This book has three main themes that are easy to find because each chapter breaks them up:
- Purposeful, godly living and growth in knowledge of Christ
- Warning against false teachers
- Day of the Lord is coming
I want to remind you that Peter ties all these themes together; they are not unrelated in any way. In chapter one he reminds us of the the grace we have received and how that should be changing our lives. In verse two he says, "May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord." Peter then spends quite a bit of the chapter explaining how we can grow in our knowledge. In fact, we learn that when we are not purposeful in growing and adding to our faith, we will become ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Christ. We are also reminded that God has given us everything we need to live godly lives, therefore we should make living such lives an urgent priority.
Chapter two begins to explain the importance of growing in our knowledge by warning us about false teachers. However, it is important to remember that the only way we will be able to identify a false teacher is to grow in our knowledge of Christ. Peter gives a description of what these teachers will do and how they will lure people into following them and tells us that their motivation is greed. We are also told in this chapter that they are people who will even be in fellowship with other Christians to appear to be a follower of Christ. Peter tells us in chapter 2 verse 13 that "they are a disgrace and stain among you." We are warned to stay away from them because they and anyone who follows them will be destroyed. We are also reminded that it is important to grow in knowledge of Christ because it would be better to not have known Him at all than to know Him and then "get tangled and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before," (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Chapter three reminds us that Christ will return. We are told to stand firm even when there will be those who will mock the idea of His return. We are told that there will be those who "deliberately forget" who their Creator is and that there was a flood. We are also encouraged to remember that God's timing may seem slow to us as we yearn for Christ's return, but God is not being slow - He is being patient. He is waiting so more people will turn to Him because He doesn't want to see people be destroyed. Peter then wraps everything around the importance of living godly lives since we know that there will be a day of judgement.
To me, it seems like a cycle that we must never find ourselves falling out of - we have received grace from God though Christ. Our response should be to live the godly lives that God desires from us and has given us the ability to do so. When we live out godly lives, we will grow in our knowledge of Christ. As we grow, we will be able to recognize and avoid the traps that are laid out by false teachers. The false teachers will be destroyed on the day of judgement; therefore, we are reminded of the importance to keep growing. I will say out of personal experience that the more I grow, the more I want to grow. The closer I get to God, the closer I want to be and the more I want to throw off anything that hinders me from growing closer.
Even though I cannot do this book justice in such a short summary, if you have joined me late in this study I hope you have been encouraged to spend some time in this book! It is a book full of warnings; however, it is also full of encouragement. Since so much of this study was warning and talking a lot of destruction, I want to spend the rest of this week looking at some scriptures that give us great encouragement. Next week, I plan to start a new study.