How to be holy? We can trust in Jesus. Many people are noticing this world is getting darker and darker morally and spiritually. This world seems to be planted with its feet firmly in the air. Churches are dwindling in attendance, funds are drying up, and the world is getting crazier. This craziness can be seen in men pretending to be women and vice versa. One of the most terrifying things for young adults is not being able to find good-paying jobs. Either our degrees are worthless when we exit college, the jobs we are promised are not there, or we are being canceled for our conservative religious beliefs. Many people are wondering whether or not they should cave into the sinful, leftist agenda or if they should remain firm in their beliefs.
This is nothing new. The early Christians were dealing with this in their time. Nero had just burned Rome to the ground, blaming it on Christians. Then he decided to punish the Christians by killing both Peter and Paul. Peter wrote this letter shortly before his death. Needless to say, the world was hostile to Christianity, and the church was tempted to compromise due to outside pressure from the world and inside pressure from false teachers. Peter’s strategy to help the believers stay faithful to the gospel and the truth of the Scriptures was to remind them of the gospel and what God will do to the false teachers and this sinful world, which will be destroyed and made new. We can trust in Jesus.
Knowing the theological truths about Christ helps one stay faithful to the gospel’s truth.
We will see this truth played out in three movements in the book of the second Peter. First, we will look at the truth of Christ backed up by the eyewitness of the transfiguration in 2 Peter 1: 16 – 18 and Matthew 17. Second, we will see this truth played out by the prophecy in 2 Peter 1: 19 – 21. Third, we will see this truth played out in the theology of the return of Christ presented in 3: 11 – 13.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain (2 Peter 1: 16 – 18, ESV).
We Can Trust the Eyewitnesses
Peter wanted to first encourage his readers by reminding them of the truth of the testimony of God as revealed to the eyewitnesses, of which he was one. The account he gives is not some made-up story. He can correlate this with other eyewitness accounts. By this time, the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were already written. These three accounts all present the transfiguration as an important event. This is the event where Jesus transforms his garments into a radiant white and shines a radiant white light from his face (Matthew 17: 1 – 2). Then standing with Jesus were Moses and Elijah (v. 3). It is interesting that Peter retells this account because it makes him look very foolish (2 Peter 1: 17 – 18). If Peter were making up a story, he would have made himself look better. For Peter equates Jesus with Moses and Elijah as equals and wants to build tents for each of them (Matthew 17: 4 – 5). God rebukes Peter by testifying to Jesus as God’s Son and to listen to Jesus (v. 6). When this happened, it terrified Peter and the other apostles (v. 7).
Peter’s point in recalling this account is the testimony concerning Jesus; the gospel’s truth is trustworthy. People did not tell fake stories about themselves that made them look bad. If Peter were a liar, he would have said he got the truth right off of the bat, rejoiced at God’s testimony, and God congratulated him. Yet, we get a rash, humbled Peter who was warned to listen to Jesus because Jesus is the Son of God. One can be sure his testimony concerning Jesus is true.
Someone can hold to this when the world tries to get them to compromise. The world wants us to play their games of pretending regarding men’s and women’s realities. It wants us to be liars and say there is more than one way to God or more than one truth. Yet, the Christian has an anchor to the truth. We have the sure testimony of eyewitnesses who knew God proclaimed Jesus is the Son of God. We must listen to Him. We can trust in Jesus.
It was significant that Peter had seen Jesus transfigured and heard Jesus testify by God. Yet, Peter says the more convincing argument is not just what he saw and heard, but that what he saw and heard was proclaimed hundreds and thousands of years beforehand by God, through the prophets, recorded in sacred writ. Peter says,
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1: 19 – 21, ESV).
We Can Trust the Prophesies
The Scriptures are a more convincing argument than eyewitness testimony alone. Andy Stanly is wrong to say we should unhitch from the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled over 200 prophesies from the over 300 prophesies regarding the Messiah. One person estimated the impossibility of Jesus being able to do this by mere chance 48 times. The number he reached was one in 10157. That is beyond the realm of possibility. This means the Scriptures are what they claim to be, the Word of God (2 Timothy 3: 16).
If the Scriptures are what they claim to be, then the prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament concerning them can be studied to know more about Christ. This way, the more one knows about Jesus in the Old Testament, the more sure one can be of the promises one receives by believing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When this world tells us we are on the wrong side of history, we can know that history testifies to the truth of the Scriptures and the world is on the wrong side of God.
Since one can trust eyewitness accounts and the Old Testament prophesies concerning Christ, one can trust the promise of Christ’s return to save His people and judge the world. Peter says,
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3: 11 – 13. ESV).
We Can Trust in Christ’s Return
Peter had just argued about the surety of the end of the world in the judgment of God (3: 1 – 7). He showed the delay is because of God’s patience in allowing people to repent (vv. 8 – 10). This passage says that since God will judge the world, believers should walk in holiness and wait in hopeful expectation for the new heavens and new earth. This should strengthen the strength of the believer.
This world mocks our hope in God. It tries to get us to question reality on fundamental truths such as God made people only male and female (Genesis 1: 27). However, other than mocking us, they threaten to ban us on social media, fire us from our jobs, and try to ban us from speaking in public places. This world gets weary, and hope of living is hard. Yet, we can use the return of Christ as our hope that God will make all things right.
When I was in high school, I was bullied for my faith. I was very open about using the Bible to confront the myth of evolution, the evil of abortion, and the abomination of homosexuality. I witnessed daily to my peers. I had one bully who would make fun of me in the classroom and talk terribly behind my back. However, I knew high school was not forever, my peers were destined for Hell if they did not repent and share the gospel, and God would be faithful to His Word. In my senior year, this bully got saved, went to college with me, and is now a youth minister in Missouri. I trusted God, and He was faithful to His Word. We need to keep up the good work and trust God will make all things right. We can trust in Jesus.
As we have seen, knowing the theological truths about Christ helps one stay faithful to the truth of the gospel. God has given us the eyewitness testimony of Jesus Christ that shows Jesus is God; He has given us the prophesies to know the eyewitness testimony is true, and he has given us the promise of Christ’s return to encourage us to stay faithful to Christ till He returns. As Peter says at the beginning of the letter,
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1: 3 – 8, ESV).
If you want more biblical resources studying the Scriptures, check out the store at Striving for Eternity store. There are also a lot of other articles on the website to encourage you to dive deeper into God’s Word. Please also check out Apologetics Live at ApologeticsLive.com, where Andrew Rappaport, Anthony Silvestro, and Justin Pierce answer your questions and teach you how to defend the faith. It is on from 8 pm – 10 pm EST. Also, do not forget to check out the Rapp Report, where you can hear the teaching of Andrew Rappaport and the Christian Podcast Community. Lord bless you.
 Robert C. Walton, Chronological and Background Charts of Church History, Revised Edition., ZondervanCharts (Zondervan, 2018), 20.
 Eusebius of Caesaria, “The Church History of Eusebius,” in Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, vol. 1, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 129.
 Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics (Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 2006), 249.
 Ibid., 255.