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May 1 – Introduction to arguing, defending, attacking, warning, and pleading 

When you are given incorrect directions, you will not arrive at your desired destination. And surely the most important destination that exists is heaven. But how do we get there? Are there many ways to heaven, or just one? And can we know for certain that we are headed in the right direction?

2 Peter warns us about the danger of those who give the wrong directions (false teachers). It also provides us with reliable and trustworthy directions for the journey to heaven. R. Kent Hughes has helpfully summarized the key theme of each of the three chapters of 2 Peter in this way:

  1. Can someone come to know God without knowledge of Jesus as God’s Son?
  2. Can one know God and abandon or ignore the rigorous life that the apostles required of those who profess Christ.
  3. Can you know God and reject the notion that Jesus will come back to judge the living and the dead?

As we consider answers to these questions, we will see that correct knowledge is very important. But while this includes doctrine, it must also be spiritual and experiential knowledge. This means that by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us, these doctrines are true in relation to us, personally, and they affect how we live.

2 Peter will take us back to creation and forward to the new heavens and new earth. It offers us wonderful encouragement. Yet, the overall tone of 2 Peter is polemical. That means there is arguing, defending, attacking, warning, and pleading. So, there will be arguing, defending, attacking, warning, and pleading in these devotions. May the Lord use them to help you “confirm your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10).

You’ve got to love Peter!

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:1

Scripture reading: Matthew 16:13-19

The author of the letter is the disciple of Jesus, called Simon, to whom Jesus gave the extra name Peter, which means ‘rock’ (John 1:42). Simeon is the Hebrew version of Simon.

As a man, Peter was a real ‘mixed bag.’ Many have described Peter as someone who suffered ‘foot in mouth disease,’ because of his often hastily spoken words. But he was also the disciple who answered Jesus’, “Who do you say that I am?” question with the wonderful profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And it was because of these words that Jesus said to him, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

And this is why you gotta love Peter! For we are so like him. We also truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. But we also, at times, deny Him, by what we do or say or think, or fail to do or say or think. We are mixtures of belief and unbelief, of obedience and disobedience, of faith and failure. But Simeon Peter, warts and all, was loved by Jesus and used, powerfully and wonderfully, as an Apostle, and then received into glory. That should be, to each of us, a source of great encouragement! If Christ can love and use Simeon Peter, then He can love and use me!

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for how He uses ‘mixed-bag’ humans like Simeon Peter. Ask Him to strengthen your faith, and to use you to encourage, edify and exhort others.

Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at

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