2 Peter

Jump to Chapter 1, 2, 3

Chapter 1

(1) This is Peter’s final letter. As you know, he also wrote 1 Peter, though what you may not know is that Mark’s gospel also comes indirectly from Peter, who told his young apprentice, John Mark, the story of Jesus who then wrote it down.

Beloved, there is not a hierarchy of Christians. The faith, bought for you by my Son’s blood, makes no allowance for super Christians. My Son is the only glorious one, and by his sacrifice, he leveled the playing field for everyone.

(2) As you come to know the Trinity intimately, your awareness of my grace and your sense of peace will begin to define you.

(3-4) My power is available to you through my Spirit. Sometimes you forget that my Spirit is actually alive in you, but when you regularly pay attention, you will begin to see that I have already given you everything you need to live well in the world as my disciple. I have called you to a life that reflects the image of my Son in all his glory, virtue, and excellence. In him, you are a recipient of all the promises that my people held dear for thousands of years. I want you to live in communion with the Trinity. My Son prayed to me the night before he died that his followers would not only be in one another, but that they would be in us.[1] When you forget that when you are truly in me, evil has no place with you, because it has no place with me.

(5-11) My Holy Spirit is always at work in you, molding you into the image of Jesus. As you live the Christian life, start with faith, but add virtue and character. Get to know me. Practice controlling your mind. Keep working toward godliness with perseverance. Godliness leads to sharing life with other believers and ultimately to a radically other-centered love. Because of my Spirit, you already possess these qualities. Nourish them so that they grow. As they became stronger and their roots grow deeper, they prepare you for fruitful service as an ambassador of my kingdom. Some people lack these traits, choosing ineffectiveness because they are blind to their salvation and the present power of my kingdom. Do not shut your eyes to my goodness and power. Put these qualities to the test in your life and see if your calling holds up. Listen, when you practice godly character, the roots of your faith will grow deeper so that you will never be uprooted. When you live this way now, you will be walking the path straight into my eternal kingdom, where you will reside with my Son, my Spirit, and me.

(12-15) The ability to remember is one of my greatest gifts to my children. Get in the habit of regularly reminding other believers of these qualities. I want my followers to have them firmly planted in their minds. Do not forget. Spur others on and allow them to spur you on as long as you live. Do not ever think, “Well, I have arrived;” instead, keep pressing in, learning my gospel story. Like my servant Peter, I want you to still be doing this when you have one foot in the grave. In fact, teach one another so well that even after you die, my message will still resound clearly with those who are still alive.

(16-18) My Son’s life, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension were real historical events. Peter told his readers “Listen, I saw this happen. I lived life with this man for three years.” My Son invited Peter to be an eyewitness of his glory on the mount of transfiguration. You can read about it in the 17th chapter of Matthew’s acount about my Son. My Son, my Spirit, and I met there and permitted Peter, James, and John to see the relational glory we have within the Trinity. They were able to see how much love I have for my Son. They heard my words of affection for him, words I now say to you because of your union with my Son: “You are my beloved. I am so pleased that you are in my kingdom.”

(19-21) I confirmed to Peter and the apostles what had been written in my word. You also should keep reading it, it is where my voice is most clearly heard. In all the darkness of the world, my Son is the one true light; in the world’s cacophony, mine is the only true voice. When you pay attention to my voice, you will better understand both me and the world. Know this: these words are not merely the thoughts of men, but my very words, holy and inspired by my Spirit.

Chapter 2

(1-3) There are those who will teach falsehoods as truth. They will preach evil and call it godly wisdom, twisting my word to their own advantage, even using scripture to deny me. They will use my word, convincingly at times, to justify living for earthly pleasures. These leaders will say anything if it pads their bank account or makes them feel powerful. You may think I do not see them, but I do. Their destruction is on the way.

