Whoaaaaa! I just realized we stopped talking about II Peter way back in November! Time flies, and all that, right? We've covered a lot of ground since then, and had some good studies.
I guess it's time we got back to our old buddy and see what else he has to say.....
We were working our way through the first chapter of II Peter. The last verses we worked on were these:
And now we are ready to move on to these:
It's been such a long while since we focused on II Peter, that it might not hurt to do a quick review!
You with me?
We studied verses in the first chapter that reminded us of God's gifts to us: mercy, grace, love, and salvation, as well as the power to live for Him. And since we can never repay Him, we studied how we should live. We discussed that He has given us more than we could hope for, and that He also has blessed us with precious promises. We studied about how we need to add "spiritual vitamins" to our lives -- virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly affection, and agape love.
Then we studied "why" we should be diligent: so that we can be fruitful for Him, and have spiritual discernment, too. We covered a passage that has caused many arguments over the years, and we simply said that the Christian who is sure of her election and calling will not stumble and then wallow in the mire; she will prove by a consistent life that she is a child of God. That doesn't mean she will always be tripping along without a care on the mountaintops. She may feel her feet slip momentarily, but she will always be climbing higher.
Lastly, we studied a two-week series on leaving our legacy; we discussed what that meant and how best to accomplish it.
Now, we are ready to move forward. But Peter's next few sentences are tied so tightly to verses twelve through fifteen, that they really can't be taken apart. They explain his viewpoint -- I think they even tell us why he wrote his letter.
It's not like he was telling his readers anything new. In verse twelve Peter observes that the things he is writing are already known! But perhaps we can understand why he was plowing in the same old furrows, since in verse fourteen he says that the Lord is almost ready to take Peter away from his earthly body. The time is near. The Lord has somehow shown him that it won't be long now. (We don't know how He let Peter know - he doesn't tell us that. But we know that Jesus predicted his death, and now Peter says God has told him it's almost time.)
The comforting concept here is that when we die, we go to be with the Lord. The words that Peter uses in verse fourteen imply that the body is like a tent, or a garment. Death means that we lay the garment aside for a while and leave. Similar to Paul's words:
(II Corinthians 5:8)It may not be any fun getting old. Joint ache; body parts wear out and either need to be replaced or supplemented; we can't do things we used to - or we can't do them as quickly.....it's not for sissies! But as this "garment" wears out, we can take courage. We will lay it aside and go to be with Jesus.
Another comforting thing from verse fourteen is that the death of a believer is never accidental from God's perspective. It's never an "oopsie" moment. It's planned. We mentioned before that Jesus told Peter:
It's God Who plans things, and it's God Who is in control. God sent an angel once to let Peter out of prison. But he's not going to do that this time. Peter will die. But we should never think that evil has the upper hand. No matter how tragic the death of a believer appears to us, God has the perspective and the plan, and all things happen according to His plan.
Our post today has gotten a bit lengthy; we'll pick this up again next time.