16 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. 17 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,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 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, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 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. (ESV)
2 Peter 1:16-21
Gift and Command: 2 Peter 1 (Part 3)
“The Prophetic Word brings light in a world of darkness”
One of the great benefits of arcing is that it forces us to stop and consider relationships that could quite easily be glossed over–and doing so will help us to see things we might miss otherwise.
Such happened for me in 2nd Peter 1:19 with a simple comparison – we are to pay attention to the prophetic word “as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” Why would Peter feel it necessary to stop the train of his thought and make this comparison? The following temporal clause helps explain–we are to pay attention until “the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” There will come a day when Christ returns (16b) and all is light. But that day has not yet come. We still live in a world in which darkness reigns, as evidenced by the false teachers in chapter 2, where sin and confusion and lies still assault us by the hour, and where the hope of enjoying Christ forever seems obscure, abstract, and far off. In all this, the word of God reminds us of God’s presence and His promise. He is still God and His promises are still true. The prophetic word can shine as light in the darkness because it is the word of God, and it alone is our sight until Jesus returns.
Why is this important? The present darkness seems to mock hope (just as many in Peter’s day mocked the idea of Jesus’ return–cf 3:4); but the prophetic word instills and upholds hope. The present darkness speaks falsehood; the prophetic word displays God’s truth. The present darkness makes the ugliness of sin look beautiful, and the beauty of Christ look homely; but the prophetic word shows all as it truly is.
When the world says to me that I am powerless to defeat sin and so might as well just give in to it, the word of God tells me that all things pertaining to godliness have been granted to me by God’s divine power. Our continued perseverance in faith depends on us knowing, understanding, believing, and obeying the word of God. It is our only visible connection to the promised hope we have, and it is all we need.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Andrew Bywaters on April 23, 2015.)