2nd Peter & Jude
Lecture 28: 2nd Peter & Jude
This is the 28th lecture in the online series of lectures on New Testament Survey by Dr Thomas Schreiner. Recommended Reading includes: Article on Divorce and Remarriage – Craig Blomberg, Trinity Journal, 1990; The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris; Are there Two Will in God by John Piper; Two views on Women in Ministry by James Beck and Craig Blomberg; Word Bible Commentary: Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46, by William D. Mounce and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, by Wayne Gudem and John Piper (article by Vern Poythress entitled, ‘The Church as a Family’)
(Any slides, photos, notes or outlines that the lecturer refers to should be down loaded separately. If they are not available, you may be able to find something similar using the Google© search engine.)
God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness.
Flow Assignment 1st John 5:6-12
‘This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.’
This trace assignment involves a sentence by sentence analytical and linguistic approach in understanding 1st John 5:6-`12. With the water and the blood, most interpreters agreed that the water refers to baptism and the blood to refer to his death. This is an idea – explanation. He came as the one anointed as the Messiah at his baptism and then went to his death. A ground clause is the Spirit that bears the truth. The Spirit, the water and the blood bear witness and the three are in agreement. So verses 6-8 talk about these three witnesses. Jesus is anointed as the Messiah at his baptism and he was the Messiah through his death. The Spirit attests that the Gospel is true, supernaturally. So how do we know that the Gospel is true? It is not by any external proof but by the work of the Spirit. So this is not something we can prove in a formula or simply demonstrate for it is the Spirit’s work in our heart. The witness of God is greater than the human witness. So the witness of the Spirit in our hearts is greater than any human testimony. So we can be sure of the truth because we have that divine witness. The one who doesn’t believe makes God a liar, but the one who believes has the witness. This is a clear positive – negative. It the believer who has that witness, so belief in Jesus is more than knowing something exists materially or historically. Belief in Jesus is a different dimension. This is a divine witness and thus it is something moral. Thus in the day of judgement, anyone who believes will not face any argument from God. John is saying that belief is a moral matter and thus those that don’t believe, has charged God with being a liar and morally that is inconceivable to John. I think that is his argument here. Verse 11 is an idea – explanation; God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. A positive – negative is ‘whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son doesn’t have life. Therefore if you have the Son then you have the life. So what is the content of the witness? It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ and that eternal life is in Jesus. Therefore everyone who has the Son has life. So in a series, the author keeps developing the theme that binds these four points which is the witness.
I. 2nd Peter Authorship
Now 2nd Peter is the most disputed book in the New Testament in terms of authenticity. Yet there are very good reasons to assume that Peter wrote 2nd Peter. To sum up the book, I would say that God has given us all we need. 2nd Peter starts off with the Gospel. This sums up the first four verses of the Book and so we see that God has given us everything we need, all the grace and strength for life and godliness. The Christian life begins with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This makes us partakers of God’s divine nature. Peter continues by saying telling us to live a Godly life and confirm your call and election. Be diligent to practice these virtues in your Christian life because of everything that God has given you. He doesn’t say; try to be nice people, as if that was the answer to the problems in the world.
II. God’s Grace the Foundation for a Life of Godliness: 1:30-11
God has graced you with every gift in Christ. His grace has seized you and changed you; so live that out and be a new person. When you do this, you will confirm your calling and election. This is a confirmation to what God has done for you. As we see in the Scriptures, good works is the evidence and indication that we are really changed. When God works in us, he changes us by his grace and thus become new people.
III. Peter’s Apostolic Reminder: 1:12-21
God has given you everything and so therefore live a Godly life, live to be saved on the last day. This is sometimes called Peter’s testament because he says here that he is dying. Peter is telling them that it is important for them not to forget this.
In 1:16 – 19a, it says that what we tell you is based on eye witness testimony of the transfiguration and God’s prophetic Word. Peter said that he saw on the mountain Jesus transfigured before him. I saw that with my own eyes. How can this not be Peter? It has to be Peter who wrote this, otherwise it is a lie. Peter says that he knows that this is true for I saw Jesus in all his glory. For Peter the transfiguration is a sort of prophecy, a prelude and anticipation of the second coming; Jesus is coming again. Jesus will look the same way he looked when he was transfigured. Peter says what God has told us is reliable, therefore pay heed to the Word. If your salvation is dependent upon it, then pay attention to what I am saying. There is a lot of darkness in the world but this Word shines in a dark place, for it is the truth; it illuminates everything for us. Note that the liberal seminaries are dying because of the darkness that has entered them. If God’s Word isn’t true then who wants to spend all that time studying it! Luther says that if you give up the original languages then you give up the Gospel. But when the Spirit is allowed to work in you, you will pay attention to God’s Word. If you love God’s Word, you will want to study it and pay attention to it.
