As we close this study of Peters 2nd and last epistle, we will see his emphasis on knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In Hosea 4: 6, we read: My people perish for a lack of knowledge. Yet Peter has just told us God is not willing that any should perish, but all would come to repentance.
How are we born again? For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, all men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.
But unless you repent, you too will perish! ( Luke 13: 3 and 5) Jesus speaking. And the hymn written by Fanny Crosby admonishes us believers to rescue the perishing, care for the dying..
My personal belief is anyone can be saved, but I know not everyone will be saved. This should break our heart, because it breaks the heart of God. Consider what we know about the Great White Throne judgment we are told of in Revelation 20. It tells us: And I saw the dead great and small standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in those books. The sea gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyones name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
We assume these records tell of all their sins committed for which they will be judged. But I believe it will also demonstrate how long God and his agencies ( creation, conscience, the Word of God, the person of the Lord Jesus and witnesses ) had pled with each and every sinner lost. The records will reveal they each had an opportunity- so they are without excuse. God keeps records to document how He, God, had offered everything He could to save every one of us. For God is not willing that any should perish, but all would come to repentance.
This is why God is patient with us- long suffering. Peter says- Bear in mind that our Lords patience means salvation
So let us look at Peters closing words. Peter says he has written this 2nd letter as a reminder to stimulate ( stir) you to wholesome( pure) thinking. We cannot escape this truth of how our minds must be transformed by the truth of Gods word. Paul uses the word pure also in Phil.4: 8 when he writes: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ( For as a man thinketh in his heart , so is he. Prov.23:7,KJV) Meditation on the word is how it is engrafted. And this is why the word of God must be active and alive in our lives. Truly God who is the most incredible engineer and architect has actually built us in such a way that when He speaks of transforming our minds, He has made it possible and given us the instructions on how to do it. However, we must take the time to read His instructions and follow them. He is the author of life, the manufacturer, it is God who has created us and not we ourselves. He has designed us and has given us the instructions and protocol as to how to keep ourselves in harmony with His design and live a life of purpose. They are all right there in His instruction manual, the Bible.
You would not put diesel fuel in a non-diesel engine- it will ruin it. Yet we have believed the lies of the enemy and continually put the wrong things into our minds. No wonder all of creation groans.
Peter says I want you to recall, remember, think about and on the things taught in the Old Testament by the prophets and the commands given to you by our Lord and Savior through the apostles, this would be the New Testament. So we are to study the whole Bible. In fact Peter who spent over 3 years at the Lords side and saw Him transfigured on the mount, says we have the more sure word of the prophets- the Word of God. And James would remind us- to be doers of the Word , not hearers only, lest we deceive ourselves.
Now Peter returns to one of the ways we will recognize false teachers- for they will be scoffers. Peter says know this first. This is what we must understand, in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own desires. Scoff means to ridicule, make fun of , jeer and or mock. This is what they did at Jesus; arrest, spitting in His face, putting a crown of thorns on his head. Luke tells us: Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing Him in an elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate. ( Luke 23) They heaped insults on Him as He died. If they did this to the Lord and to his disciples, they will do it to us also.
When Peter and New Testament writers speak of the last days, they are speaking of the time from after Christs resurrection and ascension into heaven and the Day of Penetcost up to the future rapture and Great Tribulation. Peter says in the last days know this first- scoffers will come scoffing. We are living in those last days, which have now been over 2,012 calendar years since the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We see the scoffers ridiculing us for believing the Bible and the stories of creation, and for believing this ancient book is the absolute truth of God.
So the first thing we see if the scoffers are as bold as they have ever been. The Bible and the authority of Gods Word is attacked , disregarded and banned from almost everywhere but the church, where unfortunately it is not very relevant in many pulpits today.
They will say where is the coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since creation.
Did you catch that? Catch what, you say? They believe everything goes on as it has since creation. You see these are those Paul wrote of in 2 Corinthians 3: 15, when he wrote: Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. They cannot understand spiritual truths. Their understanding has been darkened. The god of this age; has blinded the minds of unbelievers , so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This is not an intellectual problem. This is a heart problem.
But Peter is going to tell them- what they have deliberately forgotten and have not believed for it is written by Moses in the book of Genesis. Interesting when one does not believe the account of Genesis as recorded by Moses that tells us God created us, that He created man and woman and everything that is created- he must believe a lie that he came from nothing via an evolutionary process. If you do not know where you came from; and you do not know where you are going then any road will take you. There is a way that seems right to man. It is the broad way, with the wide gate, and many enter in. But it leads to destruction.
So Peter gives thescoffer a brief history of what was written in Gods word that long ago the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water by the word of God. In fact Peter gives in a few verses past, present and future look at the 3 worlds in one.
The old world before the flood of Noah. When God used the flood to destroy all of mankind but for 8 souls in the ark.
