Summary: St. Peter calls Christians to remember the basic principles of faith. Four remembraces are explored.
Be Reminded of the Light to Guide the Journey
This past spring I went on a camping trip with my youngest son to an underground lake called the Lost Sea in Sweetwater, TN. The Lost Sea is the largest underground lake in the Western Hemisphere and is connected to a series of underground caverns and caves that stretch hundreds of miles below ground. Rumor has it that a saber tooth tiger’s remains were even found there. Apparently, it found its way inside the cave but got lost and perished in the darkness. I’ve been in dark places before, but I don’t recall any camping trip or night in the woods that compares to the darkness of this experience. Being in complete darkness is scary and during the expedition I wondered, would my fate be the same as the saber tooth tiger if my batteries went dead, or if I got cut off from the group? Fortunately, I had spare batteries and a great guide.
It’s been said that life is a journey, and perhaps you can also equate life to one big camping trip like my experience at the Lost Sea. Trips are a lot of fun, but to make the most of them you need to make preparations. For example, it helps having a map or guide to show the way, food to eat along the journey, and plans of what you want to do. My son and I certainly had these in mind when we went to the Lost Sea. Unfortunately, most people in their journey through life wander aimlessly. They have no final destination in mind, they lose their direction, they wander, they panic, and they ironically find themselves at the end of their lives at the same place where they began. The whole world passes them by because they get sidetracked into spending too much time in the same dead end. Wandering souls are like a lost camper in a series of underground caves; without a flashlight; without a map; and without a guide. Rather than finding a guide or light to illumine the way, they stay put and eventually die spiritually. Fortunately, for us Christians, our Lord rescues all who come to Him as He affirms in today’s passage that He is our guide; He is the “lamp shining in a dark place.” Jesus Christ is the light that will guide us on our journey to our eternal home, however, we must remember to turn to the Light.
Today’s reading from 2 Peter 1:10-19 is all about reminders. As Christians we’re naturally focused on the future, but need to remember the roots of our faith. These remembrances help see us through tough times, give us answers when we question our faith, they guide us when we are challenged, and give us direction when we are lost. St. Peter is hoping that we will be aroused or stirred up to action and remember four items that I will speak about today.
Remember Your Call and Election
The first thing we are to remember is our call and election. Our Lord God calls all people to salvation and in the gospels we read, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). This scripture explains that while God issues an invitation to all people, few people actually respond. St. Peter wants us to remember that God invites special people like us to His Kingdom through Jesus Christ. Second, we are chosen by our election to trust in Jesus Christ and live our life for Him. God rejects no one. Ironically, it is people who reject God by their actions. St. Peter instructs the congregation that we accept our Lord through a virtuous lifestyle and virtuous people will gain entrance into the Kingdom. This is something that believers can bank on. It’s interesting to note that the Greek word for “assure” is a legal term that indicates a warranty that protects a buyer. We are told, therefore, that if we respond to God’s calling by a lifestyle that pursues holiness we have a warranty or guarantee that we will enter into God’s Kingdom. Remember your call and election.
Remember the Truths
Second, St. Peter wants us to remember the truths concerning the faith. St. Peter lived with our Lord for three years and he is one of the original twelve disciples. St. Peter’s was instructed in the truths of the faith and wants believers to remember these truths and be firmly fixed in the truth. St. Peter’s was concerned that if believers forgot the truths of faith they would fall into sin and sacrifice their salvation. What are the truths that I’m speaking about? According to St. Maximos the Confessor, “truth is the simple, undivided knowledge of all the qualities that appertain to God.” How do we learn about God’s qualities, and how do we acquire truth? First we obtain truth through scripture. Holy Scripture is the foundation of our faith and through it God is revealed. Our gospels attest that Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father came down from heaven to save sinners like us. Holy scripture is filled with descriptions of God, His actions, and His interaction with humankind. Through scripture, we learn the truths about God. Our doctrine is also truth and doctrine helps us know God. For example, our doctrine instructs us about the two natures of Jesus Christ (God and man), the three persons of the Holy Trinity, about some things that we that we affirm in the saying of the Nicene Creed, and about volumes of dogmatic material that seminary students are tested on in their theology exams. God’s truths can also be directly revealed to us. Our Lord is revealed to us when we come to know Him through prayer, meditation, and through a life of service and virtue. God responds to our active faith by pulling our soul towards Him. As we attempt to unite our will to God’s will a loving bond develops and His truths and direction for our lives are revealed. Remember these truths the next time you are troubled or are under spiritual attack.