The Story:What is this “holy commandment” that was delivered to those who have just barely escaped the ways of the flesh into the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Does Peter have some particular mandate in view, something which was addressed to all who declared themselves eager to come to Jesus Christ? If the commandment is holy, it comes from God Himself. And if it is holy it is designed to promote holiness. Holiness is a dramatic and progressive change of life in the direction of Christlikeness. When someone becomes a Christian, therefore, this holy commandment directs the believer to leave the past behind – the time for such folly being sufficient already (1 Pet. 4.3) – and to press on in the direction of becoming more like Christ. Stop chasing the ways of the flesh and start pursuing the ways of Christ. If this is the case, then it seems pretty clear that holy commandment can be reduced to one word: “Repent!” Turn back from that command, and, yes, your previous condition will only get worse.
The Structure:This is not a word with which contemporary Christianity is much identified. It sounds so old fashioned. So demanding. So, well, judgmental. Who are we to command anyone to repent of anything? Let him who is without sin, and so forth. But without repentance, there will be no holiness. And without holiness, none of us can expect to see the Lord (Heb. 12.14). If we will not preach and practice repentance, then we can only expect that the condition of the Church and its witness to our age will only become weaker and weaker.
How would you explain to a new believer what it means to practice repentance?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Beware False Teachers: 2 Peter 2.12-22,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.