2 Peter
1-9 Scoffers Get an Answer 10-18 Grow in Grace and Knowledge
Scoffers Get an Answer

1This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [spoken] by your apostles. 3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For[ever] since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8But do not let this one [fact] escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

V11This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,. After the false and corrupted doctrine of wicked people in chapter 2, Peter counters to the unbelief in this chapter which denies the return of the Lord. That denial is formed on the basis of their meaning that in the visible creation everything remains as it was as from the beginning. In saying this he addresses the genuine believers and clarifies to them what the meaning of true prophecy is. It is necessary to emphasize that, because unbelief manifests itself all the more strongly and scoffs the faith. Therefore he points out again the importance of the written Word (see chapter 1 (2Pet 1:2020But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of one’s own interpretation,).

He wrote both of his letters in order to remind you that a “sincere mind” is the crucial condition to understand God’s Word and to apply that in your life. A sincere mind appears from the attitude which you adopt towards the Scripture. Do you unconditionally agree to it when the Scripture speaks, or do you have objections to it? Without a complete subjection of yourself to the Scripture you will not learn to know the truth and you will drown in speculations of people who think to know better than God.

V22that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [spoken] by your apostles.. You are to test everything that comes to you by the Scripture. That’s what Peter is referring you to. That alone will give your heart steadfastness. He does not refer to new apostles or elders. Still less he refers to the church as if that would be able to teach anything and exert authority. He refers to the Word of God that approaches you in both the writings of the Old Testament and of the New Testament. For the content of the Old Testament he reminds us of “the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets”. For the content of the New Testament he reminds us of “the commandment of the Lord and Savior [spoken] by your apostles”.

The holy prophets of former times have spoken on behalf of God, in order to get them back to the obedience of the law and to warn them for God’s punishment when they persevere in their disobedience. Their message completely opposes that of the false teachers of the previous chapter. The commandment, which comes from the Lord and Savior, expresses the will of the Lord that comes to you by the apostles (cf. Mt 28:19c19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,). All of that you find in the written Word of God. The big question is: how do you stand towards the authority of the inspired Word. The answer to that question determines whether you are able to resist the opponents of the truth or whether you are overcome by them.

V33Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking, following after their own lusts,. It seems that Peter, when he comes back to the theme of the true prophecy, is directly aware of the great resistance of the enemies of God and His Christ. The proclamation of the truth and holding on to God’s Word always stir up resistance. Opponents do not reveal themselves as long as the lie is being preached. But as soon as the light of the truth comes shining through, they will appear and let themselves be heard. And mind you that these are no incidents. With the words “knowing this first” Peter emphasizes that you need to seriously consider that such people will manifest themselves more and more “in the last days”.

It must be an extra proof to you that the end of all things is near (1Pet 4:77The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer.). As soon as you speak about the coming of Christ for the judgment, they point their finger at their forehead and declare you to be out of your mind. They will not listen to you and will ridicule you with their mockery. They express themselves like that, because they walk after their own lusts. They want to live on like that. The thought of a coming Christ as a ‘joy killer’ does not fit in there.

V44and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For[ever] since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”. In order to prove their allegations, they refer to what in their eyes has always been an unchangeable standard practice “since the fathers fell asleep”. By speaking about ‘the fathers’ you see that you have to do with people who consider themselves as God’s people. Applied to our times, it is therefore about people who find themselves within Christianity. It is precisely the Christian theologians who mock with what faith embraces. They know the statements concerning the coming of the Lord, but they ridicule it. They ask what has happened with His coming that already has been announced for such a long time ago.

However, it is not a fair question, but a mocking question. They do not believe it, because they are modernists. It does not fit to their perception of the laws of nature. Scientifically, it is absolutely not possible that a dead person becomes alive, goes to heaven and then comes back. They indeed speak about “the beginning of creation”, but it is still the question if they also mean to say that God has created the earth in six days. By that they can just as much mean that God has let the universe exist through evolution. The foolishness of men who refuse to bow their knees to God’s Word, knows no limits.

V55For hen they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of water and by water,. Peter exposes the hidden cause of this ignorance. There is malevolence involved in this. These people are not willing to be familiar with God’s actions. It is a guilty, deliberate ignorance. They are, as it were, seeking a visible proof with their eyes closed. Foolish as they are, they deliberately distort the truth of how creation began. In their foolishness they try to explain the origin of life by the development of things. Ultimately, a little bit of common sense must absolutely lead to the conclusion that creation has been created by Someone outside and not by itself. Nevertheless, man seeks an explanation for the existence of the universe with the exclusion of God.

