(2 Peter 3:1)
(2 Peter 3:1)
Unless we’re re-minded about things, they tend to settle at the back of our minds and lie dormant. New competing interests or concerns naturally come to the fore and dominate, which can easily become spiritually unhelpful worldly distractions. So it’s a good idea to refresh our minds regularly, with the really important ‘things’(Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1), to maintain a healthy mindset spiritually. That’s why Peter here was keen to remind his readers about some key truths, which they already knew ‘beforehand’(2 Peter 3:17). He’d declared earlier in this letter: ‘I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, though you know them… I think it right… to stir you up by reminding you’(2 Peter 1:12-13). So as he repeats in this study verse, his purpose was to ‘stir up’(2 Peter 3:1) his readers through this ‘reminding’, to keep their minds spiritually alert and swirling with wholesome Christian truths. In a similar way Paul wrote to the Romans that their minds should not be ‘conformed to this world, but… transformed by… renewing’(Romans 12:2), which also for them largely involved a ‘reminding’(Romans 15:15) about things they already knew, interestingly.
Our primary source for these reminders should be such scriptures, as Peter explains here: ‘you should remember the words… by the holy prophets and… of us, the apostles of the Lord’(2 Peter 3:2). For us these are now the Old and New Testaments, including this very letter, preserved so that we too ‘may always be able to remember these things’(2 Peter 1:15). As Peter explains further, the Old Testament arose when ‘holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit’(2 Peter 1:21), and this New Testament in the making came from similar ‘eyewitnesses’(2 Peter 1:16), like Peter, to ‘the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’(2 Peter 1:16). Peter regarded Paul’s writings as new ‘Scriptures’(2 Peter 3:16) too, and since this new testimony was a fulfilment of the old, it made the latter a ‘more sure word of prophecy’(2 Peter 1:19), i.e. confirmed it.
Even simply seeing scripture again like this is a useful reminder and encouragement to our faith, but what else was Peter keen for his readers, and us, to keep in mind?
Most importantly, he was keen for us to keep focused on foundational Christian truths, ‘the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’(2 Peter 3:18), taking care to avoid any ‘destructive’(2 Peter 2:1) novel teaching involving ‘forsaking the right way’(2 Peter 2:15). We’re to recount not reinvent truth, delighting in God’s ‘precious and exceedingly great promises’(2 Peter 1:4) rather than satisfying any dangerous ‘itching’(2 Timothy 4:3) after novelty. Peter’s other letter was strong on this too, full of reminders about core truths, like ‘it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy”’(1 Peter 1:16, cf. Leviticus 19:2), and the fact that we’ve been, ‘redeemed… with… the blood of Christ’(1 Peter 1:18-19), who, ‘bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness… healed by His wounds’(1 Peter 2:24, cf. Isaiah 53:5), ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God’(1 Peter 1:23), into ‘a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’(1 Peter 1:3).
Yet clearly Peter was not recommending stagnation! We’re to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord’(2 Peter 3:18), again as mentioned in his other letter, where he advised his readers to ‘long for the pure milk of the Word, that with it you may grow’(1 Peter 2:2). Here he reminds us that such ‘partakers of the divine nature’(2 Peter 1:4) should be growing in ‘faith… moral excellence… knowledge… self-control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly affection; and… love’(2 Peter 1:5-7), adding that otherwise we’re spiritually ‘blind… having forgotten… cleansing from… old sins’(2 Peter 1:9). Cleansing from sin should lead to healthy growth, if rightly taken in, which then confirms that our ‘calling and election’(2 Peter 1:10) is real.
A final reminder from Peter here is that we must remember to look up, keeping in view our ‘entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ’(2 Peter 1:11) and ‘“the promise of His coming’”(2 Peter 3:4). The latter might be a few days or a few millennia away, since as he adds: ‘don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’(2 Peter 3:8). Be ready!
So let’s constantly remind ourselves (including each other) about these things, where and whenever we ‘sit… walk… lie down, and… rise up’(Deuteronomy 6:7ff.), in every conceivable way that we can…
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