It is not my task to give a summary of the epistles of Peter and John but to briefly share with you lessons that have helped me in my Christian walk.
1 Peter 1:3-5 has taught me that I have “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (NKJV). As my Lord is ever-living, my hope is ever-living and abounds in joy so much more as I see the Day approaching.
In light of this, 1 Peter 1:15-16 impresses upon me the importance of being holy. “…As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct…” The purpose for my striving for holiness is two-fold. First, I am to be holy because He is holy. As a child strives to walk in the footprints of his father so I too endeavor to walk in the steps of my Father. Second, I am to be holy because as a Christian I reflect Christ to a broken world. Many people will only come to know Jesus through the example I set before them.
1 Peter 1:22-2:3 has impressed upon me the importance of God’s word in striving after a life of holiness. My soul is purified in obeying the truth (1:22). Through the word of God I am born again (1:23). The word of God is everlasting (1:25). His word is to be greatly desired in my life (2:2). And it is through His word that I am able to grow to Christian maturity (2:2).
I have learned that becoming a Christian means that I must make changes in my life if I am to be found holy in His sight. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…”. This means looking less and less like my worldly self and becoming more and more like Jesus.
Peter also taught me that if I am to be like Jesus that I must live a life of humility. Chapters 2-5 have taught me many facets of humility and has set Jesus as the perfect example. When I manifest a Christ-like humility, I know that just as God exalted Him to be at His right hand that He will also exalt me in due time (5:6).
One gem that has helped me throughout my married life is found in 1 Peter 3:7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding…”. This verse has taught me to be a student of my wife. It has helped me to study her words, actions and habits which has led to a greater harmony and has added depth to our marriage.
Peter’s second epistle has taught me that God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness (1:3). It relieves my mind greatly knowing that I do not need to look for other sources to fill in the “gaps” of the Bible. His word is all the instruction I need to live a life that is acceptable to Him.
His inspired words have shown me that my walk with Christ is a never-ending growth process (1:5-8). Seeking to be like Jesus, I am ever striving to add to my life the virtues that will mold me into His image. Such an undertaking is not a burden but a joy considering how much the Father loves me.
2 Peter 1:10 has imparted to me the importance to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure.” Self-examination in the light of God’s inspired word is a must. With the devil walking about like a roaring lion, I must monitor my thoughts and actions less I drift off course.
I receive assurance from 2 Peter 2:4-9 that even when the world is giving me it’s worse that God is able to save me from its grasp. If God can deliver Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and righteous Lot from their evil surroundings then God can surely deliver me.
Coming from the denominational world, 2 Peter 2:19-22 taught me that the doctrine of once-saved-always-saved is false and that we can sin such as to be eternally lost. The possibility of being overcome by the world reflects the importance of making once call and election sure (1:10).
John, in his first epistle, helps me to appreciate the cleansing power of the blood of Christ (1:7). As long as we are in the light, His blood is always cleansing us of our sins. Yet, the opposite is also true. If we cease to walk in the light, His blood ceases to cleanse us of our sins.
The book as a whole reminds me that my willingness to obey God directly reflects upon how much I love Him (2:4-6). No matter how much I say that I love Him means nothing until I am ready to obey Him. Likewise, the depth of my love for Him will reflect in my love for others (4:7).
1 John 5:13 gives me confidence that I can KNOW that I have eternal life. It gives me assurance that no matter what happens that I have a heavenly place prepared for me. No more staring at the ceiling wondering; now, I can KNOW that I have eternal life in Him.
John’s second letter gives me the responsibility to “Look at yourselves” (8) to make sure that I do not lose those things for which I have worked so hard. How sad to lay up for oneself treasures in heaven and then at the end lose them.
John’s final letter impresses upon me the importance of godly people to stand up against men like Diotrephes who seek to press their will upon the congregation. Such is never pleasant; however, such people must be confronted if the church will ever be a place that will foster growth and tranquility.
These are but a few lessons I have learned that have helped me. May the Lord bless you in your study of these enriching epistles.