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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

2 Peter 3


The Purpose Of This Letter: 3:1-2

Those Who Will Mock The Second Coming: 3:3-7

The True Purpose Behind Any Delay: 3:8-9

The Day Of The Lord: 3:10-14

Paul Taught The Same Thing: 3:15-16

Grow In Grace And Knowledge: 3:17-18

Introductory Comments:

‘In this chapter Peter returns from harrying the heretics to encourage the faithful.’ (Green p. 123) ‘A good teacher repeats the lesson until the class has learned it.’ (Lucas/Green p. 123)


Verse 1

2Pe_3:1 ‘This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,’

‘This is now’ -lit., this epistle already a second one I write unto you. ‘Now’-‘implies that the interval between the two epistles was not long.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 65)

‘beloved’ -It is so important for brotherly love to continue, especially in times when the Church is facing trials from within and without. Peter didn’t view these brethren with suspicion, and neither did he have the attitude, ‘I just don’t think you will be able to resist the persuasiveness of the false teachers.’ Peter loves these brethren and has confidence in them. Unfortunately, we often encourage people to fail, when we have the attitude, ‘I just know that you won’t be able to remain faithful.’ Demonstrates Peter’s affectionate interest in his listeners. ‘Beloved’ will be used five times in this chapter

‘the second letter I am writing to you’ -‘Second letter’-Sadly, commentators just can’t seem to accept that this second letter is the book of Second Peter and the first letter is the book of First Peter. Hamilton notes, ‘Expositors are divided as to what is the first epistle. Some say it is the book of Jude based on their assumption that Jude also wrote this epistle in the name of Peter….Others say that it refers to a lost letter about which nothing is known….Some even say that it refers to an earlier part of 2 Peter with chapter 3 having been separated from it….These views are really spun out of nothing, there being no evidence whatever for them…..The book of 1 Peter certainly had Peter as the author. It is perfectly natural for him, therefore, to say that this is his second epistle.’ (pp. 197-198)

‘I am writing to you’ -The same audience as is mentioned in the first letter.

‘I am stirring up’ -Present tense, ‘I try to stir up’. ‘arouse the mind, stir up, render active’ (Thayer p. 147). ‘awaken, by way of reminder’ (Arndt p. 194) ( 2Pe_1:13 ). ‘He believed in the value of repetition…There is something of significance here. It may well be that often we are too desirous of novelty, too eager to say new things, while what is needed is a repetition of the eternal truths.’ (Barclay pp. 397-398)

‘your sincere mind’ -‘Sincere’-‘pure, unsullied’ (Thayer p. 175). ‘It is said of things which can bear to be judged in the sunlight, and so means “pure, clear” or according to another possible etymology, “unmixed” and so, “genuine, sincere”.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 65) ‘denotes that which is clear, open, candid.’ (Woods p. 179) ‘Mind’-‘a mind uncontaminated and unwarped by sensual passion.’ (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 142) ‘keep your true minds awake’ (Bas). ‘means pure, unsullied, undefiled, sincere, genuine. When one’s mind is not filled with deceit, sinister motives, hate, or evil thoughts, it can be aroused to love and good works!’ (Oberst p. 328) Consider the confidence that Peter has in his hearers. He is saying, ‘I know your minds are pure, I know that you want to do the right thing.’ Let us never forget that the most valuable asset we possess is a honest and good heart ( Luk_8:15 ).

‘by way of reminder’ -Some erroneously think that only some ‘new’ teaching can get people motivated. Note that Peter believed the Word of God could always stir up and stimulate any sincere mind. Which tells us something. If the preaching of the Word leaves us unmoved, then we are the ones with the problem, that is, a heart that is calloused. ( Php_3:1 ‘To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.’)

Verse 2

2Pe_3:2 ‘that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.’

‘that you should remember’ -Indicating that man can remember! In addition, man’s memory can be “selective”, there are many things that we can remember, but above all, we need to remember the following. ( Jud_1:17 )

‘the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets’ -Prophets did exist in the New Testament ( Eph_2:20 ; Eph_3:5 ; Eph_4:11 ). But it appears the reference to prophets in this verse, is the prophets who wrote the Old Testament Scriptures ( 2Pe_1:19-21 ).

Point to Note:

As in 2Pe_1:16-21 . The above passage demonstrates that the teachings of the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament, perfectly harmonizes. ‘God’s true word, says the apostle, should be remembered. We need not spend long hours memorizing the doctrines of the counterfeiters; rather, let us ingrain in our memories the genuine, the real, the undiluted truth of God’s word ( 1Pe_2:1-2 ), that which true and trustworthy messengers delivered to us.’ (Oberst p. 328) Peter obviously believed in the unity of Scripture. God wants us to always remember the prophetic utterances concerning Jesus in the Old Testament. The lesson is clear, what God predicts will happen! The Word of God can always be trusted. And if we don’t trust the words of inspired men, then we will lapse into false doctrine.

‘and the commandment’ -‘collectively, of the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity’ (Thayer p. 218) See 1Ti_6:14 ; 2Pe_2:21 . God looks at the whole system of Christianity and simply calls it ‘the commandment’. ‘Evidently refers to the whole scope of the teachings one accepts as he comes to Christ for salvation.’ (Oberst p. 329) It would be strange for God to call Christianity ‘the commandment’, if there are really no commandments to observe! Obviously, the epistles are much more than letters of advice or ‘love letters’ as some have called them. These letters contain commands from God ( 1Co_14:37 ), and he who rejects them is not spiritual.

‘of the Lord and Savior’ -‘Of’-these teachings originated with the Lord. He is the source of all that is revealed in the New Testament ( Joh_16:13 ; Heb_1:2 ). ‘Note that Peter again uses the full title ‘Lord’ and ‘Savior’, probably because he is about to emphasize the future element in salvation which the scoffers ridicule. Jesus is not only Savior from the past (1:1-4), and in the present (2:20), but for the future as well. To deny the second coming of Jesus is to deny Jesus as Savior.’ (Green p. 125)

‘by’ -This message from the Lord was spoken by or through the apostles ( 1Co_14:37 ).

‘your apostles’ -( Joh_14:26 ; Joh_15:26-27 ; Joh_16:13 ; 2Co_5:20 ).

