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May 18, 2024 – 2 Peter 3:17-18 – Michael Bailey’s Final Teaching Notes

2 Peter 3:8-18

“8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 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. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”(NIV)

The last two verses of 2 Peter, verses 17 & 18, are essentially a summary of Peter’s letter to his friends. Peter gives a warning and a command in these two verses.

Therefore, refers back to verse 16. Peter says there are ignorant and unstable people twisting the scriptures. They distort it to fit their own purposes, not God’s purposes. They dress like you, they talk like you, and they use a Bible as you do, but they have a different purpose than you do.

They have a different love than you do. They love themselves and their sinful desires. Their goal is to indulge their sinful desires and sidetrack believers from Christ.

Peter says here in vs 17 that you have been forewarned!

Forewarned = warned in advance. A person who is forewarned has prior knowledge of what is about to happen. Peter spent all of chapter 2 warning his friends about the distorted lives, actions, and teachings of false teachers. Peter is giving a final warning here to his friends in verse 17.

Be on alert!

Peter writes, “Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”

These lawless false teachers have an agenda. They are not satisfied only living sinful lawless lives in isolation. Their agenda is to convince you to believe their false and distorted view of God, sin, salvation, and the Bible. They strive to entice you to join in with them.

Men. Brothers. We need to live guarded lives acutely aware that the false teachers are sneaky and deceiving. Peter does not say a believer will lose their salvation if they falter and get tripped up by the error of the lawless.

Peter states that a believer can fall from their secure position. We have a secure position with Christ. There is a particular confidence and safety a believer has when they live within the boundaries and laws God has established. There is no guilt, no angst, no consequence of sins committed. God protects his children.

Psalm 91:1-2, “1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Proverbs 28:1, “1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

Why might the wicked flee though no one pursues? How can the righteous be bold?

When a believer steps out of the boundary and safe haven that the Lord has established, they do not experience the confidence and joy they had before. Sin separates. Sin isolates. Sin deceives us and never delivers what it promises.

Only God delivers on his promises. So be on your guard brothers. False teachers want to entangle you in the trap of sin and falsehood and lead you away from God.

Peter ends his letter with . . . v.18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Peter calls his friends to a task, a life purpose, a goal. Set your sights and heart upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is harder to be knocked off course if you have a goal and a destination you are working toward.

In order to stay true to our Lord and Savior you need to strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. You need to be continually progressing in your faith, not stagnating.

Proverbs 26:15, “A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.”

Don’t be like this sluggard with your walk with the Lord!

“Growing in grace” is a biblical concept I am still wrestling with and trying to comprehend.

Grace means being given what we do not deserve. We deserve death for our sins, but we have been shown grace and given life and salvation through Christ’s work on the cross. Salvation is a free gift to us when we repent of our sins and turn our lives toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

I don’t think we can have a bigger portion of God’s grace. God has already given us all the grace we can receive from him. I believe our task is actually to grasp the grace God has already given us. We need to explore it and meditate on the grace he has already shown us.

We need to practice showing grace to others. We need to accept His grace toward us.

Believers need also to grow in knowledge. We need to study God’s word and apply it to our life. We need to look at it as a way to draw near to our Saviour. We also need to hear sound biblical teaching of the Word of God.

I believe we can also grow in our experiential knowledge of God through prayer, meditation, fasting, serving the Lord, going through trials, and striving to be obedient to his leadings.

What can often happen is we focus on growing in knowledge and don’t seek to grow in grace. When we seek one area more than the other we get out of balance in our faith. Grace and knowledge go together and we need to equally seek both.

I found an illustration in Chuck Swindoll’s commentary on 2 Peter that describes how the two complement each other.

Knowledge keeps us strong and confident.
Grace keeps us tolerant and loving.

Knowledge gives you discernment and discrimination.
Grace gives you mercy and compassion.

Knowledge helps you question and critique.
Grace helps you believe and accept.

Knowledge results in stability.
Grace results in vulnerability.

God wants us to grow in both areas.

Peter closes his letter by giving glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Christ should be the focus of our lives. Do you seek to Glorify him?

Make Christ the focus of your life!

Three questions to ask yourself from our passage.

  1. Are you on guard against the error of the lawless? Know that false
    teachers and satan himself have an agenda to knock you off course
    in your faith. BE ON YOUR GUARD! Don’t fall for their lies about sin,
    salvation, and God.
  2. What are you doing in order to grow in grace and knowledge? We
    need to learn how to show grace to the people around us as Jesus
    did and regularly practice showing it. We need also to progress in our
    knowledge of the Lord by reading his Word and living it out.
    Spurgeon stated: the way to stand is to grow.
  3. Peter closes his letter with a proclamation of glory to God. Ask
    yourself, “Does my life glorify God? Do I seek to bring glory to my
    Lord and Savior?”

“To him be glory both now and forever!

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