Notes from Truly Knowing Him: a series in 2 Peter (pts 2-4) by Andrew Farley

There are opponents to the Gospel, and in 2 Peter, the apostle aims to address them, to shoot them down. Even back then there have been ‘posers’, adding their own manuscripts and words to the Gospel, for their own motives and for their own intentions.
It is because of this that Peter assures the reader of where his Word comes from, and he asserts his eyewitness account. He says this versus every false word that has come, i.e. lies about the childhood of Jesus, and ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ ‘gospels.’
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 2Pe 1:16-17
Immediately after Peter’s statement on his legitimacy, he goes straight to the Sonship and Identity of Jesus Christ (v17); Peter prioritizes the recognition of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, as was brought up to him by the power of none other than the Holy Spirit.
We like to misinterpret the ‘narrow gate’ that is mentioned, as if it is made narrow because it takes effort on our part to get through it – but this is far from the Truth, which points out that it is narrow only because it is by only one Savior that we can get through it – none other than Jesus Christ.
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 2Pe 1:18-19
The prophetic word spoken here isn’t as deep as we were raised to like to hear, as if it ought to always be 100 years ahead of its time… but all Peter mentioned here was the fact, the Truth that Jesus Christ is the beloved Son of God, with whom He is well pleased. And it’s made that simple, it’s mentioned that simply, that we would see it as a light in a dark place…
And we would do well to observe it, and to keep our eyes set on this word as it rises not just from the outside, but in our hearts as well. It’s that simple. It starts with us really understanding who Christ is, passing through the ‘narrow gate’ of recognizing and understanding that He is the Son of God and He is who He says He is…
…This is why it’s called ‘Christ’ianity; it’s not about how we do and how we are morally straight before the world, lest we call it a religion of morality that happens to be called Christianity. It’s not about rules! It’s about letting the light that is Christ ruling in our lives.. and this is the Truth that we graduate into, from placing the focus on our performance and on our words and on our thinking.
This eliminates any talk we used to wallow in, where we state that we ‘walk away from the Lord’ (versus Christ saying that He would never leave nor forsake us)… where we state that we ‘backslide’ (to this Ptr Farley says He slides with us because He is with us permanently!)
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2Pe 1:20-21
This was not a word that was ‘figured out’ by man; this is not a word that we ought to play with; we don’t go in and say that Christ’s sonship is metaphorical, or just a ‘spiritual interpretation’ – no, this is the Truth breathed out to us by the Holy Spirit, or it is just another religion! No, we stand upon the Word that Christ is the Son of God, He is the Messiah!
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as 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. 2Pe 2:1
As there have been false prophets in the Old Testament, there have been false teachers in the New Testament… and as those of Old, these false teachers spread their destructive heresies, the operative word being ‘destructive’ – They peddle the Law of God and call it the One thing, cheapening the value of the Law and bringing it down to the level of religion, making Christianity just like any other man-made doctrinal religion, leading people NOT to peace and freedom but destruction!
Compare this to the life and the peace we have in Christ and by His finished work – God has a permanent smile towards us because of Christ – THIS gives us hope, THIS gives us peace, and THIS gives us life, NOT the heresies which state that we don’t have enough and we can do it on top of Christ’s finished work.
Be vigilant, because these false teachers are as subtle as they are destructive – making their religious doctrines sound like Christianity – but we ought to understand that we have been established in Truth, and the Truth sets us free of even these flowery deceits. They preach destruction in secret and sneaky approaches, ultimately denying the absolute identity of Christ.
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. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2Pe 2:2-3
It never fails – as money has been the draw of false teachers today, so it apparently has been in the past, where the name of Jesus Christ is used not in recognition of His life and our salvation through Him, but for the sole purpose of… guess what? Money.
When we start promising people a cash return on their investment in the Gospel, we’ve missed the point entirely. But this has been the modus of false teachers then as much as it is seen even today. It’s so destructive, so sick in the sense that we relate to God through this not as a Father who loves us, but as a Slot Machine, a Banker who keeps tabs and records of debt.
They were speaking with greedy motivations, and telling them that they could do what they feel like doing… however, Peter has something to say about the destiny of these false teachers who bring God down to being a wish-granter, or someone we can demand service from depending on our money and works:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. 2Pe 2:4-10
For the most part, Christians may be uncomfortable declaring that they are righteous – and indeed, by our own efforts we are not made righteous – but Christ, by His finished work, has his righteous life birthed and set alight in us, and as He was raised from the dead, so we have been born again, perfectly righteous – not by what we do, but by what Christ has done.
We were born condemned, but now by Christ we have been reborn: Blameless, Righteous, and Godly, as Christ is blameless, righteous, and Godly.  Our blamelessness is a gift, our innocence is free. We have been cleansed of all unrighteousness, and therefore we have been made righteous, fully righteous!
And so in trial, and in temptation, we know that God knows how to rescue those of us who have responded to who Jesus Christ truly is.
 