For verses 20 and 21, ‘No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ When we deal with God’s Word, it becomes very precious to us and it is a privilege to know it. So pay heed to what I am saying. So again, the main thought in chapter 1 is to pay heed!
IV. The Arrival, Character, and Judgement of False Teachers: 2:1-22
How can we summarize chapter 2? Don’t pay attention to false teachers. Don’t pay attention to them. The first three verses simply states that there will be false teachers. Even as Peter writes this letter, they have already made themselves known. So the message for the church; there are dangerous people out there who are not teaching the Word of God. They are contrary even to the Gospel. This is true today; we have to watch out for false teachers. But these false teachers will be judged and destroyed ultimately; God will judge them. Verses 2:4-10a is a ground; for God will judge the wicked and preserve his own. He preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly. He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes but rescued righteous Lot who was distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked. God has judged the wicked all through history and he continued that today. In 2:11-16 they will be judged for their sensuality (their sexual sins) and their greed (their desire of money). These are the two things Peter is focusing on. The people he is referring to are false teachers who claim to be Christians. So those people who are in the ministry for money and those who use their ministry as a means of living sensuous lives sexually are the people who have stained evangelicalism and the church. If you are in this position, ask God for the grace to repent and turn from this sin. If you don’t repent and change your ways you will be added to those who are false teachers and will be judged accordingly. Peter warns us against this; don’t let these things invade our lives and we are to watch out for people like that. Note that the false teachers will be judged because of their influence on others and their own departure from the faith. They will be judged because they have led those who have recently made confessions of faith.
These false teachers promise these people freedom yet they themselves are slaves of corruption. They say they are free in Christ and so they can do whatever they want, but actually they are slaves of sin themselves and they influence others in this teaching. Now that you are a Christian, you can do whatever you want, they say. But they have departed from the faith. Armenians argue that they are doing these things after they have come to know Christ but they have returned to their former lives. It would have been better is they had never known the way of righteousness. So these people claim to be Christians. I understand that this message as being ‘phenomenological’; they give every appearance of being Christian but we know that they were Christians because they departed. We know that perseverance is a sign of their authenticity. So they show their nature being dogs that turn back to their own vomit. They are like a pig that is like returning to the mud. These are both unclean animals. For an Armenian this doesn’t work but for a Calvinist this works perfectly. In other words, they weren’t saved in the first place. This is the way they see these people Peter is talking about. So they appear to be the people of God as they live alongside Christians and they say they are Christians, but it becomes evident that they are not believers. Church history verifies this; there are those people who have claimed to be believers but have departed from the faith. So we are to always be on our guard and not be too relaxed about these things. We shouldn’t be suspicious about everyone; but we should be on the alert.
V. Reminder: The Day of the Lord Will Come: 3:1-18
You should remember the words of the prophets and the commands of Jesus. This is another way of saying to pay attention, thus it is still the main point: pay attention to the prophetic word, but don’t pay attention to the false teachers. He is saying to remember that judgement is coming. The false teachers say there is no second coming in verses 3:5-7. The false teachers say that nothing ever changes; the world is always the same. But this is not true. There is creation, the flood and the last judgement. That is what he talks about in these three verses. It isn’t all the same; God created the world and destroyed it once and he will do it again. Therefore, don’t fail to see that the judgement is coming, and don’t forget this. One day is like a thousand years to God and a thousand years is like one day. So the lecturer says jokingly that it’s been only two days since the Lord came the first time. The Lord is not slow in regards to his promises. He will come like a thief and that day is coming; therefore live holy and Godly lives. So Peter is back where he was in chapter 1; live holy and Godly lives; be different people. If Jesus is coming again, we ought to be ready and hastening the day of the Lord by the way we live. God knows and has ordained his coming. The way we live may effect on when he comes. So even though God has ordained everything, but we must realize that what we do matters. So don’t be fooled but grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Live holy and Godly lives. So this finishes up 2nd Peter.
