The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
July 3, 2011


1) 2 Peter 1:10-15 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes


2 Peter 1:10-15
by Tom Edwards

Last week, we considered the virtues that need to be diligently added to our faith, as mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-9: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  For what good would our faith be if we lacked these qualities?  As Peter shows in verse 9, to lack these would make the Christian "blind or short-sighted."  

Therefore, in view of that possibility, Peter exhorts the brethren with the following instruction: "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Pet. 1:10,11).  This is an excellent passage to point out the need for man's compliance with God's plan of salvation: For it is not all entirely up to the Lord.  Therefore, by submitting to His commands, we can make our calling and election sure; and, as we have seen, if we do not do that, we would lose out on heaven itself.  For as Peter shows in verse 11, "for in this way [that way of making our calling and election sure by diligently practicing those virtues] the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."

It was in obedience to the gospel that we were put into God's kingdom, the church.  As Paul shows in Colossians 1:13, God has "...delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son."  And John speaks of being in the kingdom in Revelation 1:9, "I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus."  But now Peter exhorts the brethren to live in such a way that they will gain access to that "eternal kingdom" (in heaven itself).  So, throughout this life, we must continue to strive for that ultimate goal of eternal bliss in that heavenly abode where God dwells.  

After speaking in the previous verses of the need to add those specific virtues to our faith, in order that we may strive to make our calling and election sure, Peter then states in 2 Peter 1:12, "Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you."  To be reminded is not to learn something new, but to draw our attention to that which we already know, but need to reflect on.  The need for reminders, along with the benefit of them, is seen in several places of the Scriptures.  For instance, Paul states in Philippians 3:1,  "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you."   So it was to their advantage to hear again that which they had already known.  For in this case, it was that which could protect or defend them.  One of the reasons why Jude urged the brethren to "contend earnestly for the faith" was due to the false teachers that could lead Christians astray.  And to illustrate that possibility, Jude went on by saying in Jude 1:5, "Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe."  Jude then also reminded them of the angels that abandoned their proper abode (v. 6), the destruction incurred by the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them (v. 7).  He mentioned "the way of Cain," "the error of Balaam," and "the rebellion of Korah" (v. 11). Yes, they needed to remember those who had fallen away in time's past -- even those fallen angels -- and not be like them.  This is also what the Hebrew writer warns about in Hebrews 2:1, "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it."  He then goes on to say in Hebrews 2:2,3,  "For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?"  So we are sometimes reminded of what not to do through the examples of those who had fallen into sin.  Another reference to this can be seen in 1 Corinthians 10.  Here, Paul speaks of Israel of old whom the Lord brought out of Egyptian bondage, with the cloud of God above, and the parting of the Red Sea, of their spiritual affiliation with Moses and with the Lord, as they all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; yet, with most of them, God was not well-pleased.  Rather, they were destroyed in the wilderness due to their sin.  Paul even cites some of their specific sins: they "craved evil things"; they were "idolaters"; they "acted immorally" (and 23,000 fell in one day, as a result); they tried the Lord (in the sense of testing or tempting) and were destroyed by serpents; and they "grumbled" (and were destroyed by the destroyer).  Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 10:6 that "these things happened as examples for  us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved" -- nor commit the other sins that we just considered.  He then repeats this and gives a conclusion in 1 Corinthians 10:11,12: "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall."  Another thing we can point out about these examples is that since they are examples for us of what we are not to do, then they are not merely something that we are to learn once and forget about; rather, we need to remind ourselves, from time to time, of Bible examples of this nature.  They are for our good.  

Even those who know the Bible completely, sometimes still need to be reminded.  Consider, for instance, what Paul said about the Roman brethren in Romans 15:14,15: "And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.  But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God."

Sometimes we can learn much by simply remembering the lives of certain individuals.  This is certainly true when it comes to reflecting on the life of the apostle Paul.  For instance, 1 Corinthians 4:15-17: "For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.  Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.  For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church."  The gospel that Paul taught was also what he lived by.  An examination of his life, therefore, would be a look at God's word being manifest in the life of a faithful follower.  In 2 Timothy 2, Paul exhorts Timothy to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," to "Suffer hardship...as a good soldier of Christ Jesus," to be truly dedicated toward serving the Lord, and doing so according to the rules, to "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead," to know that "if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us...."    Paul then goes on to say in 2 Timothy 2:14, "Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers."  The "them" of this passage refers back to those "faithful men" of verse 2, whom Titus was to "entrust" with the gospel, that they "will be able to teach others also."   Paul also instructed Titus to remind the brethren of certain things that would make them good citizens and better people, in general, in Titus 3:1,2.  He states, "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men."  Since they are to be reminded, then they already know these things; but sometimes the reminder itself can be an encouragement and help rouse determination, commitment, and zeal.  Compare also 2 Peter 3:1,2: "This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles."

Even the Holy Spirit served in reminding the apostles of those things they needed to refresh their minds with.  In John 14:26, the same Greek that is translated as "remind" in 2 Peter 1:10 is also used, but rendered with the phrase "bring to your remembrance."  The verse states, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."  This was one of the Lord's promises to the apostles.  