Points to Note:

The apostles who wrote the New Testament were just as inspired as the prophets who wrote the Old Testament ( Heb_1:1-2 ). 2. To reject the teachings of the apostles is to reject Christ ( 2Th_3:6 ). 3. Their writings are not mere suggestions. They must be heeded and obeyed ( Heb_2:1-3 ). 4. Let us remember that the writings of the prophets were not suggestions to Israel. And the attitude never was, ‘just as long as you believe in God, nothing else matters.’ But people are saying that such is true in the New Testament. That as long as a person believes in Jesus Christ, then they can be as wrong as can be about everything else in the New Testament and yet still be a faithful Christian.

Those Who Scoff At The Second Coming:

Verse 3

2Pe_3:3 ‘Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,’

‘Know this first of all’ -‘recognize this fact in the beginning’ (Woods p. 180). Consider how God helps us to understand His word. ‘Here is the first thing to understand or remember about what the apostles said.’

‘that in the last days’ -The final dispensation, the time between the death of Christ and the end of the world ( Act_2:17 ; Heb_1:1-2 ; 1Jn_2:18 ). It appears that from the letter, these mockers were already present, that is, the false teachers that Peter was opposing were ridiculing the idea of a final judgment. Let it be noted, that the phrase ‘last days’ is not an expression which is used for a specific period of time right before the end.

‘mockers will come with their mocking’ -‘Mockers’-scoffer ( Psa_1:1 ). These false teachers were mocking the idea that Jesus would come again in judgment. They argue that too much time has gone by, thus one can safely discard any idea of a future judgment. ‘Peter now has to face the key question of his letter. Was Jesus wrong to promise that he would return….May not the false teachers have a point when they argue that the long delay they have experienced effectively invalidates the promise? The issue is all the sharper after two thousand years. Questions about whether Jesus will return, the manner of his return and why he has not returned have grown in relevance. If he is not going to return physically, then “it would be stupid to wait---the promises are false”, and we can give ourselves over to the enjoyable self-centeredness of the people Peter is attacking.’ (Lucas/Green p. 128)

‘following after their own lusts’ -Here we are given a valuable insight into why such people ridicule and deny any future judgment. It is precisely because they want to do what they want to do. ‘Although these people may present themselves as sophisticated and knowledgeable, having delicate qualms and posing courageous questions about the more difficult elements of Christian teaching, they are in reality driven by their greed and disobedience. It is sin, not sophistication, which is in the driving-seat, and the false teachers are merely following.’ (Lucas/Green p. 129) When people ridicule the idea of absolute standards and a final division between the lost and the saved, their motivation isn’t intellectual for rejecting such truths, but it is moral. People don’t reject the idea of hell because of Scriptural or intellectual reasons, but primarily for personal reasons.

Verse 4

2Pe_3:4 ‘and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”’

‘and saying’ -God gives us one of the arguments being spread by these deceivers. We should remember at this point that God will take into account every idle word which we have spoken ( Mat_12:36-37 ). If you wouldn’t want it in print, then don’t say it.

‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ -‘Where is His promised return’ (Wey); ‘What has become of the promise He would appear’ (Knox). The ‘coming’ under consideration is His second coming. Their argument reveals that the apostles had taught that Jesus was coming again! ( Mat_25:13 ; Mat_25:19 ; Mat_25:31 ; Act_1:11 ; Act_17:30-31 ; 2Co_5:10 ; 1Th_4:13 ff; 2Th_1:7-9 ; 2Th_2:1 ff). Scoffers always insist upon “instant proof”, like the people who claimed they would believe in Jesus if He would come down from the cross ( Mar_15:32 ).

‘For ever since the fathers fell asleep’ -The expression ‘fathers’ can refer to their ancestors in the Old Testament. But it appears that the word here means the past generation of deceased Christians. Peter is writing more than 30 years after the Lord’s ascension, and the first generation of Christians was rapidly passing away. They hoped, he came not, why should we entertain such hopes? It appears that were twisting the Scriptures concerning the Second Coming, insisting that Jesus was supposed to return within the lifetime of the first generation of Christians, but He didn’t, therefore the doctrine of the Second Coming was untrue. In addition, they may have been claiming, ‘these people are saying that Jesus Christ has changed nothing; things are just the same as in Old Testament days when our fathers died. Going further back, even the Old Testament has not changed anything, because one state of affairs has been in place since the beginning of creation.’ (Lucas/Green p. 131)

‘all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation’ -‘Ever since our fathers passed to their rest, everything remains just as it was when the world was first created!’ (TCNT)

Points to Note:

‘The scoffers supported their skepticism that God would break decisively into history at the return to Christ, by emphasizing the immutability of the world. Had they been alive today, they would have talked about the chain of cause and effect in a closed universe governed by natural laws, where miracles, almost by definition, cannot happen. “The laws of nature”, one can almost hear them saying, “disprove your ….doctrine of divine intervention to wind up the course of history.” Their mistake was to forget that the laws of nature are God’s laws; their predictability springs from His faithfulness .’ (Green p. 128) 2. The spiritual offspring of such individuals are still alive today: (a) People who deny all the supernatural events recorded in the Bible, and yet still profess to be Christians. (b) Evolutionists who claim that all present possesses have remained constant since the beginning of time. These false teachers believed in a doctrine which was very similar to the popular concept of ‘Uniformitarianism’, ‘the doctrine that all geologic changes may be explained by existing physical and chemical processes, as erosion, deposition, volcanic action, and so on..And that these possesses have operated in essentially the same way throughout geologic time.’

Verse 5

2Pe_3:5 ‘For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,’

‘For when they maintain this’ -The previous assertion.

‘it escapes their notice’ -‘to escape notice, lit., this escapes them…their notice willfully on their part (Vine p. 218). ‘Lit., this escapes them of their own will’ (Vincent p. 704). ‘they deliberately ignore this fact’ (RSV); ‘For they willfully shut their eyes to the fact’ (TCNT). ‘They willfully forget that day in history when God interrupted the routine of a sin-filled world with a great flood. No, all yesterdays are not the same. God wants all men to remember the one that was different and why. Let it be a reminder that all tomorrow’s will not be the same either .’ (Plain Talk 11/7/3)

Points to Note:

The idea in the above verse, is that it willfully escapes their notice. They have chosen not to remember the following facts. 2. To this day, many people chose to be ignorant of essential truths, like the fact that a baby in the womb is a human being, the bible does condemn homosexuality, it does matter what you believe, all religions are not the same, baptism is essential to salvation. 3. Please note that God doesn’t excuse these false teachers. God doesn’t say, ‘Their humanity prevents them from seeing such truths.’

