2nd Peter,  Dale Lewis

2 Peter 1:12-15 | “Appropriators of truth”

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  1. Intro
  2. Vs. 12 Appropriators
  3. Vs. 13-15 Stirring up our minds
  4. Intro

Having concluded last week Peter’s reason for writing the letter in 1:5-11 we now move to the main body of teaching which will support the reason he wrote it.  Peter addressed his words to a church was very eager to grow in Christ but was susceptible to false teachers. He wanted them to: “Finish out their faith by applying what God had furnished”! Peter understood from his own 3 ½ years of walking with Jesus on earth as well as his 30 years of walking with Jesus that the “The Christian will not be able to function as He has created them UNTIL and UNLESS they are certain of His lasting love”. Christian maturity is the theme of this little letter and Peter will now write with regards to “Three things” they need to remember through the rest of his letter to them if they are to continue to grow in grace as I’ve outlined this letter:

  1. 1:12-21 Confidence in the Word of God
  2. 2:1-22 Condemnation of Counterfeits
  3. 3:1-16 Certainty of Our Lord’s Return

Another interesting fact in examining the text before us this morning is Peter’s threefold exhortation in these four verses (either directly or by implication) as he states that what he is about to deliver to them is NOT “NEW INFORMATION” but rather things they needed to be “reminded about”. This statement clearly was placed by Peter to emphasis the antidote and truth to that which the Gnostic’s were peddling: The problem with the first century Christian was not in having “enough” or “up to date or “complete” knowledge it is was rather that they had forgotten what they already had in the “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (verse 2). This I’m afraid is not just an early church condition but rather a human condition. “Our most difficult challenges to personal growth and spiritual maturity doesn’t come about due to a LACK of INFORMATION but rather from a LACK of APPLICATION!”

  1. Vs. 12 Appropriators

Vs. 12 “For this reason” is clearly directional; that requires the reader to ask, “for WHAT reason?” The reason for Peter’s next exhortation and way in which he will exhort them has to do with the results and consequences of maturity of the lack of it sated in verses 8-11. It is important that the Christian understand that our faith doesn’t make our essential ministryapologeticsneither does it make us “evangelists” instead we must first and foremost be “appropriators” of the truth that has once for all been delivered to the saints! We will never be of any use as “apologetics” nor “evangelists” to others if we lack the temperament to personally apply that which God has given us for us by His Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that Peter has exhorted the reader of this letter NOT to be passive and instead insisted upon them being active in “giving all diligence and add to our faith”!

The perfecting of our character is what will enable us to be Jesus ambassadors and to do so will requires us to be all diligence in our own maturity! To aide in this Peter utilizes repetitive communication which was first aimed at himself as he states, “I will NOT BE NEGLIGENT to remind you”. In the Greek the word is in the future tense and indicates that what Peter is saying, “I shall be prepared to REMIND you in the future because I was prepared to remind you in the past and the present.” This causes the reader to realize the “necessity” of “applying the truths” that were already theirs and delivered instead of looking for something “NEW” that they could chase! They knew the effective nature of Jesus because they had already been “appropriators” of the truth about Jesus as Peter affirms that they had been “established in the PRESENT TRUTH”.

The Greek word for “established” is one that means to “make stable, place firmly or set fast” and are building terms! These saints were stabilized, placed on firm ground and set fast upon the Rock of Christ. There wasn’t anything nor teaching they needed to grow in grace, they only needed to continue steadfastly in the truth! It is here that we realize our problem in maturity is our “memory” as we are a forgetful people! Even worse is that we tend to forget the very things that a most essential while enjoying recall of worthless information. Some worthless movie line or song lyric will stick with us all our lives but the truth of Jesus that has saved our very souls is quickly forgotten. I believe this to be a direct consequence of our original sin nature as it stands between us and our maturity and is never more prevalent than when it manifests itself in the lack of our own maturity. Furthermore, Peter wants his readers to not only be aware of this but to do something about it. It is a further revelation about our faulty memory is that not only are we prone to forget the important things we are equally deceived into believing that if we simply intellectually state something from our memory that this is equally placing the truth into our life.

The outcome of this deception is a forth eroding of our memory to the truth as we tend to tell ourselves that we needn’t pay attention because we “know this intellectually”! The deception is that “awareness” is the ONLY DUTY for participation! But there is a great gulf between “Awareness” and “Application” James wrote of this in 4:17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Our memory according to Peter is something that MUST BE regularly stimulated. We cannot trust an in active memory any more than we can trust our experiences all must be taken captive to the obedience of Jesus. Our memories also deceive us by telling us that we have no need to listen and apply if at one time we have as we have now received a “vaccine” in this area, and it is good once for all.

The mental acknowledgement of truth by affirming “Yes, I hear you and know exactly what you mean and believe every word of it therefore my affirmation to this is all I need.” Is NOT THE SAME as APPLICATION! We must keep the truth every before our heart a not merely recite the truth but take it into our lives by application! Our flesh, even as Christians doesn’t want to surrender and die to self and is very good at survival. The purpose of the church in teaching is not to present NEW and INTERESTING information but instead it is to remind us of the truths that we are consistently forgetting! Now Peter presents three truths in verse 13-15 that we Christians are prone in forgetting.

  1. Vs. 13-15 Stirring up our minds

Vs. 13-15 “Yes, I think it is right” Peter says and in the Greek this carries the idea that Peter say this was his “solemn duty” to remind them as long as he was in this “tent”, to stir you up by reminding you!

  1. Vs. 13 The first truth that we forget is the truth about our lives! Several truths are in the words “As long as I’m in this tent”. Here Peter gives three truths as to the precious gift that Life is:
  2. It is precious because it has been granted to us by the Living God!
  3. It is precious to us because it is “time sensitive”!
  4. It is precious to us because it is useful to the glory of God!

Our life is not as the base of God’s creation as we were created in His likeness! The “dignity of the Divine” has been granted the believer and must not be taken for granted! 

  • Vs. 14 The second truth that we tend to forget about our lives is the nature of life: Peter says that “Knowing shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.” Here Peter’s point is that is continuance in this life is not only a gift it is a deliberate gift with an expectation that it fulfills God’s plans and designs for it! Our bodies are nothing more than a tent which is to say they are temporary. Such truth is to remind the believer not only in the temporary nature of this life but to make certain that we don’t overvalue this life to make it “all there is”! We have been placed in this world where we are be design and life here and now is a “pilgrimage” we are mere “travelers” as we traverse life moving in the direction of Him taking as many with us as we go!    
  • Vs. 15 The third truth that we tend to forget is the whole purpose of life: “I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease”. The Greek word “ensure” means to bend extend all effort to do ones very best. Before Peter took the “Road out of town to paradise” he wanted to give every effort to speak again and again about the person and work of Christ. He didn’t waste time talking Roman politics or talk about the Local sports team the Jerusalem Jaguar’s. He didn’t engage in speculation only in the person and work of Jesus which they already had. Peter knew his purpose was to glorify God and he intended to do so until he was no longer on this earth. He hadn’t a moment to waste. God is the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Bible never is short on reminding us that life is a process where we are being transformed into His image and to do this God often allows situations and circumstances as well as people to form us. Death is only a corridor from captivity to glory! The greatest motivation we possess is not our destination but the reminder of our relationship to Jesus Christ! That fact transforms all other facts and gives a purpose and a living hope!