It seems that part of the false teaching that Peter was addressing in 2 Peter 3:1-7 concerned the return of Christ. It appears that the false teachers were denying that this would ever happen. In these verses Peter sought to fan into flame the hope that has always belonged to the people of God.
By writing to his readers about the dangers of false teaching, the Apostle Peter had in mind the health of the church. For not only did he write to encourage his readers in the truth, he also wrote to expose his readers to the false and ungodly lives of those who taught error. It’s these warnings that make his words all the more applicable to today’s church in the world.
When Jesus sat down in the Upper Room with his disciples in Mark 14:12-25, there was so much going on, and all of it was leading to and pointing to the cross. Yet also in the Last Supper we meet the very basis of the Lord’s Supper which also points to Him and to the cross.
In 2 Peter 2:1-10a, the apostle Peter struck hard at the false teachers who were attempting to ruin the faith and understanding of his readers. After encouraging them in the first chapter to build themselves up with the right use of knowledge, this second chapter warns them of those who make the wrong use of knowledge and of course, the need for clear and sharp discernment.
Given the circumstances of those to whom Peter wrote his second letter, it’s not hard to see that in 2 Peter 1:12-21, the apostle wrote as he did. The false teachers were undermining his authority as an appointed apostle of the Lord and also downplaying the divinity of Jesus. In these verses, Peter puts them in their place and highlights something of his own first-hand experience as an eye and earwitness of the glory of Jesus and the certainty of God’s Word.
In the next verses of 2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter builds on his introduction concerning the overwhelming grace of God, to remind his hearers that this grace demands a response. We are to grow in that grace and become more like Christ and do that so that we may be effective in our life and witness as His people.
The text of 2 Peter 1:1-4 gives us a wonderful insight into the life of the church of the first century when the apostles were alive. False teachers were the order of the day and God’s people needed to know what was right and what was wrong. In these first 4 verses, Peter makes it clear that God’s Word can be trusted and that moving away from the solid foundation of the grace of God is a dangerous thing to do.
Following Australia Day, Rev Keith Bell preached from the Bible the encouragement for people everywhere to honour God, not be ashamed of Jesus and to ‘stand in the breach’.