Have you ever heard this? “If you don’t get anything else today get this.” It’s a tool used by a speaker or writer to underline their primary point. It is meant to draw attention to the one thing they want you to remember and apply above everything else that is said. While Peter doesn’t use those exact words, in our next step in our walk through 2nd Peter he does highlight his concern for his readers in a similar way.
Because of the chapter numbers added later, it seems that Peter is shifting gears and moving from his warning about false-teachers to something else. In reality, he’s underscoring a basic truth stated earlier in chapter two – God has the final word. Peter says, “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. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:1–7, NASB95)
The term translated “stirring up” means to cause. In this case, to cause them to remember, to cause them hold on to something. It’s not the “stirring up” of creating anger or agitation. More like stirring up a purpose. For instance, I’m writing this article to cause you to consider Peter’s words and apply them to your walk with Christ.
In a way, this is Peter’s purpose statement. His “if you don’t get anything else today get this” statement. Peter’s desire is for his readers to remember the words of the Old Testament prophets and the commandment of Jesus passed to them through the apostles. I believe that Peter is especially pointing to the foretelling prophecies concerning the last day.
Peter doesn’t spell out or hint at which commandment of Jesus he has in mind. Given the context of the day of God’s judgment I feel Peter is referencing Jesus’ command to love God with our whole being and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Just so we’re clear we are living in the last days and have been since Peter’s time. So, mockery of the faith is nothing new. But Peter repeated a specific form of mockery, and I wonder if it wasn’t a hook used by some of the false teachers. “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” The promise of Christ’s ultimate return is one of the foundational truths of following Jesus. Pull that away and the building of faith leans like a famous tower in Italy.
In a way, Peter mocked them right back. We could put Peter’s words this way, “They don’t get it! God created and God has judged in the past with a flood and He will judge again with fire.” But in this we learn a greater truth, God created with His Word and the present world is being reserved by His Word for a coming judgment. God’s Word trumps all other words – including those of the mockers. That is Peter’s message.
What about today?
Listen. (That’s another way to say “if you don’t get anything else get this.) Our present-day world is flooded with words. Words shouted in anger. Words mocking and belittling our faith in Jesus. Words cutting down those that “don’t get it” or aren’t awakened to a particular way of thinking. Words enticing all manner of desires wants and lusts. Words declaring that God doesn’t matter so do whatever you want.
Peter wasn’t saying that the words don’t matter. They do. So much so that God will ultimately judge them. What Peter was telling his persecuted readers is that God’s Word is greater. That God has the final word. There is an enormous amount of comfort and grace to be found there.
Perhaps you’ve been wounded by words. Words can wound our souls like sticks and stones can wound flesh. Yes, the wounds are real but Jesus is the healer. The first step on the road to healing is recognizing that God’s word trumps all other words. The second is to run to Jesus, read His word and discover His love for you. Tear down their false picture and replace it with God’s picture of you. The third step is to forgive the offensive words of others. The final step is to pray for those saying hurtful things for they are wounded as well and need to know, to really know, Christ’s healing love.
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