ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 315



IMMERSED IN 2 PETER AND JUDE
I N T H E T I M E S I N C E P E T E R ’ S F I R S T L E T T E R to the believers in Asia Minor
(see “Immersed in 1 Peter,” p. 293), their persecution was likely on
the rise. Emperor Nero had blamed the Christians for a destructive
fire in Rome and had unleashed a new attack on them. By this time,
Peter recognized that, like Paul, he would also soon be executed. As
an eyewitness of Jesus’ life and ministry, Peter decides to put parts of
his testimony in writing for the sake of future generations.
Specifically, Peter wants believers to know that while Jesus was on
earth he had already displayed the glory he will have when he returns:
“We were not making up clever stories when we told you about the
powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peter insists that he himself
saw the splendor of Christ openly revealed “on the holy mountain” and
heard God’s voice declaring Jesus to be his “dearly loved Son.”
In addition to increasing persecution, the churches faced another
threat: False teachers had infiltrated their communities. Peter tells the
believers to watch out for those who “lure back into sin those who have
barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom,
but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption.” These teachers
were leading people into immorality by misrepresenting God’s grace
as a license for wrongdoing.
On top of that, the believers faced still another threat, which Peter
­addresses in the final part of this letter: “Scoffers” were saying that if
Jesus really was going to come back, he would have done so a
­ lready.
This seems to have been an excuse for licentious living, since there would
be no final judgment if Jesus was not coming back. Peter ­explains that
God has a good reason for the delay: His patience ­allows time for more
people to repent. So the believers should persevere in their longing
for the new world that will come with Christ’s a
­ ppearance—“the new
heavens and new earth . . . a world filled with God’s righteousness.”
Peter concludes by asking his friends to be faithful in living peaceful,
pure, and blameless lives. He encourages them to “grow in the grace
and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Notice that Peter’s warning about the false teachers echoes the language of a brief letter that Jude had written. Perhaps Peter was putting
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