To the faith it is simple. Creation has come into being by an action of God and indeed by His Word (Heb 11:33By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.). He has spoken and it was done, “for He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa 33:99For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
). His Word is His power. By reading Genesis 1 you see that the earth was called by God to appear and then it exists in the midst of the waters.

V66through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.. The same Word of power that created the worlds, called the water to appear, in order to destroy the earth. Those same waters that surrounded the earth, came again over it through the flood. Also then there were mockers. Noah could say what he wanted and warn of the coming flood as an expression of God’s wrath, but also then the people waved his words aside. They simply did not believe in the possibility of an intervention of God in judgment and they mocked Noah because of his words. They did that “until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Lk 17:2727they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.). That was the end of their laughter. This is also what will happen to those who mockingly respond to the warning that another judgment is on the way. Christ will come to judge the world.

V77But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.. Peter even goes further and refers to the definite judgment. He points at the destruction of heaven and earth and the perdition of ungodly men. The former world was flooded with water, the present world will be destroyed with fire. For this definite judgment “the present heavens and the earth which are being reserved for fire”.

The doom of the world is not worked by man, although men and their behavior form the cause. The world is preserved by the same mighty Word of God as with which He has created the worlds. He is reserving everything until the day of the judgment. When unrighteousness has reached its peak He will execute the judgment. Nothing and nobody can prevent that.

V88But do not let this one [fact] escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.. The day of the judgment comes after the day of the Lord, meaning: the whole period that includes His appearance for the judgment and His government during the millennial kingdom of peace. The time for that has not come yet and sometimes it seems that the mockers are the right. But mind you that the aspect ‘time’ for God is not the same as it is for you and me. God surely takes our perception of time into account. He knows the duration of a day. Therefore He for instance shortens the days of the great tribulation that His own will have to suffer (Mt 24:2222Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.). But to God time doesn’t exist. With Him one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. ‘Do not forget this one thing’, Peter says. If you consider that, it will give you courage to persevere. Look at how God has worked through the ages. He sees the end from the start and that’s where He is up to.

V99The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.. The first argument, that it has always been like this and that therefore the promise of His coming cannot be true, has been refuted by referring to the flood. The second argument, that it already had been going on for so long, also has been refuted by referring to the ‘timeless’ God. But that is still one part of the response. The judgment is not only being delayed because time does not count for God, but also because He is longsuffering. It is absolutely no “slowness”, as some mockingly claim. Mockers have no idea that God for their sake has not sent the Lord Jesus yet.

People mock the love of God, while precisely that love restrains Him from judging them. Look at yourself. I do not know how old you are and for how long you have known the Lord Jesus. But assuming that you’ve known the Lord Jesus for three years already, just consider carefully where you would have been if the Lord Jesus had come four years ago. Aren’t you overwhelmed by the longsuffering of God? He did not want you to be perished, but that you’d come to conversion. That same longsuffering is what He is showing again and again towards people who would perish if the Lord would come now.

Now read 2 Peter 3:1-9 again.

Reflection: What is it that appeals to you in these verses?


Grow in Grace and Knowledge

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord [as] salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all [his] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

V1010But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.. When you read here about “the day of the Lord”, it is not meant a period of twenty four hours, but a longer period of time. A little further you read about “the day of God” (verse 1212looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!) and in the last verse of this chapter about “the day of eternity”. Needless to say that by that not days are meant as we know them. ‘The day of God’ is the period wherein God is in control and ‘the day of eternity’ is the day without an end. ‘The day of the Lord’ is a period wherein the Lord is in control.

At present man is still in control. That’s because satan is still the chief of the world and has power over man. There will come an end to that period and that end is very near. The day of the Lord begins when He appears on the clouds and radically beats down the resistance of man against Him and the henchmen of satan will be thrown in hell (Rev 19:11-2111And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it [is] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.12His eyes [are] a flame of fire, and on His head [are] many diadems; and He has a name written [on Him] which no one knows except Himself.13[He is] clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white [and] clean, were following Him on white horses.15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.). Then satan will be caught and thrown in the bottomless pit where he will be locked up for a thousand years (Rev 20:1-31Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.2And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;3and he threw him into the abyss, and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.). In that time the Lord Jesus will be reigning in righteousness and peace (Rev 20:4-64Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.).

