Shortly before the Apostle Peter’s death (ca. AD 67), he penned an inspired message “to those of like precious faith.” We call the letter, 2 Peter. It is a short epistle, a mere three chapters. But it contains vital warnings against error and false teachers along with exhortations to continued growth and hope in the Lord’s return.
One can easily outline the book according to the three chapters, The 3 C’s of 2 Peter.
- Cultivate Christian Character (2 Peter 1). Christians are taught to develop certain spiritual virtues and assured that if they practice them in life, they will never be unfruitful in their service to God nor miss out on heaven (2 Peter 1:5-11). Peter also directs them to the confirmed Scriptures as the source for their faith and doctrine. Scripture is inspired and it can be correctly interpreted by anyone, not just preachers, pastors, professors, or some other kind of self-professed “expert” (2 Peter 1:19-21). This assurance in Scripture is vital because…
- Condemn False Teachers (2 Peter 2). Peter warns the Christians that God’s people have always contended with false prophets and now false teachers would trouble the saints. They would deny Jesus and lead many astray. God has and will differentiate between true teachers and true followers as well as the false and the wicked (2 Peter 2:1-11). Peter describes the coming false teachers in terrible terms: covetous, beasts, corrupt, deceptive, adulterous, accursed, etc. (2 Peter 2:12-17). Though their works should manifest their hearts, many saints will be enraptured with their licentious teachings and return to the captivity of sin. Thus, some will lose their salvation (2 Peter 2:18-22). And judgment is coming…
- Confidence in the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3). False teachers have little interest or need to warn people about judgment. Such unpleasant teachings fail to tickle ears. Peter warned that the truth of the Lord’s return will be scoffed at (2 Peter 3:1-4)! Thus, living with the Day of the Lord in view will draw ridicule from the world, and likely the false teachers and backsliding saints will also mock it (see 2 Peter 2:1-2, 12-13). But God’s Word has created the world, destroyed it with the flood, maintained it until this day, and decreed the world’s ultimate destruction in fire (2 Peter 3:5-7). If it hasn’t happened yet, it is because God considers time differently than we do and His longsuffering and desire to see people saved is not yet exhausted (2 Peter 3:8-9, 15). But because Christians are confident in the Day of the Lord, they will live like He’s coming tomorrow (2 Peter 3:10-15). Saints will heed Peter’s warning and be about the business of living and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Reading this letter is great way for any Christian to begin the day. It sparks us onto growth, warns us against satanic wiles, and reminds us that today could be the day that we meet Jesus! Can you remember the 3 C’s of 2 Peter?
By Andrew Roberts