Monday, September 11, 2023

           While we may not have lived at the same time that Peter the Apostle lived, we might easily think that we could have been friends with him.  For those who share a faith in Christ, there is the basis for kinship and friendship.  Indeed, that shared faith is the fertile soil in which lasting friendships can be formed and sustained.  That basis is found in who Christ is, what He has done and the promises that He has made.  2 Peter 3 is heavily tilted in the direction of Peter writing as a friend to his reader.  He had some truths to impart to them that would change their lives.  And the Word of God is life-giving and life-changing for those who open themselves to what He has to say.  Paul spoke about the importance of God’s Word in 3:5-7.  He wrote, “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”  In speaking about the power and importance of God’s Word to his friends, Peter left behind some important lessons for friends like us to learn today.  Some might diminish or dismiss God’s Word today.  Peter did not.  And We should not be quick to make light of what God has said and promised. 
            First, God’s Word possesses authority.  The authority comes from God Himself.  God stands behind His Word.  Isaiah had this to say about the authority of God’s Word, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).  God’s Word will do what He wills for it to do.  His Word does not fail.  It is not impotent or just something that sounds sweet and melodic.  It possesses power and authority.  We take seriously whatever we discover in God’s Word.  We can build our lives, faith and choices on such a foundation.    
            Second, God spoke the creation into existence.  He declared His will and it happened.  The early words of Genesis remind us that only God was in the beginning (Genesis 1:1).  Genesis teaches us that God spoke the creation into existence as He willed and proposed.  Life, heavenly bodies, humanity, and plants came into being by His design and will.  God required no construction degree or experience.  He simply declared His blueprint for the creation and it came into existence.  The most powerful and creative force in the universe is the spoken Word of God.  And because God was “in the beginning,” He alone is able to set the standards for right and wrong or good and bad.  He is the yardstick or basis for how we navigate the right pathways in life. 
            Third, God brought judgment to the world by His Word.  The flood waters that encased and enwrapped the earth came by His decree.  God brought forth the flood to judge and cleanse the world by divine decree and for divine purposes.  Nature obeys His commands and recognizes His authority.  Tragically, humans like us are the only dimension of creation that does not submit to and honor His authority.  We prefer our ways to His and our flawed words to His eternal Word.
            Fourth, God has promised to bring history to an end.  By His Word, God will bring the world to a conclusion in keeping with His purposes and plans.  God has promised life and reality beyond what we can see and know today.  There is something more and something far better on the way.  We trust God’s Word to make that happen.  We trust His authority and power to bring forth the kind of eternity and everlasting life that He has promised us in Christ Jesus.  Peter spoke about the enduring nature of God’s Word in his first letter.  He wrote, “For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’  And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24-25).  Eternity is assured and certain because God’s Word is.  We base our hope for eternity on what God has said and promised to us.  We are not merely hopeful or optimistic about eternity—we are certain.  God will welcome us to be with Him forever and to enjoy an eternity that is beyond what eyes have seen, ears have heard or minds have conceived.   
            We often wish we had a Word that stood above the thousands of words that are read and spoken every day.  The good news is we have such a Word—God’s Word.  Peter loved his first-century friends enough to direct their attention to what God had promised and affirmed.  We are the beneficiaries of Peter’s words today as we place our faith in the powerful and unchanging Word of God.  Have a great Monday and enjoy your week!

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