Meditations in 2 Peter : 25 : A Second Reminder
2 Pet 3:1,2 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
There are those who question whether 1 Peter is in fact Peter’s first letter referred to here, but we would suggest the links are very strong. Peter says he has written them as reminders. At the beginning of this letter he stated, “I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body.” (1:12,13)
Yes, they were established Christians but he was going to keep on reminding them of the basics, which is exactly what we find in 1 Peter: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet 1:3-5) There were the basics – God our father, Jesus our Saviour who brought us through the new birth to be receivers of an inheritance, lived out today and reassured by his death and resurrection, and kept for eternity. They are all there.
But he’s gone to some trouble in this present letter to remind us that the truth is assured because he and the other apostles were eyewitnesses of that which the prophets of old had spoken and which was now fulfilled. He had spoken of this in his previous letter: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Pet 1:10,11)
In this letter he has instructed, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.” (1:10). In the former letter, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” (1 Pet 1:13,14) In both there is a call to hold on to that which we have been given. In both there is the recognition that we live in a world with opposition.
In the first letter he said, “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.” (1 Pet 4:3,4) referring to the past ways of the world. In this present letter he aims more specifically at those who were once believer but have now fallen into that life of licentiousness (2 Pet 2) In both cases there is a reminder to what we have been called so that we might avoid the ways of the world which are so contrary to God’s ways. It is in both a calling to a holy lifestyle.
In many ways Peter’s first letter had been a more practical one where he worked out specific issues for different people in living out the Christian life. Yet the same call under girds his teaching in this second lesson. We would not expect him to repeat the same things in the second letter that he had said in the first. We would expect him to have the same overview and so it does. Certainly it goes on to encourage people even more to hold to their faith, especially in the light of people questioning about Jesus coming again (which we’ll see later in the letter), but it is still another letter that reminds of the basics, reminds of the origins of those basics as seen in the Lord Jesus Christ and previously spoken about by the prophets.
A firm grasp on these things should then lead us to be more secure in our daily walk with the Lord, avoiding being led away by deception or temptation. The first letter lays out details and the second letter reiterates the general thrust that we have just described. We’ll see more in the next meditation of what he wants to achieve in us.