2 Peter: Truth and Consequences for False Teachers.

And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:2-3)

What are the immediate truthful observations of and ultimate consequences for false teachers who infiltrate the church and seek to destroy believers in Christ? The Apostle Peter lists five in today’s text.

First, many will follow their sensuality. To follow (ἐξακολουθέω; exakoloutheo) means to pursue and imitate. Sensuality (ἀσέλγεια; aselgeia) refers to extreme immorality. Many within the church will pursue and imitate the serious and intense immorality of false teachers.

Second, the way of truth will be blasphemed. Notice the definite article “the” which immediately precedes the noun “way” (ὁδός; odos) which means way of life or way to live. Peter is saying that there is but one way to live and one way of life.

This way of life and living originates and is solely sourced in truth (ἀλήθεια; aletheia) which is according to reality or what really happens. This passage echos what Jesus proclaimed in John 14:6 that, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This particular way of truth from God and solely God will be blasphemed by false teachers. To blaspheme (βλασφημέω; blasphememo) means to speak against someone with the intent to injure or harm them. The person false teachers seek to injure and harm is God.

Third, Peter says that in their greed they will exploit you with false words. False teachers are not only liars by nature and behavior but they are also greedy (πλεονεξία; pleonexia). This means that they seek to take advantage of people. The purpose of their greed is to exploit people. To exploit (ἐμπορεύομαι; emporeuomai) is defined as exploiting by deception. In other words, to cheat someone. False teachers will do so by their false words or lies.

Fourth, their condemnation from long ago is not idle. Condemnation (κρίμα; krima) means to judge as guilty. It is a legal decision of judgment. This judgement from God was resolved in the courts of heaven long ago (ἔκπαλαι; ekpalai) or since a long time. It is not idle (ἀργέω; argeo) or inoperative. It is still in force.

Fifth, their destruction is not asleep. Destruction (ἀπώλεια; apoleia) or ruination is not asleep (νυστάζω; nystazo) or drowsy. In other words, the false teacher’s destruction is imminent and wide awake. It will happen.

What can you do for your friends and church who you suspect may be in the influence of false teachers? Pray for those who you know who are unsuspectedly under the influence of false teachers. Pray that God will provide you an opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel. Pray also for yourself and your church that the Lord will protect both from false teachers and their teachings.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Peter: False Prophets and False Teachers.

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (Peter 2:1)

The Epistle of 2 Peter parallels the Epistle of Jude in describing and warning the church of false teachers or apostates. An apostate is a professing believer in Jesus Christ who ultimately denies the person and work of Christ along with justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

God’s people, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament historical context, have always had to deal with those who were false prophets or false teachers. The phrase false prophet (ψευδοπροφήτης; pseudoprophetai) refers to one who claims to be a prophet of God but is proclaiming what is untrue. In other words, a false teacher (ψευδοδιδάσκαλος; pseudodidaskalos) is one who teaches lies. Peter is declaring that as there were false prophets among the Jews there will be false teachers among those within the church.

What is the goal of false teachers within the church? Peter says these people “will” bring into the church community and fellowship what he calls “destructive heresies.” Destructive (ἀπώλεια; apoleia) means to ruin or destroy people, places or things. Heresies (αἵρεσις; hairesis) means false teaching or untrue doctrine. Therefore, false teachers seek to bring into the church teachings and doctrines which will ultimately bring ruin and destruction to God’s people or the church.

Their false teaching includes even denying the Master (δεσπότης; despotes) or Lord Jesus Christ who Peter says, set them free (ἀγοράζω; agorazo) or redeemed them, therefore bringing upon themselves swift destruction. Are these false teachers truly believers in Christ who ultimately lose their salvation?

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Peter is not saying Christians can lose their salvation (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:28-30), but is describing the false teachers in terms of their own profession of faith (vv. 20-21). By teaching and practicing immorality, they despise the Lordship of Christ and prove their profession to be false (I John 2:1-4, 19). They deny the one whom they have falsely claimed to serve as His precious possession.”

Dr. Sproul continues by saying that, “Though some take the phrase “the Master who bought them” to mean that Christ’s substitutionary death applies to all rather than to the elect only. Peter’s concern here is to highlight the responsibility of the false teachers rather than to advance a theory of the atonement. It was the false teachers claim that Christ “bought them” but such a claim is valid only for true believers.”

