Where are you up to in your life of living for God by faith in Christ? Have you now reached a certain position where you feel that you no longer need to be taught certain things? If that is the case then you need to hear Peter’s message in 2 Peter 1:12-15 when he writes to his readers: “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).
Peter was so keen that the Christians he was writing to continued in the faith that he was not ashamed to go over with them, the things he had taught them before. Peter considered that there were certain essential truths that it was good to continually remind Christians of.
Why did Peter’s readers, and ourselves, need to be reminded? At the heart of the issue is the problem of forgetfulness. We so easily forget things. In the midst of the busyness of life, we get caught up in our day-to-day activities and forget to contemplate the key teachings of our faith. This forgetfulness leads to us being stunted Christians who do not grow as we should. However, when we do remember the key teachings of God’s Word we are then in a place where we can grow for the Lord. Consumption of good healthy spiritual food leads to good healthy growth.
Peter has been outlining how he longs for growth in his readers (see 2 Pet. 1:5-7). He has shown them in these verses how they need to go on from faith to goodness, to knowledge, to self-control, to perseverance, to godliness, to brotherly kindness and finally to love. He has indicated in vv8-9 how there will be serious implications, as regards their spiritual welfare, if these things are lacking. In vv10-11 Peter goes on to exhort them to embrace the Lord’s purposes of grace by pressing on for God. In doing so they will be assured of their salvation.
At the heart of this message is a concern that they would never forget that they have been cleansed from their past sins (see v9b). This, it seems, would be the focus of Peter’s ongoing reminders to them. He would continuously be reminding them of what God has done for them in Christ. He would tell them of Calvary; the place where their sins were forgiven. He would tell them of a loving Lord and Saviour. The knowledge of these things gives the crucial impetus for them making progress and being assured in their faith. Let us take heed to this teaching. If we do not we put our spiritual lives in great peril.
It is pertinent at this point to consider what the writer of Hebrews was concerned about in Hebrews 6:1-2. Here we read, “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement.” Is this message contradictory to Peter’s writing? The writer here seems to be urging them to leave their foundations. Let us then consider what is actually happening here. The writer is urging the Hebrew Christians to move forward. There was a danger that these Christians would just dwell upon the Jewishness of the basics of their faith. In doing so they would go “round and round in circles” and make no progress. Instead they needed to use these basics as a foundation. The foundation would lead them to building lives for Christ.
This message in Hebrews does not contradict Peter’s urge to be continually reminded of the basic truths of our faith. The danger for the Hebrews was to wrongly use the basics they were taught and therefore end up not growing up in Christ. The Hebrew writer and Peter are both reminding us in different ways how we need to have the right foundations and then move forward from those foundations.
Peter’s point is that we need to be continually going over things so that we are building in the right place. So easily we create our own set of beliefs, Christianise them and think we are doing something for God. Peter will make sure that he does everything to ensure that this will not happen. We know from building construction that good foundations are essential for a solid building. Peter wants us to know our foundations so that the we build our lives to be strong and substantial for the Lord.
So beware the next time you find yourself thinking as you hear a message, “I have heard that all before and have no need to hear it again.” Stop and consider that God may be using this message as part of his schooling to make sure that you do not forget His ways. And remember if we forget His ways then we may end up having a life which is of no consequence, because we have lost contact with the true foundations which God has given for our life for Himself.
Taken from the Feltham Evangelical church newsletter of Feb 2014