Posted by: missionventureministries | November 16, 2017

BE ON GUARD – 2 Peter 3:17-18

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 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. (2 Peter 3:17-18) 

Peter clearly is writing with two purposes in mind. First his strong desire is to remind the believers who they belong to and what they have in Christ. And second, he knows that his departure is at hand and he wonders what will happen to the church after he is gone. He writes to state again some essentials of the faith hoping that the church will hear and heed his words. 

In chapter 2 Peter talked about false teachers and his words indicate that he was angry with righteous indignation. Undoubtedly, he was also disappointed with some believers with whom he had worked and shared fellowship who had now become enemies of the cross. 

Now in chapter 3, he states a fact that: “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (v. 10). 

And he addresses the church with this key thought, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (v. 11)?  

Peter warns that knowing beforehand that we are going to face opposition; we need to put up our guard. If we do not, we will be carried away by the error of unprincipled men. (v. 17) 

A difficult problem in this area is addressed by Peter in verse 16, because, there is such an effort on the part of the “untaught and unstable” to distort the truth of God’s Word. For sure these people will be destroyed, but both Paul and Peter knew the problems caused by such distortions and the work that it took to correct the erroneous teaching promulgated by those people. 

We need to be aware that unstable hypocrites instinctively want to avoid the light so that their evil deeds will not be exposed (John 3:19-20).  

These false teachers will always have many people follow their evil, deceitful teachings and lies. Paul told Timothy: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  

It is tragic to see how many churches in this day and age are led by men mixing truth and error in clever and destructive ways. They should pay attention to what Scripture says: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2). These verses tell us that if a preacher never confronts sin, or exposes hypocrites, he is not preaching the Word of God. 

In this day of deceit and hypocrisy it is not popular to teach that we must repent of our sins and submit to Christ as absolute Lord and Master of our life. It’s not popular to teach people that it is sin to engage in any sexual activity outside of marriage. That men and women have their God ordained responsibilities in the home and in the church. That Christians should honor their Lord and Savior by the way they dress. That those who lie will not go to heaven. And the list could goes on!  

Many people, however, say that it is unloving to expose sin, evil and hypocrisy in the church. They say that we ought to be positive and not negative. But in these verses Peter addresses his readers as “dear friends” or “beloved.” He cares deeply for these believers and therefore he warns them about these destructive teachers.  

Many Christians are very unstable in their faith. They know very little Scripture and refuse to be lead by the Holy Spirit; therefore, they are subject to spiritual seduction and are easily led astray by charlatans. 

If you love your children, you warn them sternly about running out into the street. As they get older, you to warn them about the dangers of drinking, drugs, and sexual immorality. You know that these sins can leave them with permanent scars. Peter says, “Since you have been forewarned, be on guard.”  

Being on guard will keep you from being tossed around by every wind of doctrine and by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting (Ephesians 4:14) and will enable you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v 18). 

We need to realize that a person must be born before they can grow. The Bible teaches that we all enter the world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). Being religious or good is not enough. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  

Growth is normal when there is life; therefore, we must keep growing and bearing fruit in our new birth, until the day when we meet Jesus Christ. We need to understand that growth is gradual, it is a process. The important thing is to be involved in the process so that there is progress. God’s way to godliness is through discipline and 1 Timothy 4:7 tells to exercise yourself toward godliness.  

Grace is the key to a relationship with God, because He both saves us by His grace, for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and He sustains us by grace, because, my grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9). Growing in grace involves coming to a greater understanding of God’s holiness, justice, and sovereignty.  

And finally we are to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

We cannot separate Jesus as Savior from Jesus Christ as Lord. When you trust in Christ as Savior, you yield all of yourself to Him. As the Christian progressively grows in submission to Christ through the study of His word he grows in obedience to Him. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who love Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21).  

Peter tells us that to persevere as a Christian; we must guard ourselves from spiritual error and grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. And he ends: “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  

The theme of the Christian life is to glorify the triune God in everything. This means that our lives should exalt Christ, so that through us others may see how great He truly is. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Jesus should always be the center of our attention now and for all eternity; because, He alone is worthy!

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Responses

  1. What a wonderful post and spot on too! As Christians we must accept the fact that we BELONG to Christ, that we were bought with the ultimate price and we are here for Him alone. His commandments are for our benefit. They are not burdensome. It is only right that we obey Him as Lord of our entire lives. Thank you for another uplifting post.


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