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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Bible Commentary

2 Peter 3

Verses 1-4

Chapter 26


2 Peter 3:1-4

IN the previous chapter the Apostle showed how the renegade false teachers had published among the brethren their seductive doctrine declaring that God’s fatherly discipline was something which they need not undergo, that the trials which He sent them might be escaped, and the natural bent of man’s heart indulged as fully as they pleased. The foul results of such lessons, both to the flock, and to the teachers, he also depicted in such wise as to render them abhorrent. Now he tells of a further lesson which these guides on the downward road added to the former. Those who do not accept God’s judgments here soon go on to deny the coming of judgment hereafter. It could hardly be otherwise. The wish is father to the thought as truly in matters of faith as of practice. Men whose lives are all centered on this world must try and convince themselves, if possible, that the day of the Lord, of which God’s word speaks so often, is a delusion, and may be cast out of their thoughts. This these men did, and it is against this scoffing of theirs that St. Peter directs his exhortation in this chapter.

"This is now, beloved, the Second Epistle that I write unto you." Judging from the adverb which he uses (η) now, (already), we should conclude that no long time had elapsed between the Apostle’s first letter and the second. And by calling this the second, he shows that it is intended for the same congregations as the former, though he has not named them in the salutation with which the letter opens. Afore-time they had been tried by inward questionings, and he sent them his exhortation and testimony that, spite of all their trials, this was the true grace of God which they had received, and therein they should stand fast. {1 Peter 5:12} Now the danger is from without false doctrine and evil living as its consequence. So, though he may have written but a little while ago, he will neither spare himself nor neglect them. For the danger is of the utmost gravity. It threatens the overthrow of all true Christian life.

"And in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance." Mark how trustfully he appeals to the sincerity of the minds of the brethren, just as before {2 Peter 1:12} he said they knew the things of which he was putting them in remembrance, and were established in the truth which they had received. And what he means by the "mind" we may see from 1 Peter 1:13, where he uses the same word: "Gird up the loins of your mind"-do not indulge vain, lax, and speculative opinions, as though these would forward you in your travel through the world-"be sober, and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you." A mind so braced looks onward to the revelation of Jesus Christ, looks for every token of its drawing nigh. And because it is sincere, the man dare look into its inmost recesses, and by self-examination and discipline maintain its purity. He can think soberly of the Lord’s coming because he is preparing for it. But he whose mind is dark, within whom the light has been turned into darkness, dare not think on these things, but with all his might endeavors to forget, ignore, and deny them. All that St. Peter thinks needful for these Asian brethren is that he should remind them. He knows that men’s minds are prone to slumber, especially about the things unseen as yet; and his aim is to rouse them to thorough vigilance. But he has no new lesson to give them.

"That ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets." On few themes do the prophets dwell more earnestly than on those visitations of Jehovah which they publish as the coming of the day of the Lord. With Joel {Joel 2:2; Joel 2:32} it is to be a time great and terrible, the prospect of which is to move men to repentance, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered. And Israel were taught in many ways that this great day was constantly at hand. They were pointed to it by Isaiah {Isaiah 13:6} when the overthrow of Babylon was foretold. For that nation the day of the Lord was coming as destruction from the Almighty. Jeremiah {Jeremiah 46:10} and Ezekiel {Ezekiel 30:3} preach the same lesson with the ruin of Egypt for their text. It is a day of vengeance, when the Lord God of hosts will avenge Him of His adversaries; a day of clouds, in which a sword shall come upon Egypt, and her foundations shall be broken down. By what they beheld around them God’s people were to learn that a like day would come upon them also, upon everything that was high and lifted up against God; and for those who were unprepared another prophet {Amos 5:18} declared that it would be darkness, and not light. Before its coming, therefore, they were urged {Zephaniah 2:3} to turn to the Lord, that they might be hid in the day of His anger. For God designed by it to make Himself King of all the earth, {Zechariah 14:9} wherefore it would be great and terrible. For though Elijah should first be sent {Malachi 4:5} to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, in its manifestation that day should still be like a refiner’s fire to purge the evil from among the good.

Not without solemn purpose were all these words written aforetime, and the Christian preachers who felt that God was faithful were sure that such a day would come upon all the earth. How it would be manifested was for God, and not for them. Some of those who lived when St. Peter wrote beheld part of its accomplishment in the overthrow of the Holy City. But they felt-and their lesson is one for all time-that it is presumptuous in men to compute God’s days, and that it is rebellious blindness not to acknowledge the coming of His day continually in the great crises of history. How many a time since St. Peter spoke has the Lord proclaimed by partial judgments the certainty of that which shall come at the last. The day of the Lord is attested when empires fall, when hordes of barbarians break in upon the civilized world that has grown careless of God, when convulsions rage like those which preceded the Reformation and which shook Europe at the French revolution, and we may add to these the troubles which harass our own land today. All these things preach the same doctrine; all proclaim that verily there is a God that judgeth the earth. Not yet is the voice of prophecy silent. Oh, that men would but remember how long and how surely it has been speaking!

"And the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles." In connection with the subject on which he is writing, the commandment of Jesus to which St. Peter alludes can hardly be other than that which occurs in the address of our Lord to His disciples after His last visit to the Temple: "Watch, therefore, for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh; therefore be ready, for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh." {Matthew 24:42} And with the last judgment in his thoughts, we cannot fail to be struck with the frequency with which the Apostle in this letter repeats as the title of Christ "the Lord and Savior". {2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:8} This precise form occurs in no other part of the New Testament. And it seems from the Apostle’s use of it as though, while speaking of the certainty of the coming of the day of the Lord, he desired to give special prominence to the thought that to such as were looking for Him He would manifest Himself as the Savior and Redeemer.