The second world he writes of is this present world we live thousands of years after the flood, the one the scoffers look and say- hey everything is fine. But Peter tells us the same Word that created the heaven and the earth, the same power that brought the flood of Noah has reserved for this present world a fiery day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The third world, Peter mentions briefly in verse 13 of 2 Peter 3_ we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. ( To read more about the new heaven, and the new earth turn to Revelation 21)
We know that all of Gods creation reflects his character and nature. When the Lord instructed Moses and the Israelites to build the tabernacle it was modeled after the one in heaven. Although today the present world is marred by sin, we still see His creative ability, His Divine Power and Eternal Nature in creation can still be seen in nature, just as Paul wrote in Romans 1. In Colossians 1 we read how the Lord Jesus is the firstborn over all creation- For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In other words everything is held together by the Lord.
It is interesting in Ezekiel, when he received a vision- a divine revelation of God government in heaven how it appeared to him. He attempts to describe in colorful language what an incredible sight it is. In Ezekiel 1: 15, 16 we read: As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels- they sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. A wheel within a wheel. A circle within a circle. Some would picture this as a gyroscope. But this is a picture of the circle of Gods Law of Love. Gods Love produces life. Where is this life of man contained? In the blood. What does blood do? It circulates like a wheel. It completes a circle throughout the human body, it brings life to every tissue and cell in the body. It not only brings life, it then carries away waste products. Where did blood come from? God breathed into his (Adam) nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. Gods own breath put something in mankind that made him alive. That something was blood. In Him was life and He is the author of all life. We are all descended from Adam- so we are all of one blood which came from the breath of God. So just as the circulation of blood brings life and if that flow, that circle is stopped, life ends . When we get saved, the blood of Christ becomes the source of our new life, it nourishes, cleanses, washing away our sins(waste) and brings eternal life and will never stop.
Look at our economy, the life blood of our economy is the circulation of money. When money is withdrawn and stops circulating, the economy dries up- it dies. The circle is broken. During the 1930s , the run on the banks that withdrew the money from circulation was prompted by fear and anxiety that led to a lack of confidence and distrust in the banks. Today we are no different- our economy runs on something that is measured and monitored called- consumer confidence. How is your confidence in the Lord? In His Promises and Person? Do you now see why the devil lies and deceives to break the circle. What happens when one has no confidence in the Lord, a lack of faith? And He did not many miracles there because of their lack of faith. ( Matt. 13:58- Jesus in Nazareth, a prophet without honor)
We can use other examples- for they are all around us. Appliances in our homes run off of electricity, break the circuit and they do not work. When we run out of gas, our cars stop running because the fuel is not circulating from the tank via the fuel line to the engine to create the energy needed. Plants give off oxygen which we humans take into our lungs and it is life sustaining, we exhale carbon dioxide, which plants need for their life and the circle goes on and on- a circle created by God that reflects His nature, which is a love that gives and gives. It is the out pouring of Gods love . Do you understand that God wants nothing more, nothing more in this world than to give Himself to you and me! Incredible! Because His very nature is love- He is longsuffering, patient, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs. He always protects and always perseveres. Circles within circles that make everything go round. All things were created by Him and for Him and through Him they hold together.
Here is the simple, profound truth I want to express: God is love. And God who has made us in His image has made us where we are looking for love. We came out of the wombs of our mothers looking for love. So God created us because God is love and He wanted to give His love to us. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ( I John 4: 8-10) John continues: God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in him. In this way love is made complete in us.. (the circle is completed!) ..that we might have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like Him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. ( A circle is a perfect figure) We love because He first loved us.
Love makes the world go round and that is a fact. He keeps our earth circling the sun. And as believers, the Lord is the center of our lives and our lives circle around Him.
Everyone is looking for love. But there is only one universal source of love and that is the Love of God. It is a source that is infinite- it is unlimited. Jesus said to the woman at the well if you knew who it was that asked you for a drink, you could ask and He would give you everlasting life. He wants to give this love- for God so loved the world He gave his only begotten son It is available to anyone who asks for it.
So the scoffer looks for love in all the wrong places. Believing the lie of the enemy that God is not a God of love, but a tyrant, an enforcer of dos and donts to make your life miserable. They look for substitutes in this world and thus love the things of this world, other persons, but not the one who is love, the one who created them, the one who died for them.
The scoffers proof is nothing has happened in years. Everything goes on as it is. They do not realize how prophetic their statements are. For the Lord says as it was in the days of Noah, and as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah- so would it be in the coming of the Son of man.
Peter warns them- do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow (slack) in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient( longsuffering) with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but that they should all come to repentance.
The third world we are looking to is coming. This is the new heaven and the new earth, the home of the righteous. We look forward to its coming.
In the meanwhile, a God of Infinite Love, Our Heavenly Father, faithfully gives and disperses Himself 24-7 because He is patient and not wanting anyone to perish.
Will the circle be unbroken in your walk with the Lord? Will you rely on His Love and Faithfulness? Will faith replace reason, when reason makes no sense? How can we keep this from happening?
Here is the answer in Peters farewell. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So following Peters instructions- we will begin a study of the life of Jesus in the Gospels next week. So come and come thirsty.
Then He opened their minds so they understood the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written . (Luke 24- the Resurrected Lord in Bible study with His disciples)
To Be Continued .