‘that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago’ -Creation was accomplished through the word of God. God spoke and it happened ( Gen_1:3 ; Psa_33:6-8 ; Heb_11:1 ). Therefore, let none ridicule or scoff at what God has spoken. If God hadn’t spoke, this universe would not exist!

Points to Note:

Here we are given a taste of the power that resides in the Word of God. The promises of God are sure. If God can simply speak the entire universe into existence then certainly He will keep His promises, including the promise of a coming judgment. 2. ‘The emphasis in this verse on God’s fiat in creation is important to Peter in arguing against the false teachers who apparently held the self-sufficiency and immutability of the natural order. On the contrary, he insists, the course of history is governed by the God who is both Creator and Judge of His world.’ (Green p. 130)

‘formed out of water and by water’ -‘Formed’-‘to put together, to be composed of, consist’ (Thayer p. 605). ‘Standing together or consisting’ (P.P. Comm. p. 887) ‘a key question concerning this passage has been: Is Peter telling of the materials used when the earth (land) was made, or simply the manner of its creation? In the original, either idea is possible…may be rendered “and the land out of water and by means of water”, or, possibly, “and the land (stood) out of water and in the midst (or, between) water.” …The earth was compacted “out of” water only in the sense that it rose up above the water.’ (Oberst p. 332)

The above expression probably refers to the same event mentioned in Gen_1:6 and especially verse 9 ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ People at times argue that there isn’t enough water on the face of the planet to completely flood the planet. They forget that originally the whole earth was covered with water. If it was originally in that condition, then it could always return to its former or original condition.

Verse 6

2Pe_3:6 ‘through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.’

‘through which’ -‘and that by the same means the world which then existed was destroyed in a deluge of water’ (TCNT) ‘literally, through which things’ (plural). The same means that brought about the dry land upon which the false teachers were presently standing, is the same means which destroyed mankind in the past, i.e. the all-powerful Word of God and water. ( Gen_7:11 )

‘the world at that time’ -Obviously, the physical features of this world were greatly altered by the flood ( Gen_7:11 ). The ‘world’ here would also include the inhabitants of the world. This is simply another proof that the flood was a world-wide flood ( 2Pe_2:5 ‘spared not the ancient world..’).

‘was destroyed’ -( 1Pe_1:7 ; 2Pe_3:9 ). Carefully note that the word ‘destroyed’ doesn’t inherently mean annihilation. The thought isn’t extinction, but ruin. As Vine notes, it is the loss “not of being but of well-being”.

‘being flooded with water’ -‘to inundate’ (Vine p. 151) From the Greek word ‘flooded’ we derive our English word ‘cataclysm’.

Points to Note:

A local or regional flood would be a very poor analogy to the Second Coming. 2. As the book of Genesis records, this flood was universal in scope ( Gen_7:21-23 ). 3. To argue that the flood was an allegory or a myth, with only a kernel of truth, would be playing into the hands of the false teachers. Let the reader be aware that God links the flood with the Second Coming. If the first event never happened, then what assurance do we have for the second event ever happening? God is letting us know that the flood is just as real as the Second Coming, they both stand or fall together. 4. If the book of Genesis is myth---there heaven doesn’t exist. It’s just that simple.

Verse 7

2Pe_3:7 ‘But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.’

‘present heavens and earth’ -‘Present’-In contrast to the condition of the earth prior to the flood, the present earth, the earth as we now see it. As noted above, the flood drastically changed the physical features and contour of the earth’s surface. In addition, considered the long life-times prior to the flood and how such life-times quickly diminish after the flood, it seems obvious that a major change in the climate, atmosphere, etc…also took place as a result of the flood. ‘Heavens’-The coming judgment, unlike the flood, will also affect the heavens.

‘by His word’ -Once again, Peter stresses the power of God’s word. The same word that created the planet and brought the flood, is the same word will bring final judgment. And included in the Word of God is the message which Peter preached, the message which these false teachers denied and mocked. God has kept His promises in the past, God has judged mankind in the past, and God will do it in the future. All the evidence suggests that if God says He is going to do something, then He will do it!

‘are being reserved for fire’ -‘Again it is “the same word” that Peter is defending, and this time he is saying the fact that we do not see God actively judging his world is not a sign of his weakness. He is absolutely in control, and his powerful word is being exercised in that creation is reserved and being kept for its final judgment.’ (Lucas/Green p. 134)

‘reserved’ -‘keep, hold, reserve, preserve for something’ (Arndt p. 814). In the present tense, inferring that the only thing that keeps this universe together is the watchful care and power of God ( Col_1:17 ). God is simply keeping everything in tact, the universe isn’t a self-sufficient system which could exist without God.

‘fire’ -Mentioned in this context (3:10,12) and found in other passages associated with the final judgment ( 2Th_1:7 ). At this point it is unfair to charge the biblical writers from borrowing from secular ideas. The Greek Stoics believed in a fiery end of the planet, but a fiery end that simply cleansed the planet. In addition, they believed that such a cleansing had happened many times in the past and would happen many times in the future.

‘kept for the day of judgment’ -Man may naively think that this universe can have an independent existence, apart from God. But this universe is not going anywhere on its own. The physical universe (like the sinning angels and wicked people in chapter 2) is reserved and is presently being kept for judgment. The whole physical creation is headed for a personal encounter with a righteous and holy God---and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it. Sticking our heads in the sand, or pretending that world will go on as it always has-won’t prevent God from intervening!

‘destruction of ungodly men’ -Including the false teachers who deny that such a day is coming. Everyone who denies the existence of hell, will experience it first hand. Again, the word destruction doesn’t mean annihilation, but a loss of well-being, ruin ( 2Th_1:8-9 ; 2Pe_2:9 ). From His past track-record, God has already demonstrated that unrepentant sinners are always punished ( 2Pe_2:4-9 ). And that He will consign the vast majority to destruction if the vast majority are ungodly ( 2Pe_2:5 ; 2Pe_2:6 ; Jud_1:15 ).