The words "your apostles" also appear to be used with design. They contain a direct acknowledgment of the mission of St. Paul as an apostle. By him more than by any other had these regions been brought to the knowledge of Christ, and we may rest confident that the gospel which he preached elsewhere he preached to them also. The lesson of watchfulness is oft repeated in his letters. To the Corinthians he writes, "Watch ye; stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong," {1 Corinthians 16:13} while, in connection with this subject of the day of the Lord, his words to the Thessalonians are, "Ye yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night But ye are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Let us watch and be sober". {1 Thessalonians 5:2-6} St. Peter’s letter was to be read in those Galatian Churches whose members in past days had doubted about the apostolate of St. Paul. Its warnings would sink the deeper because enforced by the authority of him who even in his rebukes had spoken to them as his "little children". {Galatians 4:19}

"Knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery." St. Peter says the mockers will come; Polycarp says in his day they had come. He terms them the firstborn of Satan, and tells how they pervert the oracles of the Lord to their own lusts and deny that there is either resurrection or judgment. The signs of the times were not difficult to read; and the Apostle would have the brethren know what to look for, know in such wise that they should not be shaken in mind by what they saw or heard. For this the first need was Christian sobriety. Thus settled, they could ponder on the words of ancient prophecy and recall the lessons of those who had spoken to them in the name of Christ; and therewith their hearts might take comfort, and their heads be lifted up with expectation, knowing the last days were bringing their redemption nearer. The mockery of the sinners would keep no bounds. This he expresses by his emphatic words, just as largeness of blessing is described: "In blessing I will bless thee."

"Walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?" They would be a law unto themselves, and so they followed an evil law. As sinners before them had said, "Our lips are our own," {Psalms 12:4} so these men by act and word alike proclaimed, "Our lives are our own, to use as we please. We have no account to give." Thus they made themselves bond slaves to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and, with these fetters heavy about them, boasted of their liberty. They strengthened themselves in their evil way by jeering at the thought of Christ’s return to judgment. "We have heard of the promise," they said, "but we see no signs of its fulfillment. The angels, you say, spake of His return when He was taken away from you. Let Him make speed and hasten His coming, that we may see it. You are forever speaking of it as sure and pointing us back to the ancient Scriptures, as though they were a warrant for what you preach. Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now". {Jeremiah 17:15}

"For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Here the mockers pass from the promise of Christ’s return, and fall back upon the more distant records as supplying a stronger argument. "The fathers" of whom they speak cannot be the Christian preachers. Not many of them could as yet have fallen asleep in death. But the ancient prophets of the Jewish Scriptures had long ago passed away, and against them the scorners direct their shafts. "Centuries ago," they urge, "the prophetic record was closed; and its final utterance was of the day of the Lord, which has not yet come." Their word "fell asleep" may have also been used as part of their mockery, classing the words of prophecy among baseless dreams. It may be they intended a special allusion to that one among the prophets who dates the time of the Lord’s coming. Daniel {Daniel 12:12} speaks of a waiting which shall last a thousand three hundred and five-and-thirty days. But say these scorners, "When his word was complete, he was bidden, ‘Go thou thy way till the end be. For thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.’ He has fallen asleep, and the other fathers also. They all are at rest, and the end of the days is no nearer. The world stands fast, and will stand. It has seen no change since it was brought into existence."

Those who in faith clung to Christ could not fail, as they heard these scorners, to think of the Master’s question, "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith in the earth?," {Luke 18:8} and of those other words of His which told them that the last days should be a parallel to the days of the Deluge: "As were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall be the coming of the Son of man". {Matthew 24:37-39} The strong earth was under the feet of those antediluvian mockers, the firmament above their heads. So in ignorance they jeered at what they would call the folly of Noah. But the Flood came, and then they knew. Yet the last days have seen, and will see, men as blind and as full of satire and scoffing as they.

Verses 5-7

Chapter 27


2 Peter 3:5-7

"THE world lasts on" (διαμενει) "through all time," say the scoffers, "just as it was at the Creation. There has been no change; there will be none." But out of their own mouth their folly is rebuked. How can these men speak of a creation? If there is to be no judge, why believe that there has been a Creator? That must be included in the general denial. "For this they willfully forget." Yes, here is the reason of their conduct, the root of all the evil. They forget because they wish to forget; they speak of the fathers, but of set purpose ignore the history of Noah; they are casting God out of all their thoughts: and so even to the things that are made, and by which He testifies to all men alike His eternal power and Godhead, they close their eyes, and refuse to read His wide-open lesson-book. And still less do they regard all that His written word records of the world’s past history and God’s discipline for men therein.

"That there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God." They close their ears as well as their eyes. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." As the study of nature progresses men are learning to comprehend more of the vastness of that phrase "in the beginning," and in the light of science to read a larger meaning into St. Peter’s words, "There were heavens from of old." But even in that generation to which the Apostle soon alludes the unchanging character of the skies spake of duration and permanence. The antediluvian world had run a long course; from Adam to Noah men had beheld the sun rise and set daily in the skies, just as it rose on the morning of the Deluge. And the mockers then living could say, and doubtless did say, to the preacher in their midst, "These things have always been as they are, and will be so for evermore." The later scorners had their prototypes of old, who pointed to the existence of an eternal law, and willfully forgot that law implies a lawgiver, and that He who made must have the power to unmake.

