Truth is Truth! Stop Compromising!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[a] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
-2 Peter 1: 12 – 21
Peter says in verses twelve and thirteen that he will remind them of the things they already know intellectually. Most people, even though they know, must be reminded about how they are supposed to behave and how they are supposed to “be.” Our sinful nature always rears its’ ugly head at inopportune times. So we must be reminded of these things (1 Peter 1:3-11) in order to live these truths experientially. He says that as long as he remains on the earth he will remind them/us about these truths. These verses often get overlooked by readers today. He uses this to show that he fully expects to be martyred. Paul uses the same phrase in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 referring to his body and his predicament when he expected the same outcome.
In verse fourteen Peter uses the title of Jesus. He calls Him our ”Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV 1984). This would have brought through multiple theological issues to the first century Christian mindset. The first is that Peter calls Jesus Lord. This meant a whole lot more to the Jewish/first century Christian mindset than it does to us. To us this can simply mean “mister” or “master,” but this term to them came to be used for God because the ancient Jews tried to avoid using the proper name of God. They did this because of the commandment to not use the name of God in an improper manner; so they decided to avoid it by using the Hebrew word that we translate as Lord.
He uses the name Jesus in this phrase. The name Jesus can be used in the place of YHWH (Hebrew name of God), which meant to brings us salvation (As a side note, early Hebrew writing never used vowels, they were just supposed to be known by the reader). YHWH was meant to bring with it the thought of bringing salvation to the world. This was fulfilled in the life of Jesus, the Christ.
Peter uses the term Christ, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah. Generally speaking, means ‘the anointed one’. The term anointed conveyed the image of power. So it could be said that Christ means that Jesus is the one who is ordained and empowered by God for a task that needs completing. In the Old Testament, Kings, prophets, and priests went through an “anointing ceremony.” To show that they were empowered by God for their tasks that they were to perform.
Peter says that Jesus has made clear to him the teachings of scripture and Christianity. So in verse fifteen Peter says that he will make every effort to make sure that these teachings are before the Christians of his time, and before us, in order that false teaching may be combatted. He knew that after he was martyred the Holy Spirit could bring these teachings up to Christians minds in order to aid them in their walk through an evil world. God has done this by allowing his writings to make into our hands two-thousand years later (roughly dating).
Now we come to verse sixteen where we get to his first purpose for writing his second book. Peter has already set up his (1) greeting, (2) who Christ is and (3) his authority in writing. Now Peter tells us that He is writing due to false teachers/teaching in the church (universally). Many “teachers” can come up with clever ways to put the Bible together that violates the study of scripture in order to make it whatever they wish it. Why? Some have differing motivations but it all boils down to sinful Greed. Greed for notoriety, power, and even money. This was a problem then and it is a problem now.
Without going into a lot of detail, the question is asked, “How does one study the Bible?” A tried and long time method (called Biblical Hermeneutics) is to study the Bible by looking at its’ Historical context, Cultural references (what was the culture like that it was written) and in context of the surrounding text, and indeed context of the rest of Scripture.
In verses seventeen and eighteen Peter reiterates both the divinity of Christ and His humanity. I will not spend a lot of time here, but Peter re-affirms what is called the Dichotomy of Christ; that is He is 100% God and 100% man existing as one. To go any further only degrades this truth and to take away from this statement will only cause false teaching and heresy. Peter gives his eyewitness testimony of the Glory of Christ in these verses.
In verse nineteen Peter again shows that his testimony and revelation from God is true. He asserts his authority as an Apostle of Christ. He tells us that He has the very revelation of God and that we should pay attention to it. If we allow the Word of God to take hold in our lives we will find that it will shine in the darkness and set our actions, even our very lives, right before a loving and Holy God.
In verses twenty and twenty-one we find why Pete has taken the authoritative stance. Remember that the only Scripture at the time the first century Christians had was the Old Testament (known as the Torah). It is a very real possibility that the false teachers of the time were taking the Scriptures and adding their own twists on things; taking them out of context, either by ignorance or on purpose. Whether it was done innocently on their part or not, it had the same effect; it shipwrecked people’s faith and caused them to live a lie. Unfortunately many teachers who are “popular” do the same things. Only they water down the message of the Bible and make it palatable to the listeners so as to not offend them. These kinds of teachers can build big meetings/churches by doing this, but the message of the Gospel (good news) is not proclaimed and lives are not changed by the power of God.
We must remember that truth is truth, and it must not be compromised. Just because you believe it or not, does not change the fact that it is truth. Two plus two will always equal four. Will you compromise with people? Or will you explain the truth, in love, and allow God to do His work? The