Monday, March 20, 2006

Dateline: Reading

So, as good as audio sermons, books and whatever else you might care to mention are, nothing comes close to the Word. I know thats not earth shattering, but sometimes getting things out of my head helps me to believe/understand them a little better.
So this morning, i was reading 2 Peter 3, and i thought i'd share some thoughts from it that struck me. Again, they're probably not particulaly profound, but i do like the Bible, so indulge me!

2 Peter: The Context: Peter is writing to 'those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours', ie, all believers. No actual place is mentioned. In the previous two chapters he has dealt with living in the light of our calling and election, how to be effective as Christians, and with false teachers.

V 1-3: Why and What?
Peter reminds his readers that this is the second letter he has written, and also why he has written it. He is trying to put beleivers on their gaurd against scoffers, whom the prophets warned would come.

V 4: The Scoff.
It seems as though people are dimissing Christianity on the basis that everything is continuing as it it has done for years (since our fathers fell asleep). Peter seems to be writing into an air of cynicism about the second coming, that its not going to happen. Perhaps even that the message that the apostles bought to them was not true in the first place. These are big claims.

V 5-7: The Defence.
'Things are continuing just as always' are they? Well, who created the earth? Who set things in motion? This is the key argument that Peter says the scoffers ignore. That the heavens and earth were formed long ago by the Word of God. Not by any other means. God isn't a gatecrasher, He's the creator. Not only that but also by the same Word that created the heavens, so they are held up, but on their way to being judged and the ungodly destroyed. So not only did God create, He maintains and He waits.

V 8-10: So What's He Waiting For?
God is outside time (v8), He is not bound by its rules as we are, He doesn't have to act within it as we expect Him to. God is much bigger and better than we can ever imagine. We may think He is being slow in fulfilling the promise of His return. This is not sloth, but mercy. God wants no one to be destroyed but is waiting until everyone has had the chance to be saved. In Revelation 6:11 the matyrs who wait for the second coming are told to rest until their number is complete, until everyone who is to hear has heard, and everyone who will be killed for Jesus name has gone to Heaven. So God know's when He is to return, He's just waiting for the time to pass.

V 11-15: So What For Us? What For Them?
Everything will be exposed on the day of the Lord. So live without spot or blemish. Live, as Peter writes in chapter 1, with love, godliness, brotherly affection, virtue, faith, knowledge and self control. Ignore the scoffers. Remember these words, and know that the day of the Lord will come, and that it will be fearful, and wonderful. The heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! Remember Peter's teachings, remember the Bible. Remember that the Lord is not slow, He is patient, He is mercyful, concerned with people's salvation for the glory of His name.

V 16-18 Peter And Paul.
The scriptues are hard in places. There is a lot in there that can be twisted, that can be used to people's advantage. Don't let that happen, don't do that yourself. 'Take care not to get carried away...and lose your stability' (v17). Grow in the knowledge of Christ and Christ alone, and give Him the glory...

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