A true believer in Christ rejects any teaching or doctrine which seeks to undermine or deny justification by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. I urge you to remain faithful to the Scriptures and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Belgic Confession: LORD’S DAY 4, 2020.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will reproduce devotional articles taken from The Belgic Confession. The Belgic Confession, written in 1561, owes its origin to the need for a clear and comprehensive statement of Reformed Theology during the time of the Spanish inquisition in the Lowlands. Guido de Brès, its primary author, was pleading for understanding and toleration from King Philip II of Spain who was determined to root out all Protestant factions in his jurisdiction. Hence, this confession takes pains to point out the continuity of Reformed Theology with that of the ancient Christian creeds.

The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.

During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to King Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.

Along with The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort, The Belgic Confession comprise what is collectively referred to as the Thee Forms of Unity. Article #4 of the Belgic Confession is as follows.

Article 4: The Canonical Books.  We include in the Holy Scripture the two volumes of the Old and New Testaments. They are canonical books with which there can be no quarrel at all. In the church of God the list is as follows: In the Old Testament, the five books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; The books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth; the two books of Samuel, and two of Kings; the two books of Chronicles, called Paralipomenon; the first book of Ezra; Nehemiah, Esther, Job; the Psalms of David; the three books of Solomon—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song; the four major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah*, Ezekiel, Daniel; and then the other twelve minor prophets—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

In the New Testament, the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen letters of Paul—to the Romans; the two letters to the Corinthians; to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians; the two letters to the Thessalonians; the two letters to Timothy; to Titus, Philemon, and to the Hebrews; the seven letters of the other apostles—one of James; two of Peter; three of John;
one of Jude; and the Revelation of the apostle John.

* “Jeremiah” here includes the Book of Lamentations as well as the Book of Jeremiah.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

2 Peter: The Prophecy of Scripture.

20 knowing this first of all that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 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.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

2 Peter 1:20-21 is one of two definitive portions of Scripture which speak of the revelation and inspiration of God’s Word. The other is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says, 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Paralleling the words of the Apostle Paul, Peter shared to his readers that there was a priority truth which they were to continuously know or understand. That priority truth was that “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.”

Prophecy (προφητεία; propheteia) means an inspired utterance by God. Scripture (γραφή; graphe) refers to sacred and holy writings originated by God. All inspired utterances by God which were written down and originated by the Holy Spirit did not come from someone’s own interpretation. God determined the meaning of each portion of Scripture He created. Humans do not determine the meaning of God’s Word, but humans are to discover what Scripture means.

Within the particular context of today’s text, Peter was directly alluding to the Old Testament. However, 2 Peter 1:20-21 now equally applies to the New Testament.

Peter goes on to say that no inspired utterance by God (prophecy) was ever produced by the will of man. The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testament, did not originate by the prophets or the apostles. Rather, the writings came from God alone.

The prophets and the apostles spoke from God. They were heralds who God gave the responsibility to be His spokespersons. In fact, they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The phrase “carried along” (φέρω; phero) means guided, directed and led.

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “As the authors of Scripture wrote their prophecies, they were impelled or borne along by God’s Spirit. What they wrote was thus inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16). “Borne along” or “carried along” translates the word pheromenoi. Luke used this word in referring to a sailing vessel carried along by the wind (Acts 27:15, 17). The Scriptures’ human authors were controlled by the divine Author, the Holy Spirit. Yet they were consciously involved in the process; they were neither taking dictation nor writing in a state of ecstasy. No wonder believers have a word of prophecy which is certain. And no wonder a Christian’s nurture must depend on the Scriptures. They are the very words of God Himself!”

Enjoy a feast from the Word of God today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

2 Peter: The Prophetic Word more fully Confirmed.

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” (2 Peter 1:19).

What was the Apostle Peter’s attitude toward what is commonly referred to as the Old Testament? Peter referred to the OT as the prophetic word. Prophetic (προφητικός; prophetikos) literally means “of the prophets.” It refers to the divinely inspired tetachings and writings of the Old Testament prophets.

As Peter remembered the unforgettable experience of Jesus’ transfiguration, the Living and Eternal Word, he also recalled another form of God’s Word: the written Word. It was the revelation by God through the prophets. In fact, God’s voice on the mountain made the word of the prophets … more certain or more fully confirmed (bebaioteron; cf. bebaian, v. 10). The transfiguration pictured the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. Both the Old Testament, and the Transfiguration, directs our attention to Jesus’ kingdom on earth. However, of theses two sources of revelation, the written Word of God takes preference over experience.

Believers in Peter’s day, as well as our own, would do well to pay attention (προσέχω; prosecho) to these prophetic words. They are symbolically described as a lamp shinning in a dark place. The darkness of this fallen world prevents sinners from seeing the truth until God causes the light to shine. The light is the word of God (cf. Ps. 119:105John 17:17).

