2 Peter 3:14-18
14. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless
14. Quare, dilecti, quum Haec expectetis, studete incontaminati et irreprehensibiles ab eo inyeniri in pace:
15. And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you;
15. Et Domini nostri tolerantiam salutem existimate, quemadmodum et dilectus frater noster Paulus, secundum datam sibi sapientiam scripsit vobis;
16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things: in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
16. Sicuti in omnibus Epistolis, loquens de iis in quibus sunt quaedam difficilia intellectu, quae indocti et instabiles invertunt (ut et caeteras Scripturas) ad suam perniciem.
17. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness
17. Vos igitur, dilecti, praemoniti cavete, ut ne simul nefariorum errore abacti, excidatis à vestra firmitate.
18. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both nom and for ever. Amen
18. Crescite autem in gratia et notitia Domini nostri et Servatoris Jesu Christi; ipsi gloria et nunc et in diem seternitatis
But we must notice that he says, that we ought to be found blameless by Christ; for by these words he intimates, that while the world engages and engrosses the minds of others, we must cast our eyes on the Lord, and he shews at the same time what is real integrity, even that which is approved by his judgment, and not that which gains the Praise of men. 1
It may be asked, how any one can be found blameless by Christ, when we all labor under so many deficiencies. But Peter here only points out the mark at which the faithful ought all to aim, though they cannot reach it, until having put off their flesh they become wholly united to Christ.
But we must observe, that we are not forbidden to read Paul's Epistles, because they contain some things hard and difficult to be understood, but that, on the contrary, they are commended to us, provided we bring a calm and teachable mind. For Peter condemns men who are trifling and volatile, who strangely turn to their own ruin what is useful to all. Nay, he says that this is commonly done as to all the Scripture: and yet he does not hence conclude, that we are not to read it, but only shews, that those vices ought to be corrected which prevent improvement, and not only so, but render deadly to us what God has appointed for our salvation.
It may, however, be asked, Whence is this obscurity, for the Scripture shines to us like a lamp, and guides our steps? To this I reply, that it is nothing to be wondered at, if Peter ascribed obscurity to the mysteries of Christ's kingdom, and especially if we consider how hidden they are to the perception of the flesh. However the mode of teaching which God has adopted, has been so regulated, that all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light. At the same time, many are blind who stumble at mid-day; others are proud, who, wandering through devious paths, and flying over the roughest places, rush headlong into ruin.
What, then, will become of us, if we are exposed to the danger of falling? To this I answer, that this exhortation, and those like it, are by no means intended to shake the firmness of that faith which recumbs on God, but to correct the sloth of our flesh. If any one wishes to see more on this subject, let him read what has been said on the tenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
The meaning is this, that as long as we are in the flesh, our tardiness must be roused, and that this is fitly done by having our weakness, and the variety of dangers which surround us, placed before our eyes; but that the confidence which rests on God's promises ought not to be thereby shaken.
1 He says, "Expecting these things, be diligent," etc.;
2 Some say, "peace" with God; but the view of Calvin is more suitable here. -- Ed.
3 It is in the feminine gender in some MSS. The authority as to the copies and versions is nearly equal. The difference is not much as to the sense, only "in which epistles," reads better. So thought Beza, Mill, and others.
It has been a question as to the particular epistle referred to by Peter; for that he alludes to some particular epistle is evident from the manner in which he writes. The difficulty has arisen from connecting the reference made to Paul, only with the former part of the 15th verse, while that part ought to be viewed only as an addition to the former verse; and the former verse stands connected with the new heavens and the new earth. So that the subjects in hand are the day of judgment, the future state, and the necessity of being prepared for it; and that these are the things referred to is evident from this, that he says, that Paul speaks of them in all his epistles, which is not true, as to what is said at the beginning of the 15th verse. The passage then ought to be thus rendered: --
14. Therefore, beloved, since ye expect these things, diligently strive to be found by him in peace, unspotted and unblamable;
15. and deem the long-suffering of our Lord to be for salvation: even as Paul, our beloved brother, has, according to the wisdom given
16. to him, written to you; as also in all his epistles, when speaking in them of these things; in which (epistles) there are some things difficult to be understood," etc.
Now the special epistle referred to was most probably the epistle to the Hebrews, one particular design of which was to direct the attention of the Jews to the country promised to their fathers. Some, indeed, hold that that epistle was written to the Jews in Judea; but others maintain that it was written to converted Hebrews generally, whether in Judea or elsewhere; and this passage seems to favor the latter opinion.
If the view given here is right, that is, that the subjects on which reference is made to Paul, are those mentioned in the 12th, the 13th, and 14th verses, then there is no epistle of Paul which could be more appropriately referred to than that to the Hebrews, as the new heavens and the new earth answer exactly to "the better and heavenly country," mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews. See Hebrews 11:16. Besides, the exhortations and warnings of that epistle wholly coincide with the exhortation given here by Peter. -- Ed.
4 "Grace" is the attainment, and "the knowledge" of Christ is the way and means. The chief thing is often mentioned first in Scripture, then that which leads to it: or the cause of it. -- Ed.