Earlier this year The Atlantic published overwhelming evidence that what the papyrus scholars had named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” was in fact an elaborate forgery and hoax created by a man in Florida. Forged historical documents have included diaries allegedly by Hitler, Mussolini, Howard Hughes, and Jack the Ripper, and “The Donation of Constantine” that supposedly documented the emperor’s transfer of much of Italy to the Pope.
Throughout much of this letter, Peter urges the churches to distinguish between truth and lies. They needed to remember what and whom to trust. From indications in the letter, these readers were established in the faith (v. 12). But since the assault of deception never ceases, it’s important to “refresh your memory” about God’s promises and power (v. 13). Standing strong against the temptation to embrace the world’s values requires an ongoing commitment to remember the truth of God’s Word and His work in our lives.
As Peter neared the end of his earthly life, he was committed to “make every effort” to strengthen the faith of believers (vv. 14–15). Look at the evidence for trusting the message of the gospel! It begins with Jesus, and eyewitnesses could attest to His teaching and miracles. God the Father pronounced that He was indeed the Son of God, who was doing God’s will (v. 17).
Next, we can trust the message of Scripture. The Word of God helps to shine a light to guide us through the darkness of this world (v. 19; see Psalm 119). Reading, studying, and remembering Scripture will help us stay grounded in truth. Finally, we have the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets as they penned the letters and poetry and history of Scripture. We have the truth, and a God whom we can trust.
Apply the Word
How can you refresh your memory about the truth of God? One way is to keep a spiritual journal in which you keep a record of answered prayers and times God has worked in your life. Another is to memorize Scripture, even just a verse or two at a time. Listening to sermons that focus on teaching God’s Word can also encourage you to stand strong in your faith.