2 Peter 3: 14-18
We are to wait, but we are not to be idle while we wait. We are to be involved and make every effort to know Him and make Him known. Consequently, we are to remain firm in our faith regardless of when He comes back. We do this actively with the contribution of our trust and assurance in Christ, making the most of what He has given us in His call, precepts, and opportunities. This means being pure and blameless in our obedience to and trust in Christ and being humble, the opposites of the character of the false teachers.
· Make every effort means for us to serve Christ with lives of holiness, being devoted to the worship and service of Him. This also means to be diligent in looking forward to Christ's Second Coming (Matt. 25:13; 1 Thess. 5:6, 8, 11; 2 Pet. 1:13-16).
· Spotless… blameless means to be at peace with him. This means that as Christians, we can have peace with God as a result of being justified by faith. By the same token, we can still sin, disappoint, and displease God even though we are saved. He calls us to live according to His requirements, and if we refuse, we need to take heed. Our salvation is secure but we are still accountable for our actions for we will receive commendation and rewards when He returns (Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 1:19).
· Patience means salvation. This reference indicates that instead of whining, complaining, and theorizing about when He will return, we should trust in God's timing and providence. It is because of God's patience that He has the will to save us, for we tempt His patience all of the time (Gen. 6). We are just in God's sight; we are just because He declares us so!
· Wisdom. Peter is stating the case; these are not his words but His words, because Paul's letters were inspired by God (Eph. 3:2-5; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 1:1).
· Hard to understand was not necessarily a demeaning statement, rather one of respect as meaning inspired and complex. In such matters, it is important we remain diligent to persevere in searching for better understanding. If we allow our emotions and first impressions to stop us, we will miss out on a lot that God has for us.
· Ignorant and unstable people. Ignorant refers to people who are not educated or refuse to learn and grow, such as Christians who have not been discipled and do not know the precepts of Jesus. Unstable refers to those who manipulate, perhaps are mentally ill or just scheming, whose thinking is twisted, and who seek to lead others away from sound teachings and God's Word.
· Distort/twist refers to misrepresenting and manipulating something so to make it what it is not. This is done by deliberately making a declaration of what it means when it really says otherwise-just to fit a personal or group agenda. This can also arise when we misinterpret God's Word from a lack of research and study, catering to a particular viewpoint without considering the merits of it, or being sloppy in our exegesis. The people in Peter's day were allegorizing (seeing the text as abstract thoughts for deliberation but not for application) Paul's words, and other Scriptures, muting the value and application of it. Today, we would call this liberalism.
· Other Scriptures refers to Paul's Epistles, possibly a copy of Romans, which was a circular letter to many churches, and/or possibly an early Gospel and that they are God's inspired, authoritative Word. This passage also testifies to Peter's acceptance of Paul's Apostleship, a testimony of unity in teaching and purpose (Rom. 1:1, 21; 16:4; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:1).
In Acts 13, the Church in Antioch was in a dilemma about who to send to the mission fields-to parts unknown and unclear. There were many gifted and qualified teachers to choose from, so they inquired of God who to send out. In their considerations, what was not pursued is as important as what was. They chose to send Paul and Barnabas. Their decision was authentically sought, as God was adored through worshiping, fasting, and prayer. This is "mission critical" for us to recognize the real work of the Holy Spirit. The results were from the Spirit's initiative and not from a planning or strategy session. The lesson for us today is that when leaders and churches worship God and not trends, God moves(1 Tim. 4:1-8, 14)! We are still called to plan, but God is to be first and foremost in our sights, and that starts with our humility (Col. 1:18; 1 Peter 5).
Humility was not a virtue in the pagan world of Peter's day, just like it is not a virtue today. Humble people today get mocked and trampled by the media and society. They're called wimps by the world. This is the day of the macho, rugged individual who does not need anyone, and who steps on anyone who gets in the way. Humility was no virtue. Humility was for the weak and cowardly. Humility is what Christ wore as an apron of a servant to show how He came to serve (John 13:2-17). Our apron will keep our ministry, one another, and us clean, so put on the one-size-fits-all garment of humble service. Put on the apron of the slave. We should all be slaves in Christ if we are to be mature in Christ. We are called to tie humility on ourselves with a knot or a bow as a covering, so that it is tight and will not fall off-an attitude that we are not too good to serve others!
1. What are you hopeful for or looking forward to?
2. How does it make you feel knowing that God is involved and that He indeed does intervene and care for you?
3. How can knowing that God cares help you trust in Christ more? What would your life look like with this working more effectively?
4. Why is it important to have a basis upon which to build a morality?
5. How do you tempt God's patience?
6. What does it mean to your faith that God is patient with you more than you can fathom? That He saves you even though you tempt His patience all of the time?
7. Growing is an ongoing experience that should never stop. Why is this true? Why would a Christian think otherwise?
8. How can you balance being curious with being hopeful so you do not diverge into obsession, impatience, or sensationalism regarding Christ's Second Coming?
9. How can you make the most of what Christ has given? When will you do this?
10. Now, how would you respond to make every effort? What are you going to do about becoming better in your faith in response to these questions from our Lord?
© 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org