One commentator explains that, “The Old Testament text describes the coming day of the Lord in terms of a sunrise (Malachi 4:2) because God would come like the sun (cf. Psalm 84:11). The point here seems to be that the morning star (Venus) heralds the advent of dawn; a new age was about to dawn (cf. 2 Peter 1:11).”

However, the historical and prophetical reality of Jesus’ incarnation and ultimate second coming is to be coupled with this same morning star being within the human heart. The word “heart” (καρδία; kardia) refers to the mind, emotions and will of the believer. In other words, the inner self or soul of the individual.

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “The “prophetic word” refers not just to the OT major and minor prophets, but to the entire OT. Of course, all of the OT was written by “prophets” in the truest sense, since they spoke and wrote God’s word, which was the task of a prophet, and they looked forward, in some sense, to the coming Messiah (cf. Luke 24:27). The phrase “more fully confirmed” could indicate that the eyewitness account of Christ’s majesty at the transfiguration confirmed the Scriptures. However, the Greek word order is crucial in that it does not say that. It says, “And we have more sure the prophetic word.” That original arrangement of the sentence supports the interpretation that Peter is ranking Scripture over experience. The prophetic word (Scripture) is more complete, more permanent, and more authoritative than the experience of anyone. More specifically, the word of God is a more reliable verification of the teachings about the person, atonement, and second coming of Christ than even the genuine first-hand experiences of the apostles themselves.”

The Old Testament is not to be discarded as some pastors and theologians suggest. May we read the Old Testament with a greater appreciation as to its content and comprehensiveness regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. 

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

2 Peter: Recalling the Transfiguration.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16–18)

It is an interesting fact that cults and false religions have always sought to construct an elaborate collection of cleverly devised myths. What is true today was also true in Peter’s lifetime and in the life of the early church. In fact, the phrase “cleverly devised myths” originates from the apostle’s own words.

Cleverly devised (σοφίζω; sophizo) means to skillfully create and to possess the capacity to produce what is cleverly or skillfully made. What Peter observed beginning to be cleverly devised, and which he and the other apostles did not follow or pursue, were myths. Myths (μῦθος; mythos) are legendary stories or accounts, normally about supernatural beings, events, or cultural heroes, and in the New Testament always with an unfavorable connotation. Mythos may also be translated as “untrue stories” or “false tales.”

What Peter was contrasting with myths or untrue stories was his account of the power (δύναμις; dynamis) and coming (παρουσία; parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, he states that he, along with James and John, were eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13). Majesty (μεγαλειότης; megaleiotes) means prominence, greatness and importance.

Dr. Don Carson writes, “Majesty is used in the NT only to describe divine glory (Luke 9:43; Acts 19:27). The voice from heaven, speaking both at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration (Mark 1:11; 9:7) combines the prophecies of Psalm 2:7 (the coronation of the Son of God) and Isaiah 42:1 (the ordination of the Suffering Servant). The mountain was sacred because it was the scene of a divine revelation (as in Exodus 3:5; 19:23).”

Peter did not claim sole authority as to his experiencing the revelation of Jesus’ majesty. James and John were with him when Jesus “received honor and glory from God the Father.” The threesome also heard the words by the Majestic Glory. That phrase, from the Greek words μεγαλοπρεπής δόξα (megaloprepes doxa), means sublime splendor, praise and honor. The Majestic Glory’s words about Jesus were, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

As one commentator writes, “It is rare that one can use a literal rendering of μεγαλοπρεπὴς δόξα as a title for God, since ‘Sublime Glory’ is a quality and not normally a reference to a person or supernatural being. It is also possible, however, to use a descriptive phrase such as ‘the one who is supremely glorious’ or ‘the one who is glorious above all others’ or ‘God who is supremely glorious.’

Peter claims that the three of them not only heard the voice but were also with Jesus on the holy mountain.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Peter’s lofty language may stem from his burning desire to communicate the true majesty of the Savior which he, a member of the inner band of disciples, was uniquely privileged to see. Peter wanted his readers to look beyond Christ’s first coming to the time when He will return with that same honor and glory He demonstrated on the mountain. In Peter’s preaching during the days of the early church he was firmly committed to the doctrine of the Second Coming (Acts 2:32–33, 36; 3:16, 20–21). Interestingly Peter was more profoundly impressed by what he heard than what he saw on that sacred mountain. The voice that came from heaven, the voice of God the Father, called the Majestic Glory (an unusual name for God), spoke approvingly of the Son.”

