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On Guard

2 Peter 3:17
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. (NIVUK)

Peter really cared about the new believers, especially those who would face persecution. His final words of this letter sum up the reason for writing.  He is not just a theorist because he is just about to face his own death as a martyr: so he shows the genuine affection in his heart for his readers, by calling them, ‘dear friends’ (2 Peter 3:1, 3:8, 3:14).  

It is important to remember that Peter is not writing as a fierce schoolteacher but as a brother in Christ (2 Peter 1:10).  That is how his words should come to us also – firm and gentle, warm, and guarding the family of God.  Peter does not presume them to be ignorant, because they already know what he is writing about (1 Peter 1:12).  But he knows how readily we all forget.  So, he reminds them to think 'wholesomely' (2 Peter 3:1-2) - to see their sufferings in the perspective of the second coming of Jesus (2 Peter 3:11-13).
 
When hard times come, it is easy to be taken 'off guard' and to react according to our fleshly instincts (1 Corinthians 16:13).  Without regular reminders about how our uncertain lives fit into the certainty of God's purposes for the world and eternity, we can become seduced by false teaching (1 John 2:21).  The Evil One, and his accomplices, have no greater pleasure than to dislodge us from the confidence that we are secure in Christ.  Therefore Peter's reminders of the truths we should already know are intended to alert us; to wake us up to the reality that we live in a world where we are at serious risk of being dragged away from trusting in Jesus alone.
 
That is part of the purpose of Word@Work.  To help you to remember who you are - a child of God, saved through the death of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, wherever you are - at home or work or church.  When a crisis comes, we are inclined to grab the nearest solution we can think of ... and if false teaching is around, that may seem to offer a very convenient way out of the problem.  However, stand firm on the truth of God's Word, and be on your guard (expect that you may be caught off-guard) so that you do not get swept away from the security which is yours in Christ (Hebrews 2:1).

Prayer 
Gracious God. Thank You for understanding my human frailty and taking the trouble to remind me about truths which I may have learnt ages ago, but so easily forget. Forgive me for the times when I have made decisions without asking You, and foolishly falling into spiritual traps. Help me to be ready and on guard to meet the challenges to my faith and confidence in the uncertainty of my daily life. May I never move from the sure ground of Your Word, nor allow myself to be enticed by false teaching, however attractive it might be. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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