2 Peter 3:16 – on this salvation era and Paul’s credibility

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”
2 Peter 3:15‭-‬16 NLT 

It is truly astounding the way rich Bible truths are anchored at the “3:16” point in nearly every New Testament book. This post continues my long exploration of the Three Sixteens. Today we are looking at the salvation which comes to us through the Lord’s patience, as described in Paul’s teachings. (If you missed the earlier posts, go back to the start and check them out: Matthew 3:16 through to 1 Peter 3:16.)

To understand the significance of these words, it is worth understanding the patience that Peter is referring back to (in verse 9):

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. This actually a response to the criticism mentioned in verses 3-4:
I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?

So what did happen to that promise? More than ever, the idea that Jesus would come and end all the pain and suffering of this Covid world is attractive. We who hope in Christ and the resurrection would probably welcome his return today! But unlike God, we are each so wrapped up in our own interests. The reason for the Lord’s delay is the salvation of souls.

With each day that passes, new believers are made, new children are born to the Kingdom of God. How gracious is the delay of this promise! God’s purposes in calling people to himself are not thwarted by the criticism that Jesus’ return should come right now. For the sake of mortal men and women, our loving heavenly Father is patient. And though he stands outside of time, we can be thankful for the passing moments from where we sit, and wait. More people are coming to put their trust in Him!

Verse 15 leads into 16, where Peter makes the interesting connection between Paul’s teachings and the rest of Scripture – giving weight to Paul’s letters and thereby declaring that they too are indeed God-breathed. Peter’s verse 15 agrees with Paul who wrote in Romans 2:4: “Do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Peter’s agreement with Paul is significant in that it sets the apostles’ teaching apart from that of false teachers, who denied the Second Coming of Christ.

As for Peter’s comment that some of Paul’s writings are “hard to understand”, I don’t think he is being critical. Rather, the opposite. He wants us to see the truth in Paul’s hard teachings. Just as Jesus spoke in parables – so that we might seek the meaning and exercise faith to understand the truth – so Paul’s teachings call on us to think!

John Piper offers this comment in a sermon on the passage:

” . . . even though Scripture is inspired, it is not all easy to understand. Verse 16: “There are some things in them hard to understand.” I would love to preach an hour on the implications of that sentence; but since I don’t have time, here is an outline of that sermon.
Point 1: Being inspired, the Scriptures reveal the mind of God.
Point 2: The mind of God is vastly greater than our mind and will often be perceived by us as strange and complex, not familiar and simple.
Point 3: Therefore, the Scriptures will sometimes be strange and complex and hard to understand.
Point 4: The continued selection only of what is simple in the Bible would be a sin in the regular preaching of the church, because Hebrews 5:13 says, “Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a child.”
Point 5: Therefore, preaching which aims to deliver the whole counsel of God in Scripture (and which does not presume to be wiser than the apostles) will sometimes be complex and will demand from God’s people the utmost in humility and mental effort.”

Praise be to our great God – who has revealed himself to us and patiently waits for more to be gathered into the kingdom of His Son.

Here is a song to finish with, reminding us of God’s Mercies which are new every morning. (Recorded by Matt Redman – Thy Kingdom Come Event | London, UK)

Image: Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Day 11/12: Mary did you know?

This song seems to divide people (into those who dislike it and those who love it). I’m somewhere in the middle regarding the lyrics. But this arrangement by the Pentatonix has such drama and beautiful harmony, it is definitely worth a listen.

And in answer to the question, did Mary know? The short answer is yes, in some small measure, she did know who Christ would be and what he would do (see Luke 1:46-55 for details). No doubt the reality was both much worse and much better!

Mary, Did you know?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Oh

Mary did you know?

