Peter’s second epistle was probably written somewhere toward the end of his life (since Peter believes he is dying), which early tradition holds was around 64 AD:
…since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
2 Peter 1:14
Peter warns the original reader of the coming false teachers that will attempt to slow them down in their walks with God.
Some of these false teachers taught the concept of libertinism, which was a popular belief in the apostolic age that early Christians fell victim to. Libertinism taught that since everything material and all things of the flesh were evil (while only the spiritual was good), then moral restraint against the desires of the flesh was unnecessary. Since the flesh was bad, why not just abuse it?
As a result of this belief, Christian adherents to this doctrine fell into immorality that would keep them from growing stronger in their relationship with God. It would be tempting for them to just follow the ways of the false teachers since it was more enticing than holiness. But this depraved lifestyle the original reader would be tempted to follow was just a form of slavery!:
…they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them.
2 Peter 2:18,19
Peter stood up for the truth against the false teachers by arguing that the power of God was given to the original reader to overcome all immorality they were suffering from. They didn’t have to keep desiring their sin, but live in complete freedom:
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3
Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
2 Peter 1:4
As followers of Jesus, Peter’s listeners were to take hold of the power given to them because it would be God’s power alone that would free them from their desire to sin. True life was freedom from the cycle of sin, and if the Christians took a hold of this grace, they would also take a hold of the life God wanted to bless them with:
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
2 Peter 1:5-7
Therefore, brothers and sisters,be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
2 Peter 1:10,11
God has given each one of us today the grace and power needed to change and be the people deep down we all want to be. We cannot do it without relying on and having faith in His grace. The Israelites under the Old Covenant were unable to be the holy nation God wanted them to be, and so we are also unable to walk out in His image unless we rely solely on His grace, which has now been given to us through Jesus!
This is why the age we live in is so exciting, because we have been gifted with the grace and knowledge of God like never before. This grace and spiritual knowledge of God will finally set us free from our own destructive ways and bring us the joy and life and freedom we have always wanted! This is the good news of the gospel!
May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry…now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!
1 Peter 1:10,12