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"Cunningly Devised Fables"

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The apostle Peter declared, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Before we dive very deep into the verse, notice that Peter changed from saying “I” (v. 12-15) to “we” (v. 16-19). Peter includes other apostles in this section. The reason why is made apparent from verse 16.

Peter assures those reading that “we” (apostles) have not followed cunningly devised fables when “we” made known to “you” (Christians) the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He insists as well, that they were “eyewitnesses of His majesty.” What are “cunningly devised fables”? This phrase means, “to continue in plausible error” (Strong’s). The word “fables” means what you think it means, “fiction, tale, myth” (Strong’s). Peter states in no uncertain terms that what he (and the other apostles) was writing and preaching is not a myth, is not in error, nor merely some tale being told about a non-existent person. Peter and the apostles did not spend time in jail (Acts 4-5, 12, 16:25-34), suffer ridicule (Acts 2:13, 17:32), and risk their very lives (Acts 12:3-4, 14:19; Jn. 21:18-19; II Pet. 1:14) for a myth!

Based on his promise of reminding the brethren of the things they had already been taught, verse 16 encourages brethren that they have not been taught a myth or some error. They were told the truth by those who have risked their lives for its preservation!

So it is today. By God’s providence, the Bible is in our hands. It tells us the truth (Jn. 17:17). It speaks of our salvation (Rom. 5:8; Mk 16:16), how to stay saved (I Cor. 15:58), and of our Advocate when we sin (I Jn. 2:1). “Cunningly devised fables” didn’t endure 2000 years of time, ridicule, criticism, oppression, tyrants, love, worldliness, faith, and obedience! Only God’s inspired word could last to this present day - and it HAS! Let us be thankful for what we have in our possession and marvel that these are not fables, but the truth! These are not writings of mere men, but the writings inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21; I Cor. 2:12-13). Let us then believe these words, obey them, and teach them to a new generation who can also marvel at the providence of Almighty God!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Always In Remembrance."

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

God is a God who likes to remind us of things. He knows that humans are forgetful, and so we read of numerous times when He had men establish memorials. Sometimes, it was when they won a battle, or when some miracle occurred like the crossing of the Jordan River. In the New Testament, Christ established a memorial when He instituted His Supper (Matt. 26:26-29)!

                   Peter, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the readers that he intended to remind them of things they already knew (II Pet. 1:12-15). He was making it his personal goal to tell them of things they knew -- the truth in which they were “established” (v. 12). Peter said he thought it fitting to remind them, so long as he lived, in the hope that after he died, they would still remember what he had said (v. 15). Peter knew he did not have much longer to live (v. 14), and he saw reminding the brethren of what they already knew as the best use of the time he had left.

                   Why remind people of things they know? Is this not the most efficient way to teach someone? Small children repeat the same action, speak the same words, sing the same songs, listen to the same stories ad nauseam. Yet, when this is done, they know the songs, the stories, the words, and actions to where they are second nature. This is what Peter wanted to do with his final days on earth. He wanted the brethren to repeat and go over the things they knew about Christ so that it was second nature to them!

                   What benefit is there in following Peter’s example? When we have spent time learning and relearning the same truth, it becomes a part of us. It is no longer that I have to go hunt for “x” Bible passage. Instead, when facing certain situations in life, God’s words flow from me! They burst forth to encourage, heal, and focus us on the right things. Peter was aware of the hard times facing those Christians after his death, and he knew that being grounded in the truth was the only way to make sure they survived what was coming.

                   So it is with us. Whatever we face in life, things will turn out better when we have the word of Christ “dwelling in (us) richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This kind of knowledge does not come from reading God’s word one time or two times. It develops by a constant feeding and assimilation of the word, even though we know it and are established in the present truth! Brethren, this is part of the reason behind choosing one book or at most two books to read through the month. The hope is that by slowing down, we can read a book (ex: II Peter) so many times that all the truth flows through us. Friends, read, and don’t grow weary because it only benefits us. If you tire of reading from one version of the Bible, use another. If you tire of reading only, choose a Bible app or some recording, and listen as someone reads the Bible to you! There is no ill effect from this practice, only a benefit for your soul (II Pet. 2:2)!

                   The story of salvation is a story that never grows old! Let’s go back and read it until it comes out of us in our conversation, in our actions, and in our manner. Let us pass this love for God’s word along to our children and grandchildren! Let us apply Peter’s words in reminding Christians of the present truth so long as we live!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Partakers Of The Divine Nature"

Saturday, July 04, 2020

II Peter 1:4 completes the thought from verse 3. Since God has “given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” Christians are also recipients of God’s precious promises and made “partakers of the divine nature” since we have escaped the corruption of the world. What does this mean to Christians? While it is a “mouthful” to read, the truth behind it is simple.

