Friday, May 15, 2015

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Peter concludes with a final warning and an exhortation. He tells us Christians to be on guard so that we may not be led astray by the error (wandering out of sound doctrine) of the lawless (the morally corrupt/false teachers) and fall from our secure position (our firm faith in Christ). Be prepared and be careful. Be on the alert against instability in our faith and against false teaching. The danger is real. Don't be so arrogant thinking that you can never fall (get off course spiritually) or be deceived. "Keep watch over yourselves...Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!" (Acts 20:28a, 30-31a)

We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christians are not meant to be stagnant/static. We are to keep on growing to be more like Christ every day. Ongoing spiritual growth is the most effective safeguard against spiritual instability/weakness. A growing tree is a healthy, stable tree that does not get blown over by a wind of false teaching. God wants us to grow in embracing grace, appreciating grace, understanding grace, and giving grace. Imitate Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate picture of “grace”...the Embodiment of God's grace! Is grace evident in our speech, attitude, and actions? Do we extend grace that the Lord bestowed upon us to others? For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14) “Growing in grace” means learning to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions while living self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives, being more like Christ each day. Abide in Christ and you will grow in grace!

A growing knowledge of Christ (a more increasingly intimate relationship with Christ) will protect us against error/false teaching. The more we know Christ, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we want to know Him. "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:8-11) When Christians don't know the Scriptures well or don't spend time with God regularly, they become unstable in their faith and vulnerable to seduction from false teachers. Ignorance of God's Word will make anyone an easy target for Satan's lies, truth distortions, and all sorts of false teaching & unBiblical ideas. Even mature Christians sometimes are easily impressed by famous teachers/ preachers who attract huge crowd or authors who sell millions of copies without comparing their messages to the Scriptures. We must be careful not to be so enamored with any preacher/teacher/author that we think they are infallible. We must be more like the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)

Our life's purpose should be to praise, honor, and glorify Christ now and forevermore. "The knowledge of Christ’s love for us should cause us to love Him in such a way that it is demonstrated in our attitude, conduct, and commitment to serve God. Spiritual maturity is marked by spiritual knowledge being put into action." (Edward Bedore)

Prayer: Lord, please help me grow in grace and in Your likeness. I want to know You more and more. Shine Your love and Your light through me, Lord Jesus! I want none of self but all of You. Be glorified in my life, in everything I do and say, Lord!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spotless, Blameless, but Not Restless

Our confident expectancy of Christ's return should propel us to be mindful of how we live each day. Peter encourages us believers to be diligent/to make every effort (which requires self-discipline) to be found by Christ spotless, blameless, but not restless (= at peace).

When Jesus returns, in what condition will He find us? I'm thankful that His righteousness covers me. My conduct should match my position in Christ which is without spot or blemish. My character should reflect Christ in me. Be constantly ready for His return by faithfully abiding in Him, focusing on things above, not on earthly things, living a life of holiness & godliness, and doing Kingdom work. "And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming." (1 John 2:28) Those who are looking forward to Christ's return should have no fear or anxiety because they have a blessed assurance of their salvation. They are at peace because they have already made peace with God (been reconciled to Him) through Christ. The end of the world doesn't scare them/us. 

Our belief and behavior must be congruent. Live a life of love, faith, obedience, purity, and integrity with no compromise. Resist worldliness. "Without spot or blemish" is the exact opposite of the false teachers' character that Peter points out in 2 Peter 2:13b, "They are blots and blemishes." We are not sinless (one day we will be :)), but we can and we should sin less.

Prayer: "May God Himself, the God of peace sanctify us through and through. May our whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Ought We to Live?

Christ will return suddenly at an unknown hour when He is not expected. The heavens will disappear with a great noise. Everything on earth will be destroyed by fire. God will create a new heaven and a new earth. 

