Are You Blind or Do You See?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately. But concerning the one who lacks such things – he is blind. That is to say, he is near-sighted , since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins. 2 Peter 1.5-9

How is your sight? Do you look forward to the future, striving to make every effort to grow in your faith? Or do you make excuses or complain because you feel weak spiritually? Are you reading your Bible daily or does it sit unopened on the shelf gathering dust?

Christians must feed upon God’s word. However, it cannot go in one ear and out the other. Focus is necessary to renew our minds, making it possible to grow, through practicing what we are learning. Just as stagnation in the physical realm is unhealthy, it is debilitating in the spiritual realm. Use it or lose it! If we are growing, we will be effective and productive in the kingdom.

#risingjoy #2-Peter #spiritual-growth

I can look forward

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. 2 Peter 3.13-14

In this corrupt world in which we live, it is hard to imagine a place where righteousness resides. Peter has just written in the verses before these about the destruction of the earth and heavens. Yes, it is coming. The day of God will arrive. Peter asks the question about how we should conduct ourselves in view of this future event. One can deny the fact that the day of God’s judgment is coming. However, that will not stop it from happening. It will keep me from being prepared when it does arrive. When I believe what the Bible says I can look forward to the place where righteousness resides. God has promised new heavens and a new earth. It will not be this earth transformed. It will be a new place that God has prepared for those who love him and obey him. Peter then writes to his readers to strive to be at peace as we wait. It is not something that comes easily. In the first place, we do not like to wait for anything. We live in a time where instant gratification is the norm. I want it and I want it now. The verb strive suggests that it takes effort. Some things do not just happen. Peter also writes to be without spot or blemish when we come into his presence. For the person who has been washed in Christ’s blood through baptism, it is still necessary to continue in his teaching. I cannot go through the act and then return to my former way of life. Here again, an effort must be made. An effort must be made to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus so that we are not led astray by false teachers who do not teach the truth according to the scriptures. Only then can I have peace in the midst of a corrupt world.

#risingjoy #2-Peter #judgment

We are still waiting

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness truly resides. Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish when you come into his presence. 2 Peter 3.13,14

We are waiting. This is something that most of us I daresay do not do well. We want things to happen quickly. We want things to be right as of now or better yet, yesterday. Peter tells us in the context of this verse that God is being patient. He does not want anyone to perish but wants all to be saved. We need to be prepared on a daily basis for Jesus to return. When he does come, it will take many by surprise. The old will be destroyed and he has promised new heavens and a new earth. New. Where things are just and right. Hard to wait for something that sounds so wonderful. Like a child who can hardly wait for Christmas to arrive, we share the hard task of waiting. Peter tells us that as we wait, we should strive to be at peace, spotless and free of blemishes. Strive to be at peace. That implies that it is not easy. We have to work toward it. We need to maintain a firm grasp on the truth. Because we are still waiting. Oh! But it is so worth it!

#risingjoy #2-Peter #waiting

Trained hearts for greed: 2 Peter 2.14

“Their eyes, full of adultery, never stop sinning; they entice unstable people. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children!”

2 Peter 2.14

False teachers aren’t good moral people who happen to get some things wrong. Their whole orientation is toward evil, seeking their own gain.

Some people work hard at being evil. They exercise themselves to pursue their own interests. They are also strong recruiters. Do I recognize such people for who they really are?

#votd #2-Peter #false-teachers

A perennial first-century sticky-note

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Peter 1:12-15 NKJV)

Verse 15 is interesting to me. It is as if Peter is saying that his letter would be a perennial first-century sticky-note. A note worth leaving and a note worth reading.

The apostles cared deeply for the church (2 Corinthians 11:28). Worried about the spiritual health of God’s congregations, because of the reality of false teachers and their doctrine (Acts 20:28-31), the apostles left numerous warnings throughout the scriptures about the importance of clinging to the grace and truth of the faith that had been delivered through heavenly inspiration (2 Peter 1:16-21).

God’s word is meant to stick in our minds. Remember is a word used more than once in the New Testament alone. No less than 39 times to be exact. This does not include phrases like “keep in memory” and its various translations (1 Corinthians 15:2).

I’m grateful for the letters that have stuck around for nearly 2,000 years, and for the letters that have managed to stick around much longer. They give us so much insight to the way God has dealt with humanity and to the way he is going to deal with us (2 Peter 3:9-13). And that is the way God wanted it (John 16:13). Neglect these sticky notes and we’ll miss out on the message that deserves our attention.

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,” (2 Peter 3:1-2 NKJV)

#2-peter, #apostles, #inspiration-of-the-bible

The place of knowledge

“… gnosis [knowledge] becomes the ability to discern faith’s requirements. In effect, knowledge becomes the means by which faith’s convictions are transformed into effective practices (see 2 Cor 8:7; Phil 1:9; 2 Pet 3:18).

—S.J. Kraftchick, Jude, 2 Peter, p. 96, commenting 2 Pet 1.5-7

#faith #knowledge #2-Peter

Keeping our eyes on the horizon

While speaking of the great assurance that God’s people can have in the words of the gospel, Peter encourages his readers to do something so simple yet so profound – keep our eyes on the horizon!

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” (2 Peter 1:19)

The storms of life will vary and they may be extreme at times even causing life itself to become surrounded by darkness and doubt, yet we are encouraged to look away from the direction of the setting sun and to follow the light of God’s word which directs our heart, through faith, toward the return of Jesus and the security and comfort that we will have with him.

When we keep our eyes on the horizon, the light of that morning star will come much sooner than we think.

#2-peter, #faith, #heart, #jesus-return, #return-of-christ

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Outline of 2 Peter

There is a Bible outline of the New Testament Book of 2 Peter available at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Outline-of-II-Peter1.pdf

#2-peter, #faith, #false-teachers, #last-days