In this his second letter, Peter teaches how to deal with false teachers and evildoers who have come into the church . More specifically, his purpose is threefold: (1) to stimulate Christian growth ; (2) to combat false teaching ; (3) to encourage watchfulness in view of the Lord’s certain return . (from NIV Study Bible)
The peril confronting the churches was that of doubt and error arising from the false teachings of those who professed to be leaders. The nature of this departure from the truth seems to have involved a denial of the redemption and lordship of Christ , adding a complete abandonment of all moral standards and a bold self-assertiveness that was the accompaniment of spiritual ignorance (New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney).
PART 1: CULTIVATION OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
Peter again refers to the fact that he is an apostle and servant of Jesus Christ; and on this occasion his audience is “those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” , most likely the same as were addressed in his first letter. “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” , our knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus comes from the written Word and gives us peace with Him.
(b) Growth in Christ
We do not depend on our own efforts to grow in the grace and knowledge of God for “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” , and through that knowledge we can appreciate His great and precious promises and can participate in the divine nature, thus escaping the corruption caused by our evil desires . He therefore encourages every believer to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness,…knowledge….self-control…..perseverance…..godliness……brotherly kindness..and…..love.” in increasing quantity so that we may be kept from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; also warning that anyone who does not “is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” . Therefore, we must be enthusiastic to make our calling and election sure by doing as he has encouraged us so that we do not fall from God’s grace that has been extended to us, which will result in our loss of a rich welcome “into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” .
His intention therefore, is to constantly remind them, and us, of these things even though we may be aware of them and are firmly established in the truth, for at that time he knew that the Lord Jesus had made it clear to him that his days on earth would soon come to an end , and we today should follow his example and keep reminding our younger believers to maintain a constant study of scripture so that they too can become firmly established in their faith; this indeed was his comment as this section closes . In so doing we will prepare ourselves for false teaching that will certainly emerge in the Church.
(c) Grounds of Belief
(1) Experience of the Transfiguration : our faith must be grounded in scripture and scripture alone!Peter expresses that his faith was grounded in what he had seen and heard; “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”: and was further enforced by the voice that came from heaven; “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” .
(2) Certainty of the Scriptures : furthermore, we must understand that all scripture is God’s eternal Word given to the prophets of old by God Himself and recorded for our instruction and benefit so that we may be grounded in our faith: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” . Therefore, we must hold fast to the truth of the Word of God, otherwise the results will be disastrous to our spiritual lives .