Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, December 23, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 24, 2 Pet 1-3, Jud

Today's readings are 2 Pet 1-3, Jude. Tomorrow's are 1 John 1-5.

2 Peter is to Peter's writings what 2 Timothy is to Paul's writings. It is the last letter written with execution at hand for both authors. Peter's passion for sound teaching is exhibited as is a glancing look back at the transfiguration, comparing it to the light of the gospel, mentioning that there is a better understanding of the gospel after the resurrection than there was before it.

2 Pet 1 tells us the antidote to false teaching (there's that theme again) is to develop proper Christian values based on a high view of Scripture.

In 2 Pet 2, Peter questions the moral character of the false teachers infiltrating the church. They are betrayed by their selfish pride and ambition, calling attention to themselves and their followers rather than magnifying the name of Christ. This will become the measure of all false teachers. Who do they point to? Who do they serve? Is their ministry one of self-promotion or one of service, humility and a passion for equipping the church to walk in its calling?

2 Pet 3 affirms Paul's writings as Scripture and encourages the church to continue to grow in grace. Using his eyewitness account of the transfiguration, Christ's promised return and God's sovereign control over all the events of history, Peter appeals to the church to continue to pursue godly living with the guarantee of glorification upon His return.

Peter's last words to us are, "...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." This is a fitting sign-off. Peter wants his readers to continue in their reading and study of the Bible, the only way to grow in the knowledge of the Savior, thus growing in the expression of His grace as well.

Jude is similar to 2 Peter. It carries the now-familiar warning against false teaching and false teachers. The biggest threat to the church is the easy slide away from the gospel calling that can come from not knowing the Bible well enough to identify false teaching. Jude urges us to love the false teachers and try to reason with them but not to fall victim to their teachings. 

Notice that the teaching of the apostles has matured. Whereas the earlier teaching was centered on sorting out doctrinal and procedural matters, this latter teaching, most of it coming in the second half of the first century, focuses on walking out the Christian life and evaluating what teaching to receive or reject. As we move toward the end of the New Testament, the word of God sets an expectation for the church to become more discerning, the keep its eyes on Christ and to counter opposition with a mature understanding of who Christ is accompanied by a high view of Scripture. 

In short, Jesus has ascended, the Holy Spirit has been poured out, the basics have been taught. Now it is time for the church to become the messenger of truth it is designed to be. 

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