November 15 — 1 Peter 5 — Humility and Glory. The concepts of humility and glory seem to be on opposite ends of a long continuum. Peter mentions each of these words three times in this chapter. Glory is all about God—His character and boundless ability, as in “the mighty hand of God” (v. 6), in comparison to our human limitations. So far, we have only been given a taste of His coming full glory: “the glory that is going to be revealed” (v. 1). We received this introduction to salvation by humbling ourselves before God, admitting our need for a Savior. But just as we entered into salvation through humility, we need to maintain that attitude throughout our Christian lives. We believers are told to “clothe yourselves … with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (v. 5). God can humble us if He must but He would prefer that we do it ourselves: “Humble yourselves” (v. 6). We can do that by acknowledging God’s greatness compared to us and by accepting our equality compared to others.
November 16 — 2 Peter 1 — Knowing God. Peter wrote this second letter as his farewell. He wanted to remind others of the things he had learned to be of most importance. Knowing God is of primary importance. He calls it, “the knowledge of God” (v. 2), “the knowledge of him” (v. 3), and “the knowledge of our Lord” (v. 8). The concept of knowledge is also one of the eight virtues in the ascending list of verses 5-7. One of the things we should know is what the Lord has said. God spoke to us first in the Old Testament, which Peter called “prophecy of Scripture” (v. 20). God also spoke to the disciples with that “voice borne from heaven” (v. 18) about Jesus, who is “my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (v. 17). That voice also added, “Listen to him!” (Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35), which emphasizes the importance of His words. The four Gospels contain the words of Jesus and provide knowledge about Him. Finally, we gain knowledge of God through the rest of the New Testament letters written by chosen followers of Jesus. Knowing God comes through knowing what the Bible tells us about Him.
November 17 — 2 Peter 2 — Bad People. This chapter is very similar to the letter of Jude in describing bad people. What struck me today was that in the description of “the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment” (v. 9), it categorizes some sin as much worse than others: “especially those …” (v. 10). The especially bad sinners are described as those “who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority” (v. 10). That seems so descriptive of much of our modern culture. Lustful passion and despising authority are rampant today, filling much of TV shows, films, and the nightly newscasts. There is no reason, however, for godly believers to fear because “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly” (v. 9). Not only are there bad people in the world around us but there are also bad people in the church. Peter said that “there will be false teachers among you” (v. 1) who are secretive (v. 1), sensual (v. 2), and greedy (v. 3). We must beware of bad people inside and outside of the church. Their purpose is to drag us into their traps of badness.
November 18 — 2 Peter 3 — Waiting. I recently stood in a line for 55 minutes at an airport car-rental facility. Thankfully, I had a book to read while I waited. Normally, all of us hate to wait. This chapter says a lot about waiting—our waiting and God’s waiting. For over 2,000 years, believers have been “waiting for … the coming of” Christ’s return (v. 11) and for the promised “new heavens and a new earth” (v. 13). While waiting, we are to “be diligent” in living clean and peaceful lives (v. 14). God is also waiting but He is waiting in eternity, which is outside the realm of time (v. 8). While watching time unfold on earth, God waits because He “is patient … not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (v. 9). Every day, thousands of people come to faith in Christ, entering the rolls of heaven. When the number is complete, Christ will return to take us all to be with Him forever. Just wait!
November 19 — 1 John 1 — Light and Life. In John’s Gospel, the apostle presented the life of Jesus but in his three letters, he primarily focused on the life of the Christian. It is believed that they were written from Ephesus in the last 10-15 years of his life, after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. While we call 1 John a letter, it doesn’t begin or end like a letter. It is more like a sermon or an essay. It begins rather vaguely with the subject of “that,” which is also called “the word of life” (v. 1) and “the eternal life” (2). It soon becomes clear in v. 5, however, that the words “that” and “him” refer to the person of Jesus, the Son of God. The message from Christ was that “God is light” (v. 5). The Father is the “God of light” and Jesus is “the word of life”—light and life. We see the light from God and experience the life that He provides through His Son—eternal life. That kind of life includes fellowship with God (v. 6) and the benefit of fellowship with other believers (v. 7).