One of the things that makes 2 Peter and Jude so relevant to our contemporary situation is the fact that they address issues that the church still faces today. One in particular that comes out very strongly is dealing with false teaching. Both 2 Peter and Jude are written to address the problem of false teaching within local congregations. We’re all familiar with the presence of false teaching in our contemporary culture today.
One of the benefits of studying and reading carefully in 2 Peter and Jude is it helps us to understand, first of all, that false teaching is something we should expect. It’s not an anomaly. It’s something we need to be on the lookout for. We need to be constantly vigilant in paying attention to make sure we have a proper understanding of the gospel, that then enables us to recognize false teaching. And it’s not just the doctrine of false teaching that we need to pay attention to; we need to pay attention to how false teachers live their lives and how their lifestyles give evidence to their departure from the gospel.
Another key area where I feel like 2 Peter and Jude have something to say to the contemporary church is that in 2 Peter there’s a very clear effort to encourage believers about the seeming delay of Christ’s return.
I think many Christians either live in a way that seems to indicate that they don’t think much about the return of Christ, or they really don’t expect it to happen anytime soon. And for some that can be really discouraging. For others, they can live as if it doesn’t really matter that Christ is returning.
One of the beauties of what 2 Peter does is it reminds us of the hope we have of Jesus returning for his people and ultimately consummating a new creation where righteousness dwells. And that gives us remarkable hope no matter what circumstances we’re facing as we live in this fallen world.
Matthew S. Harmon is the author of The God Who Judges and Saves: A Theology of 2 Peter and Jude.
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