St. Peter takes their text, but reads from it a very different lesson. There were heavens from of old, yea, long before there was an earth fit for man to dwell in. This world in that old time was formless and void, and the waters covered its face like a garment. The word of the Lord went forth, and the waters were gathered together as a heap, and the depth was laid up in God’s storehouses. Then the dry land appeared; then there was an earth. The streams took their appointed place down the mountain-sides and in the valleys, and rivers began to roll onward to the sea; the waters of ocean learnt their bounds, neither turned again to cover the earth. The Divine word clothed in all the glory of vegetation the hitherto barren land, making it a fit home for man, who was not yet; and the water ministered sustenance to everything that grew out of the ground. Birds, beasts, and fishes were made, and the waters were the birthplace of most of these. For God said, "Let the water bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life," not its own tenants only, but fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. So there was an earth, not the bare ground only, but the whole wealth of vegetable and animal life; and this was all existent, compacted, supported out of water and by means of water (δι υδατος). For without it nothing could have flourished. God had laid up water above the firmament and water below the earth, and by means of watery vapor refreshed and blessed everything that grew. This was the reign of God’s law, and ere the Flood came men could point to it and say, "What mean you to talk of a deluge? The sand is made the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it; the earth is set high above the waters, and has been so from old time." But that long duration did not hinder the same productive, nurturing water being turned, by the word of the Lord, into an agency of destruction.

"By which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." Every word in the Apostle’s sentence is meant to tell. God employed as means of overthrow the very powers which at first He ordained for blessing. His word makes things what they are. The reign of law endures until He, who is before all law and the source of all law, gives another direction to those forces which his law has always been controlling. In this way the World that then was, the world which had endured and been steadfast from the Creation to the Flood, perished. The world was full of order, full of glory. The name (κοσμος) expresses all this. Yet, for the sin of man, it repented God that He had made this glorious order; and this it was which perished. The earth was not destroyed; it only received again that covering of primeval waters which, at God’s word, had retired and let the dry land appear. At the same word both earth and heaven combined to destroy the goodliness with which creation was adorned. For, on the day of the Deluge, {Genesis 7:11} all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the waters came again to cover the earth. They prevailed exceedingly, and all flesh died that moved upon the earth; even the fowls and the moving creatures, which had been brought forth from the teeming waters, perished, and all things were destroyed from off the earth. Thus does St. Peter lay bare the unwisdom of those who will not listen to, who are willfully forgetful of, the parables of God’s word; who close their eyes to His judgments, sent that by them men may learn righteousness.

"But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire." The Apostle now turns away from what the Old Testament Scriptures relate as history of the past to what the same records teach us concerning the future; and he deals partly with promise, partly with prophecy. The earth will not be destroyed again by a deluge. God hath made His covenant: "I will establish My covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth". {Genesis 9:11} But there will be a judgment; and then not, as in the days of Noah, will the κοσμος, the beautiful order of nature, alone be destroyed, but heaven and earth alike shall be involved in the common overthrow. Here the Apostle is but the expositor of the words of psalmists and prophets of the older times. He who sang, "Of old Thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands," was inspired to add, "They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea, all of-them shall wax old like a garment: as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed." {Psalms 102:25-26} Isaiah, the evangelist among the prophets, saw more, and connects this mighty change with the day of the Lord’s vengeance: "Then shall all the host of heaven be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll"; {Isaiah 34:4} and in another place he foresees how "the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner…for Mine arms shall judge the people"; {Isaiah 51:6} and yet again in more solemn wise, "The Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames of fire, for by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh". {Isaiah 66:15} And this He proclaims as the preparation for "the new heavens and the new earth which He will make." Daniel also tells us of God’s "throne of judgment to be set, which is like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire". {Daniel 7:9}

With such light from the lamp of prophecy, the Apostle in his exegesis proclaims the nature of the final judgment. Like other New Testament writers, he has attained, since the day of Pentecost, a deeper insight and a firmer grasp of the purport of what Moses in the Law and the prophets did write. We can see how on that very day thoughts like these which he expresses in his letter were borne in upon his mind. For not only does he apply the prophecy of Joel to the events which then struck the multitude with wonder, but he carries on the lesson further to the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord, and reminds his hearers that "then God will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke, when the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood". {Acts 2:19-20} And the like illumination had been bestowed on St. Paul. For he too tells {1 Corinthians 3:13} of a day when each man’s work shall be proved by fire; and more definitely he assures the Thessalonians, to whom he wrote much concerning the day of the Lord, that there will come a "revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". {2 Thessalonians 1:8}

In such wise did the Apostles read the utterances of prophecy; and thus did they apply them as lessons for their own and all future times. They felt that not unto themselves, but unto us, did the prophets minister. And St. Peter does but put their message into his own words when in his bold figure he says that the heavens that now are and the earth are stored up for fire.

The Revised Version on its margin renders the last words "stored with fire." And when we reflect on the storing of the waters at the Creation, afterwards to be let forth to destroy the world which hitherto they had made fruitful and lovely, the parallelism is very suggestive. God has stored the earth within with fire, which from time to time makes its mighty presence and power for destruction known. The visitations of earthquakes may therefore well remind us that He who used the treasures of waters in the Deluge for His ministers may in like manner hereafter employ this treasury of fire.

"Being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." When God no longer waits for sinners to repent, then will come the judgment and destruction of the ungodly. At that day the heavens that now are and the earth shall be exchanged or transformed. God will prepare a new heaven and a new earth wherein the righteous may find a congenial home with their Lord. Here they can never be other than pilgrims and sojourners, seeking to be clothed upon with their house which is from heaven. What the destruction of the ungodly shall be we can only judge and speak of in the terms of Scripture. The language of St. Paul to the Thessalonians seems to teach us that the very advent of the Judge shall bring their penalty: "They shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction" (the word is not the same which St. Peter uses) "from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His might," {2 Thessalonians 1:9} in the presence of which nothing that is defiled can dwell. So God, of His mercy, still reserves the heavens and the earth, and thus to every new generation offers His mercy, saying continually through their silent witness, in the spirit in which he spake to Israel at the close of the volume of prophecy, "I am Jehovah"-that is, the merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin-"I change not; therefore ye sinners are not destroyed."

