19 September 20202 Peter 3:14-18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (v. 18)
Psalm: Psalm 122
Peter has been struggling with issues surrounding truth and falsehood, a delayed end time, and the doubts and fears of an Early Church community. In this veritable storm of controversy and conflict he encourages his readers to keep their eyes on the ball. He wants them to focus on the truths that make a difference. The delay of the end time is evidence only of God's patience that allows them time to be without spot or blemish. Peter acknowledges Paul's letters and warns about the abuse of them (verse 15-16). Through it all though he simply wants to remind them that their hope and challenges is to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". This is what matters; the rest is distraction and complication.
I doubt there is the same urgency today about the end time among many Christians. We have found ways to resolve the 'yet to be' with the present reality of the risen Christ. We hold a hope of a future kingdom, but also notice that the signs of that kingdom are all around. However, our Church today finds itself tossed around by many strong winds of conflict and controversy. We also know what it is to be unsure of how to make sense of Scripture, how to discern truth in the messy reality of culture, opinion and diverse human experience. Perhaps for us, as with the congregations of Peter's time, we are to focus on what matters.
The kingdom comes where "righteousness is at home" (2 Peter 3:13), and we are encouraged to keep to things that are of eternal value and accept that much that troubles us will, in fact, pass away. Above all, we too are encouraged to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Such a growth will not still those storms or resolve the complex issues that trouble and divide us, but they will give us a purpose and sense of direction. Our business as theirs is to grow ever more into the likeness of Christ.
- What are the conflicts and controversies that you find most challenging?
- How does the phrase, "righteousness is at home" mean to you?