This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on June 18, 2017.
In Romans 1 and 2, Paul emphasizes the universality of human sin, claiming that both Jews and Gentiles fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3 and 4 show God’s response to humanity’s desperate condition. Because of Christ’s righteousness, we are now justified by God’s grace. Romans 4, however, is not the happily ever after ending of this letter. In chapters 5 to 8, Paul addresses the “now what?” of faith. What are we to do while we wait to stand before the throne of God, permitted access by the grace of Christ? We ask this because while our justification is indeed very good news, in this world, Christ has redeemed sin and suffering still remain. Romans 5:1-8 begins a section of the epistle that speaks into how we live faithfully in the present while putting our hope in the future.
Already the justified have peace with God and access to his grace because of Jesus Christ. Already, through faith in Christ, we are reconciled in our relationship with God. Already we are redeemed. Therefore, whatever comes our way is powerless to shake who we are and to whom we belong. With that comes the gift of peace today. And yet, we wait for the day we will share in the glory of God. We hope for a future day when we will see him, know him, and reflect his glory and goodness unhindered and undeterred. While we walk in a world still plagued by sin and suffering, we have peace that today we have access to God’s grace. And we have hope that one day we will be delivered from all sin, suffering, and shame, while we reflect his glory forever. Both this present peace and future hope give us what we need to put one foot in front of the other on the journey of faith.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 26th, 2017.
If you read 1 Peter, you will find that Peter addresses the truth of the suffering Christ and God’s strength as the power to persevere under trials by faith. If you read 2 Peter you will find that Peter defends the truth of Christ, that is, he addresses false teachers who distort the truth of the gospel. In 2 Peter 1:16-21 Peter lays a foundation for the firmly established truth of the gospel. He also reminds Christians of the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:12-14; 2:20).
General information provides background for 2 Peter. 2 Peter, although debated by scholars, appears as an authentic letter written by Peter himself. He supplies his own name in the opening (1:1), describes his presence at the Mount of Transfiguration (1:16-17), and declares this as his second letter written (3:1). Working out the complexity of Peter’s authentic authorship or a pseudonymous author, however, necessary for the preacher, does not diminish the content of 2 Peter. A thorough investigation of 2 Peter shows a number of different Greek words in 2 Peter as opposed to 1 Peter, but also shows 2 Peter’s strong resemblance to the Book of Jude.
If you decide on Peter as the authentic author of 2 Peter, then a date of publication appears around A.D. 67-68 (a few scholars say A. D 64). Near those dates, it makes sense that Peter wrote from Rome. These possibilities placed side by side provide three interesting insights into 2 Peter.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on December 1, 2013.
Christian hope is our confidence that God is the God of the future as well as the past and present. He is the One who WAS and IS and IS TO COME. He is both Alpha and Omega. That hope grows out of the consistent biblical message that God is working out his loving purposes in human history for all of creation. The events of history, despite human pride and violence, cannot frustrate those plans. In God’s own time and in God’s own way the reign of God will be extended to the entire creation. Jesus reaffirmed this hope as an essential part of his message about the dawning of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17).
The certainty of the consummation of the age to come is not questioned in Jesus’ teaching and ministry. The acts of power he performs — healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, even raising the dead – foreshadow the coming day when all who know him live forever in wholeness, joy, and peace in the presence of God on earth (Revelation 21:3-5). In fact, this consistent affirmation of hope became part of ancient Christian creeds: “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”