The dawning of the day of the Lord will be completely unexpected and also undesired to the mockers and all godless people, just as it applies to the visit of a thief (Mt 24:4343But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.; 1Thes 5:2,42For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;; Rev 3:33So remember what you have received and heard; and keep [it], and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.; 16:1515(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)). That day will end with “intense heat” by which “the elements will be destroyed”. At the end of the millennial kingdom the great white throne, on which the Lord Jesus will be seated, will be established. When that happens, the earth and heaven will flee from Him (Rev 20:1111Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.). That will not happen noiseless, but with “a roar”.

All the elements of which heaven and earth were consisted and secured its existence, including all works that were ever done by people, will melt with fervent heat. Everything that man has built for his own glory and comfort, will appear to be fuel for the fire of God’s judgment. Nothing will remain hidden, nothing will remain unfindable for that fire. All wicked works and all wicked things “will be burned up” (cf. Jn 3:19-2019This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.20For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.). Everything that the flesh has ever put its trust in, will disappear forever.

V1111Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,. If you read it like this and make yourself aware of the content, it will activate you to a “holy conduct and godliness”, which is a Godly life. What Peter has just pictured is no more than a stirring up of a desire to live like that already, that sin in no way has any grip on any part your life. Besides, it is not a request, but you, who confess to be a child of God, ought to.

If everything dissolves (and that’s what indeed happens) what are you then living for? A holy conduct is a conduct separate from the world. Godliness means that you are focused on God’s honor in your life. Of course, there are a lot of things in life that are fun to do or to have. The world knows nothing better and cannot do any better than seeking for those things. Your position in this is being determined by your view on the future. Is it like Peter presents it here? Is it a reality for you that the day of the Lord is at hand (Jam 5:8-98You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.9Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.)? The answer to that is not to come out of your mouth, but by your way of living.

V1212looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!. Your life on earth and the things on earth are temporary. The things on earth will dissolve, but your life is standing in the perspective of “the coming of the day of God”. On the day of God there will be nothing else to be seen than God and everything that’s His (1Cor 15:2828When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.). You can expect that day. Your holy conduct and your godly life will stir up resistance and hostility of the world. That can only increase your desire for the day of God. You can reach out for that day, you can expect it.

Peter even speaks about the ‘hastening’ of that day. The exact meaning of that is not quite clear to me, but I have some thoughts about it. It may be that by looking forward intensely to that day, it will come sooner. The more you live in connection with God and doing His will, the sooner time will pass and in that way that day will also come sooner. Another thought is, that it may be that by your testimony people will come to conversion, whereby the last one will soon be added to the church. When the church is complete, the Lord Jesus will come and then the fulfilment begins of everything which Peter has talked about.

By itself, the moment of the dawning of the day of God has been established in God’s counsel (Mt 24:3636“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.). In His sovereignty, God also has determined in His counsels a place of the life of His own. It is the same as with praying. You may say that praying is useless, for everything happens anyway like God has determined it. Nevertheless you read several times that God answers prayers and grants pleas (Ezra 8:2323So we fasted and sought our God concerning this [matter], and He listened to our entreaty.). God has a place for the prayer of His own in His counsels. Therefore, in the same way you can, I believe, help in hastening the day of God by your way of life.

God Himself will let that day come by putting the heavens on fire and making the elements be melted. Still, you do not look forward to the final judgment, but to the day of God. It is necessary for the judgment to have taken place, so that the day of God may come.

V1313But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.. What you of course are looking forward to and what you are expecting is the fulfilment of the promise that there will be “new heavens and a new earth”. That is the moment that sin will be taken away from the world (Jn 1:2929The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!). Everything that reminds us of sin will then be removed. There will be absolutely no remembrance of that anymore. Everything will then completely be made new (Rev 21:1-51Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer [any] sea.2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be [any] death; there will no longer be [any] mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”). Then “righteousness” will “dwell” there. That means that righteousness has come to rest, for there is nothing more left for which justice needs to maintain.

