In Peter’s final words to the churches, we find him once again stressing the importance role of Scripture in the believer’s life. In the Bible, we have the wisdom of God. Though false teachers seek to twist and distort God’s Word, we are to remain steadfast in the truth, guarding ourselves from error and growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Peter moves toward the conclusion of his second letter, he continues to answer the questions being raised by false teachers, particularly questions concerning the timing of Christ’s return. In these thee verses, he bids us to understand God’s perspective of time, to recognize God’s sovereign purpose in bringing about the repentance of His people, and to anticipate the severity of God’s wrath when Christ comes again.
The doctrine of Christ’s return and God’s final judgment is one of the biblical doctrines that men love to deny. Since we know people like to accumulate teachers for themselves that preach in accordance with their own wicked desires, the market for false teachers who deny this doctrine is large and prosperous. It is true in our day, and it was true in Peter’s day. In 2 Peter 3:1-7, we see Peter return to a softer tone, but a no less poignant message as he turns his attention to this critical doctrine.
As he is preparing to leave this life for glory, one of the greatest concerns he has is protecting the church from wolves. So in these twelve and a half verses, we have Peter giving the church one of the clearest, strongest, and harshest descriptions of false teachers contained in the NT. He wants us to understand not only how dangerous they are, but how vile they are.
In this passage, we have Peter recounting biblical history as a means to assure us of God’s sovereign power to bring judgment and destruction upon sinners and false teachers whenever He so desires. But even as he recounts this history of judgment, he intertwines notes of God’s mercy in delivering the righteous. What we see modeled in in Peter’s words is true throughout the biblical record. Even in the most dire times, when the people are suffering and God’s wrath is being poured out, we see evidences of His grace and redemption shine through.
As Peter begins his final letter, it is clear that the era of the apostles was drawing to a close. Where was the church to turn when he was dead? Peter gives one very clear and resounding answer: THE BIBLE. He elevates Scripture above every other authority, including his own personal experience with the Lord. Scripture is the prophetic word made more sure, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and not the will of man. It also follows, then, that false teachers who seek to undermine or twist the word will face the severe judgment of God.
Up to this point in 2 Peter, the apostle has mentioned several times that his goal is for his fellow Christians to have a proper knowledge of God and the gospel. As we come to verse 16, Peter directs our attention to the source of the knowledge that he commends: The Word of God. Christ Himself is the sum of all truth and the gospel is His divine message of redemption that is to be proclaimed throughout all the earth. Thus, Scripture is to be our light in this life and fuel our hope of Christ’s return.
In this Father’s Day sermon, we have the Apostle Peter reflecting on his ministry. In light of his impending death, Peter explains that the desire of his heart and goal of his ministry is that the churches be firmly established in the faith. So as we walk through these four verses, we see in Peter’s words the heart of a man who cares deeply for the souls of his spiritual family. We also glean some practical applications for father’s seeking to lead their families spiritually.
When Peter instructs believers to make our calling and election sure, he is not giving us the responsibility of “signing off” on God’s sovereign work of redemption. God knows with absolute certainty who is saved and who is not because it is His work. Therefore, Peter’s focus here is our assurance of our salvation. We verify our salvation for ourselves by examining ourselves to make sure we are producing biblical fruit. In doing this, we keep ourselves from stumbling and prepare ourselves for the glory of heaven.
When we’re doing spring cleaning, we will often find that we have accumulated a lot of useless stuff that needs to be thrown out. But what is to be done with a “useless” Christian? In this passage of Scripture, we find Peter’s admonition to put on the virtues of godliness, and thereby evidence that we are both useful and fruitful in our walk of faith and kingdom service.