1 & 2 Peter
Lesson 12: 2 Peter 3
As we conclude Peter’s second letter, take some time to read it completely through in one sitting. Pay attention to the major theme that permeates throughout. Also, look for Peter’s admonitions to his audience. What are we specifically commanded to do and how will this help us stand firm against false teaching?
At the beginning of this chapter we can see Peter issuing his final plea with his Christian brothers and sisters. Remember, he knows that his death is imminent and is probably aware that this is the last chance he has to communicate with them. He says that he is trying to “stir up” (DIEGEIRO) or awaken their minds (Arndt). In other words, he wants to make absolutely certain that they are paying attention to what is going on around them.
Peter tells his readers that there will be people who mock the truth “in the last days.” This phrase is a reference to the Christian dispensation. We, as well as Peter’s primary audience, are living in this era.
The word Peter uses for lust here is EPITHYMIA and is not inherently a negative term. It refers to a great desire for something (Arndt). This becomes a negative idea when the person is lead entirely by their own desires. These people were mocking God because of their own selfishness. They completely denied the idea of Christ’s return and a day of judgment.
Peter tells us that these mockers are willfully ignorant of the fact that God is the one who created the earth and flooded it with water. He warns that the earth now is being reserved for destruction by fire. It is then that the judgment will take place.
Often we get so caught up in our own universe that we forget the fact that God doesn’t operate by our rules. Time for the Lord is something completely different than it is for us, something our human brains have trouble grasping. Eternity has no measurement, nor does it need one. We must not attempt to judge God’s timeline with human eyes.
Instead of looking at the fact that Christ has not returned yet as a negative, Peter wants them to see God’s great mercy in the situation.
It seems as if Peter is reminding them of some thoughts from his first letter. He wants them to be ever mindful of setting their behavior apart. They are to be constantly acting in a godly way, eagerly awaiting Christ’s return because they know it will mean a new home in heaven!
Peter urges his readers again to be diligent in their faith. We should be constantly striving to grow and mature in our spiritual walk. He wants us to be found “spotless and blameless” when Christ returns.
Both of these groups of people are twisting scriptures because of lack of knowledge. One group is ignorant or “untaught” and the other is “unstable” or weak in their convictions. When we fall into either group it is very easy to misunderstand scripture taken out of context or to follow a false teaching. Peter tells us that this is what was happening with some of the scripture.
- Romans 6:1-7
- Galatians 5:13
- James 2:14-26
As many coaches will tell you, “the best defense is a good offense.” That is the point Peter leaves us with. He wants us to be diligent in our Christian growth, never stagnant and we must constantly be on guard as we are threatened from the outside and from the inside. As you go about your week, make sure that you are filling your mind with things that will help you stand firm in your Christian faith so that you can look forward to Christ’s coming with great joy and anticipation!
Arndt, W., F.W. Danker and W. Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (3rd edition). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
*Note: The author uses the New American Standard Update for all quotations and references.
By Kristy Huntsman
Kristy is CFYC’s Finer Grounds Editor and all-around right-hand-gal. She and her husband, Lance serve with the Southwest church of Christ in Ada, OK where Lance is the family minister. Kristy is a stay-at-home-mom to their two daughters Taylor and Makayla.