God’s Patience:

‘It is hard to tackle this theme without a shudder. But Peter’s response is to call us to live a godly live in the light of it. As he will show, the reason for God’s patience is to lengthen the days during which a change of heart is possible. Clearly, these are terrifying ideas; but we must not find them so threatening and distasteful that we refuse to believe them, for that is the error of the false teachers. Peter is convinced that it is God’s right and duty to judge…and the wonder of his love is that it offer salvation against this background of destruction…The regular ordering of the seasons….all argue for a creator God who is patient. But that does not mean that the world is closed to him. False teachers should realize that the same word that guarantees the stable world they delight in also guarantees the judgment they mock .’ (Lucas/Green pp. 134-135)

Verse 8

2Pe_3:8 ‘But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’

‘But do not let this one fact escape your notice’ -Peter seems to anticipate another argument which was popular among the false teachers. ‘Peter warned that delay in judgment does not mean that God’s word is impotent.’ (Lucas/Green p. 137) Mankind can get off track by forgetting one simple fact. To this day, some people think that “time” will save them or that “time” has inherent power of its own. Evolution is built upon the premise that given enough time anything is possible. But it is ironic that the same people who say, ‘given enough time anything is possible’ tend to be the same individuals who mock the idea of a future judgment, because ‘too much time has passed by without anything happening.’ The false teachers had deliberately allowed important facts to escape their notice.

‘that with the Lord’ -From God’s perspective. Since God isn’t bound by time and time has no power over God, all time is equal to God, whether great amounts or small amounts.

‘one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ -( Psa_90:4 ‘For a thousand years in thy sight, are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.’ First of all, the verse is not teaching that God doesn’t know how to tell time. In addition, neither is it teaching that every ‘day’ mentioned in the Bible was actually a thousand years in length. Or, even that God will punish the wicked a thousand years for each day that they lived in sin.

Points to Note:

Time doesn’t stop God, as it does with mankind. Therefore, God’s promise to judge is just as certain, even though thousands of years may pass between promise and fulfillment. ‘If it is his pleasure to accomplish them in a single day, he can do it; if he chooses that the execution shall be deferred to a thousand years, or that a thousand years shall be consumed in executing them, he has the power to carry them onward...' (Barnes p. 259) 2. ‘As far as God is concerned, He might just as well have decreed the end of the world a couple of days ago!’ (Oberst p. 336) 3. ‘God sees time with a perspective we lack….with an intensity we lack. He can see the broad sweep of history in a moment, yet he can stretch out a day with patient care.’ (Lucas/Green p. 137) 4. Man also needs to accept the truth, that God is not on man’s time schedule. 5. The passing of time doesn’t affect the promises of God. In contrast to man: God never dies, God never forgets, God doesn’t change His mind or lose His moral resolve. And conditions never arise which prevent God from fulfilling His word ( Isa_46:11 ). Let not the wicked think that the threat of judgment has died (2 Peter

2:3), or that God has forgotten.

We should be impressed that the apostles refused to speculate about exactly when Jesus would come again ( 1Th_5:1-3 ). But since their time many have arise who haven’t respected the Bible’s authority in this area. After the apostles there were those who took this verse to mean that the world would last for as many thousand years as there were days in creation, since a day equaled a thousand years. The modern day Jehovah Witnesses have adopted the same view.

Verse 9

2Pe_3:9 ‘The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’

‘The Lord is not slow about His promise’ -‘Slow’-slack, to delay, loiter, negligent. ‘hold back in hesitation’ (Arndt p. 147) Any delay will not spring from apathy, unwillingness or impotence.

‘as some count slowness’ -‘according to some people’s conception of slowness’ (Amp). The mockers were interpreting Jesus not coming right away as evidence that God is loitering, He is overdue, therefore He isn’t coming at all. ‘It is only against the background of eternity that things appear in their true proportions and assume their real value.’ (Barclay p. 406) When men, after a considerable lapse of time, fail to fulfill their promises, we infer that it is because they have changed their minds, forgotten about such promises, have no ability to perform them, or just lack the motivation to get the job done.

‘but is patient toward you’ -‘Any apparent delay in that coming is not to be construed as slackness, but rather long-suffering. What appears to some as a divine defect is actually an expression of divine grace.’ (Plain Talk 11/7/3)

‘patient’ -lit., to be long-tempered ( Rom_2:4 ; 2Pe_3:15 ). In view of such a statement it is completely unreasonable to complain that the God revealed in the Bible is unloving. Every sinner should consider the fact that he is not cut down in his sins, as proof that God is patient. Every man who sins and is spared even for a moment of time, should regard such as proof that God is kind and that God wants them saved.

‘toward you’ -‘for your sake’ (P.P. Comm. p. 67) This brings it down to the personal level. Therefore, if one ends up lost or unprepared for the judgment, whose fault is it?

‘not wishing for any to perish’ -1. God takes absolutely no pleasure in punishing the rebellious. God didn’t create mankind so He could punish someone. God derives no pleasure from the lost condition of dead sinners ( Eze_18:23 ; Eze_18:32 ; Eze_33:11 ). 2. But there is a place where people do perish!

‘but for all to come to repentance’ -1. God does have a desire or wish. And that wish is that all would end up saved, that all would repent ( Act_17:30 ; 1Ti_2:4 ; Heb_2:9 ). 2. And this isn’t a mere wish, it could be a reality, for God has made provision so that all could be saved, if they only repent. Jesus died for all men, and the gospel is to be spread to all men ( Mar_16:15-16 ).

Points to Note:

The verse isn’t teaching unconditional salvation. For man must acknowledge and forsake his sins. Salvation is condition-for everyone. God has never offered an unconditional salvation. 2. All men can repent, everyone can change. There isn’t a sin that you can’t forsake. 3. God won’t change His mind. Rather, if a man or woman is to end up saved-they are the ones who must change. 4. God even wants the false teachers to repent. God is being patience, so that even His defiant and arrogant enemies can be saved. 5. This passage definitely contradicts the Calvinistic idea of limited atonement or predestination. Any view of the Bible which excludes certain penitent individuals from salvation is a wrong view. What determines our salvation, isn’t some arbitrary decision-but rather our own choice to change or not to change. Our choice to serve self or serve God. 6. No one can blame God for their lost condition or the lost condition of a loved one.

Lucas and Green make the following shrewd observation: ‘Christians have often responded to the apparent “problem” of the delay in Christ’s return in one of two ways. One reaction has been to become fixated with the minutiae of the Bible’s obscurer parts, and obsessed with charts and plans depicting how God is going to fulfill his promises and how the current political crisis only proves its imminence…It also produces skeptical non-Christians, who see, more clearly that we often do, that we are being duped by people who only want us to buy their books. The second response, more usual among the academic community, has been to interpret the delay as indicating that God’s plan is not the personal return of Christ, but the extension of his kingdom by other means, whether political, economic, revolutionary or social.’ (p. 140)

Verse 10

2Pe_3:10 ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.’