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 2Pe 2:10-17
This describes those who reject Christ and lead people away from Christ. Do not be deceived and do not take this word for yourselves, if you know that you have been made righteous by Christ. Know how to differentiate what word pertains to who in the Gospel.
We have closeness. Christ is as close to us as He could ever be, and this will never change, regardless of what we feel.
The comparison of false teachers and Christians that may have been misled has to be emphasized because for the most part portions of 2 Peter have been used by many today as ‘proof’ that a Christian can lose his or her salvation.
So there are false teachers, and there are Christians to be observed in the next set of passages.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as 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 destructionAnd many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed…  2Pe 2:1-2
 
There will be people who, being in the Truth, will jump into murky legalism and/or downright sin (their sensuality). They are still in the Truth, but by their ‘shaken-ness’ they bring others to shaky ground as well. Does this mean that they are lost?
 
the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment 2Pe 2:9
Differentiate between those who have once been made righteous by faith in Christ, to the unrighteous (never made righteous before) who were never saved, rejecting Christ and the persuasions of the Spirit to believe in Christ.
suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with youThey have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. 2Pe 2:13-14
We can be tricked or believing in Christ at any given moment.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved2Pe 2:17
 
What we have seen so far:
Group 1: False teachers, destructive heretics, the unrighteous, stains and blemishes, adulterers, springs without water
 
Group 2: ‘many will follow’, Godly, you, unstable souls, enticed
 
In this world, we are still open to every thought and every wind that comes our way. The accuser likes to magnify this unstable-ness, but as we grow and live in Christ, we understand that we have more than just souls, but a Spirit of power, love, and, most importantly, sound judgment.
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 2Pe 2:18
 
Group 1 LIVES in error. They relish in sin without any consequences. Group 2 understands that they are new creations and no matter how hard they try to jump into sin.. it isn’t a perfect fit.
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 2Pe 2:19
 
Whoever has died with Christ has been set free of sin. We used to be enslaved by sin. We are free, while Group 1 are still slaves of corruption.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 2Pe 2:20
This verse refers to Christians who have lost peace and contentment; This is hardly a verse to contend that Christians can lose their salvation. You end up worse than you were because you are trying to force yourself back into a spot that you have absolutely been taken out of!
 
For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2Pe 2:21
 
The holy commandment referred to here is NOT the Mosaic law but the new commandment as mentioned by Christ, a new and better and peaceful way, to love one another. We would do well to serve as counsel to one another and to remind them that the life we have in Christ is the best life we could ever have, with true liberty and contentment.
There is nothing like the fruit of the Spirit being produced in you; in Christ, you were taken out of the design to sin and to revel in sin; in Christ, you were created to function in the Spirit, to bear love, peace, patience, etc. by your connection in Christ.
What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2Pe 2:22
 
People can remain as Children of God by Christ, but their insistence in returning into sin and therefore into something that they no longer are brings them down to being mere dogs and pigs.
They don’t lose their salvation, but they certainly lose contentment and fulfillment. This, in my perspective, is Peter’s vehement reminder that in Christ, we are capable of so much more than just avoiding the sin that once enslaved us. In Christ, we have been set free to perfect love, and to therefore live without fear.
There is hope in every moment. Remember, the Lord knows how to rescue the Godly. He is able and ready to rescue us from a stupid decision. He lives in you, and He is willing to rescure you!
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2Pe 3:1-4
Put it all together and the point of these false teachers is, ‘do whatever you want, follow your sensual desires, because Jesus Christ isn’t coming back anyway.’ 
 
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God 2Pe 3:5
 
They deny things as specific as the great flood, calling it allegory or symbolic. Here, Peter is saying that the flood is as literal and actual as the Truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2Pe 3:8
 
God invented time, and seeing as our life of probably 70-80 years in average is such an insignificant bit in the face of forever, we would do well to respect the absolute perfection and glory of God, further amplified and clarified by and through Jesus Christ.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2Pe 3:9
 
Salvation is NOT for a select group… His heart is being shown here, where He wishes that ALL should reach repentance.
 Conclusion:
Peter viewed the flood as literal. The Lord is not slow. God wants everyone to believe. 
 
