2 Peter 3 The Voice (VOICE)
3 This is now, my dear friends, my second letter to you. In both of them, I have tried to inspire you to a sincere and pure way of thinking by reminding you of what you already know. 2 Remember the words spoken earlier by God’s holy prophets and the commandment that our Lord and Savior gave to you through your emissaries.[a] 3 Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, 4 saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus? For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”
These believers face persecution every day and eagerly await the day when Jesus will return and judge their enemies. But what is taking so long?
5 When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water. 6 The waters later flooded and destroyed that world. 7 By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire, preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.
8 Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.[b]
Scoffers use the delay in His second coming to question if He is going to return at all. Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours. What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one. Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient. God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways. Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that all be saved and not destroyed. If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.
9 Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s.[c]
10 The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are.[d] 11 Knowing that one day all this will come to pass, think what sort of people you ought to be—how you should be living faithful and godly lives, 12 waiting hopefully for and hastening the coming of God’s day when the heavens will vanish in flames and the elements melt away with intense heat. 13 What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns.
14 So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; 15 and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this. 16 He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.
17 So hear my final words, my friends. Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. 18 Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen.
1 John 1-3 The Voice (VOICE)
1 We want to tell you about the One who was from the beginning. We have seen Him with our own eyes, heard Him with our own ears, and touched Him with our own hands. This One is the manifestation of the life-giving Voice, 2 and He showed us real life, eternal life. We have seen it all, and we can’t keep what we witnessed quiet—we have to share it with you. We are inviting you to experience eternal life through the One who was with the Father and came down to us. 3 What we saw and heard we pass on to you so that you, too, will be connected with us intimately and become family. Our family is united by our connection with the Father and His Son Jesus, the Anointed One; 4 and we write all this because retelling this story fulfills our[a] joy.
5 What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him: God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind. 6 If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. 7 If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins. 8 If we go around bragging, “We have no sin,” then we are fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. 9 But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” then we depict God as a liar and show that we have not let His word find its way into our hearts.
The word “sin” has virtually disappeared from modern conversation. Afraid of sounding judgmental, we call sin something else—a mistake, an addiction, a tendency, a bad decision—and ignore it as normal and natural behavior. But John is calling the church to a radical holiness where those in the church will regularly remember their sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Each sin, small and large, injures us or someone else; it imprints on our soul, makes us imperfect, and separates us from the perfect God. If we confess our sins to God each day, then He will purify our hearts and draw us closer to Him.
2 You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin. If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer—Jesus the Anointed, the righteous—arguing on our behalf before the Father. 2 It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there—He died for the sins of the whole world.
John is affectionately addressing this letter to his “little children,” and he is writing to help them avoid sin and the pain and guilt that come with it. The glamour of decadent lifestyles devoid of God is often advertised as the epitome of joy and freedom. But what are often conveniently left out of these portrayals are the agonizing consequences of such destructive lifestyles. Meaningful pleasure comes not when we are enslaved by the empty promises of the world, but when we are living in loving obedience to God.
3 We know we have joined Him in an intimate relationship because we live out His commands. 4 If someone claims, “I am in an intimate relationship with Him,” but this big talker doesn’t live out His commands, then this individual is a liar and a stranger to the truth. 5 But if someone responds to and obeys His word, then God’s love has truly taken root and filled him. This is how we know we are in an intimate relationship with Him: 6 anyone who says, “I live in intimacy with Him,” should walk the path Jesus walked.
7 My loved ones, in one sense, I am not writing a new command for you. I am only reminding you of the old command. It’s a word you already know, a word that has existed from the beginning. 8 However, in another sense, I am writing a new command for you. The new command is the truth that He lived; and now you are living it, too, because the darkness is fading and the true light is already shining among you.
9 Anyone who says, “I live in the light,” but hates his brother or sister is still living in the shadows. 10 Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. 11 But anyone who hates his brother is in the darkness, stumbling around with no idea where he is going, blinded by the darkness.
We are deeply loved by God. When we turn and love those members of our faith family whom God loves, we are set apart and different from the world.
12 I am writing to you, my children, because your sins have been forgiven by the authority of His name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him as the Creator, as the One who started everything.
I am writing to you, young people, because He has given you the power to conquer the evil one.
14 I have written to you, my children, because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him, the Creator.
I have written to you, young people, because the voice of God remains and is heard among you. Remember that you have conquered the evil one.
15 Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them. 16 All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world. 17 This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are its selfish desires. But the person really doing God’s will—that person will never cease to be.
18 My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antiChrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming, but in fact, many antiChrists are already here. This development tells us how late it really is. 19 A group has left us, but they were not part of our family. If they were truly our brothers and sisters, they would have remained for the duration with us. When they left, they made it ever so obvious that they were not part of us.
20 You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth.[b] 21 I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it. You know that no lie belongs to the truth. 22 The liar is the one who says, “Jesus is not really the Anointed One.” This is the antiChrist, the one denying both the Father and the Son. 23 Anyone who denies the Son does not know the Father. The one affirming the Son enjoys an intimate relationship with the Father as well.
24 Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father. 25 This is what He promised us: eternal life.
26 I also am writing to warn you about some who are attempting to deceive you. 27 You have an anointing. You received it from Him, and His anointing remains on you. You do not need any other teacher. But as His anointing instructs you in all the essentials (all the truth uncontaminated by darkness and lies), it teaches you this: “Remain connected to Him.”
28 So now, my little children, live in Him, so that whenever He is revealed, we will have confidence and not have to hang our heads in shame before Him when He comes. 29 If you know that He is just and faithful, then you also know that everyone who lives faithfully and acts justly has been born into a new life through Him.
3 Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either.
When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God, we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts. We must silence the sounds of condemnation so we can hear the voice of God’s loving assurance and remember that He has selected us to be part of His family.
2 My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. 3 All those who focus their hopes on Him and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure.
4 Everyone who lives a life of habitual sin is living in moral anarchy. That’s what sin is. 5 You realize that He came to eradicate sins, that there is not the slightest bit of sin in Him. 6 The ones who live in an intimate relationship with Him do not persist in sin, but anyone who persists in sin has not seen and does not know the real Jesus.
7 Children, don’t let anyone pull one over on you. The one doing the right thing is just imitating Jesus, the Righteous One.
If you are wondering if your faith is authentic, take a look at your life. Are you doing what is right?
8 The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning. That is why the Son of God came into our world: to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.
9 Everyone who has been born into God’s family avoids sin as a lifestyle because the genes of God’s children come from God Himself. Therefore, a child of God can’t live a life of persistent sin. 10 So it is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one: those who lack right standing and those who don’t show love for one another do not belong to God.
11 The central truth—the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith—is that we must love one another. 12 Please do not act like Cain, who was of the evil one. He brutally murdered his own brother.[c] Why would he do something so despicable? Because his life was devoted to evil and selfishness, and his brother chose to do what is right.
13 Brothers and sisters, don’t be shocked if the corrupt world despises you. 14 We know that we have crossed over from death to real life because we are devoted to true love for our brothers and sisters. Anyone who does not love lives among corpses.
Do you ever wonder if you are just silently sleeping through days, months, and years? There is one indicator of real life: true love for others.
15 Everyone who hates other members of God’s family is a murderer. Does a murderer possess the beautiful life that never ends? No. 16 We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17 If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? 18 My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.
19-20 There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things. 21 My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, then we can stand with confidence before God. 22 Whatever we may ask, we receive it from Him because we follow His commands and take the path that pleases Him. 23 His command is clear: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus the Anointed, and love one another as He commanded. 24 The one who follows His teaching and walks this path lives in an intimate relationship with God. How do we know that He lives in us? By the gift of His Spirit.
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