25th September 2023
Read - 2 Peter 2:12-21
Message Alan Burke
This week you’re getting something a little different for the devotions. The reason is we have Hiram coming on Sunday in the morning as I was supposed to be having a week off but that didn’t work out. This week we are thinking ‘What is the Word of God?’. The answer of course is given to us in the Larger Catechism that; ‘The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience’ but we’re going to look to the scriptures to see what they teach us, this week on 2 Peter 1:12-21. Peter was writing to a church refuting the false claims, teaching the necessity of godly living, saying ”I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have”. Why if they already were firmly established in the truth does he say that he will always remind them?
The answer is a simple one, because they like we are not very good at remembering, we easily forget, we are easily influenced by the world around us. The simplest way for us to be able to withstand the world around us, false teaching, nonsense spouted by false teachers is to know the ABC’s of the faith, basic biblical doctrine will help us. The better the foundation of the house the less likely it is to fall, and the same with the believer, the better the foundation of our faith the less likely we will fall away. The historic creeds and confessions of the church help us to be able to know and assert the truth that are a defence against error for us, of course they are not the word of God and are subservient to it.
In verse 16 Peter uses the term ‘we’ when speaking. For this isn’t just Peter’s message and he adds to that this they did not follow cleverly invented stories as the NIV puts it. He is defending the message that he has brought them. The word translated as stories in the NIV is the greek word myth which is a story without basis in fact. But the gospel is not myth, he along with the other apostles were ‘eyewitness of his majesty’. The eyewitness of his majesty refers to not all that took place as Peter was a disciple of Jesus Christ but rather it is specifically referring to the transfiguration of Jesus. While there is much that we could pull out of this not only of the historical basis for Jesus coming but also for the Second coming which Peter addresses in chapter 3 that is for another time, rather what is important to note is that Peter along with the others was an eyewitness, he saw the majestic Glory, speaking of the transcendence of the glorious presence of the Father.
Look though what Peter says, in v17 that even though he was an eyewitness, even though he saw the transfiguration of Jesus, the Majestic Glory of the Father, even though he heard the Father speak audibly saying “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (2 Pet 1:17, Matt 3:17) Peter says that we have something more certain, what is this? Well we are told in 19, we have the word of the prophets made more certain. Now the word of the prophets is in effect saying the Old Testament, that was pointing forward to the coming of Jesus. Peter here is not saying that his testimony is unreliable or that his word is more reliable than the words of the prophets, rather he is speaking of the surety of the Old Testament that points forward to the coming of Jesus, the complete reliability of what we have in the scriptures shouldn’t be lost on us as the church. As the people of God, we will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place. I’ve heard many believers disregard the Old Testament, who aren’t willing to take the time to understand it, who think of the Old Testament as one dispensation and the New as another but Peter didn’t think that, he saw that the Old Testament was the prophetic word of Scripture is a more certain proof than even the spectacular experience of witnessing the Transfiguration.
Q55 What is forbidden in the third commandment?
The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning and abusing of any thing whereby God maketh himself known. (Mal. 1:6–7,12, Mal. 2:2, Mal. 3:14)