Remember the Word
“You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2).- 2 Peter 3:1–2
It can be easy for those of us living two thousand years after the first coming of Christ to assume that the earliest Christians did not have to face the same kind of difficulties we face. We think that the presence of the apostles ensured that the false teachers who trouble us today would not have been a problem for the early church.
However, as we have seen thus far from our study of 2 Peter, such an idealistic picture of the early church was manifestly not the case. Even before the apostles died, false teachers were making their presence felt in the church. Several congregations, located in what is now northern Turkey, were especially plagued by these evil men. Therefore, Peter sent them a letter shortly before he died in order to help them recognize and combat false teaching.
For the past several weeks, we have spent time in chapter 2 in which Peter devotes much space to describing the immoral character of these teachers assuring us of their condemnation. He also describes their teaching, letting us know that they proclaimed a wanton sensuality in the name of Christ (vv. 18–19).
However, Peter does not write only to describe false teaching, he also wants us to stand against it. In his first epistle, Peter again and again reminded his audience of the true grace of God, which enables Christians to stand firm in suffering (1 Peter 5:12). Standing firm against false teaching also requires that we remember this grace. In today’s passage we see that Peter wrote his second epistle to call us to remember the words of the prophets and the apostles (2 Peter 3:1–2). In so doing, we remind ourselves of the true grace of God.
We will never be able to refute false teaching unless we remember the basic teachings of Holy Scripture. Peter’s call to “remember” is not simply a mental act; rather, it involves the recalling of Christian truths in such a way that one’s entire life is affected and changed. We have already seen this emphasized previously in Peter’s call for us to practice holiness (1:3–11), and this call to holiness is one of the basic doctrines Peter especially wants us to remember lest we succumb to false teaching (3:11–12).
The second coming of Christ is another fundamental doctrine of which we will be reminded over the next few days. However, as we will see in 3:11–12, even this doctrine is given to us so that we might be motivated to live holy lives. Sometimes it can be easy to think that personal holiness is not a basic doctrine or that we should not be concerned with how doctrine affects us practically. Always study Scripture with an aim to thank, obey, and glorify God better.
Passages for Further Study
2 Tim. 3:14–15
1 Peter 2:2–3