Knowing this and waiting for our Lord's coming, we ought to live holy and godly lives. Live lives that are separated from sin and evil, set apart for God's use, and devoted to Him alone. "Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to the way I live my life, godliness refers to the spirit of reverence within me by which I live my life. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so he (Peter) is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty." (John MacArthur) Instead of working for things that will be destroyed, we should focus on working for/investing in things that are eternal. We need to guard ourselves against materialism and worldliness. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Colossians 3:1-2)

"O for a heart that is willing to serve,
Laboring while it is day!
Nothing is lost that is done for the Lord,

He will reward and repay." (Unknown)

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last. 
And when I am dying, how happy I'll be, 
if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee." (Unknown)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Lord's Patience

Peter does not want Christians to stumble over the subject of Christ's return. He encourages them to be steadfast in their faith and remember this fact that the Lord does not view time the same way we do. "A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4) God is outside of time. God's time frame is different than ours. We are finite and we have a finite perspective. God is infinite and He looks at things from an infinite perspective.

God delays Christ's second coming and final judgment because He graciously desires that all people will repent and accept His free gift of salvation through faith in Christ. This is God's heart! Don't mistake God's immense loving patience for slackness/ slowness in the fulfillment of His promise. His motive demonstrates His incredible grace and mercy! The Lord is abounding in love and slow to anger. He is being patient with the ungodly and unrepentant. He is waiting patiently like the father of the prodigal son. We are given more time to reach out to people with the Gospel; do not waste it. Invest in eternity! Some will perish but it is not God's will that they perish. His desire is for all to come to Him, believe in Jesus, be saved, and be with Him for eternity. Jesus died for all. The gift of salvation is available to all. But God will not save us against our will. God also gives us the gift of choice. We can choose Jesus or reject Him. He deliberately keeps giving people more and more time to come to repentance. God has concealed the time of Christ's coming on purpose for His redemptive purpose.

Even though we all deserve God's wrath and condemnation, God our Savior "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b). The purpose of the Messiah’s mission is not to judge or condemn, but to offer the grace of the Gospel, salvation, and eternal life, to people in the world. At His first coming, Christ came to save the world. When He comes again, He will come in judgment upon those who refuse His offer of salvation. Because of God's amazing love, kindness, grace, mercy, and patience, we are offered a pardon and the sentence of condemnation has been delayed. Condemnation is a result of rejecting Jesus (as stated in John 3:18b: "Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son").

Monday, May 11, 2015


Peter wants Christians to know that there will certainly be scoffers in the last days (the days between the Messiah's first coming and His second coming) who make light of sin and make fun of salvation by grace through Christ. They will mock at the Lord's promise of His return. They don't believe that He will come because they don't see any changes. These scoffers deny Biblical truths and follow their own sinful desires. They have no reverence for God. They resist the idea of a time of judgment and moral accountability because they love their self-indulgence too much. Obviously, they are spiritually blind since in reality, things are not as they were. Things will continue to get worse before Jesus returns. God is sovereign. He is working toward His purpose. He always keeps His promises according to His own timing, not ours. "There is a living God; He has spoken in the Bible; He means what He says and will do all He has promised." (Hudson Taylor) Don't listen to these scoffers and become spiritually apathetic and asleep in the light. Jesus will return! Peter wants us to be alert and active in living for God.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Worse Off

They (false teachers) are worse off than they were at the beginning (before knowing Christ) if after they have escaped the corruption/ pollutions of the world through knowing Christ, yet they are again entangled in worldly lusts/snares and are overcome/enslaved. They have tasted and seen that the Lord is good yet they choose to reject Him and return to their old sinful way of life. Inexcusable! They may have a form of godliness but they're so dead in their sins. In other words, apostasy (abandoning faith in Christ and deliberately sinning) is worse than unbelief (not having faith in Christ or not having known Christ and sinning in ignorance). To hear the Truth/to see the Light and revert to lies and darkness is worse than never hearing the Truth and seeing the Light at all. These false teachers repudiate the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in spite of knowing fully Who He is and what He has done. At the same time, they use/misuse His name to lure people for their own gains. They know what is right but they choose to do what is wrong.

