In R.C.H. Lenski’s work, “*The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude,” he writes, “Who could let himself go into immoral excess if he believed that the Lord is ready to return to judgment at any time? …All moral laxity must have and always has the necessary false doctrinal support”
In other words, if you’re going to live immorally, you have to deny Christ and His word.
Peter stirs up (Gk: διεγείρω, “diegeiró,” to arouse completely, wake up out of sleep) his readers, encouraging them to:
1. Remember: This is God’s word. (2 Peter 3:1-2)
This is the first time Peter refers to his readers as “beloved,” indicating that he cares deeply about them and that he is offering warning and encouragement for their good. He presents himself not as the elder apostle statesmen, but as their pastor. He’ll repeat this three more times before the end of his letter.
Ultimately, his encouragement here is clear: this is God’s word.
Peter underscores “remember” four times in two verses:
“Stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember-”
Stirring up by way of reminder — in 2 Peter 1:13 he uses this same wording. in Mark 4:39 Jesus got up (was stirred up) to rebuke the wind. In Luke 8:24 the disciples “stirred” (woke) Jesus up.
Language scholars have recently disputed the etymology of the “sincere” mind. It’s been defined, “without wax.”
When pottery was simple or a work of art, and had flaws or cracks, they were filled with wax to cover the imperfection. Holding these pieces up to the sun or heating them quickly revealed the “cover up” of imperfection. This action tested to see if the pottery was pure, or sincere – without wax.
We have to have sincere minds in our approach to our Christianity, without wax. The New Bible Commentary summarizes, “use the mind God gave you!”
The reader was to remember both the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets & the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by their* apostles.
Peter is identifying with his audience and stating clearly that Christ is not just their Lord, but also their Savior as confirmed by the apostolic teachings.
Recently, nationally recognized Christian leaders have been debating the extent of the Old Testament’s efficacy and importance, almost to a dismissal that we no longer “need” the OT.
If you take the Old Testament and say it’s complete and fulfilled in the personal work of Christ, I would say ‘Yes, but that did not abrogate it.’
Peter is saying that both are God’s word: the Old Testament as well as the teachings of the apostles.
When someone comments that the Old Testament is irrelevant, out of date, etc. they dismiss the authority of the Word of God and dishonor the work and person of Christ.
“Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed” – James Moffatt, The General Epistles, James, Peter, and Judas
Andrew McNab adds, “An effective antidote to false doctrine is to recall and dwell on the teaching already perceived.” -(“The General Epistles of Peter in The New Bible Commentary”)
The best antidote to false teaching is sound doctrine.
Many of us have people in our lives who appear to be super-saints or super-christians. The truth is their hearts are just as corrupt as ours. The ground at calvary is level.
2. Remember: Mockers will come. (2 Peter 3:3-4)
Skepticism, scoffing, and nay-sayers are nothing new. We aren’t to be surprised when a person has contempt or ridicules the things of Christ. Peter’s reminder-warning is to calm the coming waters.
Paul gave a similar warning in 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Rather than believe in and hope for Christ’s return, men and women of hubris will justify their sinful choices, invent their own gods (ironically, gods made in their own image), and dive headlong into a deep well of willful sin.
Peter’s encouragement is rather than to be shaken by mockers when they come, to remember the promises of God. This encouragement is underscored in a few New Testament passages:
John 14:1-3, Acts 1:11, James 5:7
These scoffers and mockers choose to follow their own lusts and deny God at his word, but we are to remember what God said. To fix our eyes on the promises of God rather than becoming swept up in the choices of others.
3. Remember: God’s word is eternal and unalterable (2 Peter 3:5-7)
2 Peter 3:5: scoffers and mockers both avoid the truth, and it is hidden from them as they embrace their own lusts.
In Mark 7:24 Jesus attempts to enter a house, presumably to rest a bit from the crush of the masses, but he couldn’t “escape notice” and the crowds still find him.
It is rich that truth “escapes their notice” when men and women choose sin, lust, and their own gods – but those who come in faith cannot help but notice him.
Peter points out that God is creator and judge; that He intervened in creation, intervened by the flood, and will intervene again by fire. That fire will be a judgment dealing with “ungodly men,” those living without reverence toward God. For them it will be a day of destruction, and this serves in this passage as another pointed warning to the false teachers whom Peter condemns in this epistle.
1. God’s word serves as an ongoing reminder
Be in God’s word daily.
Not because you have to, but because you can.
Not because you should, but because you have the freedom to.
Not because it’s going to make you a better person, but because it’s going to help you grow in your knowledge of God.
We all need this ongoing reminder, we’ll never be exempt from this.
We don’t need more time, we just need to prioritize spending time in God’s word because it is the only mooring we’ve got in a culture that has gone bonkers.
God’s word reminds us, encourages us, convicts us. God’s Word is our tutor – the person and work of Jesus Christ.
2. People who are guided by their flesh are not going to be reasonable.
This culture is unreasonable and we can’t expect it to reflect the Scripture.
Christianity has been affected by tribes, and those tribes have become compounds. We’ve built big walls around our tribes and we’re inclined to be smug in them, becoming isolationists in our views.
The danger of this is: we’re trying to think people will be reasonable.
I’m glad to reason with others, to have a discussion. But if either party is unreasonable, there is no reasoning.
3. God’s word holds the heavens and the earth together until such time as He sees fit.
When you get out from the routine; look around and remember that God’s sustaining this.
God has created and is sustaining our fallen, broken, wonderful, blessed lives. We can enjoy this day the Lord has made by choosing to be glad in it.
We work, love, laugh, celebrate, and smile at the future because God holds it together until He sees fit.
God’s word is true and it can be trusted no matter what the world chooses or tells us.
Don’t let the world teach you theology.