Each of us seems to be born thirsty for the things we do not have. Advertisements catch our eye. New cars turn our heads. Can we ever reverse the trend?
In 2 Peter, the Apostle dealt with the internal enemies—false prophets and other subtle adversaries—who twisted the truth. Of special interest to Peter were false teachings regarding the return of the Lord as well as our life of service and purity prior to the event. The tone of 2 Peter is that of an urgent warning, urging all readers to beware…to be ready.
Living for Christ is a moment-by-moment lifestyle, giving what you have for God's service.
A quick glance at the first few verses of 1 Peter is enough to give us an understanding of Peter’s message to his readers: hope for the hurting. According to verse 1, the hurting were those residing as aliens, scattered throughout vast regions of the Roman Empire. These Christians were objects of social ostracism, slander, mistreatment, and threats. They needed encouragement.
Don’t be fooled by its size. The letter of James may be small, but it’s strong. It refuses to let the reader hide behind the walls of theological theory or intellectual faith. True faith produces authenticity. “No authenticity…no faith”—that’s James’s conclusion on the matter. James’s letter may make us squirm, but it also makes us tear down our facades.
We can use a lot of energy and resources in our lives to build up our internal sense of worth or to form an identity for ourselves. Who we believe we are defines how we behave.
Profound, mysterious, deep, and sometimes difficult to understand, this book deserves our time and attention. Rich in Jewish history and filled with quotations from and allusions to the Old Testament, the study of Hebrews requires concentration plus a fairly firm grasp of how God revealed Himself to His people in ancient times.
In other words, sometimes just getting something done is more important than doing a fantastic job. If you stipulate perfection or nothing, the result will be nothing…every time.
This, the shortest of the Apostle’s writings, is one of the grandest illustrations of grace and forgiveness in all of Scripture. It is a warm, passionate appeal to a slave owner to accept back, forgive, and reinstate his runaway slave Onesimus. Because of the obvious analogy with our being accepted by God and forgiven through His grace, this little letter has become one of the most treasured in the New Testament.
Titus brings a word of caution, a reminder that good works must accompany our proclamation of the truth and our defence of the Gospel. The two letters to Timothy encourage him to protect and to preach, while the letter to Titus instructs him to practice those things. While good works in no way lead to salvation, they are the irrefutable evidence of true salvation.