March 31 - 2 Peter 3:14-18

Monday, March 31, 2014

2 Peter 3:14-18 – Grow in Grace

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Peter uses the phrase "make every effort" several times in his letters. This is an intense effort … made with haste and with zeal. Sometimes I believe we would all understand scripture better if we had a clear understanding of the power behind the Greek text, because there are so many possibilities that open up once you read the author's words, rather than an English translation. Other times, the translation is helpful because it lends hundreds of years of scholarship to a particularly difficult interpretation.

However, when we read 'make every effort,' we skip over it. There isn't much impact. But Peter wants us to be zealous about holiness. He urges us to hurry and push forward to a life that finds us to be spotless, blameless and at peace with God. It isn't something to put off until tomorrow or until we die.

In the time of Constantine, baptism wasn't performed on a person until they were close to death because it was believed that if you were to sin after having been baptized, you would never be able to return to a life of holiness. The problem with that thinking was that a person could live as they wished throughout their lives and then be cleansed of all their sin when death approached. They didn't read scripture with quite the same interpretation that we do today. Peter tells us that we are to live in holiness right now and with great zeal.

Peter's quick comment regarding the letters of Paul is actually quite exciting to historians. This does tell us that Paul's letters were circulated throughout the churches. Paul writes to the church at Colossae, "And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea" (Colossians 4:16). Paul asked that his letters be shared, but this is the first piece of solid evidence that those letters were shared and that the early Church was building itself on the work of the people who were spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We all know that there are people who will never understand our passion for scripture or for the message of God's saving grace. Peter admonishes us to not get caught up in that, but to hold on to that message for our own stability. Be on your guard.

And grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. John 17:3 says, "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" and Paul writes to the Ephesians: "…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17).

Peter opened this letter by saying, "May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2).

Growing in grace binds us in the relationship we have with God. Growing in knowledge of Jesus is absolutely essential for us to live as Christians.