Yesterday’s post and today’s is kind of broken up funny. We focused only on II Peter 1:16 yesterday, but to understand the rest of the thought, we will not only read verse 16 but also verses 17-19 in II Peter 1. We focused our attention yesterday on the phrase “cunningly devised fables” from II Peter 1:16. We saw how the Bible is not a fable or a myth, but the inspired truth from God. We went to several passages to show this fact and convince our dear readers of the treasure we have when we possess a Bible and read it. Peter said he was determined to remind brethren about the truth (not fables or myths) until his dying day!
When the apostle Peter made it clear that the apostles were not following “cunningly devised fables,” he used only two examples as evidence. His first proof for how they can know this was not something made up by men, was by reminding the readers of the Transfiguration. The “power and coming of our Lord” was real because the apostles were “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Specifically, he, James, and John had seen Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mk. 9:2-13; Lk. 9:28-36). Peter describes it in II Peter 1:17-18.
When we read Peter’s recalling of the Transfiguration, I find it interesting that what He writes about is not Jesus’ transformation or seeing the souls of dead heroes. His focus is on the words spoken from Heaven. When the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” were spoken, there was nothing else to say! Peter, one of three eyewitnesses of Jesus on the mountain, lets us know we can trust what was seen and can trust what was said from Heaven. The “present truth” concerning Christ and His doctrine (v. 12) had the “stamp of approval” from God and needed to be established in the minds of the Christians!
This same urgency needs to be with the disciples today (II Cor. 5:11, 6:2). People need to know and understand who Jesus is. We need to stand in awe of His majesty, and appreciate the fact that this Jesus of Nazareth came and died on the cross that we might be saved from our sins (Matt. 20:28; Jn. 10:10b). God spoke from Heaven, and those who were there heard His voice and saw the majesty. Let us trust what the witnesses have said, and let us obey the Lord’s command (Heb. 5:9). He will save all who submit to His plan (Matt. 11:28-30; Mk. 16:16). We can have blessings now and blessings to come in eternity if we listen to the eyewitness testimony! Will you do it, friend?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
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
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
After Haman’s plans for killing the Jews, including Esther, were revealed (Est. 7:6), things moved very quickly. Mordecai’s enemy ended up hanging from the gallows he had made for him (v. 10). Not only this, but the ring Haman once wore was given to Mordecai (Est. 8:2). The position once held by Haman, Mordecai now held. The entire population of Jews, once oppressed, were allowed weapons and to have a fair fight against the Persians (Est. 8:11-12, 9:2-3). Yes, God in His providence caused a complete reversal in the plans of Haman “the enemy of the Jews.”
This is not the only time we read about this happening. When Jesus spoke about the eternal destiny of the rich man and Lazarus, we find another time when things were reversed (Lk. 16:19-31). Specifically, Abraham reminds the rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (v. 25). Upon analyzing the context, we see many “reversals” that took place between the rich man and Lazarus. Just like Haman and Mordecai, many things changed between them. I marvel at this because perhaps those five brothers he left behind thought of their brother as a godly man and one bound for eternal bliss. God knew what was going on “behind the scenes,” and this man got what he deserved. In reality, the rich man and Lazarus experienced a true reversal from what they had experienced on earth.
The most significant reversal of all was the reversal Christ performed when He made salvation possible through His death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 26:28; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:28; I Jn. 2:2; Rom. 6:2-6, 16-18; I Pet. 3:21). Satan thought that he had won. He had succeeded in tempting the first people to sin (Gen. 3:1-6). They sinned, and we have had to live with the consequences on this earth ever since (Gen. 3:16-24). Satan then tempted Cain (Gen. 4:1-11), Abraham (Gen. 12, 20), Moses (Num. 20), David (II Sam. 11-12), and every other man and woman on earth (Rom. 3:23)! He succeeded in getting humanity to sin and to jeopardize their souls before God.
Satan seemed to be winning until Christ came to earth! At that time, we see a reversal taking place. Christ was tempted like others, but did not yield (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 4:15). He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Furthermore, when He died, He did not die in sin but died to be a sacrifice for others’ sins (I Pet. 3:18). Where Adam brought death, we see that Christ brings life (I Cor. 15:22). Yes, a complete reversal is possible in Christ!
Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you ready for “light, and gladness, and joy, and honor” (Est. 8:16)? Spiritually, you can have these things by following the Lord and doing what He says. Become a Christian (Acts 11:26; Mk. 16:16). Live faithfully for the Lord (I Cor. 15:58), and you can look forward to Heaven (another reversal from life on earth) when this life is over (Matt. 25:34)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
As we open the book of Esther, we read about Ahasuerus and the great party he threw (Est. 1:4-5). We also read about him choosing a new mate (Est. 2) and choosing a man to be his second-in-command (Est. 3:1). After this, we read little about the king. He was on the throne, doing the work of a leader, but where was he when the people needed him (Est. 3:15b)? He was satisfied to take a bribe from Haman and go about whatever work he deemed essential to the kingdom (Est. 3:9-11).
We know this because while the city was “perplexed” (3:15), and while Mordecai mourned at the gate (4:2), the king seemed to be so engrossed in other work that he saw none of this. In fact, Esther remarked to Mordecai how it had been a month, and even she had not seen her husband (Est. 4:11)! What was he doing that demanded he ignore his wife and the cries of the people for a month?
From the attitude shown by the king in Esther 5:2-3, his negligence was not because he was angry or had some grudge against Esther or the others. If I could conjecture, it seems he got so caught up in certain aspects of being a king that he ignored other parts that were just as important. Does this sound like a problem we have had in the past? Does this sound like a problem we are having right now?
In 21st century America, we have so many things vying for our time and attention that we cannot adequately deal with them all. Some of these are our own doing, while other things have been “thrust” on us. We need to learn to prioritize and put “first things first”! Sadly, this does not happen as it should.
When Jesus walked the earth, He told those who listened to His preaching to, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). He rebuked the Pharisees who “pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” He said, “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matt. 23:23). In other words, the Pharisees faced a similar problem to Ahasuerus. They focused on the areas they deemed necessary and ignored other things that were just as important. Friend, look into God’s mirror (Jas. 1:22-25). Is this you? What occupies your time? What do you deem important?
It took Esther entering the king’s presence unannounced to wake him up to what was going on in His kingdom. What is it going to take to wake you up to the spiritual reality around you? Paul said it is “high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11). If those people in Rome needed this message, how much more do we need it?
Are you awake to spiritual realities around you (II Cor. 4:18)? Are you a Christian (Acts 11:26, 22:16)? If not, why are you putting it off (II Cor. 6:2)? What is occupying your time? How are you doing as a parent? Your children are growing every day! Are you bringing them up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” or are you waiting until they get older (Eph. 6:4)? Have you taken the time to tell your children or to tell a close friend about Jesus yet (II Tim. 2:2; Mk. 16:15)? What is stopping you? What is more important than telling someone about the Lord?
Don’t become like Ahasuerus and turn a blind eye to what is going on around you, thinking that what you are doing is more important! You may be doing things you consider crucial in your life, but nothing is more important than making your life right with God and then teaching your children what God wants as well (Matt. 16:26; Eph. 6:4)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs