This second epistle by the apostle Peter was probably written about 64 A.D. It is somewhat like 2 Timothy in that both Paul and Peter foresee the apostasy in which the professing church will end, yet in spite of it there is no note of despondency, but rather a joyful one as the believer is reminded of the promises of God. Like Paul, Peter also foresaw his coming martyrdom, but thought only of the cause for which he must die, see Ch.1:13-14; John 21:18-19; and 2 Timothy 4:6.
The epistle is in four divisions:
1. Ch.1:1-14. The great Christian virtues.
2. Ch.1:15-21. The preeminence of the Word.
3. Chapter 2. The exposure of false teachers.
4. Chapter 3. The second coming of Christ.
THE GREAT CHRISTIAN VIRTUES.
It is well for us to note that while Peter was an apostle he was also a servant, serving God by appointment in that capacity. Every one of us can serve, and if we surrender to God He will show us our place in His employ. The faith which we have embraced is the result of a two-fold act of righteousness. The first act manifests the love of God in providing a Substitute for the sinner, and the second reveals the faithful life of the Son who offered Himself without spot as a ransom for the race, Ch.1:1. In order that we might enjoy this redemption God has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness”. Having received it we are now expected to do all in our power to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity, that by so doing we shall become fruitful, and obtain and abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of Christ, vs.6-11.
THE PREEMINENCE OF THE WORD.
Having mentioned the coming kingdom Peter seeks to prove the truth of his statement. He had not followed a fable, but along with James and John had seen the power and coming of Christ on the mount of transfiguration. He also points us to the more sure word of prophecy as unto a light which shines in a dark place, Ch.1:16-19.
THE EXPOSURE OF FALSE TEACHERS.
As the Spirit revealed a future apostasy to Paul so He made know the same thing to Peter. We are warned that false teachers shall arise in the church who shall deny the Lord Who brought them. They will regard His work of redemption as quite unnecessary. Many shall follow them, but just as God has judged apostates in the past, so these also shall meet with judgment someday, Ch.2:1-9. There are four things by which they shall be known: they will be worldly as per the example of Balaam, v.15; empty professors without the Spirit, v.17; they will speak swelling words of vanity such as do the evolutionists, v.18; and they will boast of liberty, regarding their former adherence to Christ as mere narrowness, vs.19-22.
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
Concerning Christ’s return, the Spirit warns us through Peter that scoffers shall arise in the last days who shall deny this truth on the grounds that things go on in the same way throughout the years, Ch.3:4. They forget, however, that the flood finally came even though in the natural it seemed quite impossible. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but delays purposely to give the world an opportunity to repent and accept Christ the way of escape from judgment, vs.5-9. The time will come, however, when God will fulfill His Word and Christ shall come as a thief in the night, and, eventually the heavens and the earth shall pass away, and God will make new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness, vs.10-13. In view of this we are exhorted to so order our lives that we shall be found of Him in peace, and without sport and blemish.