Peter is merely reminding Christians that we are the recipients of God’s “exceeding great and precious promises.” This is an overwhelming thought when we think of all of the promises God has made to His children. The beautiful thing is that God has not forgotten us, and we have access to His many promises as a result of being in Christ.

“By these” promises, we are also made “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). What does this phrase mean? A way that helped me understand was to think about other times when the word “partaker” is used in Scripture. Often, the Bible speaks about a man “partaking” in sin with someone else (I Cor. 10:20-21; Eph. 5:6-7, 11; II Jn. 11). In other words, the Bible is saying do not have fellowship with those in sin. In II Peter, though, we find just the opposite. Since this is God’s blessings, and bestowed promises under consideration, this text encourages us to be a partaker, share, or have fellowship with God!

Just think -- that which was lost at Eden has been restored in Christ! Though our sins are many, they can be forgiven (Acts 2:38)! Though we have been separated from God because of sin (Isa. 59:1-2), we have the opportunity to enjoy fellowship (be partakers) with God once more in Christ! Since we have escaped “the corruption that is in the world through lust,” we have access to blessings we might not have considered before. We have these because we “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” delivered through the apostles, and now are “made free from sin” (Rom. 6:17-18). Now is the time to enjoy the fellowship we have with God!

If you read this and realize that you are not a Christian, then why not become one today? Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24; Heb. 11:6), repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30), confess your faith in Christ (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10) and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). When you do this, you can have access to God’s blessings, His promises, and be in fellowship or a partaker of the divine nature. What’s stopping you from doing what the Lord says? Obey today (II Cor. 6:2; Heb. 5:9)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Like Precious Faith

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

            The apostle Peter’s second epistle was addressed to those “who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 1). II Peter is one of the epistles commonly called “general epistles” by men seeing as there was no specific person addressed. Yet, when I read this, I read of a particular group of people addressed. Peter addresses those who have “like precious faith”! In that sense, he has specified one group of people as his target and excluded the majority of the world. Not everyone enjoys a “like precious faith” with Peter. Do you, dear one?

            The two English words, “like precious,” are derived from the single Greek word “isotimos,” meaning equally honored. The term “faith” or “Pistis” in the Greek has to do with persuasion and conviction. Peter thus says that his writing is to those who share an equally honored conviction or persuasion through Christ. Do you share this with Peter? If not, you can change that today.

            If you would believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), and repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3), you can then confess your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The same writer of II Peter preached the first gospel sermon in Acts 2, and made it clear that when we repent and are baptized, we will be forgiven of sins and receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit.” This gift connects us in fellowship with other Christians, including Peter, who possess a “like precious faith” to our own! How amazing it is to think that we who accept the Lord’s plan of salvation are children of God as Peter was, and have access to the same blessings (Rom. 8:16-17)!

            What are you doing to maintain that “like precious faith” (II Pet. 3:18)? Let’s make it a priority to tell others about this faith and bring others with us to Heaven.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs


Pride Deceives

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Obadiah was a prophet sent to the Edomite nation (v. 1). This short book speaks volumes about the sins of the Edomites and how God was not going to allow their error to continue indefinitely (v. 4, 8-10, 15, 21). Among the sins of the people, God lists pride as a great sin that ruined those people. He said it deceived them (v. 3).

Pride in this text refers to a man’s arrogance, insolence, or presumption. To deceive means “to lead astray, seduce, beguile” (Strong’s). What pride did was lead the Edomites astray from the truth and the reality of God’s power. This is what pride does to men today! God says He hates even the “proud look” (Prov. 6:17). Solomon adds to our understanding by saying that a man’s pride precedes his destruction (Prov. 16:18). Can we see that there is nothing good associated with a man’s arrogance or presumption (pride)? David begged God to “keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:13).

Pride deceives us! In the past, pride deceived Edom into thinking that they were untouchable by the enemy (v. 3). Pride deceives Christians into thinking they cannot be touched by sin. Pride deceives the lost into thinking that they are saved. Let us beware of the danger of pride. It will destroy a nation like Edom, a family, a church, and even an individual (Prov. 16:18)!

What is the cure for pride? It is humility! Rather than being arrogant and haughty, let us be “clothed with humility” (I Pet. 5:5). Let us humble ourselves now that God may exalt us “in due time” (I Pet. 5:6; Jas. 4:10). It is not the most pleasant decision we will make, but it is for the best. Humility now will save us from destruction later.

Christ reminds us, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 14:11). The Edomites were going to experience that truth. What about us? Will we humble ourselves now that we might be exalted later? Friend, don’t let pride deceive you anymore!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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