Day 336: Peter’s final hope

Psalm 133-136; 2 Peter 3
(Psalm 132 was read on Day 273)

Psalm 136 recounts the history of God’s people from creation to bringing Israel out of Egypt and leading them through the wilderness to giving them the Promised Land.

We, in the modern church age, are still living in the middle of God’s redemptive history. For history is “His-Story” to gather a people for Himself. This story will culminate in Christ’s return! This is the hope which Peter reminds his beloved churches.

Even though it seems that Christ has delayed his returning, Peter assures the church that God’s timing is different from our own, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (3:8). He also assures the church that God’s delay is a sign of his mercy – “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (3:9).

So we must not be lulled into thinking that Christ will not return. NO! He will return as a thief in the night. We must be diligent to live a life that is ready for his return.

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (2 Peter 3:13-14).

These are the final words of Peter – his last recorded thoughts before his execution. He wrote of God’s grace and the church’s proper response to such grace. He wrote of God’s sovereignty and the church’s responsibility to strive for holiness. He wrote of his hope of Christ’s return and our role in “hastening” his return by proclaiming the gospel message so all may repent (3:12).

Ultimately, Peter wrote about Christ, in which all his hope rested. Christ’s glory was Peter’s final hope, and it should be our’s as well…

To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Day 335: Peter’s final warning

Psalms 124, 127, 130, 131; 2 Peter 2
(Psalms 125, 126, 127 & 128 were read on Day 272)

Peter continues his warning against false teachers in 2 Peter 2. He goes into great detail describing the characteristics of false teachers, and unsurprisingly, false teachers of today display these same attributes!

…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words (2 Peter 2:1-3).

False teachers throughout the ages have been characterized by sexual sin, a lust for money and dishonesty. Peter’s words are just as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago!

So we, too, must be encouraged by Peter’s logical progression in verses 4-8 which proves that God protects His true children in all circumstances.

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials (2 Peter 2:9).

Our God is strong to save. He is faithful to protect His children from false teachers and persecution. He is able.

There is a mysterious balance in living this Christian life. It’s like two sides of one coin. On one side is God’s absolute sovereignty, He will protect His children. He will save. He will sanctify. But on the other side of the coin is man’s responsibility to persevere in faith through a godly lifestyle and seeking after Him through prayer and obedience.

We are not to sit idly and let the world’s ways and ideas bash and mold us. No! We are to wholeheartedly seek after God’s word and ways. It takes great effort and diligence to walk the narrow path of obedience in this evil world!

But as we strive, we do not strive out of fear of judgment – we strive to obey because we are saved, because we are loved, because he equips us in every way for “life and godliness.”

If we live in acknowledgment of both sides of the coin…that is, if we live humbly in the knowledge of God’s sovereignty and live purposefully as we strive to live obedient and godly lives – the result will be a calm and quiet soul.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high; (a sign of humility)
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me. (a sign of trust)
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 131)

This is what true Christianity should look like to the world…a calm and quiet soul. A soul which rests in God’s grace as it strives to be obedient, a soul which hopes in God’s eternal promises, and a soul which loves unreservedly. This is the mark of a Christian. This is the mark of Christ.

Day 334: Peter’s final words

Psalm 120-122; 2 Peter 1
(Psalm 123 was read on Day 229)

This is Peter’s last known correspondence before his execution. He wrote 2 Peter while he was imprisoned in Rome – awaiting death.

It’s fascinating to me to read a man’s thoughts as he is preparing to die. What truths did he want to convey? If you were facing death, what instructions would you leave behind for others to follow? I imagine your final words would reveal the most important pursuits of your life. What did Peter consider important as he wrote this final letter?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Peter begins his letter with a fullness that could only be obtained through Jesus. Peter is facing death – yet he writes about “life & godliness.” His tone is hopeful – hopeful – as he awaits his execution!

His thoughts are other-centered. He is not concerned for his future. No! He is concerned for the church. He instructs the church to “make every effort” and to “be diligent” to pursue qualities (vs. 5-9) that lead to “life and godliness.”

He then gives the church tools to combat doubt and false teaching. He reminds them of his eye-witness authority – his apostolic authority (vs. 16). He tells, again, the account of the Transfiguration, assuring the church that Jesus was no myth – but real and true and full of majesty (vs. 17-18). But most importantly, Peter points to Scripture itself – that no prophecy is man-made, but is inspired and faithfully fulfilled by God (vs. 19-21)!

What an amazing testimony from a man facing imminent death! He has walked with Jesus, touched him, eaten with him, seen the Glory of the Transfiguration, denied him, been restored by him, helped by him, empowered by him. And now he is waiting to be reunited with him.

Oh the depths of the love of God for us, His children. We would do well to heed Peter’s words and make every effort to walk in a manner worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand (Psalm 121:1-2; 5).