Verses 8-9

Chapter 28


2 Peter 3:8-9

"ALL things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation," said the mockers. It was foolish, therefore, to believe in, or to think of a judgment to come. In the words before us the Apostle not only supplies an answer to the scorners, but gives a precious lesson to Christians for all time on the nature of God and His government of the world. It is but a single thought, but when the mind of the believer has grasped its significance, he will look out upon the world untroubled. No mockery will disturb his faith.

"But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Here the Apostle quotes some words from that psalm (Psalms 90:1-17) which is entitled "A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God." In it the Psalmist is contrasting God’s eternity with the frailty of man and the shortness of human life. "A thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past." But St. Peter not only adopts, but adapts, the words for his own purpose. He wants to teach the Christians in their trials that, while what is long in man’s estimation may in God’s providence be counted but little, yet through God’s decree what to man appears little may be big with mightiest consequences. He therefore first inverts the words of the Psalmist. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, while a thousand years may be as one day. One day of His deluge swept a whole generation out of the world, while His day of Pentecost remains potent in the history of His grace for all the ages which are yet to come. Through a mistaken literalness, men have sometimes expounded the lesson as if Jehovah’s dealings were a question of arithmetic. Nothing could be farther from the Apostle’s thought, who would have us know that of great and little God’s work makes no account. With Him there is no short or long in time. What he does is not to be measured by the petty standards of humanity. Men must take note of time, for they feel its lapse, and its loss. They are ever conscious that a period is coming after which what is undone must continue undone. Again, the length of time is known to them by the recurrence of the various acts of life, and by the weariness which comes of continued labor, and by the grief of protracted waiting. These things force them to speak of short and long, but with God it is not so. For Him all time is one. He knows nothing of toil. Whatsoever He pleaseth, that doeth He in heaven and in earth, in the sea, and in all deep places. {Psalms 135:6} The Psalmist had attained a true conception. The whole world and all worlds were in His control, and their order the working of His eternal will. He needs no rest; He slumbereth not, nor sleepeth. To Him there is no waiting, no weariness. Hence the past, the present, and the future are for Him one unbroken now.

This is the one thing which the Apostle offers to the Christian brethren for their support and consolation against the scoffers. And the knowledge is mighty for those who grasp it. It helps them to cast themselves securely upon the almighty arms, convinced that God’s working is not to be estimated according to man’s days and years, but is certain in its effect. One generation passeth away, and another cometh; but death, they learn, does not take men out of the knowledge or the hand of God, be it for mercy they are reserved, or for judgment. God does not defer His action because He lacks power to perform, neither does He tarry because He is unmindful of His servants or insensible to what they endure.

Such thoughts can minister to the faithful abundant consolation, and this was the desire of the Apostle. But they raise for all time large questions which can find no answer here, questions concerning the lot of those who pass from this brief day of life into the eternal world and have not known God’s will, that they might do it; questions concerning a discipline which may yet be reserved for some who have not bent themselves to it here, perhaps from want of light; questions of how far hope may extend itself beyond the veil which divides this world from the next. Such questions rise within many earnest souls, often rather for the sake of others than themselves; but God has vouchsafed us no answer, lest men should wax presumptuous.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness." Many things conspire to make the doings of men to tarry. At one time pledges are given beyond what foresight would warrant; and when the day of performance arrives, they are forced to plead that events have falsified their expectation, and they cannot do the things that they would. Again, men, with the most earnest zeal, attempt a work beyond their powers, and of necessity have to delay the fulfillment of their promises; while some are taken away untimely from the midst of their fellows, ere life has enabled them to achieve what they counted on once as certain. Want of knowledge, of time, and of power is the heritage of the sons of men; and therewith conspires not seldom a change of mind and consequent want of will. But He with whom is no variableness, the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Lord of all, is subject to no hindrance. Whether events appear to men to linger or to be sudden, all move under the control of the same unchanging will. He is not slack, as men are slack, either to rescue the righteous or to punish the ungodly. Of this the son of Sirach spake: "The Lord will not be slack, neither will the Almighty be patient…till He have taken away the multitude of the proud and broken the scepter of the unrighteous…till He have judged the cause of His people and made them to rejoice in His mercy" (Sirach 35:18). Here is a medicine for fainting souls, of whom there must have been many among these Asian Christians. And it is a solace furnished, too, by the teachings of prophecy. "The vision," says one, "is yet for an appointed." {Habakkuk 2:3} God’s Will has ordered when and how it shall be accomplished; all moves by His decree. "At the end it shall speak, and not lie." There is no disappointment to those who wait upon the purposes of God. "Though it tarry, wait for it," even though the waiting may last beyond this life, "because it will surely come; it will not tarry. The just shall live by his faith."

Tηε ορδερ οφ τηε ωορδσ ιν τηε οριγιναλ (ο κυριος της επαγγελιας) and the unwonted construction of the verb, of which no other example is forthcoming, have suggested to some to render thus: "The Lord of the promise is not slack." Even so the words give a powerful sense. God, who makes the promise to men, is supreme over all on which its faithfulness depends, supreme both as Maker and Fulfiller of His word. He sees and controls the end from the beginning. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.

"But is long-suffering to you-ward." The Authorized Version reads "to usward." And some have thought it more in accord with the Apostle’s manner and humility to include himself with the brethren. The other reading is better supported, and none will doubt on that account St. Peter’s sense of God’s long-suffering towards himself. The term which he here employs to describe the Divine character implies the holding back of wrath. God might justly punish, but He stays His blow. Men have sinned, and still sin; but His love prevails above His anger. The word is formed by the LXX translators to render one expression in that passage {Exodus 34:6} where God proclaims unto Moses the attributes by which He would be known unto men. Through all the list mercy is the dominant feature.

