2 Peter 1:1-21 ESV
The written word of God is a great and powerfully effective gift. In the word we still hear the voice of God, speaking to us in the changing circumstances of life. Since people are always people, the Bible can address the need of the hour, because we really do not change that much. Our technology may change and the way we frame our ideas may vary to make them sound new, but when you blow all the smoke out of the room, human minds just recycle a mixture of error and some truth to make it plausible. This makes the word of God always relevant. We always need our thinking corrected by the truth of the Scriptures.
The meaning of words varies according to the context in which they are used. Many words have a wide range of meaning. But when used with other words, their meaning is usually easy to determine. Peter used the word παρουσια here. In the New Testament Scriptures it is a technical term for Christ’s second coming. Much of what Peter will say in the rest of this letter will relate to this truth.
I. Peter encountered opposition to the preaching of Christ’s second coming.
He does not immediately mention who this is, but he soon will.
A.The charge that his opponents made—the preaching of the second coming of Christ is a myth.
1.They accuse Peter of making up his message. Most of human religion has no concern to be historically based, so people consider the Bible to be the same way.
2.This is an attack on the credibility of Peter and his co-laborers; in fact, it is an attack on the gospel message.
B.Generally, this attack comes in two ways.
1.In modernist thought, the assumption is that there cannot be anything beyond the material world. All reality is reduced to the material, the natural—to what can be perceived by the senses. We call this approach antisupernaturalism.
2.In postmodernist thought, the assumption is that there cannot be one idea that gives unity to life and all other ideas. Anything that claims to be the truth is an instrument of oppression. We call this approach pluralism.
3.Both are built on human pride, and so their weapon of choice is scoffing from an assumed position of intellectual superiority.
II. The content of Peter’s preaching
A.The great fact of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth – Peter knows the accusations of his opponents about myth making, but he does not back down from the historical nature of the great acts of salvation, including the yet to occur second coming.
1.It will be a personal return (Jn 14:3; 1 Cor 1:7-8; 1 Th 4:15-16; 2 Tm 4:1; Js 5:7-9; 1 Pt 1:13).
2.It will be a physical or bodily return (Ac 1:9-11; Rev 19:11ff).
3.It will be a visible return (Mt 24:26-27; Lk 17:22-24; Rev 1:7).
4.It will be a sudden return (Lk 17:26-35; 1 Th 5:1-3; Rev 22:7, 12, 20).
5.It will be a glorious return (Mt 25:31; 26:64).
B.The great purposes of the Lord’s return to this earth
1.To show the glory of God (1 Pt 4:13; Mt 24:30; Lk 9:26)
2.To rescue and vindicate his people (1 Pt 1:7; 2 Th 1:10; 1 Jn 3:2)
3.To judge and destroy his enemies (1 Pt 4:5; 2 Th 1:7b-10; Jude 14-15)
4.To establish his reign or kingdom in a full physical and spiritual sense (1 Pt 1:4-5; 5:10; 2 Pt 3:13; Rev 19:15)
C.The great timing of our Lord’s return to earth
1.When will this happen? God alone knows (Mt 24:36, 42).
a.If your prophetic scheme links to some events in this or some other century, then it is wrong.
b.The timing of the Lord’s return has not been revealed to us. It is kept hidden in the wisdom of God (cf. Dt 29:29). Beware of speculation.
c.Beware also of sensationalism. Watch out for those who mix current events with the truth of the prophecies of the Scriptures.
2.Remember our duty in this area (Mt 24:42; 25:13; Lk 21:34-36).