We read the first two chapters of Peter’s second epistle today. Like Paul (in 2 Timothy), Peter is nearing the end of his life. Peter is concerned that all too many who had accepted Jesus as their Saviour were losing their commitment and turning back to earlier ways of thinking and living.

There is no half way position. Either we are for Christ or we are not: either we are among the sheep or the goats. Peter writes, “for if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back …” (2:20,21).

Peter describes the society around him – and it is so similar to today! “They have eyes full of adultery … they have hearts trained in greed … they promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption” (verses 14,19). Beware of false promises – telling that you do not have to worry about sin any more because whatever you do, the blood of Christ means you are always automatically forgiven.

Peter says that just as in Old Testament times there were “false prophets … also … there will be false teachers among you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies … and many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed … they will exploit you with false words” (verses 1-3). Reading the Bible regularly will enable us to identify “false words”.

Finally, in chapter 1 we noted how, because of ungodliness around them, believers should “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness … for if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful …” (verses 5,6,8). Let us all live with the aim of bearing fruit that will be ripe when Jesus returns.