(4-10a) I did not even spare the angels when they fell. These light bearers are condemned to darkness until my final judgment. Do not minimize my ultimate judgment. Remember that I flooded the earth in Noah’s time. I destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham’s time. I do not leave evil unpunished. But know this: though I know how to destroy what is evil, I am equally committed to saving those who seek me. In Sodom, I saved Lot, body and soul. I know how to bring you safely through trials. Those who continue to reject my offer of love and choose their own way will face the terrible judgment of life apart from me.

(10b-14) Like undisciplined toddlers, they do as they please with no fear of me as they speak evil against others, yet even though they speak blasphemous things, my angels of light do not retaliate. Light has nothing to do with the darkness. In my Son, darkness will be destroyed. Wages for evil will be paid. Those who reject me celebrate their evil out in the open and they will invite you to join them. If you are not grounded in my truth, you will be susceptible to their invitations. Their self-centered hedonism will be their destruction.

(15-16) They are constantly on the lookout for new ways to satisfy their lusts, but they are never fulfilled; always crying “more!” Evil never goes quietly to its own destruction; it brings as many others as it can. Evil is defined by self-centered passion, the opposite of my kingdom. I have invited people to life on the narrow road, but self-centered rebels are blazing their own paths to the City of Destruction. Remember the story of Balaam?[2] In his self-centeredness, he pursued wrongdoing with blind eyes. Because he was unwilling to see, I made his donkey correct him.

(17-22) Evil people invite you to the beach, but they live in the desert because they reject my living water. Their destination is darkness. They will do everything they can to make their lives look good, inviting you to experience carnal pleasures that will feel good for a season, but eternal goodness is found only with me. They tell you about the “free” life, but they are slaves to their passions, unable to escape to a life of true freedom in my Son. Some of these have seen the goodness of my Son, and yet they continue to say, “My way is better,” which is even worse in the end. Addictions become more entrenched when you reject the cure. As sin becomes more engrained, it scars your soul, and it can become your identity. A person who returns over and over to sinful patterns reaches a state where they will never turn back to me, having become fully convinced that what is vile is beautiful.

Chapter 3

(1-4) Get to know my word, not only through Peter’s two letters, but all 66 books in the Bible. Do not be surprised when the people of this world make fun of your belief in me. They will mockingly ask, “If there is a God, where is he? Everything you see is possible apart from God. There is nothing to suggest God exists or cares for you.”

(5-7) But these scoffers overlook the fact that I called the world into being out of the depths. I also destroyed the earth with water and many people perished. I still uphold the world by my word, and it is being kept until the day I unleash my judgment with fire. In that day, all godlessness will be destroyed. 

(8-9) I exist outside of chronological time. A millennium to you is but a moment to me. I do not operate according to your calendar. I am more patient than you could possibly fathom. Sometimes, you feel like I am ignoring your pain, wondering why I am not rushing to save you from your misery, but my timeline is perfect. Even in your pain and discomfort, I am changing you and making you holy, which is my holy desire for all people.

(10) One day, my Son will return. I will not give any warning, so do not bother trying to read the signs because there will not be any. The skies will disappear together with the sun and moon and all the stars. Everything will be dissolved and there will be no place to hide.

(11-13) I will judge the fallen creation when the time is right. In the meantime, live as well as you can, modeling your life after my Son. Wait in anticipation for the fire that will come upon creation as I re-create a new heaven and a new earth where evil will cease to exist.

(14-15) But, my beloved child, as you look for my final reconciliation of all things, do not just sit around waiting. Seek wholeness. Though you will never achieve perfection in this life, it does not mean you shouldn’t strive for it. As my servant Dallas Willard would say, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.”[3] As far as you can, be at peace, with yourself and with your community. My patience is a gift of grace.

(16-18) Although the message of my Son’s saving work is so simple that even children can understand it, there are other things that my servants wrote that can be difficult to understand. People take my words out of context and destructively twist what I said. Be careful that you are not swayed by wrong thinking about me; that can be ruinous. Instead, keep getting to know my Son better and better, learning that his grace and his glory are much bigger than you might imagine.

[1] John 17:21.

[2] Num. 22 – 24.

[3] Dallas Willard, The Great Omission (New York: Harper One, 2006), 61.