knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.2 Peter 1:14(NASB)
It must have been amazing to watch the apostle Peter grow in grace and mature in his Christian faith, in his advancing years. Peter grew from the young petulant man who boasted that he would die for the Lord, even though others would forsake Him... to that old seasoned saint who came to understand that the trial of our faith is more precious to the Lord than gold.
Though we are in the world, Peter understood that we are as strangers and pilgrims in this fallen place, with a citizenship in heaven. We are not only to believe in Him and submit our lives to Him but also to suffer for His sake... knowing that this is the will of our heavenly Father.
This old bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ knew that the day of his death drew near, but the eyes of his inner soul were fixed on his God and Saviour, and his heart was moved to bless his brothers and sisters with multiplied blessings, while instructing them to stand fast on the Word of God and not to be hoodwinked by false teachers or demonic doctrines.
As a young man, Peter sought to influence the Lord Jesus against His Father's will and had to be admonished by Jesus with the rebuke, "get behind me Satan..." But as a mature believer, his walk was so intimate with his Master that the Lord made it clear to him that it was soon time for Peter, "to lay aside his earthly dwelling."
And so he reminded his fellow believers that God's divine power has granted us everything that pertains to life and godliness, and that in Christ we have many precious and magnificent promises which have made us partakers of His divine nature and freed us from the corruption and lusts of the world system.
As his life drew to its close, there was so much that Peter needed to remind his fellow believers about. He warned of the dangers they would face in the future and the need to develop a strong Christian character, moral excellence, spiritual wisdom, and self-control... all of which depend on the sufficient strength and grace which is provided for us in Christ alone.
No doubt, Peter recalled His Master's personal command to, "feed my sheep, and provide food for My little lambs," as he sought to remind his readers to persevere in life's trials and grow in brotherly love, to be fruitful in their knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to make their calling steadfast and sure.
The urgency to remind these saints about the truth of the gospel of grace and the necessity to be diligent in their earthly walk and established in sound doctrine, was because Peter had received special revelation from God about his imminent death, "knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent - as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me."
We do not know how the Lord revealed this knowledge to Peter. However, we do know that he understood that he would soon lay aside his earthly body of flesh and blood, which Peter knew was the temporary home in which his soul and spirit dwelt during his sojourn on earth. Peter had seen the empty tomb and had touched Christ's supernaturally resurrected body of flesh and bone, and Peter understood that he too, would one day 'fall into the ground and die, like a grain of wheat', so that like the Lord Jesus, he too would rise into life immortal, at the coming of Christ.
Like Peter, we will also put off this earthly body, at the event we call the Rapture of the Church. Every Christian will be raptured at this event, in a certain order. FIRST, Church-age saints who have died will be resurrected (the dead in Christ rise first) - SECOND, the rest of the Body of Christ will be taken into His presence without seeing death (then, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the Church-age saints, and we will all forever be with the Lord). On that day, we will be changed in a moment - in the twinkling of an eye. Our earthly body, which is sown as a perishable body, will be raised in an imperishable body.
Although our body is sown in dishonour, it will be raised in glory. Although it is sown in weakness, it will be raised in power - and although we live a natural body in this life, it will be raised a spiritual body. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality - how wonderful! On that day we will ALL be clothed in a new, perfect, pure, resurrected body, which will like unto Christ's glorious body, for which we praise and thank His holy name.
Heavenly Father, what a beautiful encouragement to see the lovely way that Peter grew in his knowledge and understanding of You and that we enjoy the same precious promises, which are all 'yes' and 'amen,' in Christ. May I be diligent to develop a strong Christian character, moral excellence, spiritual wisdom, sound doctrine, and self-control, as I also stand firm on the gospel of grace. May I also be ready to meet You... knowing that Christ's return for His Church is imminent. Thank You that I am not only identified with Christ in His death, for the forgiveness of sin, but also with His resurrection, and life everlasting. Thank You in Jesus' name AMEN.
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