2 PETER 3
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
'For men shall be lovers of their own selves...'
The Last days of Judah's commonwealth - 2 Tim 3: 12.
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming [parousia]? for since the fathers [of the nation] fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
They maintained the form of Christianity, but the false prophets among them neutralized its power over them by their traditions, which deceived and corrupted them. They betrayed and hated one another; smote their fellow-servants, and ate and drank with the drunken in their disgusting revels. They were presumptuous and self-willed, and spoke evil of the things they did not understand.
They were spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feasted with the faithful. Cursed children, who had forsaken the right way for the wages of unrighteousness-the scoffers of the last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the (fulfilment of the) promise of His parousia or proximity?
What evidence is there of His being near to put an end to the age and commonwealth of Israel-"the (Mosaic) heavens and the earth which are now," a.d. 66? For since the fathers (of the nation) fell asleep, all things continue as from the creation.
Such was the apostasy foretold by the Lord Jesus, which exhausted the patience of God with Judah; and caused them to be broken off as a withered branch at the destruction of their city and temple.
"Many," said He, "shall be seduced, caused to stumble), and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of the many shall be cooled. But he who suffers patiently to the end, the same shall be saved."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
He does not say to this man, "I elect you from all eternity to be saved from the flames of hell, do what you may;" nor does He say to that, "I predetermine you to reprobation, and eternal torture, do what you can."
To affirm this of God is to blaspheme His name.
The scriptures declare, that "He is no respecter of persons; "that" He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live;... (Acts 10:34; Ezek. 33:11; 2 Pet. 3:9).
Such a statement as this, is entirely at variance with "theology," whose traditions are the exhalations of the carnal mind of a fierce and gloomy age...
... everything in relation to the kingdom is ordained upon sovereign principles. Nothing is left to the will of man. Hence, the apostle saith, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."
The call of the Gentiles to take part in the future kingdom is a striking illustration of the truth of this. Had things been left to the apostles, they would not have extended the invitation to men of other nations to become with them heirs of the kingdom of Canaan, and of the dominion of the world.
They were running to and fro among their own nation, calling upon them to become the children of the promise who are counted for the seed; but it was not of their will, but contrary to it, that "the word" was preached to the Gentiles, opening the kingdom to them.
The invitation to our race, as the apostle truly saith, was "of God that showeth mercy."
Elpis Israel 2.3.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the [Mosaic] heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The words of the prophets to which he referred, related to the destruction of the Hebrew commonwealth. His brethren were acquainted with these prophesies, and therefore knew what was about to happen, though not the day or the hour. Hence, this knowledge was to be their caution and security against being led away by the spiritualizers of the time, who wrested the scriptures to their own destruction (v. 16).
Elpis Israel 3.1.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Consider the solemn privileges and responsibilities of those who approached God in the natural Mosaic tabernacle -- how careful they had to be of every detail! Our privileges and responsibilities are far greater than theirs. We are the living temple, we bear the name of God with us everywhere -- exalting it or abasing it according to what action we take.
"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," says Paul (Rom. 8).
That is simple enough. If you just live an ordinary life, like ordinary people, actuated by natural motives and inclinations, you will die. A good life in its way, perhaps -- so much the better if it is -- but still at the end of it, you will die.
". . . But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
We must live according to a different principle. We must live for something besides ourselves. We must win a place in the heart of God, because that is what is going to endure.
If we are inspired by the love of God, and the glorious prospect of eternal fellowship with Him as our Father, we shall bend every effort to overcome those things which draw us away.
God wants to use us, to beautify and glorify us, to give us a place in the mansion He is building for His eternal habitation:
"He is not willing that any should perish"(2 Pet. 3:9)
-- But if we live after the flesh, He cannot do any of this for us --
"The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5:17).
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God -- THEY are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
Bro Growcott - Holy and blameless in love
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
But experience over a wide and constantly fermenting field shows that unless there is resolute adhesion to the position of Divine wisdom recovered with much difficulty during the last two generations, there is danger of easily losing it all: not all at once, but point by point-one point at a time till all is gone. How many are now drowning in the dark and turbid waters of human folly who were once on the safe and sunny terra firma of Divine truth. They became engulfed through an inveterate propensity for dabbling in the polluted flood. They should have kept away from the dangerous banks.
Bro Roberts TC, November 1896 pages 428/9.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Grace and knowledge are mutually essential. Neither can truly exist without the other. Grace is a word that is difficult to define. It is the harmoniously balanced sum total of many virtues. It is a definition of the Godly character in all its relations.
It is, in the original, derived from the root word meaning
"joy, gladness, rejoicing."
It is very closely related to the words of Jesus, see John xv. 11.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
A life built around this principle, and always in harmony with it in all associations with God and with man is a life of grace.
A few examples will help define grace as scripturally used. The original word is charis.
"If ye love them which love you, what charis have you? If ye do good to them which do good to you, what grace have you?"
Even sinners do that much.-Luke vi. 32-33.
"For this is charis (grace), if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is grace with God."
So writes Peter by the direction of the Spirit.
"It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace"-that is, settled and grounded on an inward unshakable joy and peace that leads it to act in a spiritual and godly manner in all circumstances.-Heb. xiii. 9.
To grow in grace and knowledge is to take firmer and deeper root in divine things, so that the disposition and viewpoint is less and less affected by outward things, and the conduct more and more truly motivated by spiritual perception and discernment.
These closing words of Peter's epistle define the whole purpose of our present existence. The success or failure of our life will be measured in relation to this one consideration-how far we have, through faith, transformed our fleshly weakness into spiritual strength, and to what extent we have grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Bro Growcott - The Berean Christadelphian Magazine, June 1948