Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Devotional: Apply God’s Word to Grow, 2nd Peter 1:12-21

Outline 2 Peter 1.12-21

Peter’s goal in this letter is to give the church one last reminder of the of the truthfulness and reliability of the ancient scriptures and his witness to the new revelation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He knows that only this will provide a sure basis for our personal faith and for the stability of the church. It is only when we see the message and acts of Jesus in the context of the holy and inspired words of the prophets (this is why the old Testament is important) and in the context of the apostolic witness and instructions to the church (this is why the New Testament is important) that we can see what God is doing in our lives and wants to do in our world. This is why it is so critical for us to work hard to read, study and understand what the Bible says, in its own context. This is why we need to listen and learn from spiritually gifted teachers, preachers and scholars as the Holy Spirit uses them to handle the ancient words accurately and apply them to our current needs and situation. But it is not enough to just know the testimony of the Bible in our heads. We must submit to its teaching, pay close attention to its message, and listen to the Holy Spirit as he applies it to us from outside (teaching) and inside, his inner voice and leading. Then the Spirit will take the word and use it to produce Christ in us.

Because Peter knew his time was short, he thought it urgent to remind believers of the truth about Jesus by putting it into written form. (1:12-15)  Previously, the message was shared verbally, but now the first generation of Christians, who were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection and life, was passing off the scene. This letter, and probably the Gospel of Mark, would be Peter’s lasting testimony to what he saw and heard when he was with Jesus. How blessed we are to have access to the words of someone who was an eyewitness of Jesus’ first coming. Peter would expect you to make just as much effort to study these words as he did (1:15) to live them and write them down.

Peter insists that this written testimony is from an eyewitness of what Jesus did (1:16-17). What he describes is not in “mythic” form but happened in space-time history. He, along with John and James, were on the mountain of transfiguration and saw Jesus in his “Majestic Glory.” He actually heard the heard the voice of the Father from heaven proclaiming the identity of Jesus as the Son of God. He saw and heard the resurrected Christ and watched his ascension. Like the prophets of old (1:18-21) this was not just a private ecstatic experience. He had been called into God’s council, heard God’s plans and been enabled by the Holy Spirit to share these words and experiences with us.

The Bible is one of the most important of the resources that we must “make every effort” to apply to our lives. Like Peter, we need to “pay attention” to the “voice from heaven” that Peter’s, and the other apostles’ written testimony, provides for us. We live in a world in which there has never been more access to the Bible and resources to understand it. The proper response of the believer is to pay close attention to the Word, submit to it and let the Holy Spirit use it to change you.

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