1 1 I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
Make Your Calling and Election Sure
3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! 4 We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you - your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5 So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, 6 alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, 7 warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 8 With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. 9 Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. 10 So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, 11 the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
12 Because the stakes are so high, even though you're up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I'm not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. 13 This is the post to which I've been assigned - keeping you alert with frequent reminders - and I'm sticking to it as long as I live. 14 I know that I'm to die soon; the Master has made that quite clear to me. 15 And so I am especially eager that you have all this down in black and white so that after I die, you'll have it for ready reference.
Eyewitnesses of Christ's Glory
16 We weren't, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: 17 Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: "This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight." 18 We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears.
19 We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard - God's glory, God's voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You'll do well to keep focusing on it. It's the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. 20 The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. 21 And why? Because it's not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God's Word.
False Prophets and Teachers
2 1 But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other - biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, 2 but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong.
3 They're only out for themselves. They'll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won't, of course, get by with it. They'll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on. 4 God didn't let the rebel angels off the hook, but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. 5 Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people - Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them. 6 God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left - grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life.
7 But that good man Lot, driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. 8 Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment. 9 So God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And he knows how to hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until Judgment Day.
10 God is especially incensed against these "teachers" who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don't hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. 11 Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn't think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God. 12 These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. 13 Their evil will boomerang on them. They're so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. 14 They're obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they're experts at it. Dead souls! 15 They've left the main road and are directionless, having taken the way of Balaam, son of Beor, the prophet who turned profiteer, a connoisseur of evil. 16 But Balaam was stopped in his wayward tracks: A dumb animal spoke in a human voice and prevented the prophet's craziness. 17 There's nothing to these people - they're dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. 18 They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they're dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. 19 They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they're addicted to corruption - and they are - they're enslaved. 20 If they've escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they're worse than if they had never left. 21 Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. 22 They prove the point of the proverbs, "A dog goes back to its own vomit," and, "A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud."
The Promise of the Lord's Coming
3 1 My dear friends, this is now the second time I've written to you, both letters reminders to hold your minds in a state of undistracted attention. 2 Keep in mind what the holy prophets said, and the command of our Master and Savior that was passed on by your apostles.
3 First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, 4 they'll mock, "So what's happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything's going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing's changed." 5 They conveniently forget that long ago all the galaxies and this very planet were brought into existence out of watery chaos by God's word. 6 Then God's word brought the chaos back in a flood that destroyed the world. 7 The current galaxies and earth are fuel for the final fire. God is poised, ready to speak his word again, ready to give the signal for the judgment and destruction of the desecrating skeptics.
8 Don't overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day.
9 God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change. 10 But when the Day of God's Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.
11 Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? 12 Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day - 13 but we'll hardly notice. We'll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness. 14 So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. 15 Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation. Our good brother Paul, who was given much wisdom in these matters, 16 refers to this in all his letters, and has written you essentially the same thing. Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don't know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it. 17 But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers. 18 Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!