‘But the day of the Lord’ -‘But’-Not withstanding God’s patience, such patience does have an end. God is waiting but He won’t wait forever. ‘day of the Lord’-The same day mentioned in 1Th_5:2 and 2Th_2:2 .

‘will come’ -‘stands emphatically at the beginning of the clause; whatever the mockers may say, whatever may happen, come certainly will the day of the Lord.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 68)

‘like a thief’ -( 1Th_5:1-3 ). Carefully note what Peter didn’t say, ‘The Lord is coming soon’, and neither did Peter make a prediction when Jesus would come. The time of His coming is not revealed and will never be revealed. He is coming like a thief, that is His coming, when it happens will be a complete surprise, without any warning. Thus, the time for repentance is now! ‘the force of an unexpected arrival with the significance of the language being the same with one’s suffering irreparable loss if unprepared for the coming of the day.’ (Hamilton p. 238)

Points to Note:

The KJV adds ‘in the night’ which is in the Textus Receptus, but is absent in many manuscripts. But the addition or omission doesn’t change the meaning of anything in the text. 2. The reader should note how the Bible describes the Second Coming, in contrast to modern Premillennial theories. 3. The entire universe ends at the same time that Jesus comes for Christians ( 1Th_4:13-18 ; 1Th_5:1-3 ). 4. All will be resurrected at the same time, both the wicked and the good ( Joh_5:28-29 ). 5. The righteous will be rewarded while the wicked are punished ( 1Th_4:17-18 ; 1Th_5:1-3 ). 6. And while many claim that Jesus will reign on the earth for 1000 years following the Second Coming, Peter states that the entire physical universe will be destroyed when He comes.

‘in which the heavens will pass away with a roar’ -‘in which’-on that day. ‘Heavens’-Must apply to the heavens that surround this planet, including the atmosphere and the material heavens, in which the sun, moon and the stars are placed ( Gen_1:8 ; Gen_1:20 ; Gen_1:14-18 ). ‘Pass away’-‘come to an end, disappear’ (Arndt p. 626) Jesus taught the same truth ( Mat_5:18 ; Mat_24:35 ; Rev_21:1 ). The word ‘pass away’ clearly teaches us that the ‘new heavens and earth’, will not be a purified planet or simply a re-made or fixed up universe. ‘Roar’-‘such a destruction of the elements could not occur without a great noise’ (Barnes p. 261) ‘It is a colorful….word, which can be used of the swish of an arrow through the air, or the rumbling of thunder, as well as the crackle of flames, the scream of the lash as it descends, the rushing of mighty waters, or the hissing of a serpent.’ (Green p. 138)

‘and the elements’ -‘any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise; an element, first principle.’ (Thayer p. 588) ‘the substance of the material world’ (Vine p. 22). ‘elemental substances, the basic elements in the natural world from which everything is made or composed’ (Arndt p. 769). ‘the elemental principles of which the universe is made’ (P.P. Comm. p. 68)

‘will be destroyed with intense heat’ -‘destroyed’-‘break up into is component parts, destroy, of a building, tear down’ (Arndt p. 483) ‘to loosen, undo, dissolve, to dissolve something coherent into parts’ (Thayer p. 385)

‘and the earth’ -the earth as a whole, the world, as opposed to the heavens (Thayer p. 114)

‘and its works will be burned up’ -‘works’-All the things upon this planet, especially all the works of mankind, monuments, buildings, roads, cities, and so on. Peter is saying ‘the planet and everything on the planet’. ‘burned up’-‘to burn up utterly’ (Vine p. 159). ‘burn down, burn up, consume’ (Arndt p. 411)

Points To Note:

These verses contradict the idea that God is simply going to cleanse the planet at the end of time, and then the vast majority will live on a rejuvenated earth forever. 2. First of all, the heavens which surround the earth are going to be destroyed. Can the earth exist without the universe that surrounds it? Second, the ‘elements’, the basic building blocks, the most elemental substances of the universe, will all be burned up. All the elements which compose the periodic table will be destroyed! No more oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and so on. Thirdly, not only is the earth to be destroyed, but all the works on this planet will be destroyed! This is far beyond any so-called cleansing. Not only are the works on this planet to be completely burned up, but the planet itself! 3. In some manuscripts the word “burned up” at the end of 3:10, is rendered “shall be discovered”. But the reading “burned up” is well supported and suits the context best.

‘This terrifying picture…may be difficult for our modern minds to grasp (but no more difficult than for the ancient world). This once-for-all end to our space-time home is beyond imagination. But Peter would want to say that we should not be relying on our imagination.’ (Lucas/Green p. 143)

Making The Application To Daily Living

Verse 11

2Pe_3:11 ‘Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,’

‘Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way’ -‘All’-every bit of these things, nothing will be left to be made over or re-made. ‘Destroyed’-same word as is found in 3:10. Since this is such an undoubted truth.

‘what sort of people ought you to be’ -‘what sort or kind’ (Arndt p. 694) ‘The Greek word for “what manner of persons”, means literally “of what country”, it seems to point to the great truth that God’s people are fellow-citizens of the saints, that the commonwealth of which they are citizens is in heaven ( Php_3:20 ) (P.P. Comm. p. 69) ‘Ought’-implying moral obligation

‘in holy conduct and godliness’ -‘What devout and dedicated lives you should live!’ (NEB). Both words are plural, and therefore may mean ‘in all aspects and forms of holy conduct and godliness’ (P.P. Comm. p. 69)

Points To Note:

The Second Coming provides tremendous incentive for holy living ( 1Jn_3:1-3 ). ‘Disbelief in the Lord’s return all too often produces indifferentism in behavior, as it had with these errorists. There is an indissoluble link between conduct and conviction…In the midst of a precarious existence in a precarious world, it is important to remember, as this verse reminds us, that people matter more than things. This we tend so easily to forget. We slip into the habit of thinking of the world as more enduring that its inhabitants. Peter denies this. People are more important and more enduring than things. In an unstable and perishable universe the one stable and imperishable factor is human personality.’ (Green p. 139)

Look at the wonderful encouragement we have to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven! ( Mat_6:19-20 ; Col_3:1 ). Everything on this planet is temporary (our homes, property, possessions, and so on). Everything here will one day be completely dissolved. As you go about your daily life, remember, everything you see will one day be destroyed. Stop investing so heavily in this life or the things of this life. For one day the stock in this earth will be completely worthless. But put your stock into serving God ( Mat_6:33 ).

