“Your Own Stability”
2 Peter 3:17
1. Second Peter prescribes a positive defense against threats to the faith: growth.
2. But it does so without:
a. Glossing over the very real dangers.
b. Making all things depend on how good we are at growing.
3. The key passages remind us that our own stability lies in great truths about God.
1. Two Serious Threats to Stability
a. Denying the Master – 2 Peter 2:1
i. There will be false teachers among you. There always have been such workers who have troubled God’s people.
ii. They will secretly bring in heresies. Heresies are opinions without any foundation is divine revelation. They are accompanied by a sectarian spirit and they produce factious elements
iii. The effect of these heresies will be destructive. The words for “destruction” here indicate “the loss of well-being, not of being.”
iv. At their core is a repudiation of Christ as Savior. Notice that these false teacher had been bought by Christ’s blood, but they had abandoned that relationship.
b. Mocking the promise – 2 Peter 3:3-4
i. Scoffers will come along. Such individuals ridicule holy things. They have an attitude which is “hostile to revelation and to godliness” (Kittel).
ii. Their motivation is not intellectual but lustful. The opinions they come to are formed, not by thinking and reasoning, but by indulgence.
iii. They will challenge the promise of the Lord’s coming again. No wonder, for that will be the day when our Lord Jesus calls them and all men into account for how we have lived. One who lives for indulgence will have to find some way to cancel out the thought of that great day.
iv. They deliberately ignore evidence that contradicts their insinuations (v.5-6). When you have already decided what you want to see, you can blind yourself to everything else.
2. Five Significant Truths to Strengthen – 2 Peter 3:8-9
a. God is eternal.
i. The Lord is greater than time and is not changed by it.
ii. He is, he was, and he is to come. (Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8)
iii. He is our dwelling place in all generations because he is God from everlasting to everlasting. (Psalm 90:1-2)
b. God is faithful.
i. He is neither unwilling nor unable to fulfill his promise.
(1) His promises may be absolute or conditional.
(2) If a promise is conditional, its fulfillment is dependent upon the obedience of the one to whom it has been made.
(3) But if it is absolute – as is the promise of the Lord’s return – it will happen on God’s own time.
ii. He is the God of truth who cannot lie. (Isa. 65:16; Tit. 1:2)
iii. His trustworthiness gives us strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope he has set before us. (Heb. 6:18)
c. God is patient.
i. He is “long-tempered” – slow to anger. (Ex. 34:6)
ii. He can wait to be gracious and he can wait to exercise justice. (Isa. 30:18)
iii. His dealings with Israel are an example. (Deut. 28:15; Matt. 23:32-36)
d. God is merciful.
i. He is “a God merciful and gracious.” (Ex. 34:6)
ii. He is rich in mercy, and his saving mercy has appeared. (Eph. 2:4; Tit. 3:5)
iii. God’s will does not cancel human choice, and neither does his mercy.
(1) Many will choose the way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14), and, sadly, will end up lost.
(2) But if any are lost, it will not be because God wanted them to be.
(3) The divine ideal is that no one be lost. He has paid the price. He is allowing the opportunity. But we must choose.
e. God is demanding.
i. God has a will, and he has made it known. It is his will that all come to repentance.
ii. To “come to” is to have an attitude of surrender. The phrase comes from a term which means “to leave a space (which may be occupied for another), to make room, to yield.” One must make room in his life for submission to God.
iii. The Lord’s desire is that all of us come to repentance. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a transformation of state or action. It is a summary of all the conditions which lead to forgiveness (Acts 11:18; 17:30; Rom. 2:4).
3. The responsibility of living before such a God is an important source of our stability.
4. Someone sent me my “birth verse” – 2 Peter 1:11. It proclaims, “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
5. That is what I was born for! It’s what we were all born for! The question is whether, as the verse says, we are “in this way.”