2 Peter & Jude

by Eileen Poh

Day 20

Read 2 Peter 3:14-16

Peter is now drawing his letter to a close. He ends with exhortations grounded in his readers' anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:14), and urges them to ″make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him″. This echoes his earlier encouragement to his readers to ″make every effort″ to grow in Christian virtues (1:5).

So there is still time for non-Christians to come to know Christ, and we must take every opportunity to share the gospel with them.

For Peter, waiting for the coming of Jesus is not a time to do whatever they like with their lives or follow in the godless ways of the false teachers. Rather, it is a time to prepare themselves by living holy and godly lives (3:11) so that when Jesus comes, they will be found ″spotless″ and ″blameless″ in His sight (v. 14).

″Spotless″ is often used to depict sacrifices that are acceptable in God's sight, with Peter describing Christ's sacrifice as ″a lamb without blemish or spot″ (1 Peter 1:19 ESV, see also Exodus 12:5). ″Blameless″ continues the sacrificial metaphor to stress that the sacrifice must be without blemish. Taken together, notes New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham, ″the two words describe Christians as morally pure, metaphorically an unblemished sacrifice to God.″15 Christians are to be different from the false teachers who are described as ″blots and blemishes″ (2 Peter 2:13).

When Christ comes, Christians are to be found spotless and blameless in His sight (see Philippians 1:10, 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 5:23). As we are waiting for that day to come, we may become impatient at times, and ask: ″Why is God taking so long to fulfil His promise?″

Once again, Peter reminds us to see things from God's perspective. In 2 Peter 3:9, he had explained that any delay is due to God being patient with us and desiring all to repent and come to Him. In verse 15, he asserts that ″our Lord's patience means salvation″. So there is still time for non-Christians to come to know Christ, and we must take every opportunity to share the gospel with them. There is also time for Christians to repent from living for themselves, and to prepare for Jesus' coming by living holy and godly lives so that we will be found spotless and blameless on that day.

Peter then refers to Paul's letters which his readers had read (2 Peter 3:15). Is he referring specifically to ″the Lord's patience means salvation″? If so, perhaps Peter has in mind a passage like Romans 2:1-9, which talks about God's judgment and mercy. Or is he referring more generally to Paul's teaching on ethics in view of the coming of Jesus? If this is the case, then he might have in mind passages like Romans 13:11-14, Philippians 2:15-16, and Colossians 3:4-6. I think it is probably the latter.

Peter concedes that Paul's letters are sometimes hard to understand and can be open to misuse by ″ignorant and unstable people″ who distort his words to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Peter probably has in mind the false teachers he has been exposing in 2 Peter 2, and those who follow their wrong interpretation of Paul's letters and other Scripture.

Some of us may also find that Paul's letters or other parts of Scripture ″contain some things that are hard to understand″ (v. 16). While we want to understand God's Word, we must be wary of ″ignorant and unstable people″ who can distort Scripture for their own use.

15 Bauckham, Jude-2 Peter, p.327.

Think through:

If Jesus were to come tomorrow, would you be found ″spotless, blameless″ in His sight (2 Peter 3:14)? What changes do you need to make in order to be ready for His coming?

How can you avoid being like ″ignorant and unstable″ people (2 Peter 3:16) who misinterpret God's Word?




About Author

Eileen Poh was a lawyer for some years before doing full-time theological studies. Her doctoral thesis (at King’s College London) examines the social relationships between Christians and non-Christians in Asia Minor in the second half of the first century AD. Eileen lectures in Biblical Studies at Discipleship Training Centre, Singapore. She is married to Philip Satterthwaite.

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