Wrapped up about 20 days in 1 and 2 Peter. Peter’s last letters to those taking it in the teeth for Jesus. Peter’s final exhortations for those in the pressure cooker of oppression, dispersion, and some confusion about the end times. Though they are stressed and tempted to waver, Peter wants to stir them up and encourage them to keep walking in the Way (2Peter 1:12-13, 3:1-2).
And as I conclude Peter’s second letter, seems to me that Peter’s last words among his last words, for those feeling like they’re in the end times of the end times, are worth chewing on.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
(2Peter 3:17-18 ESV)
If there’s anything God’s people should be focused on in seasons that feel like the end times of the end times, it’s this:
- They should double down on what they know to be true in the Scriptures
- They need to battle against forces that would carry them away with error
- They must take care not to lose their footing on Christ which they have in Christ, and thus become destabilized.
- They should increase both their grace intake, relying on Jesus as they never have before, as well as their grace output, letting Jesus live through them as He never has before.
- They are to view the season of stress and suffering as a means to go deeper and deeper in their experiential knowledge of Jesus.
Said differently, we can know that we’re responding to the end times in a spiritually healthy way if: we’ve never been more into our Bibles; never been more aware of the world’s deception; never been more confident in the finished work of Christ; never been more aware of His imminent return; never appropriated more His grace; never wanted more to be conduits of His grace; and, if we are continually thanking God for the tough times because our walk with Jesus is as real, renewing, and reviving as it’s ever been.
Not that there’s not a bunch of other things that exiles in dispersion need to be aware of, obedient to, and engaged in. But I think Peter’s closing lines are a pretty good bottom line.
When we sense things are about to be “dissolved”, it should compel us to be the sort of people we ought to be “in lives of holiness and godliness” as we wait for and hasten the “the coming day” (3:11-12). Holding fast to what we know. Standing fast on Who we know. Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. And while that may not do much to turn around the mess we’re in, it’s exactly what God will use to carry on the mission we’re in — that of making Him known to a world that is “stored up for fire” (3:7).
Only by His grace alone. Always for His glory alone.