Chapter 3:14-18 (ESV) - Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Question to consider: How can we be found without spot or blemish and at peace?
After explaining that Christ’s delay in bringing judgment was due to his mercy, Peter gave them a final warning to make sure they belonged to Christ. His exhortation to be found without spot or blemish and at peace is not an expectation of our own perfect works. The only one in history who was without spot or blemish is Jesus, and He is the Prince of Peace. As I’ve mentioned before, “prince” is to be seen as emperor or ruler, so I tend to use the title Caesar of Peace to emphasize that Jesus is the only one who allows us to be at peace with God.
So if Jesus is the only one who was without spot or blemish and the only one who allows us to be at peace with God, Peter’s warning can only mean that his readers should make sure they are putting all of their faith and hope in Christ. If someone reading this letter (or this blog post) has not done this, the patience of Christ in delaying His return is a saving grace. To this reader, I implore you to cling to Christ and His righteousness and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
Peter also closes with the affirmation that Paul’s writings are trustworthy for bringing God’s message of salvation. This is quite a statement considering that Paul rebuked Peter in front of everybody for separating himself from the Gentile believers. Obviously Peter benefited from the rebuke and did not hold a grudge against Paul but considered him a fellow apostle.
Unfortunately, there were those who twisted Paul’s writings to justify their sin. Because Paul emphasized that we are saved through faith by God’s mercy, people took this as an opportunity to sin all the more. I base this idea on the fact that Peter was in Rome when he wrote this letter, and Paul had to specifically address this notion in his letter to the Roman church. Christ has set us free from sin so our desire should be to pursue righteousness and not go back to the bondage of sin. Our flesh desires to fall back into the slavery of sin in the same way the Israelites desired to return to Egypt when difficulties arose in the wilderness on their way to the promised land.
How do we combat this desire to fall back into sin? By growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ more deeply is to love Christ more deeply, and the desires of this world melt away in His presence. Daily prayer and Bible study are good habits as is gathering together with other believers in worship and receiving Christ’s gifts of word and sacrament. We live in a time where Christians have substituted the gathering of believers for a television screen out of fear of a virus. As difficult as this may be to hear, if you are experiencing this fear, please trust Christ in the midst of it and come back into fellowship. I can assure you that your fear will evaporate in the presence of our Lord. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Dear heavenly father, please help us to put our faith and trust in Christ for this life and eternity. Let us not be slaves to sin or fear but set free by the righteousness of Christ. May the Lord bless us and keep us; may the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen.