Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stability – 2 Peter 3:17-18

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. But 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. (RSV)

There are charismatic Bible teachers, who by persuasive words and even deceptive demonstrations of what they call the power of the Holy Spirit, lead people into error. There are others who repeat the error often enough that it finally sounds like the truth. Peter has taught us many things in this epistle so that this should not happen.

In chapter one, Peter has taught us that God has already given us everything we need to escape the corruption in the world and to live godly lives. He has affirmed that we are partakers of the divine nature – we have His Holy Spirit living in us. But we also need to make an effort to develop the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we don’t, we forget about our salvation and our lives are unproductive.

Peter also taught us about the certainty of the Scriptures. Unlike the teaching of false prophets, God’s Word, the Bible, is a product of the Holy Spirit working through the men He chose. Peter affirms his own eyewitness account of Jesus. He supports Paul and his letters as an apostle speaking with the same authority as the rest of Scripture.

He warns us about false teachers and how to identify them by their life style. In doing this, he also warns us about the judgment that will come upon the false teachers. If we are ever inclined to utter prophecies or teach, then we had better be careful, as that same judgment will come upon us if we are doing this out of our own power and not by the Holy Spirit.

What is even scarier is that Peter calls into question whether or not these people have ever been saved. These warnings are scattered throughout the book as he asks us to make sure of our own calling and talks about those who become entangled again in the corruption of the world after having had only head knowledge of Jesus. Eternal security only applies to those who have truly surrendered their lives to Jesus.

Peter reminds us of God’s patience and the judgment that awaits those who spurn His patience and kindness. While we wait for the final destruction of the heavens and earth, Peter calls us to live holy lives. Living as God want us will actually bring that day sooner. I suspect that for some, they may want to live godless lives so that the day will not come as soon. But even in that, God is sovereign and His plan will not be thwarted.

If we don’t hang on to the things about which Peter has reminded us, then we can become unstable. It isn’t surprising that counseling offices are filled with people who need these reminders. Jesus has been called The Rock. That is because He is stable. When we are firmly fixed on The Rock, we will also be stable. When we are carried away by error or our own sinful desires, we slip from The Rock and the warnings of Peter become manifested in our lives.

Peter’s final words are a command to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. That is the way to stay stable in our Christian walk.

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