Thursday: A Final Appeal

Peter ends his epistle with a theme that has pervaded it from the start: living holy lives and being careful not to be led astray by “the error of the wicked” (2 Pet. 3:17).

Read 2 Peter 3:14-18. To whom is Peter appealing, and what is he warning about in this appeal?

Paul in Prison

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How interesting that Peter ends his epistle with an appeal to the writings of “our beloved brother Paul” (2 Pet. 3:15). Paul also wrote of the need to live at peace while waiting for the second coming of Jesus, and to use the time to develop holy lives (see Rom. 2:4, Rom. 12:18, Phil. 2:12).

Also notice the way that Peter’s reference to the writings of Paul shows that Paul’s writings were highly valued early in Christian history. Whether or not Peter is referring to the whole collection of Paul’s writings now found in the New Testament, or only a subset of them, cannot be determined. Nevertheless, Peter’s comments show that Paul’s letters were highly regarded.

Finally, Peter comments that Paul’s writings can be misconstrued, just like other Scriptures. The Greek word grapha literally means “writings,” but in this context it clearly means “sacred writings,” such as the books of Moses and the prophets. Here is very early evidence that Paul’s writings had taken on authority, like the authority of the Hebrew Bible.

And considering what we read earlier about false teachers who promise liberty, it’s not hard to imagine people using Paul’s writings about liberty and grace as an excuse for sinful behavior. Paul strongly emphasized righteousness by faith alone (Rom. 3:21-22), but nothing in his writings gives people a license for sin (see Rom. 6:1-14). Paul himself had to deal with this error in regard to what he had been preaching and teaching about righteousness by faith. Yet, Peter warns, those who twist his writings do so at the risk of “their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16).

What are choices you can make right now that can help you to live the kind of life that we have been called to live in Christ Jesus?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons