Here is the final part of the study on 2 Peter (If you want to read the study on Chapter 1 and 2 read here and here):
The reality of seeing those given over to falsehood and evil is distrubing and so Peter does not leave his readers there. He turns their sight back to the God who lavishes them with his wonderful promises. Here is the last part of the sandwich.
1-9: Peter reminds his readers of God’s goodness and calls on them not to abandon the God who knows them and loves them. We still have Chapter 2 ringing in our ears and it is a relief to yet again focus on God. God created and sustains the World by his love(v 5).
Peter’s emphasis is on God’s faithfulness. The end of his own life makes him ponder the end of all things. It is in a tone of assurance and this re-inforces God’s love for his people. Peter mentions the universal nature of Divine love. That expansive generous nature of God is presented to us again:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” v9.
10-17: The mention of the end times is for a purpose and it is to bring them back to the virtues of Christian life mentioned in chapter 1. Like the sensible bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable, we have to be ready. Bede again:
“Peter is talking here about those holy vigils which Jesus referred to when he says “Blessed are those whom the Master finds awake when he comes.” The person who keeps himself from all evil maybe said to be watching, as may the one who does his utmost to live in peace…”
So back we come to the way we live if we know God and receive his promises.
Peter then mentions Paul, a man he had disagreements with. This is of no account to Peter. His desire is that people listen to those who are close to God and whose teaching is sound. Paul’s words, along side Peter’s, will strengthen Peter’s audience in the knowledge of God and therefore protect them against false teachers. Peter’s concern is echoed in his last prayer and he finishes by praying that they may
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
It is a relationship with Christ that Peter wants them to be rooted in. This is his hearts desire for them as he sees the end of his earthly life.
The structure of this letter, focusing on God then being drawn away to look at those who peddle evil only to be pulled back to gaze on God has as much to teach us as the content of the letter. Knowing God by gazing on him and growing in his light is the heart of the Christian life. It is far more attractive, when seen clearly than any alternative.