Imagine for a moment being stuck on a raft in the middle of the ocean. No oar or sail, just a slave subject to the whims of wind and current. Assuming you had food, water, and shelter what is the one thing you’d want? I’d wish for a means of propulsion, preferably a well fueled outboard motor. It’s in this comparison between a drifting raft and a motorboat that we find Peter’s main point in our next Walk Through 2nd Peter.
Peter wrote, “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. 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 will be able to call these things to mind.” (2 Peter 1:12-15, NASB95) The “therefore” connects with our last step and the eight pursuits of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly love, and agape love. Today’s verses highlight Peter’s reason for writing and his concern for his readers.
In these few verses, Peter covers past, present, and future. He desires to remind his readers of what they already know. Stir up those same things for present-day use. And that they would recall them in the future as Peter looks to his own departure from the scene. Those reminders are like putting a motor on a raft to propel us in the desired direction.
Peter essentially said, “Look, I know that you know but I’m going to remind you anyway.” It’s like a husband repeating “I love you” to his wife. A mother advising their teenager to “drive carefully.” Truths that are well known and established but bear repeating. In sports, they call it “going back to the basics.” The big game may be won by a special trick play but it’s the basics of the sport that gets you to the big game. It’s the same with faith.
There may be special moments of faith but it’s the day in day out walk that really counts. Many times the burning issues of the day don’t concern the basics of faith of God’s creation, mankind’s sin, Jesus’ historical incarnation, His death and resurrection, the new birth, the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s return, and God’s love are the basics. The style of our church buildings, the color of the carpets, the sound of worship, the traditions, the name of the church are not the main thing. The sin of the day, cultural conflict, and social justice concerns are not the basics of the faith although conviction of sin, impacting our world, and being ministers of reconciliation are the normal and expected outcomes. But sometimes we need to be reminded of the basics.
Not only does Peter want to remind his readers but “stir them up.” But what did Peter mean? The English word “stir” has a few basic, yet different uses. When we make pancakes we “stir” the batter. Mixing the ingredients together until everything is uniform. A crowd can be stirred up; agitated by fear, anger, or guilt towards an action. We can also be stirred from sleep to wakefulness. Of the six times the underlying Greek word is found in the New Testament, three are in the context of waking, one is talking about the stormy waves that Jesus calmed, and two are in 2nd Peter.
Taking the context of diligence in the previous verses my view is that Peter was reminding them to stay awake and diligent to the basics of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly love, and agape love. In other words, keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s not allow the issues of the day to lull us away from the core truths found in Christ.
Peter is also concerned that his readers remember these core truths after his death. We all have things we’d like to be remembered for. Peter’s concern isn’t how he will be remembered but that the truths central to his life and work in Christ would be actively remembered. Peter charged his readers to diligently remember. It’s why we go to church, why we read the Bible even if we’ve read many times over, and why we return to the basics and apply them to today. Diligence is the motor for our drifting raft.
It’s easy today to get caught up in the fad of newness. To go after the latest gadget. Only seek the latest headline or freshest TV show. Get caught up in the latest cause. Become fearful over the latest tragedy. Only read the current best seller. Newness and youth seem to be desired above all. But Peter calls the follower of Christ to be more diligent about remembering the basic truths of faith than we are about chasing what is new.
As a Christian writer and occasional speaker, I’ve learned the basic truth that there are no new truths. The stories, encouragements, lessons, challenges, warnings, and good news of God’s word are thousands of years old. My purpose is to be a bridge that connects those ancient and life-giving truths with the realities of today’s readers. Relevantly bridging ancient truths to today’s needs is not as noticeable or splashy as the latest cat video or Hollywood cause. But while one is floating on the waves of fad the other seeks to diligently remember and apply God’s Good News.
I want to leave you with this question. In our “let’s ask Google age”, what would happen if you suddenly couldn’t say “hey Google”, access the Internet, or even open a printed book? What would it be like to have to remember things like Peter’s original readers? What could you recall from the Bible? What truths are buried so deep your heart that they are always with you?
You could diligently memorize verses which is fantastic. I also like to suggest diligent application since I find its easiest to recall the verses and truths that have become real in my own life and walk. It’s easy to forget what we only hear, but memories are built on moments of doing and being. Peter encourages us to be diligent in remembering our faith so we are traveling in Christ’s direction instead of just floating through life subject to the wind and waves.