2 Peter 3:14-18 The Lord is coming

If a royal visitor was coming, you would make the best preparations you could.  You would not think that second best would be ‘good enough’.  Not least, you would want to look your best, dressed suitably to meet such a dignitary.  If that is the case for a merely human ruler, how much more careful should we be when we know we will stand before the King of kings?  We now consider 2 Peter 3:14-18 The Lord is coming.

1. Exhortation to prepare

The details of the Second Coming of the Lord exercise a fascination for some people, but we must not try to go beyond what he has actually revealed in Scripture.  The information we are given is to have a practical effect on the lives of believers.  Thus we read, ‘since you are looking forward to this, make every effort’ (v14).  It is a call to action, an exhortation to the hard work that will prepare for the Lord’s coming.  We will ‘be found in his sight’ (v14, lit.) – the final judgment.  How are we to prepare?  Note ‘at peace’ – chiefly with one another, as disunity among believers dishonours the Lord.  In our personal spiritual life we are to be ‘spotless, blameless’, our desire is to be like Christ (see 1 Peter 1:19).  Note also Hebrews 12:14 ‘without holiness no-one will see the Lord’.

2. Exhortation to learn

We have here a fascinating insight into the development of the New Testament.  Peter quotes Paul in support of his teaching: ‘just as our dear brother Paul also wrote’ (v15).  Note the authority of his writings: ‘the wisdom given him’ (v15; ‘by God’ not in the original, but the meaning is clear).  Paul’s writings are classed with ‘the other Scriptures’ (v16) – they are equally part of the ‘God-breathed’ writings (2 Timothy 3:16).  In time the church came to recognise the inspired nature of our NT documents, acknowledging (not granting) their authority.  We are to learn from them and submit to their teaching.  Granted we find ‘some things that are hard to understand’, but we must not be like ‘ignorant and unstable people’ who twist Scripture and damage their souls.  We need to be firmly grounded in the truths revealed in the Word of God.

3. Exhortation to grow

With deep pastoral concern Peter gives final instructions:

  • Negative: We are to remain steadfast in the truth we know and ‘be on your guard’ (v17).  If Christians do not guard against the subtle attacks of error, they may become unstable and unable to resist the temptations that would be destructive of their spiritual life.  There must be no complacency (1 Corinthians 10:12).
  • Positive: ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (v18).  Being firmly rooted in truth is the beginning, but then there must be growth and progress.  Knowledge must be translated into godly living.  We never relax in this life (Philippians 3:12).  The focus is to be on Christ and the doxology is a fitting conclusion.

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