2 Peter 1: Cunningly Devised Fables
2 Peter 1 begins the Apostle Peter’s second epistle with a quick greeting and a stern message (2 Peter 1:1-9). Peter’s immediate concern is that his readers are holding the grace of Christ too lightly, accepting the grace, but not using it to transform their lives (2 Peter 1:10-13). He points them to the standard of the Gospel, reminding them that these are not mere stories, but True Reality (2 Peter 1:14-21).
Remember: You’ve Got Responsibilities
For the first half of his message, the Apostle Peter warns his listeners not to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ too lightly. One cannot accept God’s grace and then go out and not do anything with it. Through that grace, we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). As such, we have a responsibility to go out and share that divine nature with the world. Grace is not just for us, it was meant for us to share with the unbelieving world.
The Christian faith is a responsibility. If we believe only for our own benefit, we do not really believe. If our goal is simply to get to heaven and not be more like Christ, we will fail in both. This is not a gospel of salvation by works. This is a gospel of purpose and destiny. In Christ, we find our purpose in this world and our security in the next. Grace calls us to action, to show love to a lost world.
Remember: It’s a True Myth
C.S. Lewis loved to refer to Christianity as a “true myth.” As a scholar of classical literature and languages with a keen interest in mythology, Lewis recognized that Christianity has all the trappings of traditional mythology—a Creation story, a Chosen One story, a Savior story, and so on. But what Lewis came to realize is that all mythology stemmed from what man once knew as fact. Trace all the mythologies back to their source and you would find the true myth—the grand story of reality.
Peter reminds his readers of the same thing, saying that we did not “follow cunningly devised fables.” These are not made-up stories. The Resurrection is a reality, one that Peter was a personal eyewitness to. The historicity of Christianity and the truth claims of the Gospel are not issues that Christians should shy away from on the basis that “it’s not faith,” but things we should cling to in order to show how Christianity corresponds with reality.
Remember: It’s Not Open to Interpretation
Peter’s last reminder is one that is extremely relevant in our modern age. He says that “no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). That means that you can’t interpret Scripture on the basis of what you want it to mean. You have to change yourself of the basis of Scripture. What the Bible says, it does not say for one person, it says to all. What it says about the Gospel, it says to all people at all times in all places. Christianity is not just a truth, it is the Truth. Christianity is not just a way to God, it is the way to God.
When we read Scripture, we must be careful to interpret Scripture in a way that avoids our own biases. We cannot pick out verses or bits of verses here and there that fit our purposes. We must read all Scripture in light of the surrounding context, the cultural setting, the rest of Scripture’s teaching on the topic, and so forth.
When we remember these three things, we find ourselves ready to go out and spread the Gospel.
Father, keep our holy responsibility to you at the forefront of our minds at all times. Lead us in the paths of righteousness. Teach us to read and understand your word.
In an increasingly pluralistic culture, how do Christians maintain the exclusivity of Christ without losing the culture?
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