Term upon term seems devised to magnify the tenderness of Jehovah towards His people, though at last, if the continual offers of mercy are despised, He "will by no means clear the guilty." No other language furnishes such a word, for no other people had such a knowledge of the God of all grace.

"Not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." We are wont to connect statements like this with the gracious messages of the New Testament. Yet some saints of earlier time felt all that St. Peter here teaches. The writer of Ecclesiasticus has some striking words. He is connecting God’s mercy with the shortness of man’s life, and his language anticipates in the main this teaching of the Apostle: "The number of a man’s days at the most are a hundred years. As a drop of water unto the sea, so are a thousand years to the days of eternity. Therefore is God patient with them, and poureth forth His mercy upon them. The mercy of man is toward his neighbor, but the mercy of God is upon all flesh; He reproveth, and nurtureth, and teacheth, and bringeth again as a shepherd his flock" (Sirach 18:9-14). In such wise had some who waited for the consolation of Israel grasped God’s promises by anticipation, seeing them afar off, and being persuaded of them. Such men owned themselves, equally with the Apostle, to be strangers and pilgrims, and sought for that inheritance which Christ sent him to preach.

The word "wishing" (βουλομενος) implies deliberate consent. This God does not give to the death of any sinner. If any perish it is not because God so desired or designed. But some will ask, "Why, then, should any perish?" St. Peter in this sentence, full of grace, supplies the answer. They continue in sin, and repent not. Even offers of mercy are of no avail. But why does not the Almighty Father drive them to repentance by His judgments? Because He has made His children free, and asks from them a willing service. They are to come to repentance. The invitation is full and free. Christ says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor." Nay, God makes at times a less demand: "Look unto Me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth." Could words breathe more of mercy? To come, to look-that is the sole demand. God bestows all besides. Let men but manifest a desire, and His grace is poured forth. He wisheth not that any should perish.

And Christ, too, when He speaks of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, has the same lesson. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost all conspire to further the work of man’s salvation. "All things," said our Lord, "whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. Therefore said I, He shall take of Mine, and shall show" (R.V. declare) "it unto you." But the eye to see what He shows, the ear to hear His declarations-these He asks from men. He willeth that they should come to repentance, and through that gate should come to Him.

Verses 10-13

Chapter 29


2 Peter 3:10-13

THE Apostle, ever earnest to put the brethren in mind of the things they had heard or read, never fails to follow his own precept. His thoughts perpetually go back to the words of Jesus, of which the passage before us is but one example out of many. "If the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched". {Luke 12:39} So spake Christ unto the disciples when urging them to be like unto servants that look for the coming of their lord. To the Master’s parable St. Peter now gives its application: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief." He means first to mark the unexpected advent, which steals upon men when they least think of it. Sinners will have lulled themselves into security, and the thought farthest from their minds will be the all-important preparation. St. Paul uses the same figure in speaking of the same subject, {1 Thessalonians 5:2} from which passage the words "in the night" have found their way into the text of St. Peter, to which, as the Revised Version indicates, they do not belong. And in the Epistle to the Hebrews the Apostle has defined the preparation which, joined with patience, should keep men in readiness for the certain advent: "Exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." {Hebrews 10:25}

St. Peter passes on to tell of the terrors which shall attend on that day. Here also he has in mind the words of his Master, who, after a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, spake of that greater coming of the Son of man of which the overthrow of the Holy City was to be but a partial type: "There shall be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows, men fainting for fear and for expectation of the things that are coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken". {Luke 21:25-26; Matthew 24:29} With the Lord’s language for his warrant, he paints, largely in the words of the prophets of old, the things which shall befall the world in that great and notable day: "In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Isaiah had used like words of old: "All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll"; {Isaiah 34:4} and in another place he speaks {Isaiah 24:19} of the earth as utterly broken, clean dissolved, moved exceedingly; Micah has to proclaim the coming of the Lord, and he pictures it thus: "The mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft as wax before the fire"; {Micah 1:4} and Nahum, describing the day of the Lord which he foresaw was coming upon Nineveh, says, "The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwelt therein." It is St. Peter’s, by the light of the words of Jesus, to read their full purport into these prophetic messages, and to teach those upon whom the ends of the ages are come that all these things will have their consummation in that coming of the Lord which shall be the close of these latter days.

When thus considered his description contains many striking details. "The heavens will pass away." Christ Himself had so spoken, not of heaven only, but of the earth also. His word was the same which Peter employs, but He used it in the same sentence thus: "My word will not pass away." {Matthew 24:35} That is the one thing to which we may trust. All else will be destroyed or changed. Only those who are in Christ will be fit for the new order. For them old things are passed away; behold they are become new. {2 Corinthians 5:17} They have been purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit, and so can abide the day of Christ’s coming.

To describe the dread process he has a striking word, which, like so many of the Apostle’s expressions, is used nowhere else in the New Testament: "With a great noise" (ροιζηδον). It is applied to many sounds of terror: to the hurtling of weapons as they fly through the air; to the sound of a lash as it is brought down for the blow; to the rushing of waters; to the hissing of serpents. He has chosen it as if by it he would unite many horrors in one.