The universe will end! ‘not with an impersonal cosmic implosion but with an encounter with the personal and living God…If we can neither fly from him nor be crushed into infinite insignificance, we must face up to our responsibility.’ (Lucas/Green p. 145)

Verse 12

2Pe_3:12 ‘looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!’

‘looking for’ -Present tense. ‘Wait, look for, expect’ (Arndt p. 712) We are to be watchful and always prepared, in addition, Christians need to look forward to this day with eager anticipation ( Php_3:20 ).

‘hastening’ -‘to desire earnestly’ (Thayer p. 584); ‘strive for’ (Arndt p. 762). ‘The Greek word rendered “hasten” means to urge on, to hasten; and then to hasten after anything, to wait with eager desire’ (Barnes p. 263)

Points To Note:

Some have erroneously concluded that Christians can somehow make Jesus come that much sooner, by living godly lives and teaching people. 2. The Jewish rabbis had the idea that it was the sins of the people which prevented the Messiah from coming. Actually, the Bible seems to teach the opposite. Sin brings judgment, rather than delaying judgment ( Gen_15:16 ; The Book of Jonah; Mat_23:32 ff). This view also forgets the reason why God is delaying. God isn’t delaying because we aren’t trying hard enough, rather, God is delaying because He wants sinners to be saved (3:9). 2. The Christian shouldn’t stand in dread of the Second Coming, rather he or she should eagerly anticipate this day ( Php_3:20 ; 1Jn_3:1-3 ; 1Jn_4:17 ; 1Co_16:22 ).

Verse 13

2Pe_3:13 ‘But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.’

‘But’ -The positive results of that day, in contrast to the destruction of this planet, the entire universe, and the wicked.

‘according to His promise’ -That is, the promise to come, the promise which includes the complete destruction of the present universe (3:4,10).

‘we’ -Peter is eagerly awaiting the final judgment, just as much as any other Christian!

‘looking for’ -Emphasizing the expectant attitude that should exist among Christians. And it also stresses what should be the object of our goals, desires and affections ( Col_3:1 ). This world isn’t our home! ( Heb_11:16 )

‘new heavens and a new earth’ -Let it be noted that the previous verses completely rule out the idea that the heavens and earth in this verse are simply the old heavens and earth which have been cleansed. ‘new’-Not in the sense of ‘new in time’ or recent, but new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is considered as old. ‘The new order of things here contemplated by Peter composed of new heavens and a new earth is different in quality, kind, and nature to the first order which is to be consumed by fire and melted into dissolution.’ (Hamilton p. 255)

‘in which righteousness dwells’ -Or where righteousness has it’s home. The idea of permanence and persuasive influence. There will be no unrighteousness in the new heavens and new earth ( 1Pe_1:4 ; Rev_21:4 ; Rev_21:27 )

Points To Note:

‘Several commentators believe that Isa_65:17 ; Isa_66:22 envisioned this new order….he says that Peter’s wording is borrowed from Isaiah….Isaiah’s prophecy is about the new order of things which is the current period of regeneration, not the new order of which Peter is writing..’ (Hamilton p. 256) 2. Peter, as well as John have the new heavens and the new earth happening immediately after the destruction of the present heavens and earth ( Rev_20:10-15 ; Rev_21:1 ). ‘ Rev_20:10-15 clearly shows this to be the case and 2Pe_3:1-18 clearly shows that the second advent of Christ will immediately be in connection with the resurrection and the judgment. There is no thousand year period and a little while between the advent of Christ, the resurrection of the wicked, and the final judgment as some are wont to say.’ (Hamilton p. 256)

Verse 14

2Pe_3:14 ‘Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,’

‘Therefore, beloved’ -Peter is saying, in view of all these ‘facts’, how then should we live?

‘since you look for these things’ -(3:12,13). In contrast to the false teachers, whose lives were immoral and their hopes purely bound to this earth. ‘Peter never tired of stressing the this-worldly consequences of the other-worldly “look”.’ (Green p. 142)

‘be diligent’ -‘be zealous, eager, take pains, make every effort’ (Arndt p. 763). ‘make every effort to be found of him spotless, blameless, and at peace’ (TCNT). And be diligent in the right things! Be diligent in the right purpose and cause. Since these things will happen, it would be foolish not to prepare. ‘This does not mean spending all day dreaming about it or trying to plot its arrival, but being ready in terms of ordinary, standard Christian living.’ (Lucas/Green p. 148)

‘to be found by Him’ -‘to be discovered, recognized, detected to show one’s self out, of one’s character or state as found out by others’ (Thayer p. 262) ( 2Co_5:10 ; 1Pe_1:7 )

‘in peace’ -‘at peace with Him’ (NEB). In peace with God and man. ‘It is by allowing his mind to dwell on the return of Christ that the Christian will regain a sense of balance and proportion, however difficult his present circumstances, and the peace with passes understanding..’ (Green p. 143) The goal is to be found in a condition of being at peace with God.

‘spotless’ -‘free from vice, unsullied’ (Thayer p. 81).

‘blameless’ -‘that cannot be censured, blameless’ (Thayer p. 33) Our lives must be pure and holy ( 1Pe_1:14 ; 1Jn_3:1-3 ). Carefully note that Peter never says, ‘Don’t worry about it, God will just save everyone.’

Paul Taught The Same Thing

Verse 15

2Pe_3:15 ‘and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,’

‘and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation’ -‘Look upon our Lord’s patience as salvation’ (Gspd). Instead of viewing God’s delay as ‘slackness’ or proof that He isn’t coming, but rather, view such a delay as ‘patience’ (3:9) and an opportunity to make yourself right with God. God’s patience equals a chance to be saved. It is salvation for yourself (get yourself right with God) and also, salvation to others. ‘While one is attending to the exhortation to be earnestly endeavoring to spend effort to be morally without pollution and to be blameless in a condition of being reconciled with God at the second advent of Christ, he should also take note of the fact that the delay of the advent of Christ provides further opportunity to deliver one’s self from Satan and sin.’ (Hamilton pp. 263-264)

‘just as also our beloved brother Paul’ -Obviously, there wasn’t any strife or hard-feelings between Peter and Paul. And neither can we say with any sort of credibility, that Peter taught a different gospel than Paul taught. God is telling us (something we already know by simply reading the New Testament) all the apostles taught the same truth. Some people look at the conflict that is described in Gal_2:11-13 and assume that there existed a life-long jealousy or rivalry between these two men. What a low view of the character or these two apostles! Maybe some scholars jump to such a conclusion, because that is what they would do, if they had been rebuked! Be impressed that while Peter speaks of Paul in affectionate terms, as he does concerning all Christians. Peter doesn’t refer to Paul as ‘Saint Paul, the glorious Paul…’.

