II Peter 3:14 Four Imperatives of a Forward Looking Faith – Part 1 (by Joe Blackmon)

by Guest Blogger on August 31, 2012 · 11 comments

Editor: Joe Blackmon attends an SBC church in Tennessee.  He blogs at Hear God Speak.  You can follow him on Twitter @joe_blackmon_72

As Peter comes to close out his marvelous epistle, he gives his readers four imperatives, directions to follow, to help them as they endure the false teachers that he has told them will be coming their way (II Peter 2:1). In short, because Peter knows he won’t be around forever, he wants to make sure these people, his spiritual children, know how to defend themselves against the destructive heresies of false teachers. You and I, even 2,000 years later, need to be doing the same thing. False doctrine is being sold in the church today and being bought at an alarming rate. We must be prepared just as Peter’s audience was told to be prepared to resist this theological poison.

First of all, Peter bases these commands on the proclamations of the preceding verses. Since we are looking to a future deliverance from a corrupted world of sin to a perfect, sinless, eternal home in heaven, we should live differently. Peter says, “since you look for these things”. In other words, the truth that this world is temporary and will be judged but our future home in heaven is eternal and will be undefiled should affect us. If we’re truly born again, we can’t read that truth, understand it, and remain as we are where we are. Because the Holy Spirit indwells born again believers, our whole perspective and nature is radically different from the rest of the world. The truth we know will affect the way we live.

What effect should it have on our lives? Quite frankly, we should be eagerly seeking to become more like Christ and looking for opportunities to spread the gospel. Peter here uses the same phrase he used in chapter 1 verse 10 commanding his readers to “be diligent”. Certainly we are saved by grace through faith alone and not by works (Romans 3:28). However, true faith will demonstrate itself in works (James 2:17). We are also called to study scripture with diligence (II Timothy 2:15). In short, the life of a Christian is one of exerting maximum effort like a running back straining for those last few yards. We are called to expend this effort here by Peter as we progress in our sanctification.

To what end do we expend this effort—why does Peter command his readers, and by extension us, to diligence in our walk? First of all, this diligence leads to our assurance of true salvation, as he also noted in 1:10. We are called to be found “by Him”, that is, in Christ. Just as the author of Hebrews warned his readers about falling away and abandoning their profession of faith, we would be wise to remind ourselves that salvation is not only a point but a process. In other words, it is those who remain true to their faith in Jesus Christ who are saved. If someone makes a profession of faith and turns away from the faith they are not proving that someone can lose their salvation but rather they show they were never saved to begin with. We shouldn’t confidently rest on a prayer that we prayed as a child as proof that we’re saved. Rather, we should be diligent to e found in Christ so as to realize our full salvation.

The only way to pursue that is to live a life by faith that is pleasing to God. Peter says his readers need to strive to be found by Christ in “peace, spotless and blameless”. I would say that “spotless and blameless” are descriptions of how one is found at peace by the Lord. The only way to have peace with God is to have your sins forgiven, thereby being declared spotless and blameless. The only way to have your sins forgiven is by faith in the finished work of Christ. Obviously, if someone is living with this kind of faith and seeking diligently to lead a life pleasing to God, they will repent of sins in their life. They will devote themselves to seeking the Holy Spirit’s power in defeating sin and seek to walk in a God honoring manner.

As we read this exhortation by Peter, we should remind ourselves that our faith is a forward looking faith. We should seek, as Peter says, to be found by Christ having a saving faith that is attested to by our life. In the end, that is the only true was to have assurance of salvation.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved

1 Joe Blackmon September 3, 2012 at 11:09 am

Perhaps I should have titled this “Calvinists vs Traditionalists, Complimentarians vs Egalitarians, and all the reasons YOUR side is wrong about everything”. :-)

2 Doug Hibbard September 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

Nah, the comment stream will go there on its own.

3 dr. james willingham September 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Joe: As a believer in Sovereign Grace and egalitarianism, I will go there in a deux mixture, to your way of thinking very likely, Wait until you find out the folks who came through the 1000 years of dark ages, came out rank egalitarians, determined that the members of the church should be, would be, could be, and must be equals, and folks coming into the faith from the Reformeds found out that they could think there was through to freedom and liberty without being rank antinominians. Our reformed folks just need to go back and study the sources on why the reformeds of Anglicans became congregationalists…even in the face of the presbyterian onslaught. And then they need to study J.Rascal Graves work on Intercommunion, especially his exegesis of Acts 19 which makes K. Schmidt’s exegesis on ekklesia in Kittel’s look like it is wanting cause he never had access to Graves. Any close study of ekklesia must come to the conclusion that the members of that organization are equals, blood bought equals, born-again equals, children of God equals, brothers and sisters of Christ equals (where one sister can plop herself down at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, choosing the better part), and speak for Him as the Apostle to the Apostles as a Mary Magdalene to the 11…The authority of the President, pastor, of a congregation is a functional authority as any student of Greek ekklesiology in government well knows. When your at the start, the beginning, just launching out into the deep to let down your nets, it pays to check out where both ends of the net are anchored.

4 Joe Blackmon September 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Um, I’m confused. You realize my comment above was a joke. Like, there were no comments and I was, in a self deprecating manner, making fun of that fact? Right?

5 dr. james willingham September 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I apologize Joe. I have been to the doctor yesterday and the drug store, and today I talked to the doctor by phone and had to go back to the drug store. Had a rough cold for two weeks and still have it. Been barking my head off, doing the shopping…my wife is hardly able to function these days…So I think I am not grasping things too clearly.

6 Joe Blackmon September 12, 2012 at 4:05 am

Not a problem. I was scratching my head trying to figure out how you got what you got out of what I wrote. I respect your opinion, even if I disagree on the whole egal/comp thing, and if I’d really written something that you thought was wrong I would be kinda worried like “Whoa, let’s back this up and see where I went off track”.

Get better soon, sir.

7 cb scott September 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Joe,

I was deleted here earlier or my comment was eaten by the cyber web monster from the planet, Cymorgia.

will try it again; Excellent post.

8 Joe Blackmon September 12, 2012 at 4:06 am

CB

Thank you for the encouragement, sir.

9 dr. james willingham September 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

Even after three hours sleep and the next three in that half twilight state of incoherence and wakefulness caused by coughing my head off, I feel groggy as all get out. Perhaps, Joe, we can take up the egal/com issue one of these days, cause the last time I checked, God’s children were equals. Only dysfunctionals result from inequality. The humility aspect grows out of functional inequalities, served up with the trimmings for the noted purpose. I was glad, when I found your site and observed some of your more reflective thoughts plus some that you finally voice on SBC Voices. I think we all come across dingy in some respects on here. I know I feel like I do so. God bless.

10 Joe Blackmon September 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

James,

If I am going to debate you, you have to agree to have one lobe of your brain tied behind your back and about 15 marshmellows stuffed in your mouth so you can’t talk, and even then I’m going to have to cheat to even make it competitive. How’s about we just have a hot dog eating contest or play Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots? I call the blue one!!

Get some rest.

11 dr. james willingham September 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Joe: You make me feel like I come away like the superman character or whatever it is that you have for your blurb or whatever it is, when I really feel like I’m punch drunk…as these folks in these columns often get rather heavy handed. What ever happened to southern gentlemen, etc.? Wish I was as good as you think, then I would win all hands down. Truth be told. Knowledge is so vast and wisdom so lacking, we all be very wanting. Even so I still find it commendable at how some folks can come out with maturity all of a sudden in the midst of everything seemingly contrary.

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