Then the thought of nature’s dissolution. All that was bound together at the Creation, and then received a law of cohesion which sustained it thenceforth, will be cast loose, the compacted world dissolved. These things have been thought of as emblems of stability. God hath made the round world so fast that it cannot be moved, {Psalms 104:5} but He who made can also unmake. How foolish then must they be who bound their thoughts and aims by what the world can give, making themselves thereby of the earth, earthy, and so sure to fail when that is destroyed. And what are those works that are in the earth of which the Apostle speaks? Do the words mean no more than "the world and all that therein is," a phrase so common in Scripture? At first sight it appears so. But some most ancient manuscripts, instead of "shall be burned up," read "shall be discovered." Of this the Revised Version takes note on its margin. From this reading the mind goes to the words of the Preacher, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil". {Ecclesiastes 12:14} The sense is thus bound closer with the coming of the day of the Lord.

"Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness?" The Apostle says more than "are to be dissolved." His word signifies "are being dissolved." The event is so sure, and the interests involved so weighty, that he speaks of it as present, that thus he may more forcibly urge his lesson of preparation. "What manner of persons ought ye to be?" Christ had supplied the answer, and so St. Peter gives none: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning, and ye yourselves like unto men looking for their" Luke 12:35-36. The figures imply readiness for any service, most of all, to an Eastern mind, readiness to set forth on a journey. Such should ever be the attitude of those who are but sojourners and pilgrims. And by his words the Apostle intimates how this preparedness should enter into every relation of the Christian life. The translation says, "in all holy living and godliness"; but in the Greek there is no word for all. Literally the words are "in holy conversations and godlinesses." In English we could not use words thus. Hence the device of the translators to come as near to the sense as is possible. But if we carry with us the thought contained in these plural words, we see how St. Peter teaches by them that in our daily life and work as well as in our religious exercises we should be ever watchful, ever ready. Our life with men and with God should be stamped as "Holiness unto the Lord." By such a walk we shall keep ourselves apart from sinners, and be helped thus far to keep away from sin. And the godliness of which he speaks springs, as he has already taught {2 Peter 1:6} in this Epistle, from a patient waiting on the Lord. Thus the whole attitude of the Christian becomes one of wakeful readiness. He is of those of whom it is said, "Blessed are those servants whom their lord when He cometh shall find watching."

"Looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." The question of the mockers, "Where is the promise of His coming?" will not disturb those whose lives are thus made ready. That coming fills their every thought, moulds every desire, controls and chastens every action. For not only do they look for it: they long for it, and earnestly desire it. For to be with Christ is far better. Hence they hear of the melting elements and the fires of heaven without alarm. With them it is as with the Hebrew children in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. The fires which others dread, and by reason of which the heavens dissolve and the elements melt, will have no power over them save to loose their bonds, to free them from the burden of the flesh, to further that change from the natural to the spiritual which St. Paul teaches we must all undergo; while with them there will be the Son of God. And thus they will attain to their desire, and become partakers of the Divine nature.

But the translation "earnestly desiring" by no means exhausts the significance and solemnity of St. Peter’s word. The Authorized Version rendered it "hasting unto the coming of the day of God"; but the word "unto" is not in the Greek, though the verb means "hastening." The word is found in the LXX of Isaiah 16:5, where the Authorized Version translates the Hebrew by "hasting righteousness" and the Revised by "swift to do righteousness." But though a king, as in that passage, may be said to hasten righteousness by being swift to do it, is there any sense in which men could be said to hasten the coming of the day of God? It seems as though Christ intended to set such an aim before His servants. Before He was crucified He spake that prophetic promise, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." When He had been lifted up on the cross and as a testimony to His Godhead, lifted up from the grave, He gave His commission to the Apostles: "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations…Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." He promised His Spirit also to be their Guide into all truth.

Thus were they sent to be heralds of and laborers for His kingdom; and one of them has testified to the abundance of the aid bestowed: "I can do all things through Christ that giveth me power." But he who thus spake could say to his converts, "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." {1 Corinthians 11:1} In this way men can lift up Christ; in this way can they draw men to Him. And to do this by examples of holy living and godliness is the work which He has committed to His Church, to let the light of Christian lives shine before men in such wise that they may be won for Him. And when we see His kingdom’s slow advance, St. Peter’s question is turned into a reproach, "What manner of men ought ye to be?"

"But, according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." All creation was marred at the Fall. It groaneth and travaileth until now in pain along with the sons of men. It was made subject unto vanity, but that was by reason of God, who made it thus subject in hope that it shall be delivered, along with man, from the bondage of corruption. And that victory was promised from the first. The seed of the woman shall not always be the spoil of the serpent. The world was in many ways kept alive to this thought. A race was promised from whom all nations should be blessed. God established a kingdom to represent His rule in the world, and at length Isaiah was inspired to tell of new heavens and a new earth. {Isaiah 65:17} He too foresaw that this was for a reign of righteousness, that it pointed to a time when the wickedness of the wicked had come to an end: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither the moon by night; for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and as for thy people, they shall all be righteous." And Christ while on earth endorsed the prophetic word: "I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there shall My servant be."

Hence St. Peter says, "According to His promise we look forward." And by using the same he identifies the new heavens and the new earth with the coming of the day of God. The believer heeds no more the mockers who ask, "Where is the promise of His coming?" He can look and lift up his head, assured that his redemption draweth nigh. For his expectation has been fostered through a life of holy conversation and godliness, and the assurance of the day of God is firm, for the kingdom of God is set up within him.

And the consolation of the promise consists largely in the thought that in the new creation righteousness will dwell, will make its home. First, there will be Christ the righteous, who is also our righteousness; and all the hindrances and stumbling-blocks of this life will be removed. Here the sojourners and pilgrims abide for the time amid many foes and countless perils; then they will be delivered even from their own frailties: As their home is new-created, so they shall become new creatures. So their thought, their prayer, their struggle, is ever, Sursum corda; and day by day they are bound less to earth and realize more of heaven.

