Have you ever gotten one of those little notes about a bill when it was first past due? Sometimes they say something like, "Just a little reminder." Or your mother or spouse or boss may leave you little reminders to make sure you get something done. It's no different in the Christian life. God is always sending us little reminders without our even realizing it. But, in the case of Peter's message in 2 Peter, he makes it very clear.
Peter's main thrust in this little epistle concerns the balanced view
of the Christian life as a productive venture between God and the Christian.
If we compare what Peter has said with Paul in Phil. 2:12, 13, we get a
remarkably similar picture: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always
obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works
in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Notice Paul tells
the Philippians to "work out" (not "work FOR") their salvation, but also
notes that God is at work in the Christian. God provides the basic supplies;
we, in turn, supply ourselves from this provision. The result is fruit
that makes the Christian useful and assurance that makes the Christian
confident. Now he will go on to emphasize the importance of this formula
and show his concern to keep us mindful of it.
B. You should pay attention
to these things because the authority for them is God through His genuine Prophets. 12-21
1. I shall see to it that you are able to recall
these truths. 12-15
If I enter the kitchen when my wife is not home and find a reminder
note to take care of some task, I would probably try to follow her wishes.
But if I come in and she has three reminder notes tacked around, I will
surely get the job done. Repetition is a way of emphasizing the importance
of what we are trying to get across. Peter uses repetition in this segment
to stress the absolute necessity of this balanced view of the productive
Christian life. Notice the words "reminding"—v. 12, "reminder"—v. 13,
"remember"—v. 15 and "reminder" again in 3:1. These are all forms of a Greek word that has to
do with the concept of "a way to remember." All but the third one are strengthened
forms. It just doesn't get much more emphatic than that. Even before we
look at some of the details, we can see from this that Peter is very eager
to drive home the importance of what he has said about the Christian life.
Verse 12 begins with one of the great "signpost" words that guide us
when we interpret. By using, "Therefore," (the Greek 'dio'), Peter introduces
his next comments with the strongest conjunction the Greek language had
for making an inference from what was said previously. To put it another way, 'therefore' introduces a conclusion based on evidence just stated. This is similar to the final clause I mentioned earlier that occurs in v. 10. The importance of
the "abundant entrance" of verse 11, which was presented as a result of
the balanced Christian life, propelled Peter toward the necessity of providing
a constant reminder of how to get this reward. The Apostle did not
want to be neglectful of his duties, even though his hearers--and we who
continue to hear--were aware of this basic dynamic of the Christian life.
Someone once said that the two best teachers were Peat and Repeat. Although
we know a truth, we still need to be constantly reminded of it, especially
when it is as important as this proper view of the Christian life.
Peter considers this truth so important that he stresses he will remind
them as long as he is "in this tabernacle," meaning his body, or in other
words, as long as he lives. Evidently the Lord had revealed to the aged
disciple that his time was short. The purpose of the reminder is "to stir
you up." The idea of this word is to wake out of sleep, or to rouse. And
it is in the present tense, which in the Greek, was used to stress continuous
action—"to keep on stirring you up." Isn't it a shame that we often let
ourselves get sluggish in our life of service to the Lord, so that we need
a wake-up call. We ought to frequently meditate on this book and similar
admonishments in order to stir ourselves up. This reminder also applies
to the Christian who has never really tried to live the dedicated life
the Lord desires.
Verse 15 shows the depth of feeling that Peter had about this issue
of diligently supplying ourselves from God's provision. He wanted to insure
that even after he was gone there would be ample ability to remember his
teaching on "these things." He uses the word translated "these things"
five times in this chapter. Specifically, he is referring to the list in
verses 5-7 of the Christian graces that should be supplied in addition
to our faith. These virtues or disciplines are the product of a diligent
pursuit of holiness and are essential to our service to God, our "success"
as Christians, and our rewards in heaven. It is "these things" he wants
us to remember and continually stir up.
Perhaps this epistle is Peter's way of reminding us of these things,
and it has served well over the 1900 years since his death. The Apostle
Peter evidently wanted us to continue working on these things as long as
the Church is on earth. How should we continue to expand our understanding
of the ideas he has taught us? There are a number of doctrines of the Bible
that ought to be constantly studied. We can develop an understanding of
how church leadership is supposed to work one time and it will be there
whenever we need it. But things like the Christian life and prayer should
be a matter of consistent study.
First, you might want to do a study of the partnership between God and
the Christian in other passages such as Phil. 2:12-13 and 1 Tim. 4:7-8.
It is also profitable to study the disciplines of the Christian life that
Peter mentions in 1:5-7 throughout the New Testament. I continually study
these issues to see if I can improve my faithfulness and usefulness to
God. Some good books that will help you are Transforming Grace,
Pursuit of Holiness, and The Pursuit of Godliness by Jerry Bridges,
Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie, and True Spirituality
by Lewis Sperry Chafer. You can also find a complete Bible Study
for the new or renewing Christian by Hampton Keathley on the bible.org web site (see my Links). Whatever you do, and however you do
it, just get going and never stop reminding yourself of "these things."
2 Peter Flow Chart
2 Peter 1:1-7
2 Peter 1:8-11
2 Peter 1:16-21
2 Peter 2:1-3
2 Peter 2:3b-10a
2 Peter 2:10b-22
2 Peter 3:1-6
2 Peter 3:7-10
2 Peter 3:11-16
2 Peter 3:17-18