‘according to the wisdom given him’ -Peter admits that ‘wisdom’ had been given to Paul, which had enabled him to write to these Christians in the past. This wisdom was divine wisdom ( 1Co_2:9-13 ; Gal_1:15-17 ; 1Co_14:37 ). Peter insists that Paul wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and what Paul wrote, wasn’t Paul’s opinions, or Paul’s theology.

‘wrote to you’ -Peter was writing to Christians in what is now modern Turkey ( 1Pe_1:1 ; 2Pe_3:1 ). In years past, Paul had written letters to Christians in the same regions (Ephesians, Galatians, and Colossians).

Points To Note:

Peter admits that Paul wrote by inspiration and that Paul had written to these Christians. 2. This verse reveals how quickly the letters written by apostles were accepted as inspired and circulated to other congregations ( Col_4:16 ; 1Th_5:27 ). 3. Carefully note that Christians in the first century knew that God was inspiring such men to write. These Christians knew these letters were Scripture. 4. Peter had access to the information in these letters! Even before Peter or Paul died, their letters were being circulated and collected. The contents and boundaries of the New Testament weren’t decided by fallible men hundreds of years after the apostles died, rather such would be decided by God, and it was being decided in the first century.

Verse 16

2Pe_3:16 ‘as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.’

‘as also in all his letters’ -Which admits the existence of more letters than those which had been written to Christians in the region of Asia Minor. This statement also infers that a body of material known as Paul’s letters was available to Christians, even before the first century ended. Peter knew about the letter to the Rom_1:1-32 and 2 Corinthians, and so on! Definitely, this informs us that Peter had read Paul’s letters.

‘speaking in them of these things’ -Peter says that Paul taught the same thing concerning the Second Coming and the need for holiness on our part! ‘in which he mentions these subjects’ (Ber). In like manner, Paul spoke of Jesus coming as a thief ( 1Th_5:1-3 ); of fire, destruction and judgment ( 2Th_1:7-9 ); the expectation which Christians should have ( Php_3:20 ; Tit_2:13 ); the resurrection ( 1Co_15:1-58 ); our future home ( 2Co_5:1-10 ); the final judgment ( Rom_2:4-11 ; Rom_14:10 ). And many other passages could be included ( Rom_8:19-21 ; Rom_13:11-12 ; 1Co_3:13 ; 1Co_4:5 ; 1Co_15:51-57 ; 1Th_4:1-18 ; 1Th_5:1-11 ; 2Th_2:1-14 ).

‘in which are some things hard to understand’ -Carefully note what Peter isn’t saying: He didn’t say that they are impossible to understand, or that only the elite can understand them. Neither did he say that such things were beyond his understanding. Peter understood what Paul wrote, including the meatier portions! Paul clearly taught that what he wrote could be understood by every Christian ( Eph_3:3-5 ). Rather, they are hard to understand, because they take some effort, and they also take honesty. What is hard to understand in the Bible, isn’t necessarily hard to understand because is was revealed in big words or language that is hard to interpret. Rather, some things are hard to understand, because they go against what we might prefer, or they contradict our view of reality.

‘which the untaught’ -‘a mind untrained and undisciplined in habits of thought, lacking in the moral qualities of a balanced judgment’ (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 147). ‘They are ignorant---which means not that they know nothing, but that they refuse instruction.’ (Lucas/Green p. 152)

Points to Note:

One can be highly educated in secular subjects and yet remain ‘untaught’ in reference to the truth. All learning doesn’t lead to enlightenment or salvation ( 2Ti_3:7 ). There have always been individuals who wanted to teach, long before they understood the topic they were teaching ( 1Ti_1:7 ). 2. This category also includes people who refuse to subject themselves to the authority of the Scriptures. Modern day ‘scholars’ who reject the inspiration of the Scriptures, are ‘untaught’ men, that is, men who refuse to place themselves under the Bible, instead of over it. 3. The answer to this problem is to educate Christians in the Scriptures ( Eph_4:11 ; 2Ti_2:15 ). The answer is not, to train an elite group of men who will interpret the Scriptures for us.

‘unstable’ -People who are not grounded in the truth ( Col_1:23 ). Those who cannot place the truthful thing, ahead of their own personal comforts and desires. People who are willing to compromise and sell-out for short-term gain. ‘G. K. Chesterton drew his famous picture of orthodoxy. Orthodoxy, he said, was like walking along a narrow ridge, almost like a knife-edge. One step to either side was a step to disaster. Jesus is God and man; God is love and holiness; Christianity is grace and morality; the Christian lives in this world and also lives in the world of eternity. Overstress either side of these great truths, and at once destructive heresy emerges. One of the most tragic things in life is when a man twists Christian truth and holy Scripture into an excuse and a defence, and even a reason, for doing what He wants to do, and does not accept it as a guide for doing what God wants him to do.’ (Barclay p. 414)

One writer described such individuals as, ‘those without definite convictions, they regard nothing as settled, they are under the control of their feelings and emotions, and are liable to embrace one opinion today and another directly opposite tomorrow…Men that do not admit “ignorance” or exhibit caution in “hard” texts, but rather rush headlong into a definite interpretation.’

‘distort’ -‘twist, distort, so that a false meaning results’ (Arndt p. 771). If the Scriptures can be ‘distorted’ then a definite and true meaning does exist. Every interpretation isn’t right, a true meaning was intended by God! And that true meaning can be understood ( 2Ti_2:15 ). In fact, we are directly commanded to find it ( Eph_5:17 ).