 

So far, what we have seen in 2 Peter is that there is a false gospel that adds something to Christ, or misinterprets freedom as freedom to sin because of grace.

Peter immediately defines the true Gospel as one that emphasizes Christ’s identity and finished work leading to grace and peace. When we truly know God through Jesus Christ, it’s grace and peace through and through, all the way. This is not grace and peace which is limited to emotions; it’s a consistent peace towards Him, because of His absolute grace towards us.

We ought to be on guard because on one end we could start off with good news, but then we could go to mediocre news, and eventually bad news. Like we start off with saying that God loves you, but then we say we need to ‘maintain’ this love with our efforts, and then eventually through this we can assert that we could lose our salvation.

The cure of avoiding all this is, primarily, to always believe that we are totally forgiven of all our sins. We say again: Because of Christ’s finished work, our sins have been totally forgiven, and contrary to our Bible-belt claim that this is something we could abuse by sinning more, we would actually act and our mentality would change, in celebration of our forgiveness. Our mentalities (mind) would change, our attitudes would follow, and transformation ensues.

God’s grace is more than just forgiveness, but actual equipping. So by God’s grace, knowing God’s goodness and fullness towards us, the bad burdens have been taken out, and now we are fully equipped with all we need towards grace and peace, which is Jesus Christ.

If we’re grace creatures, we need grace fuel.

Peter goes on to describe false teachers, who basically preach and peddle false freedom, which actually leads to bondage and a lack or absence of contentment and peace. These false teachers mock the return of Christ, and by their words many have been deceived to believe they lose their salvation when technically they have only lost their contentment.

Jesus Christ has the market cornered on contentment. There is no other Truth that provides contentment, away from Jesus Christ. We see that the richness of His Spirit, and His character is all we need. We may run with this for the most part of the day, but we remain content even when we make mistakes, because we are always reminded of the power of the Spirit, as we are always in the Spirit.

We are of the Spirit and always in the Spirit, even when we choose the flesh; When that happens, it’s like putting diesel into a car that runs with gasoline – it could try to work with the diesel, but it just won’t happen no matter how hard the car tries. We in Christ would do well to always set our mind on the Spirit.

…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2Pe 3:3-7

Here, Peter asserts (1) the creation of all things through the word of God, and (2) the literal truth of the flood. Later in this set of verses, Peter would point out what’s waiting for people who reject Jesus Christ and are ungodly. Take note that by ‘ungodly’, we mean people who are in Adam i.e. those who insist that they earn all they would trusting in their own works and their own ‘righteousness’. We become Godly because God, through Christ, has given us a new nature, and we have been reborn.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2Pe 3:8

This primarily speaks of the patience of the Lord.. and Peter gives us a different perspective here in the face of our own impatience, that God, who controls time, has engineered all that is with a degree of infinite patience which is absolutely superior to the patience we could comprehend, which is gauged and limited by time. With this, Peter says,

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2Pe 3:9-10

God is patient towards us in terms of His desire for all to come into repentance, but when judgment comes, it comes swiftly, as a thief.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness.. 2Pe 3:11

For the Christian, this passage points out, how could we flirt and relish in these things that are only temporary? Also, the rest of the verse speaks of holiness and godliness. Now, this part can easily be misinterpreted if taken on its own without looking at the context of the rest of the Word. This does not speak as if we, by our efforts, ought to maintain our identity of holiness and Godliness by our works; no, our position in Christ will never change, but we ought to differentiate that from our actual conduct.

What does this mean? We are inseperable from God because of the absolute forgiveness of our sins because of Christ, but this portion of the verse pertains to our conduct i.e. our actions and our attitudes in this world. Make no mistake, we have been sanctified, justified, and cleansed, and this will never change.

Awareness of our position in Christ will be the force behind our actions. Regardless of what our actions are, this will never change our position in Christ.  

…waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2Pe 3:12-13

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2Pe 3:14

Here we see that Christianity is naturally not passive. We could sit on our hands and wait for Christ to come back, but grace simply cannot keep still within us. We ought to be diligent and careful to always make the quick choice and the action to recognize Christ alive in us, and our life in Christ, that He is expressed through us, in the big and small stuff. His life through me is one quick choice away… Christ in us is what we do, and how we act by default. We are that united, that we are hardwired to each other.

Let the outside reflect the inside, as it is.

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 2Pe 3:15-16

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, (1)take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But (2)grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 
2Pe 3:17-18

 


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