The second Peter is a letter of warning and encouragement. First Peter deals with problem from outside and second Peter deals with problem from the inside. The epistles of Second Timothy, Second Peter and Jude have much in common. In these letters believers are warned about the danger of false teaching. The false teachers are sensual, arrogant and covetous. They scoff at the thought of future judgment. Peter knew that heretical teaching can lead to immoral behavior. In this general epistle, Peter exposes the danger of false teaching and encourages believers to grow spiritually. Peter urges them to keep close watch on their personal life and be on guard against false teachers. Peter reminds believers who are going through severe trials the importance of adding to their faith virtue, knowledge and steadfastness. This second epistle may have written close to the martyrdom of Peter in about A.D. 67.
Peter Identifies himself as the apostle and the bond servant of Jesus Christ. Peter was servant of Christ by choice and shows deep humility to his master (Ex 21:5, 6; Deut 15:12-17). He was divinely chosen and commissioned to be an apostle by Christ. Peter is accountable to the Lord. Peter was a recipient of divine revelation. He was sent with authority by Christ to speak in His name. Peter refers to his authorship of his first and second epistles in chapter 3:1. He also recalls the transfiguration experience of Christ on the mount (1:16). This letter was addressed to believers who have shared same faith with apostles. They are saved in the same way apostles are saved by grace through faith in Christ. Peter points out that all that pertain unto life and godliness is given to believers. They come by divine power through our relationship with Jesus our Lord (1:3). Our standing before God is by the righteousness of Christ. In Christ we have everything we need to live a life that honors God. Peter wishes readers more grace and peace as they grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. His divine power works in us to live a godly life. Peter tells us that believers become partakers of the divine nature through his precious promises in Christ. The believers are freed from the bondage of sin and are now able to live for the glory of God. Thus they escape the world’s corruptions caused by their sinful desires.
Christian Responsibilities: 1:5-7.
Now Peter calls upon believers to add to their God given faith, seven spiritual virtues to support their Christian life. They have already received the precious faith in Christ. Faith is the God given ability to respond to His grace and righteousness revealed in Christ. This is the saving faith. Believers should make every effort to support their God-given faith with virtue or moral excellence, knowledge (experiential knowledge), self control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness and selfless love. As we receive the gospel, we begin transforming into the likeness of Christ. We must make every effort to live out the qualities of Christian life. Moral excellence implies Christ-likeness. Knowledge comes from the word of God and through Christian experiences. This helps us to make sound spiritual discernment. Self-control speaks of dying to self and yielding to Christ to control us. Lack of self control can damage our testimony. Patience is the ability to endure adversity. Godliness speaks of practical holiness. Brotherly kindness is love in action. It should be manifested in our giving and caring of others. Love speaks of unconditional love for all. It is supernatural in nature (John 3:16; 1 Cor 13). It is not a matter of emotion but will. If these qualities abound in us, we become effective and fruitful in our Christian life. These virtues flow from who we are in Christ. Spiritual growth does not happen automatically. Claim the promises in the Bible and pray for encouragement to grow in your faith.
The Danger of Not Growing: 1: 8-15.
The more we grow spiritually we become more productive and useful to God. Otherwise we become ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ. Our lives must demonstrate the reality of our transformed life. Otherwise we become shortsighted or blind. Also we start forgetting that we have been cleansed from our old sinful life (1:9). Peter urges believers to make sure of their calling election by growing in the grace. The they will have a rich entrance to His eternal kingdom. Otherwise they are prone to stumble in their faith. There is a sense of urgency in Peter’s writing. He knew that his days on earth are numbered and very soon he would die (1:14). So Peter wanted to bring these things to their remembrance because they are prone to forget what they have been taught. Christians are justified freely by faith in Christ. Justification is instantaneous and a legal act of God. Thus we have been declared not guilty and become legally righteous. Some teach that one should prove righteous before declaring him righteous. That is not true. Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Otherwise there would not be any story like the story of the woman at the well and the woman caught in the act of adultery in the Bible. Justified people are being sanctified. The sanctification is a process, internal and subjective. In sanctification we are cleansed from the influences of sins and receive a new nature that would motivate us to live a holy life. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us gives us the inner desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. Believers cannot continue to live in sin for ever. The idea, let go and let God is a wrong teaching. We are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Fear is seeing life from God's view point. Salvation is personal, practical and a present life experience. It is the divine work accomplished at Calvary. It includes past, present and future blessings of justification, sanctification and glorification. God wants our trust, obedience and cooperation in the working out this salvation (2 Pet 1:3-11; 1 Cor 10:12).
Importance of the Scripture: 1: 16-21.
False teachers were using clever stories about the second coming of Christ to influence believers. But apostles preached Christ because they were eyewitnesses of Him. He is coming in glory to reign. Here Peter recalls his experience on the mount of transfiguration. He was an eye witness of the majesty of Christ (Matt 17). So he wants to assure us that Christ and his message are not cleverly devised stories or myths (1:16). False teachers knew about Christ but apostle knew Christ. The gospel is trustworthy and we must pay close attention to the Word of God. The Old Testament prophets had predicted Christ’s coming in power and glory. We should also pay attention to their words. They are like a lamp shining in a dark place. It is the more sure Word in a dark world to guide us. The Old Testament prophecies are about Christ (John 5:39). Christ is the light and He should shine in our hearts. The false teachers perverted and misapplied the scripture. Scripture did not come from human initiative or insight but from God. When prophets wrote the scriptures when they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is reliable because it is the the Word of God. Pray that God's Word would give you insight to guide you through the darkness of the world.