"The distant landscape draws not nigh

For all our gazing, but the soul

That upward looks may still descry

Nearer each day the brightening goal."

Verses 14-18

Chapter 30


2 Peter 3:14-18

IN these solemn closing words the Apostle sums up his exhortations and warnings. His admonition is of a twofold character. First, he urges the brethren to strive after steadfastness, but to beware of sinking into a careless security which may make them an easy prey to false guides. "Stand fast," he would say, "and be ever watchful against falling." Then, let your Christian life be one of steady, constant, temperate progress; let it imitate God’s works in nature, which wax, man sees not how or when, by drawing constantly from the hidden, sources which minister life and increase. Let believers seek thus that in their lives there may grow from God’s seed of faith, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear, to yield some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold, to the praise and glory of the Lord of the harvest.

"Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in His sight." The whole passage runs over with Christian affection; a very working out it is in a believer’s life of Christ’s teaching, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye love one another." Love to the brethren, love to his fellow-Apostle, breathes in every line of these final sentences. Beloved are the Churches, beloved his fellow-laborer. And he is never weary of repeating that word "looking for," which marks the true attitude of the Christian pilgrim: Seeing that ye look for the coming of the day of God. Before he had said, We look for it; now he brings the lesson nearer home to every one of them: Ye are looking for these things. Be ye therefore ready. Give diligence that ye may be found in peace by Christ when He appears.

Peace is the bond which clasps together the brotherhood of Christ. But things which need a bond are prone to break asunder, and St. Paul marks the care which is needed in this matter by using the same word (σπουδαζοντες) which St. Peter employs here. And his list of the virtues which make for peace shows how much anxiety is needed: "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering forbearing one another in love, giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." {Ephesians 4:2-3} Such are the graces to be fostered by those who look for the Lord’s coming. The Hebrew knew no nobler word to use for blessing than "Peace be with you." Christ at His parting says to His disciples, "My peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you." It embraces reconciliation with God and union with the brethren; it is a treasure worthy of all striving for, and when attained it passeth all understanding.

They who are looking for Christ will strive to become like Him. Christ came down from heaven and assumed humanity that His brethren might take courage for this lofty aim. The Apostle {1 Peter 1:19} has spoken of Him as a lamb without spot and blemish, and this ideal purity he now sets before the brethren. For he knows that to strive after it will sunder them from the corruptions of those false teachers whom he has called "spots and blemishes" {2 Peter 2:13} in the Christian society. Instead of denying the Master that bought them, they will be hearkening constantly for His voice. Thus will they become clean through the word which He speaks unto them. {John 15:3} For His voice is ever helpful; and abiding in Him they will bring forth much fruit.

"And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation." The mockers had made the delay of God’s day the subject of their scoffing. "It tarries," said they, "because it is never coming." Their speech was, in fact, a challenge: "If it is to come, let it come now." The Christian is of another mind. His heart is full of thankfulness for the mercy which allows time for that diligence which his preparation demands. St. Paul expresses this feeling concerning God’s dealings with himself: "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all His long-suffering, for an example of them which should hereafter believe on Him unto eternal life". {1 Timothy 1:16} And the opportunity thus granted him that Apostle used to the full; yet ever mindful was he not only from whom was the mercy, but also from whom came the power which was with him in his diligence: "I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." And in another place, {Philippians 1:21-22} though he longs to be released from life and to be with Christ, he recognizes that there may be a Divine purpose in delaying that day of God also, that to live in the flesh may be the fruit of his labor; and if this be so, he is content. For the believer thinks not only of his own salvation and his own opportunities. The Christian’s faith is not selfish. He beholds how large a part of the world is not yet subject unto Christ, and owns in the delay of the day of the Lord a wealth of abundant grace, offering salvation still to all who will accept it.

"Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you." Some, who have restricted the allusion of St. Peter here to the "long-suffering" of God, have thought that the Epistle to the Romans is intended. That letter is the only one in which St. Paul speaks generally on this subject. In Romans 2:4 he asks, "Despisest thou the riches of God’s goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" and, again, asks another question: "What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy?". {Romans 9:22-23} Others, considering the great subject of the day of God to be specially present to St. Peter’s mind, have found parallels in the two Epistles to the Thessalonians. It has also been pointed out that Silvanus was with St. Paul when these letters were written, and that through him {1 Peter 5:12} their import might have been brought to the knowledge of the Asiatic congregations. But we know too little of the intercommunication of the Churches of Europe and Asia to arrive at a conclusion, while the definite statement "wrote unto you" seems certainly to refer to some letter addressed to the Churches of Asia. Among these, beside the Galatians, were the Ephesians and the Colossians. Reference has already been made to the way in which St. Paul speaks in his First Epistle to Timothy of the long-suffering of God towards himself. Would the letter to the bishop of Ephesus be held too personal for its contents in some form to be imparted to the whole Church? Then in the Ephesian epistle such a passage as Ephesians 2:4-7 may well have been in St. Peter’s thoughts: "God, being rich in mercy…quickened us together with Christ that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Jesus Christ," or Colossians 1:19-20 : "It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross." But there is no reason from St. Peter’s words to assume that he is referring to an extant epistle. He may have known of a letter to the brethren in Asia of which we have no trace. Of one thing we may be sure: that his words had a definite sense for those to whom they were written.

But his reference to St. Paul has much interest for other reasons. Among these brethren there would be current many memories of the great Apostle to whose labor the formation of these Churches was chiefly due. His name would for them add weight to St. Peter’s admonitions. The mention of the wisdom divinely given to him would remind the Galatians at least how foolish had been their doubts and waverings in bygone days. While, as they knew how one apostle had withstood the other when he saw that he was to be blamed, such words as these from St. Peter would come with double force. Most of all, while the teachers of error were perverting St. Paul’s language for an occasion to the flesh, it was good that the Churches should be reminded that he ever taught men to strive after lives without spot and blemish and had given no license to the excesses for which his words were offered as a warrant.