I. Authorship and Date
Interestingly 2nd Peter and Jude have some similarities. I seem to think that 2nd Peter used Jude as a source but this is debated and no one is sure about this. I also think that this Jude is the brother of Jesus who is also the brother of James in the Epistle of James. We wish we knew more about their family as obviously people would be very interested in it. It is also interesting that we don’t get a lot biographical information from the Bible. We really don’t need to know that every though it is interesting. I think the date is in the early 60s.
II. Greetings and Purpose for Writing
He begins with his greetings which emphasizes that God keeps his people. Those who are called and loved are kept eschatologically by God’s grace. He wrote them in order to appeal to keep the faith. Faith, here, seems to refer to the body of doctrine that we have received as Christians. He doesn’t mean content in trusting God. He is referring to the confession of faith and content in the truth of the Gospel. This was handed down to them by the apostolic witnesses. Strive to defend the faith is still our responsibility today because false teachers have infiltrated the church. We have the same here as in 2nd Peter.
III. Judgment of the Intruders: 5-16
In verses 5-7 we see a triad or three; Jude likes to use these in terms of examples, reasons, statements, etc. So these false teachers have infiltrated the church and they will be judged for what they are doing. He gives three examples of this in these verses in regards to Israel, the angels and what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Those who depart from God will be judged. Israel left Egypt but never got into the land of promise. In regards to the angels, I understand that these angels are the angels of Genesis chapter 6 who had sexual relations with women. That is the way I see it, but that is also a very big debate. And Sodom and Gomorrah becomes a type of the final judgement; the fire and brimstone which is seen regularly throughout the New Testament. This is a forecast to what God will do on the last day and all his opponents will be destroyed. It says in verses 8-10 that these false teachers who are in your community are sexually prone and they are also arrogant. They revile authority and are very proud and assertive. So there is sexual sin and arrogance and pride. Jude mentioned three characters from the Old Testament; those who are like Cain, Balaam and Korah. This is another triad that Jude uses. Cain was a murderer and Balaam was a false prophet who was in it for money. And then there was Korah who was rebellious again Moses. He says that these people are there at communion; they are not outsiders, yet there is nothing that comes from them; they are fruitless trees in late autumn or wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame. They are wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. Jude is telling us not to trust them. Interestingly, sometimes heresy is seen as exciting for some because it is different and goes against the status quo, but it doesn’t provide any strength for the church. It doesn’t strengthen people. Ultimately, it is a waterless cloud.
Then in verses 14-16, he uses a prophecy from Enoch. By the way, he also refers to a book known as the Assumption of Moses. Note thought that the Book of Enoch or 1st Enoch is not in the Bible and his quote simply says that God will judge the wicked. He could have quoted any book with saying this but perhaps Jude liked this book and even perhaps the readers also. Note that this is not unusual as Biblical writers do quote from books and people outside the Bible. Virtually no one in history has ever thought that Enoch was a canonical book. This includes Jews, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, etc. Enoch is neither an apocryphal book. Jude continues by saying that they are like the people in the wilderness; they are grumblers and complainers.
IV. Exhortations to Believers: 17-23
In verse 17 Jude tells them to remember what the apostles said. They said that these people would come and that they are divisive, worldly and devoid of the Spirit. They are not Christian because they don’t have the Spirit. As believers you should keep yourself in God’s love by building yourself up in the faith, by knowing the truth of the Gospel and by prayer and by waiting for Jesus to return. This is a great sermon by itself: building yourself up in faith, truth and prayer and waiting on Jesus to return. This is Jude’s triad again. In verses 22-23, again there is a triad. There are those who doubt, have mercy on these people. There others who need saving, snatch them up out of the fire. There are others who have gone even further for their garments have been stained by the flesh; don’t slip down with them. So there are some people we try to help but they could drag us down with them. These are people who have a negative spirit.
Keep yourselves in God’s love but there is a sense that God will keep you from stumbling, from committing apostasy. This is the danger from the false teachers who are trying to draw them away from the faith. This is ultimately all due to his grace. These verses are a repeat of verses 1 and 2. God will keep up but watch out.