Summary: Peter calls the beleivers to remember the truth which they know and are established in, and which has been attested to by eyewitnesses, the transfiguration and the scriptures.
2 PETER 1 V12-21
What is your memory like? Do you forget things very easily? Are you better with faces or with names? Although that seems a silly question with me, because if you don’t remember faces how what good is a name? Apparently we never actually forget, it is all stored in brains. We just do not know how to retrieve it. In the passage before us this morning Peter is at pains to remind the believers in Asia Minor to remember the basics of the Christian faith.
VERSES 12-15 THE NEED FOR REMINDERS.
How do you remember things? I usually write things down in my diary, but you have to remember to read your diary. When you were revising for exams how did you remember things? We learn rhymes as children to teach us things – for example you may have learnt a rhyme for the number of days each month has – repeat rhyme. Or you may have learnt ‘every good boy deserves football and face’ to remember the order of musical notes, see I did listen in music class. In Scripture the people of God are urged constantly to remember. God assists them in their remembrance by giving them physical signs to aid them. So you have the sign of the rainbow to remind Noah and his descendants of God’s covenant never again to destroy all life with a flood. You have the sign of circumcision to remind the people of Israel of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You have the Passover to remind them of the great deliverance from Egypt and we could go on. For us as Christians we have baptism and HC to remind us of our redemption in Christ.
Peter calls the believers to remember. Peter begins verse 12 with ‘So’ which connects what is to follow with what he has just written. He tells the believers he will make every effort to remind them of the virtues he has outlined even though he is well aware that not only do they know about them but they are in fact well established (or grounded) in them.
When Jack Nicklaus was the undisputed world number 1 in golf he was asked how he kept at the top. His answer was startling. At the end of every golf season he went back to his first coach who taught him the basics of the game all over again. Every season he went back and learnt the basic building blocks of a good golf swing. There wasn’t anything new to learn, just to be reminded again of the basics. Peter reminds the believers that there is no new revelation to be learnt, no new insight to be gained, no new technique which will make their Christian life different. He reminds them, and will continue to remind them of the truth which they are established in and about which they have a settled conviction.
Why is Peter so insistent about reminding them of this truth? Well in verses 13-14 he gives a personal reason – his death is near. Peter reveals to them that his time amongst them is short. Jesus has revealed to Peter that his death is near. Now let me ask you: if you knew your time here was coming to an end what would be your focus? What would you be concerned with? Peter’s concern is to promote the knowledge of the truth of the gospel amongst the believers. Peter devotes himself to this end because he knows the time is coming when he will leave this ‘tent’ (body) behind for a short while and go to be with Christ. He then reiterates his purpose in writing to them (verse 15) – READ. He wants them to remember the truth of the gospel in which they have become established – why? Because his fear is that if they forget the truth of the gospel they will fall asleep and fall (v9) from grace. He wants them to over learn. You know one of the most humbling experiences of my life was from an old man with alzheimers. Some of you will remember Mr Richardson, who was a chemist here in Carrickfergus. When I was curate in St Nicholas’ I regularly brought HC to him. He could not remember the name of his wife or children. He certainly did not know who I was and yet he could recite word perfect, without a book, every part of the HC service. Even at the very end when his speech was virtually non-existent he still made an effort to join in at the appropriate place. Why? Because he had learned it time and time again until it became part of the very fabric of his life. That is what Peter is talking about here to the believers. To remember so that the truth of the gospel becomes the very fabric of our lives. Would that were true for all of us.