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things." From this it appears that it is the whole drift of St. Peter’s letter, its warnings as well as its counsels, which is in harmony with the words of St. Paul. But we need not assume that St. Peter’s readers were acquainted with all the fellow-Apostle’s writings. He is telling them what his own experience has proved.

"Wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction." This passage is noteworthy as the only place in the New Testament in which the writings of the Apostles are regarded as ranking with the Scriptures of the old Covenant. Everywhere else "Scripture" means the Old Testament. Yet, as the Apostles were passing away, it must have begun to be felt that a time was coming when great authority would attach to their words, as of persons who had seen the Lord. St. Peter has just spoken of the wisdom which was given to St. Paul. That wisdom came from the same source as the illumination of the prophets; and it is not unnatural, after such an allusion, that his writings should be classed with those of old time. Both were subjected to the same treatment. So perversely had the Old Testament been read that when He came of whom it spake-came to those who held the volume in their hands, and who regarded it with much show of reverence-He was not recognized. His people had blinded their eyes. Just so was it faring with that freedom of which St. Paul had said so much to the Galatian Church. Wrested from its true meaning, it was put forward as if it gave warranty and encouragement for the life of the libertine.

That many things in the writings of St. Paul are difficult to comprehend is beyond question. He more than any of the New Testament writers works out the principles of Christ’s teaching in their consequences. He deals most fully with the great questions which circle round the doctrine of redemption; with election and justification; with the casting off of God’s ancient people and the certainty of their restoration; with the objects of faith, the things hoped for, but as yet unseen; with the resurrection of the body and the changes which shall pass upon it; and with the nature of the life to come. He of all men realized to the full the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love of God, and spake in his letters of much which passeth knowledge.

But in St. Peter’s word (δυσνοητα) "hard to be understood" there appears to be the thought that men’s difficulties arise in part because they look on these subjects as studies for the intellect (νους) alone, and fail for this reason to attain to the best knowledge that is given to man. It is of God’s order that for the lessons which come from Him, He also imparts the power of true discernment. Those who approach the study of Christian truth as a cold intellectual exercise in the comprehension of which heart and soul bear no part, will go away empty, and as dark almost as they come.

The "wresting" of which St. Peter here speaks may come either of the misuse of single terms, just as the apostles of license put a wrong sense, for their own ends, on St. Paul’s "liberty," or it may be the effect of severing a lesson from its occasion and its context. Such perversion also happened to St. Paul’s doctrine. To those who, like the Galatians, had been drawn back to an undue estimate of the legal ordinances of Judaism, the Apostle, as a corrective, had exalted faith far above outward observances; and there soon arose those who under his language sheltered themselves in a dissolute Antinomianism. The same befell in later days when Agricola and the Solifidians perverted Luther’s teaching of justification by faith. And when such misleading guides find hearers who are "ignorant and unsteadfast," the false lessons, which always have the frailties of humanity to back them, gain many adherents. To the thoughtless such teaching is seductive, and is unsuspected because it puts on a semblance of affinity with truth. Hence grow those ruptures of the Christian body, those heresies which lead to destruction. {2 Peter 2:1}

"Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own steadfastness." In the first chapter the Apostle has already (2 Peter 1:12) addressed the converts as those who knew the things of which he wrote and needed only to be put in mind, who were established in the truth, and not to be classed with the ignorant and unsteadfast. Yet for all there is need of watchfulness. The lies which are abroad clothe themselves in the garb of truth, wresting the Scriptures. "Therefore," says he, "guard yourselves" (φυλασσεσθε). The word is not only a notice against dangers from without, but an admonition to watchfulness within. The wandering of the lawless may beguile; to many it has attractions. But if they join that company and follow with them, the end will be a shipwreck of the whole Christian life. The verb (εκπιπτειν) is that which we find {Acts 27:26; Acts 27:29} in the description of the wreck at Melita, when the sailors feared lest they should be cast ashore on rocky ground. It is against a moral peril of even more terrible character that St. Peter warns the Churches; and the contrast is most instructive which is pictured in the two words by which he defines error and steadfastness. The former (πλανη) betokens a ceaseless wandering, a life without a plan, a voyage without rudder or compass, every stage made in doubt, uncertainty, and peril; the other word (στηριγμος) tells of a firmness, fixity, and strength, and comes fitly into the exhortation of that Apostle whose charge was, "When thou art converted, strengthen" (στηριξον) "thy brethren". {Luke 22:32} "This steadfastness," he says, "is now your own" (ιδιου); "barter it not away for any illusions of wayward error."

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." As if to attest his own steadfastness, he ends as he had begun." Grace unto you and peace be multiplied," was the opening greeting of his first letter, to which in his second he adds, "through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." But there is great significance in the way in which St. Peter’s words hang together in this verse. The structure of the sentence shows that he intends to say not only that grace is the gift of Jesus Christ, but that from Him comes also all knowledge that is worthy of the name, a lesson most fitting and most necessary in those days, when teachers, who claimed to be possessors of a special higher knowledge, were denying Jesus altogether both as Master and as Judge. "Root yourselves in Christ," is the Apostolic charge; "seek His help; walk by His light. Thus only can your power increase; thus only can your way be safe."

"To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." This is the end of the Apostle’s labor: that Christ may be glorified in His servants; that they may know Him here as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, hereafter as the Highpriest of His people, but deigning to become the Firstborn among many brethren. For those who find Him here and there also eternity will be too short to show forth all His praise.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3". "The Expositor's Bible Commentary".