Also in the millennial kingdom of peace there is a new heaven and a new earth (Isa 65:17-1817“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem [for] rejoicing
And her people [for] gladness.
). The curse will then be removed from creation which was brought on it through the sin of man (Rom 8:19-2219For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.). “The face of the ground” has been renewed (Psa 104:3030You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.
). There will be peace everywhere, for the King of peace will be reigning (Isa 9:5-65For every boot of the booted warrior in the [battle] tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
). Many prophecies speak about it (Isa 11:6-106And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
7Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.
10Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.
; 35:1-101The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
2It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the LORD,
The majesty of our God.
3Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
4Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come [with] vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”
5Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
6Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
7The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass [becomes] reeds and rushes.
8A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it [will] be for him who walks [that] way,
And fools will not wander [on it].
9No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk [there],
10And the ransomed of the LORD will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
). Still it is not the perfect condition. People can still sin, which will then directly be punished with death (Isa 65:2020“No longer will there be in it an infant [who lives but a few] days,
Or an old man who does not live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred
Will be [thought] accursed.
; Psa 101:88Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the LORD all those who do iniquity.
). Where the Lord Jesus reigns, righteousness dwells.

V1414Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,. If you look forward in that way to the new, the desire will be there to be diligent to meet the Lord in a condition that is in line with His heart. “Spotless” means that nothing of the old life, that is your life in sin, is to be found with you anymore. It is about you who do not maintain any old, sinful habits anymore. “Blameless” means that other people cannot blame you for anything anymore. Briefly said it means that the Lord Jesus is to be seen in your life. He was and is the perfect One without spot and Who is blameless.

Your efforts to meet the Lord like that will give you inner peace. Then He will not find you in a condition where you are quarreling with others. You will, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people (Rom 12:1818If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.).

V1515and regard the patience of our Lord [as] salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,. “The patience of our Lord” is not slackness or forgetfulness. He will really return. You do not need to think that He will forget you when He delays His coming for a longer time. Consider that His patience is “salvation”. You may keep in mind that as long as He doesn’t come He is seeking the salvation of sinners (1Pet 3:2020who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through [the] water.). When He comes to fetch you, then the time of grace will be definitely over.

To underline his teaching, Peter appeals to “our beloved brother Paul”. It is wonderful to see that Peter writes about Paul like that. You may recall that Peter once had been openly admonished by Paul (Gal 2:11-1411But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.12For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he [began] to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.13The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how [is it that] you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?). That did not cause Peter, as it appears here, to have any sense of a grudge or bitter feelings towards Paul. Paul was a wise admonisher and Peter had an obedient ear (Pro 25:1212[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
; 15:3131He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.
).

Peter reminds his readers that Paul too had written to them about longsuffering. He probably means the letter to the Hebrews. Also in other letters Paul wrote about it. He did that, Peter says, “according to the wisdom given him”. He fully acknowledges the ministry of Paul as a ministry that was given to him by the Lord. It is important that you too acknowledge each ministry that the Lord gives to another person and that you also see the wisdom of the Lord in them carrying out that ministry.

V1616as also in all [his] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.. Peter also takes note that “all letters” of Paul “speaking in them of these things” are a part of the Holy Scripture. With the words “as also the rest of the Scriptures” – which are the Scriptures of the Old Testament – he puts those letters on par with them.

Not everything that Paul has written is easy to understand. Even Peter had some difficulties with some things. What is hard to understand is therefore not untrue. That must never cause a person to justify his ignorance about the Word of God. Even more so, it must not cause anybody to “distort” it. Nonetheless it happens and indeed by “the untaught and unstable”. An ‘untaught person’ is somebody who has not learned, because he presumes to know everything better. He who trusts in himself is stupid. He is also ‘unstable’. Such a person has no security at all and wobbles through life. He is in fact very dangerous, for he is very eloquent and pretends to know everything. Such people are trying to get hold of you.

V1717You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,. But you are warned. You know everything “beforehand”. ‘Beware’, watch over yourself and over what you have become and have got in Christ. If you are not steadfast you run a great risk to be “carried away”. The “unprincipled men” are erring because they do not take account of God and His Word. Keep them at a distance. Do not consult them with your cares and need. They will only drag you away into their corrupt view on things with the result that you lose your “own steadfastness”. You will then wobble together with them and you will end up in destruction if you do not by mercy go back to God.

V1818but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.. In order to be kept from that you ought to grow spiritually. ‘To grow’ means to become mature and strong. You must grow “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. It is about you becoming more and more aware of the “grace” of the Lord Jesus, understanding it better and living in it more and more. Just consider it often that He is your Lord and Savior and how that did happen. To succeed in that you should read God’s Word. By reading God’s Word you also learn to know Him better, for also by growing in “knowledge” it’s all about Him, “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.

He alone is worthy of all glory, “now”, on earth in your life of suffering, and soon it will be “the day of eternity” that is when the everlasting perfection has come.

Now read 2 Peter 3:10-18 again.

Reflection: What efforts do you take to be found without spot and blameless when the Lord comes?