The Epistles of Peter

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
I was thinking lately of the difference in character between the two epistles of Peter. I think you will see them to be thus:
In the first, he strengthens the saints against all kinds of suffering. In the second, he warns them of all kinds of deceit. He contemplates the enemy, as it were, as the lion in the first, and the serpent in the second. It may be for righteousness' sake, or it may be in conflict with the evil that works in our own members, or from the assaults of him who goes about as a roaring lion. It may be suffering then of very different kinds, but still what he looks at throughout. The first epistle is the suffering of the saints-faith cast into the trial, as gold is cast into the furnace, that it may be found unto "praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." And the temper of mind which he especially commends to the saints in connection with this suffering state, I think you will find to be subjection; he is constantly enforcing that in them. Whatever relationship he addresses, it is still the duty of subjection that he seems to have in mind; and there is a moral connection between these things; for if we own this to be the suffering age, we shall likewise see clearly that it is the age for exercising the spirit of subjection, or self-renunciation. If I am seeking to please myself, or do my own will, I cannot honestly confess that the Church is now to count on trial and sorrow.
But in the second epistle, it is deceit that he contemplates. He fortifies the saints against the false teachers and the scoffers, the error of the wicked; and the temper of mind which he seeks to cultivate in them, as security against all that, is the diligence of growing in grace and in knowledge; for in that indeed lies their security. If we are not exercising ourselves in the good, the evil will get ahead and find its advantage over us; and thus the moral connection here is as perfect and intelligible as in the first epistle. Growth in grace and knowledge is the security of the saint against the deceit of the serpent—subjection of mind, and self-renunciation, our strength in meeting the roaring of the lion.