path and have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of wickedness but received a rebuke for his lawlessness: A speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
These people are springs without water, mists driven by a storm. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them. For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “A washed sow returns to wallowing in the mud.”
2 Peter Chapter 3:
The Day of the Lord
Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water. Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded. By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat. But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found without spot or blemish in his sight, at peace. Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stable position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.
Those pesky false teachers are at it again, misleading the church and undermining the Gospel message for their own personal gain. As you know, false teachers are a persistent message in the Bible, whether we are talking Old Testament prophets or New Testament preachers.
Peter tells us these false teachers prey on immature Christians who lack the knowledge to refute the heresies they preach. They are motivated by greed, by power and by sex. They think nothing of ruining the lives of others for the fulfilment of their own desires. And theirs is a fate worse than death, consigned to hell with the fallen angels.
False teachers are just as much a problem today as they were in Peter’s day. They come on TV and promise health and wealth and your best life now, if you will only send them money. You read about their scandalous affairs on the headlines of trashy magazines as you stand in the checkout line at the supermarket. They make promises they can never keep, all the while relying on the ignorance of their audience to keep their coffers full.
Peter tells us that knowledge is our best defense against these wayward teachers. According to 1 Peter 1:19, We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Good advice in any age.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank You for Peter and the hope he gives us, to persevere despite the opposition that comes our way. His words pack a powerful punch and leave no doubt that we are to be shrewd as foxes in this wayward world. Please give us wisdom and discernment and help us to return to Your word, every day. Amen.
Have you experienced a false teacher in your walk with Christ? Tell me about it at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.