It is easy for believers today to crave an experience such as the one Peter, James and John encountered on the Mount of Transfiguration. However, what was more important to Peter was what he heard, or what was declared about Jesus Christ. That declaration, and many others like it, are contained in the pages of sacred Scripture. Therefore, take up and read. The Scriptures are not cleverly devised myths, but truth.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Peter: A Necessary Reminder.

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” (2 Peter 1:12-15)

Even this early in his letter, the Apostle Peter offers a conclusion in light of the preceding context of 1:3-11. This idea of a conclusion is indicated by the word “therefore.” It follows a similar conclusion in 1:10.

Peter wrote that his intent was always to remind the church of the qualities believers are to add to their faith (see 1:3-9). It was essential and a must for the apostle to remind (ὑπομιμνῄσκω; hypomimnesko) and cause his readers to remember the qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love.

This was the case even though the people to whom Peter wrote knew them with a personal experience and were established (στηρίζω; sterizo) or strong in the truth they already possessed. Imagine how much stronger they would become with the truth they would soon receive.

As long was Peter was alive he thought it a good thing to stir up (διεγείρω; diegeiro) or stimulate the church’s thinking with this second epistle. He felt this to be an urgent need because the Lord Jesus Christ had made it clear to Peter that he would soon experience death. With his soon departure from this life ever in the forefront of his thinking, he wanted to make sure his readers would always remember these qualities of sanctification or holiness.

Regarding Peter’s words from today’s text, Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “This could refer to Jesus’ words to Peter about his death by crucifixion (John 21:18–19) or to his awareness that through old age or the threat of persecution, his life was almost at an end. The image of this earthly body being like a tent fits well with Peter’s pilgrimage theme (1 Peter 1:1, 17; 2:11).” Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Death is described aptly as laying aside one’s earthly dwelling (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1).

Peter was likely in his seventies as he wrote this letter (likely from a Roman prison) and anticipated dying soon. Nero’s persecution had begun and the apostle was martyred  soon after writing this epistle. Tradition says he was crucified upside down, refusing to be crucified like his Lord. Peter wanted to make certain that after he died, God’s people would have a permanent reminder of the truth, thus he penned this inspired letter.”

 Isn’t it interesting that even as he faced impending execution and martyrdom, the Apostle Peter was more concerned about fellow believers in Christ and their progress in the faith. This is a practical example of self-sacrificial love of the will.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

2 Peter: Eternal Finality.

For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).

Do you remember the slogan for the Toys “R” Us retail toy store chain? It was, “I don’t want to grow up I’m a Toys “R” Us kid. There’s a thousand toys at Toys “R” Us that I can play with.”

I’m sure we all realize how unrealistic that familiar jingle was. We all eventually grow up unless death unexpectedly intervenes. We all encounter the joys of adolescence, the challenges of those teen years and the excitement of receiving a driver’s license and eventually graduating from high school and perusing either a college education or subsequently a career, or entering the work force and learning a trade or skill.

As God designed to physical grow and mature, so likewise believers in Christ are responsible to spiritually grow and mature. God does not call us to remain stagnant but to constantly progress in our faith. That is the predominant theme in 2 Peter 1:1-10.

Today’s text focuses our attention on ultimate goal and destination for each believer in Christ: the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “The ultimate reward of a growing, Christ-honoring life is the personal “welcome” by the Savior into His kingdom. Stephen experienced it (Acts 7:56); Paul knew when it was imminent for him (2 Tim. 4:7–8, 18); and every believer will experience such a welcome when he enters the Lord’s presence in heaven. You will receive a rich welcome is, literally, “the entrance will be supplied richly for you.” “Supplied” is from the verb epichorēgeō, translated “add” in 2 Peter 1:5. The entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be supplied with richness; it will be a wonderful “welcome home.”

What Peter is addressing is the doctrine known as the perseverance on the saints. It is the biblical teaching that all true believers in Christ will continually and diligently continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Though perseverance is partly our work, we must never miss the chief reason to be confident of our security in Christ. Perseverance, as a reality, is not an achievement accomplished by human effort. Ultimately it is a gift. The only way anyone ever perseveres to the end is by virtue of the unmerited grace of God that sustains us.”

“The gift of perseverance is a necessary deduction from passages like Philippians 2:12–13, which tells us that it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This idea is also clearly articulated in Romans 8:29–30, where the apostle Paul writes that all who have been predestined are also glorified.”

Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “We work out our salvation with fear and trembling, but we do so because God has elected and regenerated us. All those whom He has predestined will receive the full inheritance of salvation. We know this to be true from Ephesians 1:13–14, which tells us that the Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantor of our inheritance. God seals Christians and gives them the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence so that they may persevere. The Spirit is the promise from the One who never breaks His promise that those who love Christ will inherit salvation.

The great theologian Augustine was one of the first to remind the church of the donum perserverantiae, the gift of perseverance. Perseverance as a gift from God means that even in our working to continue in our faith, God receives all the glory. Praise the Lord today for His mercy in causing and guaranteeing that all of His elect children will persevere.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

2 Peter: Confirm Your Calling and Election.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).

In my last blog, I recalled for you my experience of nearsightedness which began in 1962 when I was in the second grade. I would like to recall another experience I had which culminated seven years later in May of 1969.

My parents raised my sister and me in the Lutheran denomination. That is one of the reasons I have such a respect for Martin Luther. I was taught at an early age about the courage of this Augustinian monk and his opposition to the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Sunday school lessons were not only about the Old and New Testament but also about the Protestant Reformation.

Beginning at age 12, I began attending confirmation classes at my church. The word confirmation means the rite or ritual by which a water baptized person, especially one baptized as an infant, affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the Church. For me this occurred in the spring of 1969. The result of confirmation was that I was now allowed to participate in the Lord’s Supper during worship services.

I cannot speak for my friends who were confirmed along with me as to their faith in Christ, but looking back on that period of my life I can say with the utmost assurance that I was not a convert by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. In other words, I was a pagan pretending to be a Protestant. It would not be until October of 1974 that I was wonderfully and gloriously saved through the preaching of the Gospel and the regeneration work of the Holy Spirit which brought me to repentance and faith in Christ.

My reason for this recollection of my confirmation is that the Apostle Peter speaks of believers in Christ being diligent to confirm their calling and election. The word diligent (σπουδάζω; spoudazo) means eager and zealous. To confirm (ποιέω; poieo) means to carry out the responsibilities and behavior which prove one’s profession of faith in Christ, Peter speaks of this as the believer’s calling an election.

The believer’s calling (κλῆσις; klesis) refers in the context to their new relationship with Christ (Ephesians 1:18; Luke 11:42). Election (ἐκλογή; ekloge) means God’s sovereign choice to save the sinner by grace alone (Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 9:1-11; I Thessalonians 1:4).

The believer in Christ is to make every effort to confirm their calling and election by practicing the qualities listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7. In doing so, Peter assures his readers, then and now, that they will never continuously fall (πταίω; patio), stumble, err or sin.

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “This expresses the bull’s-eye Peter has been shooting at in vv. 5–9. Though God is “certain” who his elect are and has given them an eternally secure salvation (see notes on 1 Pet. 1:1–5; cf. Rom. 8:31–39), the Christian might not always have assurance of his salvation. Security is the Holy Spirit-revealed fact that salvation is forever. Assurance is one’s confidence that he possesses that eternal salvation. In other words, the believer who pursues the spiritual qualities mentioned above guarantees to himself by spiritual fruit that he was called (cf. 2 Pet. 1:3Rom. 8:301 Pet. 2:21) and chosen (cf. 1 Pet. 1:2) by God to salvation. As the Christian pursues the qualities enumerated by Peter (2 Pet. 1:5–7) and sees that his life is useful and fruitful (v. 8), he will not stumble into doubt, despair, fear, or questioning, but enjoy assurance that he is saved.”

Let me encourage you to confirm your calling and election in Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Belgic Confession: LORD’S DAY 3, 2020.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will reproduce devotional articles taken from The Belgic Confession. The Belgic Confession, written in 1561, owes its origin to the need for a clear and comprehensive statement of Reformed Theology during the time of the Spanish inquisition in the Lowlands. Guido de Brès, its primary author, was pleading for understanding and toleration from King Philip II of Spain who was determined to root out all Protestant factions in his jurisdiction. Hence, this confession takes pains to point out the continuity of Reformed Theology with that of the ancient Christian creeds.

The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.

During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to King Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.

Along with The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort, The Belgic Confession comprise what is collectively referred to as the Thee Forms of Unity. Article #3 of the Belgic Confession is as follows.

Article 3: The Written Word of God. We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered “by human will,” but that “men and women moved by the Holy Spirit
spoke from God,” as Peter says.1 Afterward our God — with special care
for us and our salvation—commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles,
to commit this revealed Word to writing. God, with his own finger, wrote the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.

Soli deo Gloria!