Destructive Untruth

The gospel story of which Pete is writing about is true – it’s based on historical facts, eyewitness accounts, and fulfilled prophecies. Peter wants his readers to be firmly planted in this truth and understand why it is true. This is so because he knows people will come into the church with lies and made-up stories. Their teachings will contradict the truth of the gospel and threaten to destroy the unity and witness of God’s people. With this in mind, Peter gives his readers a clear and urgent warning against these false teachings.

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Eyewitnesses of His Majesty

Peter’s passion for the gospel is evident as he begins his letter and explains the power and love we possess in Jesus Christ to live transformed lives. He uses strong, bold language (e.g. “make every effort” or “be all the more eager”) and emphasizes how he wants his readers to remember all that he is teaching them. But passion and sincerity do not equal the truth, and Peter knows that. Later in his letter he will speak about false teachers who are bold in their preaching and make grand promises, but who are empty and vile. They have passion, but for all the wrong reasons. So, before Peter continues, he gives reasons why his passionate words are also true. Consider what he says in verse 16:

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Reminders

We are by nature sinners. That’s why the apostle Paul writes to the church at Ephesus that we are “by nature children of wrath.” Our hearts are bent towards the desires of the flesh, not the will of God. Without any correction, our hearts will always default to sin – doing the opposite of what God has commanded.

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Adding to Faith

The beginning of Peter’s second letter makes it clear that in God we lack nothing. Through Christ, we are given “everything we need for life and godliness.” Because of this reality we are called to mature and increase in faith and the fruit of the Spirit. As it is sometimes put: God has made you holy, so go and be holy. Or as Peter might phrase it: God has chosen you, so go and “make your calling and election sure.”

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From Called to Glorified

You may be familiar with the “golden chain of salvation” as Paul lays it out in Romans 8:28-30 – foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. It is a helpful way think about how God actually works out salvation in our lives. Romans 8 is certainly not the only place in Scripture where we find a “chain of salvation”. Another helpful passage is 2 Peter 1:1-11. Peter doesn’t neatly lay out all the steps in one compact verse, but if we spend a bit of time with these verses, we can identify at least six steps. First, take a minute to read the passage for yourself:

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Making the Most of the Time

Discerning the times is a difficult task when one is living in the midst of them. It can be like driving in a big city without a map to orient yourself to your surroundings. Likewise, when we stand in the middle of history as it is happening, we don’t have access to the map which tells us how our present moment fits into the big-picture. Since our present moment is a complicated mess of events it can quickly become disorienting, much like the maze of skyscrapers in the big city. We find ourselves asking questions like: What will our country look like in five years? Is severe persecution in the future for the church in the West? Will our freedoms be stripped in the name of progress?

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Turning the Cheek

Nobody likes being treated unfairly. When we see injustice in the world it can be easy to turn the other way, but when it happens to us, it’s nearly impossible to ignore. The sense of being treated unfairly draws out feelings of anger and outrage otherwise kept at bay. The urge to retaliate against a personal injustice begins already as children. What child enjoys seeing all his friends get a chocolate but not himself? Where is the child who is willing to take the blame for what her brother did wrong?

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Grace in a Graceless World

If anything has become clear in the last while, it is that our society does not understand grace. In an age filled to the brim with violence, injustice, anger, confusion, and the like, grace is needed more than ever. But grace is in short supply. Rummage the pages of the newspaper, flip through the news channels, or take a scroll among the Facebook comments – wherever you look you’ll be hard-pressed to find grace.

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Impossible Faith – Part 3

This is part 3 of a series on the impossible faith of the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11. Find part one here, and part two here.

Daniel

Daniel was given a clear choice – obey the king or obey God. There was no confusion over what King Darius’ decree meant or what God’s will required. There were no fuzzy grey areas or possible loopholes. Either Daniel obeyed the king and ceased praying for the next thirty days or he obeyed God and prayed anyway. To obey the king was clear disobedience to God and to obey God was clear disobedience to the king.

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