‘the rest of the Scriptures’ -1. First century Christians had access to the Old Testament Scriptures! 2. Peter calls Paul’s writings ‘Scripture’! 3. What Paul wrote and what Peter wrote is just as inspired as what any prophet in the Old Testament wrote. 4. Be impressed that when you start forcing passages to fit your preconceived ideas that you end up distorting a host of passages, and not just one passage. False doctrine never affects the meaning of just one verse or one chapter! 5. Mis-interpretation is never caused by the Scriptures, rather, it results when we have the wrong attitude in approaching the Word of God. Attitude is essential ( Act_17:11 ; Ezr_7:10 ). 6. There are many things that we don’t have control over, (our own IQ) or absolute control over (access to study materials, people we come into contract with, who our Bible class teacher is, whether our parents went to church or not when we were children, and so on). But all of us have absolute control over the most important aspect of bible study, that is, our own honesty and humility as we approach the Word of God.

Point To Note:

Something here needs to be said about one’s own personal IQ. A higher IQ only means that you are able to process information at a faster rate. But IQ in the vast majority of cases has little to do with one’s own personal morality. Apart from God’s revelation, the highest IQ can’t determine if something is right or wrong, moral or immoral. A sharp man or woman may nor may not obey the truth. But an honest man or woman always will!

‘to their own destruction’ -God will condemn the person who distorts the Scriptures! Ketcherside was wrong when he said, ‘If one is right about Jesus he may be wrong about a lot of things and still be saved’ (The Twisted Scriptures, W. Carl Ketcherside pp. 67-68). ‘There is all the difference in the world, through, between finding the Bible difficult, and willfully twisting it to say only what we find helpful or relevant or reasonable to believe. Where is the voice of God if he says only what we want him to say?’ (Lucas/Green p. 153) To this day, people try to argue that Paul taught that grace liberates one from the laws of God ( Rom_3:8 ; Rom_6:1 ). Bible study is serious business!

Final Exhortation And Conclusion

Verse 17

2Pe_3:17 ‘You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,’

‘You, therefore, beloved’ -Notice what Peter doesn’t say. He never tells people to stop studying their Bibles, lest they mis-interpret it. And neither does he charge the elders to make sure that only the elite are allowed to interpret the Scriptures. The Scriptures can be properly understood, if we love the truth ( 2Th_2:10-12 ).

‘knowing this beforehand’ -God gives His people plenty of warning, God has prepared the Church for the trials and challenges of the future. We have been given all things pertaining to life and godliness and all things necessary to maintain a relationship with God! ( 2Pe_1:3 ) The Scriptures will enable any Christian to be prepared against any error which man will invent ( 2Ti_3:16-17 ).

‘be on your guard’ -‘the word is a military term, denoting the action of soldiers, who keep guard in fortified towns or castles’ (Macknight p. 578). ‘To be forewarned is to be forearmed’ (Woods p. 192). The tense is present, the Christian must continually be on guard ( 1Co_10:11-13 ). Carefully note that God won’t stop error from arising, and that God will not remove our freewill. The Scriptures give us all the ammunition and warning that we need, we have the obligation to use it. This verse also admits that false teachers and false doctrine will always exist. We must know the truth, if we are going to recognize error ( Heb_5:14 ).

‘Peter can see the damage that results from believing and teaching an error. We find it hard to understand how people who seem so amiable can be so harmful, but that can only be because we have not made the effort to be well-taught Christians who are willing to call false teaching false teaching. That puts us in supreme danger, for we are prime targets for those who wish to “seduce the unstable” (2:14).’ (Lucas/Green p. 155)

‘lest, being carried away by the error’ -Christians can fall away! Usually, the first group of people who are swept up into error, and seduced by false teachers are those who argue that we can’t call anyone a false teacher. The phrase ‘carried away’ suggests that many errors will sound attractive, it is easy to get caught up in what is being taught!

‘unprincipled men’ -‘lawless’ (Thayer p. 13) ‘men who live without law’ (Green p. 149). Men who refuse to submit to the law of God, men who resent God’s law and men who try to pit God against His own law.

‘you fall from your own steadfastness’ -The Christian can fall ( Gal_5:4 ; Rev_2:5 ). ‘Your own steadfastness’-indicating that no one can be steadfast for you. This warning only has meaning if the Christian can fall from grace. ‘Steadfastness’-‘lose one’s firm hold’ (Arndt p. 768). In reference to the truth, Christians are to be fixed ( Col_1:23 ). The idea that truth is always evolving or that new truths are constantly being revealed or gleaned from the Scriptures, contradicts everything that this letter stands for. ‘He sees these false teachers offering us a helping hand, and making us wobble and then fall.’ (Lucas/Green p. 156)

Points To Note:

You know you have run into error, when you encounter a teaching that undermines your confidence in the Word of God and your ability to properly understand it. Any doctrine which suggests that you don’t have to believe the truth to be saved ( Joh_8:32 ) that salvation exists separate, apart and completely independent from following the teachings of the apostles, is a doctrine, if accepted, will result in your downfall.

Verse 18

2Pe_3:18 ‘but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him to be glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.’

‘but’ -In contrast to falling from your own steadfastness.

‘grow’ -Spiritual growth is commanded and expected of every Christian ( Eph_2:10 ; Joh_15:1 ff; 1Co_15:58 ). In order to remain steadfast, we must grow! The word is in the present tense, ‘keep on growing’. The spiritual growth needed to resist false doctrine as well as all other temptations is described in 2Pe_1:5-11 .

‘in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ -Peter has no qualms about putting ‘grace’ and ‘knowledge’side by side as the two essential elements of Christian growth.

Points To Note:

We cannot rest on the accomplishments of the past, everyday presents new challenges. On a daily basis, ‘we will be tempted to forget everything we have learned over the years, and trade it in for a novelty item.’ (Lucas/Green p. 157) 2. To grow in ‘grace’ means that we continually recognize that God is merciful, good and will forgive us when we repent. Therefore, we are never excused for not trying. 3. To grow in ‘knowledge’ means that spiritual growth must always be wedded to a correct doctrinal understanding of God and His will. There is no such thing as a relationship with God outside of the truth. 4. Therefore we must reject all ‘doctrines’ which try to drive a wedge between love and obedience, grace and law, forgiveness and responsibility, mercy and doctrine, and God and His Word.

‘To Him’ -Jesus Christ.

‘be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.’ -As John wrote, Peter believed that all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father ( Joh_5:23 ). ‘The false teachers detracted from Christ’s glory now, by a wicked life, and from His glory then, by denying the parousia (Second Coming). Peter is determined to reverse both trends.’ (Green p. 151)

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.