Discouragement & 2 Peter 2

Discouragement is something we all can slip into, regardless of the situation. As believers, we trust in the hope and promises of Jesus. We sing and pray and live according to our faith of Christ, but as we look around, we are confronted w/ loss, broken relationships, health challenges, and a scary culture. We carry the promises of Jesus in our hearts, while we hold the brokenness of the world in our hands. And if we are honest w/ ourselves, its discouraging at times. If the good news is so good, then why are things such a mess? I would venture to say the readers of 2 Peter were a lot like us.

2 Peter is a letter written about 60 AD to a group of believers. This is likely the same group as addressed in 1 Peter. The problem facing the readers in 1 Peter was persecution. In 2 Peter, however, the author is confronting heresy. One suggestion of the heresy combated in this letter was an early form of Gnosticism. Gnostics denied humanity of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, and His future coming. They saw the physical realm as purely evil, and therefore concluded that God would never take physical form. And so many of them believed that bodily sins did not matter.

So w/ this context in mind, you can begin to see that this letter was designed to warn its readers against false teachers in the church who were blending an early form of Gnosticism w/ Christian thought. The author therefore emphasized the true knowledge of Christ, and desired the readers to focus and remember the true teachings of their prophets and Savior, while they looked forward to the Lords return.

Read 2 Peter 2, and see if your notice these themes.

As Peter discusses the realities of Christ followers surrounded by false teachings and brokenness, he says this in 2 Peter 2:9, “… the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials…” In the face of brokenness and discouragement, this phrase would have been encouraging. They held and professed the truth of the faith. They leaned on the promises of Jesus. And yet, teachers came into their midst that said that the convictions they held were not true – that Jesus did not come in flesh, that his sacrifice was not real, and that the hope of His return was ill placed. If these believers were like us, they would have looked at this teaching in light of the brokenness of the world and been discouraged. In light of that, these readers would have been encouraged to remember how God is a God of justice, and corrects falsehood. They would have been encouraged to have this falsehood named and identified clearly. It would have been good news to know again that God rescues His people even in the midst of falsehood.

This good news is our good news too, that God is faithful to preserve His people, even when they are surrounded by brokenness and falsehood. The truth is that we get discouraged. We look around us and wonder how the promises of faith affect our lives in a broken world? We ask: If the good news is so good, then why is everything a mess? We are ultimately asking why God is not visible, and brokenness is obvious.

In light of the text, we ask: How do the promises of faith affect our lives in a broken world? The answer is confidence. Knowing we are identified w/ JC, we can live confidently, even though we are surrounded by a mess. We can speak the truth in love w/ neighbors who disagree. We can look at crummy season square in the face and declare boldly that we are not defined by brokenness of grief and loss and change and discouragement, but defined by our faithful savior who will make things right.

My prayer for you is that God would reveal His presence in the midst of discouragement, that He would give you peace in the midst of uncertainty, and that He would give you confident eyes of hope that look past the brokenness and falsehood of the world, and focus on the goodness and strength of our sovereign God.

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