Sincere understanding of God's Word
Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. 2 Peter 3:1-2 CSB
We now reach the final main section of Peter’s second letter that he has written to his “friends,” believers “who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). The purpose of this section is to “stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder.” Peter used repetition throughout this letter to emphasize key points to make sure his readers do not miss it. We read over and over from last chapter about the false teachers. When mind is stirred up by the truth of God’s Word, it becomes mentally alert and aware of the attacks of the false teachers. Peter also uses the word “sincere” to describe understanding, meaning “wholesome, uncontaminated or unmixed.” In context from the previous chapter, Peter wants the reader to have a clearcut understanding of “the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles,” not to be confused with the scheming words of the false teachers that try their best to corrupt the gospel message. Peter, instead, wants us to recall how the Old Testament prophets spoke of the coming of the Messiah, a topic the false teachers tried to corrupt with their “cleverly contrived myths” (2 Peter 1:16). Peter also wants his readers to focus on the “command,” the moral instructions of how Christians should live day to day, such as how to love one another, seen in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,” or in James 2:8, “If however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well,” or 1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.” Meanwhile, the false teachers only love themselves and pursue their own desires (2 Peter 2:3). Believers are called to love one another as Christ has loved, being selfless to the point of sacrificing Himself on the cross for all to experience life. Peter calls upon the believers to continue to recall the words of the prophets for they were not just intended to provide encouragement and warning to those in the past but also for us who are anticipating the day “until the time of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning” (Acts 3:21).
Isaac De Guzman