The Epistles of Peter, while referring to redemption, concentrate especially to the government of God
• In 1 Peter His government is in favour of the saints.
• In 2 Peter we have the judgment of the wicked.
The saints are not seen as risen with Christ, but begotten again to a living hope by His resurrection. They pursue their pilgrimage as strangers, towards an incorruptible inheritance, reserved in heaven for them. They are kept by the power of God through faith, waiting for the appearing of Christ for full deliverance, the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.
He marks out the progress of this revelation:
1. the prophets testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories following,
2. the same things reported in the gospel preached by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,
3. patience till the revelation of Jesus Christ brought these things to them.
On this ground they are called on to walk in sobriety, obedience, and holiness, on the double ground, that He who called them is holy, and that they call on the Father, who judges without respect of persons every man’s work. But this is founded on redemption by the blood of Christ, and being born again of the incorruptible seed of the word. They believe in God through Christ, whom He had raised from the dead, and to whom He had given glory, all flesh being as grass, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.
The persons addressed are the scattered believing remnant of Israel in various countries of Asia Minor. Hence he distinguishes them as living stones, owned of God, built on the precious living Stone, a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to disobedient Israel. He then applies Exodus 19:6 and Hosea 2:23, and exhorts them to walk blameless in the midst of the Gentiles who spake against them. This would force them to glorify God in the day of their visitation. He then exhorts them to suffer patiently, seeing that, like Christ, it was the Christian’s place to do good, suffer for it patiently. This leads him to refer again to Christ bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, referring to Isaiah 53.
Then in the remainder of chap. 2 and in chap. 3 there are exhortations on details of conduct. He refers to the government of God securing us in peacefulness: if the saints suffered for righteousness’ sake they were happy, beautifully adding that Christ had suffered once for sins, and that this ought to suffice. They ought to suffer for righteousness, if they suffered at all. He then refers to His being put to death in the flesh. They were to arm themselves with the same mind, for in death sin had been done away with. He then reminds them that with God, the have ability for all things, spiritual or temporal. He encourages them in suffering reproach for Christ’s sake, an advance on suffering for righteousness’ sake. This is the only place where they are called Christians. They are to rejoice in the reproach as partakers of Christ’s sufferings, with the consciousness that the time had come for judgment to begin at the house of God.
We then get exhortations to elders and to the younger, and to humbleness under God’s hand, sobriety and diligence, and resistance to Satan. The apostle finally commends them to the God of all grace.
In this second Epistle, which he writes to the same persons who had received, not the Messiah in glory, but the same precious faith as the apostle had received through God’s righteousness. He shows that in the midst of evil, God’s divine power had given everything necessary to life and godliness, the saints knowing God having been called by glory and virtue. He then urges them to be diligent in everything that would give them an abundant entrance into the kingdom. With out this they would be of impaired vision as Christians. He tells them that he must shortly put off this tabernacle; and writes that they might maintain the testimony after he had gone. He showed them that the mount of transfiguration had confirmed the prophetic testimony of the kingdom they were waiting for, asserting that all scripture tended to one common purpose, the fruit of one Spirit, and not of the will of man.
Peter then warns them about false teachers, who deny the authority of Christ, though many would follow them. He names them as wicked, but shows how God can deliver the righteous, and hold the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished. He states their character, especially in the working of the will of man in immmorality and insubordination; adding to this another characteristic – their scoffing at the doctrine of the Lord’s return. He next refers to the deluge as a judgment already executed, and the day of the Lord, as a judgment by fire to come. All that nature trusted in would disappear. This urges the saints to greater holiness.
Originally by JND. Lightly edited by Sosthenes, September 2014
– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible for the original