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Slaves of Depravity

False teachers speak empty, boastful words that appeal to the sensual desires of the flesh. Words that sound good and impressive but have no real content. False doctrine results in spiritual barrenness. False teachers speak flattering lies that entice people. "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4) "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage." (Jude 14b-16) 

People who are just escaping from those who live in error (of atheism or Judaism, etc.) are allured and ensnared by these false teachers who claim to be Christians. New believers/converts are easy targets for false teachers to prey on. They promise them freedom (not true Christian freedom from sin, but rather freedom to sin) but they themselves are slaves of corruption/depravity. This kind of sinful carnal liberty is attractive to their carnal lusts and interests. Sadly, they don't realize that it's indeed bondage/slavery to sin. These false teachers are still under the power and dominion of sin. They are enslaved to worldly pleasures and wickedness. They talk about freedom but they do not know/have the true freedom which can only be found in Christ. "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6;16)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

They Will Be Paid Back

False teachers will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Spiritual death is their doom. They take pleasure in sensual desire of the flesh even in broad daylight without shame. They defile and deceive themselves and others, bringing disgrace upon the teachings of Christ and the Christian name. These people are among the Church participating in Communion and social meals with us. They're enjoying themselves in their errors. They revel in fooling and taking advantage of other Christians.  To them, it's all about self-indulgence and self-gain. "These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm--shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted--twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever." (Jude 12-13) Ouch!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Lord Knows...

God is sovereign, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient! The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials. This brings comfort to believers. He also knows how to hold the unrighteous (including false teachers) for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority and those who are bold & arrogant and are not afraid to slander celestial beings. This shows their ignorance and comtempt. "For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord...These people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct--as irrational animals do--will destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion." (Jude 4, 10-11) There are always consequences to our actions/decisions. Live to glorify God, not gratify self! It's a terrible sin to corrupt the lead God's children astray. Let those who do it take warning from what happened to the fallen angels (verse 4), to the world of Noah's time (verse 5), and to Sodom & Gomorrah (verse 6).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Beware of False Teachers

Peter warned the believers about false teachers among them (within the Church). These false teachers distort the Scriptures with heretical interpretations and doctrinal errors (such as denial of Christ or denial of His deity) Destructive/dangerous heresies refer to any wrong teachings that result in the moral and spiritual destruction of those who follow them. By these heresies, people are hurt, harmed, deceived, and destroyed. These false teachers even deny Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin. They're motivated by greed/ covetousness. They bring destruction on themselves because God will certainly not let them go unpunished.

I encourage you all to be like the Bereans/to compare everything you hear and read to the Scriptures. "
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) Guard yourselves against lies and false teaching by familiarizing yourselves with the truth, God's Word! And pray for God's wisdom and discernment.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Word of God

Above all, we must understand this truth that no prophecy contained in Scripture comes about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. All prophecies/All Scriptures are divine words from God, dictated by the Holy Spirit. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:17)

Prophecy never had its origin in the human's will but in the will of God. The Holy Spirit gave the prophets knowledge of divine things and moved them to write or say what God wanted them to. Prophets were instruments of the Holy Spirit who used them to speak from God. "The Holy Spirit so supernaturally superintended Scripture writers that without circumventing their intelligence, their personal literary style or personality, He enabled them to record Scripture with perfect accuracy." (Dr. Grant C. Richison)  "prophet of God, therefore, is simply one who speaks forth God’s Word, and prophecy is the proclaiming of that Word. The gift of prophecy is the Spirit–given and Spirit–empowered ability to proclaim the Word effectively." (John MacArthur) 

This shows the authority of the Scriptures since they are the Word of God, and not of men. God, the Author, reveals His attributes, His heart, His thoughts, and His will in His Word. What God wants us to know is in the Bible, the most valuable book in the world. We need to read, study, and memorize it. The Bible is reliable because God is reliable. The Holy Spirit who dictated Scripture is the Best Interpreter to help us understand God's Word. And Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture. The unity of the 66 books in its content, despite the facts that the Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, on 3 continents, and in 3 languages, is another amazing proof of the divine inspiration and authority of the entire Bible.

"I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away,

His Word shall stand forever!" (Luther)

"When reading God's Word, take special care
To find the rich treasures hidden there;
Give thought to each line, each precept clear,

Then practice it well with godly fear." (Unknown)

"How to increase your faith: Expose your mind to God's Word, more & more, more & more, more & more." (James MacDonald)

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