Sometimes what we have already learned might make even more of an impression upon us when we recall it at a different time.  I would imagine, for instance, that such was the case of Peter in Luke 22:61,62, after he had just finished denying his Lord three times and the rooster crowed.  The passage says, "The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, 'Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.'  And he went out and wept bitterly."  How deeply the words of Christ must have now penetrated Peter's soul, as he remembered them.  For before his denial, it appears that Peter had just brushed off those words, thinking that surely he would never deny his Lord.

In 2 Peter 1:12, Peter refers to these brethren whom is addressing as having been "established in the truth."  They were not merely those who had heard about the Lord and knew some about the gospel, but they had become a part of the Lord and His truth.  For they accepted God's word by faith and obedience; and, as a result, they now had Jesus as their sure foundation and were made a part of the church, the Lord's spiritual kingdom.  

The Greek word for "established," in this verse, is "sterizo," which Thayer defines as "1) to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix  2) to strengthen, make firm...."  The same Greek word is also seen in these following passages: "Now to Him who is able to ESTABLISH you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past" (Rom. 16:25).   In 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, Paul's desire for the brethren was that God would "cause you to increase and abound in love for one another...so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness...."  In 2 Thessalonians 3:3, the same Greek word is translated as "strengthened" and is used in regards to what God will do for His follower.  Paul writes, "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."  Of course, we must cooperate with God so that this may be so.  

So though these brethren whom Peter is addressing already knew the truth he was teaching and were established in that, he still saw the need to remind them of certain things.  And his attitude toward doing that can also been seen in the next passage -- 2 Peter 1:13-15: "And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind."  Peter viewed his reminding the brethren as being a "right" thing to do.  For it was a way of "stirring" them up.  "Stir," by the way, comes from the Greek word "diegeiro," which Strong defines as "to arouse completely"; "to wake fully, that is, arouse (literally or figuratively)."

The apostle also saw an urgency in reminding them, knowing that his own life was soon coming to an end.  And this was not a mere intuition or just some feeling that he had, but the Lord had actually made this known to Peter that his departure was at hand.  Do we have recorded for us in the Scriptures of any time in which the Lord had anything to say to Peter about his death?  Yes.  John 21:18,19, "'Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.'  Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me!'"  Though we do not read of a time element here -- other than it would take place "when you grow old," the Lord had apparently revealed to Peter the nearness of his demise prior to his writing 2 Peter.  For, by that time, Peter then knew that his remaining life on earth would be short.  

So Peter focused on what would be a most important thing he could do -- and that is to encourage the brethren to serve the Lord,  and to instill within them the desire to always do that, so that after Peter was gone, his influence would continue to exhort the brethren toward living that life of godliness.  In a similar fashion, we are reminded, for instance, what the Bible says about Abel in Hebrews 11:4 that "...though he is dead, he still speaks."  And, sometimes it is even people who lived hundreds of years ago, whom we do not even know by name; but even they still speak.  For example, what about Acts 8:4?  It declares, "Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word."  We are not told who all of these Christians are, but we are still encouraged -- even today -- by what they did.  Their faith and dedication to the Lord continues to speak to us and motivate us toward doing likewise.  

Peter speaks of the time of his passing as a "departure."  The Greek word is used only three times in the NT.  It is "exodos."  Thayer gives several definitions of it: "1) exit, i.e. departure  2) the close of one's career, one's final fate  3) departure from life, decease."  In Hebrews 11:22, it is transliterated as "exodus," and refers to that time when Israel departed from Egyptian bondage.  The verse states, "By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones."  It is also translated twice in the NASB as "departure," such as in our text under consideration (2 Peter 1:15) and Luke 9:31.  Notice how it is used in this latter verse with regard to the Lord: "who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem."  The those who were speaking with Jesus here were Moses and Elijah at the Mount of Transfiguration.  They had both also departed this life, but were still very much alive in spirit.  As in the exodus of Israel, not only were they departing from a place, but they were also seeking to enter another place.  Even so, Christ did not merely exit this world, but also ascended to that greatest of all realms of heaven itself.  To all who exit this life, there will be the entering into another realm; and what that realm will be -- whether bliss or agony -- depends on whether we make Jesus our Savior and Lord or not, while here on earth.  Choose wisely, and live toward keeping that commitment, and you will be eternally grateful!  


News & Notes

For those of us who are Christians, let us continue praying for the following people:

Danny Holton, who has pancreatic cancer in the 4th stage. 

Dottie Newcomb and her 7-year-old grandson Caleb Newcome who were involved in a recent 3-wheeler motorbike accident that put them both in trauma hospitals in Memphis.

Bill Barfield, who has prostate cancer.  He is 85 and doing poorly.  Since his stroke 11 years ago, he has not been able to walk very well and seldom has been out of his house over the last couple months -- and, then, just mainly for doctor appointments. 

Anthony Branton, Ken Robertson's nephew, who recently had surgery in New Orleans for Crohn's disease, which resulted in the removal of his entire large intestine.  He is only 28.

Bill Holt, who has been in the hospital the last several days, due to intense pain, which is thought to be caused by a stone in his pancreas. 

R.J. Evans,
who is being treated with antibiotics to try to lower his PSA level (which can be indicative toward prostate cancer). 

Cheryl Crews, who has been having various health problems -- and even more so, over the last couple months.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Park Forest

9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA  70817
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Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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