2 Peter 1:1-2
Last Will and Testament
Assuming that you have lived your life for the Lord, and barring sudden death, you will come to the end of your life feeling compelled to say something, certainly to your spouse, children, and grandchildren, but perhaps to others as well. You will feel the gravity of your approaching death and ponder whether you have done enough to leave a legacy of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for others to follow. Now imagine being a minister of the gospel, an apostle no less, and feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders as you know you shall soon leave your precious charges in a hostile world with devils filled. That’s where the Apostle Peter was mentally when he wrote this letter. The literary genre is dubbed, “Farewell Address,” and normally includes: 1) Announcement of the coming death of the letter writer; 2) a reminder of what he has taught them; 3) charges to continue in the faith; and, 4) predictions of what will soon come to pass (ESV Study Bible, 2416). Those predictions are generally negative. I believe seeing the letter in this light may help us to better understand it.
Most all ancient letters in the Greco-Roman world began with a greeting and most New Testament letters do as well. The writer identifies himself as Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. There is no higher calling than servant to Jesus Christ and there was no higher office than apostle. But even so, he writes, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Church was founded on the testimony of the apostles and prophets. The apostles were especially commissioned by Christ as eyewitnesses of the word. Their place in the Church shall never be overthrown. But even so, the faith they obtained in Christ Jesus was the same as our own; they stand before God as sinners saved by grace just as we through the righteousness of Christ that becomes ours through faith in his shed blood on the cross. In this world, there must be ranks with duties and responsibilities assigned. In the world to come, we are told of rewards and that the first shall be last and the last first. I suspect our heavenly rank and assignments will depend on how faithful we were to our earthly rank and assignments. Were we obedient? Were we humble? Were we faithful to the task we were assigned?
The fruit of the gospel is grace and peace which is multiplied to us “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” This knowledge is given us in our regeneration but grows in our walk with the Lord. Stay close to Christ, the source of knowledge, and know the peace that passes all understanding.