We join Peter again as he pens his final letter to the churches. He is speaking to the believers who share the same faith as him.
This letter isn’t to only the Jews or the Gentiles. It also doesn’t set out to be aimed at one specific church. It is to ALL believers “who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (verse 1b).
There were so many false teachers out there and new religions popping up all over. There was also the Jewish religion with its doctrines still in practice. Peter was NOT speaking to any of these groups. He was addressing fellow believers in Christ.
Jesus was the main thing that set the believers apart from all the other religions out there. Some of the dividing lines were: Jesus’ was the Son of God, and therefore God Himself; Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and our acceptance of His substitutional work is the ONLY way to Heaven; and Jesus actually rose from the dead and is in Heaven with God.
Jesus is the ONLY “religious leader” who EVER rose from the dead and remained exactly as He was. In Buddhism they believe in “reincarnation” thereby having Buddha come back but who knows what he was supposed to come back as. Jesus was even recognizable to His followers when He rose. He even carried some of the wounds inflicted on the cross. We are not told if He still carried the stripes from the whip or the puncture wounds from the crown of thorns, but we know He presented His hands and side to Thomas to touch as proof of who He was. He also retained the same power He had while He walked the earth. If anything, He even had more, since the restrictions of the body were removed. I wonder where He visited during the time He was not with His disciples before His ascension.
The Jewish religion had a strict doctrine of works to be acceptable to God. NO ONE, except Jesus, could live up to these requirements. That was the very reason we needed Jesus. But when Jesus said He was the way into Heaven the Jews saw red! Even after some became believers they wanted to still carry the list of do’s and don’ts into Christianity. But Jesus said that salvation was through Him and Him alone. NO work was good enough to purchase our salvation except His. He did it ALL! There was nothing lacking. So trying to work your way into Heaven is the same as telling Jesus, “Good job but You missed a spot.” NOT SO. We are saved by grace and grace alone. That grace was purchased through Jesus’ complete sacrifice. AFTERWARDS we are to be more like Him and begin to live a life He would be proud of. Not to become saved but because we are saved.
Jesus being the Son of God is critical to all He did. His sacrifice would have meant nothing if He weren’t exactly who He said He was. Because of Jesus’ Father, His spirit was not dead at birth. Each and every one of ours is because of being born into the line of original sin. It is a condition we have no more say over than our blood type. Our father and his father before him and his father before him ALL had the same spiritual condition thanks to Adam and Eve. On the day they sinned their spirit died and that death has been passed on to each of us born of man. Jesus wasn’t born of man.
Those holding these same truths as “gospel” were the ones Peter was writing his last letter to. He is giving his final teaching and his fondest farewell. He expects to be joining Jesus in Heaven very shortly. It wouldn’t be long now. Rome was going to see to that and he had already received confirmation of it from Jesus.
Thank You Father for sending Jesus. Without His work I would be TOTALLY lost! I would have NO hope. Thank You that I share Peter’s faith and that You had him leave some very valuable lessons for me before he went home to be with You. Please help me see all the exciting nuggets You have hidden there. I look forward to sharing more time with You in this letter.