Songwriters: Buddy Greene / Mark Lowry
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

Day 10/12: Christmas changes everything (Josh Wilson)

O Holy night, starry sky
We were dead until tonight
Christmas changes everything
Long lay the world inside our sin
He has come here to forgive
Christmas changes everything
[Chorus]
Hallelujah, love has found us
Hope in a manger our Saviour is setting us free
This is rescue, Christ has come to make us new
Oh Christmas changes everything
Now God has met us where we are
A thrill of hope for hopeless hearts
His perfect love will shatter every fear
We’re coming back to life again
And it’s all because of Bethlehem
Rejoice, oh rejoice!
[Chorus]
Hallelujah, love has found us
Hope in a manger our Saviour is setting us free
This is rescue, Christ has come to make us new
Oh Christmas changes everything
We will fall on our knees
We will fall on our knees
We will fall on our knees
O Holy night, holy child
We were dead till you came to life
[Chorus]
Hallelujah, you have found us
Hope in a manger, oh Saviour we fall on our knees
You are rescue, you are making all things new
Oh Christmas changes everything
Yeah Christmas changes everything
Christmas changes everything.

Day 5/12 – Salvation is Born (Christmas Songs Countdown)

This has to be one of the most beautiful (and unfortunately less well known) Christmas songs I know, which was published in 2005 by Sovereign Grace Music. I arranged it for a three or four part choir with soloist at some point during the Noughties, and we performed it at our Christmas services. (If you are interested, I could probably find the score.) Enjoy this message!

VERSE 1
Come let us worship, come let us adore
Jesus, Messiah, our Savior is born
Carol His glory and sing His sweet Name
Offer a life of thanksgiving and praise
VERSE 2
Join with the angels proclaiming to earth
Join with the shepherds in awe of His birth
Join all creation rejoicing this morn
The glory of God-become-man has been born

CHORUS
Come, let us adore Him
Jesus, the hope of the world
Come, worship before Him
Christ, the Messiah has come
Salvation is born

VERSE 3
Prophets foretold Him, the Promise of God
The hope of Salvation and light of the world
Born in a stable and born as a man
Born to fulfill God’s redeeming plan

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Salvation is Born by Greg Tulenko, sung by Shannon Harris from the album
“Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man”
© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Day 4/12 – Somewhere in Your Silent Night (Christmas Songs countdown)

“Somewhere In Your Silent Night” (by Casting Crowns, 2017)

All is calm and all is bright
Everywhere but in your heart tonight
They’re singing carols of joy and peace
But you feel too far gone and too far out of reach

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

From heaven’s height to manger low
There is no distance the Prince of Peace won’t go
From manger low to Calvary’s hill
When your pain runs deep
His love runs deeper still
He has always loved you, child
And He always will

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

Lift your head
Lift your heart
Emmanuel will meet you where you are
He knows your hurt
He knows your name
And you’re the very reason that He came

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

Love will find you
Love will find you
Love will find you

Writer(s): MATTHEW WEST, JOHN HALL, BERNIE HERMS

The Bridge – Casting Crowns

Lyrics:

Oh, you lead us home

Oh oh

 

The world’s getting darker by the day

I’m on my knees but don’t know what to pray

The broken things that broken people do

But knowing just how far You came for me

Gives me hope for every soul I meet

There’s no one so far gone that You can’t reach

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

Your love is the bridge

You built with a cross

And Your truth is the light

That searches for the lost

Your grace won’t stop reaching

Your mercy won’t let go

‘Cause Your love is the bridge

And Your truth leads us home

Oh, You lead us home, Oh

 

You never told the broken they were whole

You spoke the truth that healed their broken souls

You’d never leave us here to fight alone

With love we earn the right to speak Your truth

It’s not just what we say, it’s what we do

I want to be a bridge that leads to You

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

No rescue so relentless

No greater love than this

Where sin leaves a canyon

Your love builds a bridge

 

Writers:

Mark Hall, Matthew West, Bernie Herms and Seth Mosley

Be Essential Songs (BMI) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com). My Refuge Music (BMI) (adming at CapitolCMGPublishing.com). Hickory Bill Doc / So Essential Tunes (SESAC) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) (C) 2018 Provident