Friday, December 19. 2 Peter 1 – 3

I would never want to be accused of teaching “salvation by works,” but by the same token, the New Testament is fairly plain that some work is involved in our salvation, and that work must be done by us.

Perhaps no book is more adamant about this than 2 Peter. The apostle urges his readers to make their “calling and election” sure and conditions entry into the eternal kingdom upon growing in the traits of knowledge, self-control, kindness and love (to mention only a few – chapter 1).

In the last chapter, Peter urges Christians to “make every effort” to be found spotless and blameless, and to be on their guard lest they be carried away by the error of false teachers (and “bad behavers”).

Salvation is provided by God. Access is provided by God’s grace. It is entered by our faith. It is maintained by our efforts and God’s strengthening – but these latter two go together. God will not strengthen without our effort. The Christ-life is no cake-walk.

The final chapter contains a rebuke to those current theologians who poo poo the idea of a glorious heaven, insisting instead that what God intended is but a re-constituted earth wherein dwells righteousness. Peter is plain: this world as we know it will be destroyed. A new residence is being prepared and when we arrive, it will be, for us, a new heaven and new earth – but it decidedly will not be this one. The message is plain: don’t get attached to this life. One way or another, it will end. The point of this one is to prepare for the next one.

Reading Through the Bible, Monday, December 19. 2 Peter

    Second Peter focuses on two of Christianity’s basic challenges: is the gospel message reliable and is it unchangeable?  Peter provides evidence for its trustworthiness, and warns against trying to change it to make it more palatable to worldly tastes.  But he doesn’t end it there.  A trustworthy message is valueless if it makes no impact on the lives of the hearers.  One cannot do what one doesn’t know to do.  But knowing, and not being obedient, is the same as ignorance – and God will judge both.  There is no excuse for a Christian now knowing the will of God.  And even less for not being obedient.