“We Have Also a More Sure Word of Prophecy…” — II Peter 1:19
We should never be upset, offended, or “turned off” when we are reminded of truths from God’s Word which we have repeatedly heard in our lifetime and which we need to hear again, nor should we ever be reluctant, hesitant, or negligent to speak the Word of God which we have repeatedly spoken in the past and which we need to speak again. The Apostle Peter declared: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.…Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (II Peter 1:12-13, 15).
Then the apostle related how he, James and John (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28) were “eyewitnesses of [Jesus’] majesty” (II Peter 1:16b) at His transfiguration, when they heard a “voice which came from heaven” (v. 18a), saying: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (v. 17b). The “voice” of the heavenly Father “out of the cloud” (Matthew 17:5) spoke words which were true, sure and certain. However, in comparison to the disciples’ eye- and earwitness testimony of what was said, the apostle announces: “We have a more sure Word of prophecy” (II Peter 1:19a). The written-down prophetic words, the Holy Scriptures, give us increased sureness and certainty. What a profound and priceless blessing that our gracious God, who did once speak sure and certain words from heaven, has now given us His sure and certain words in writing, in the Holy Scriptures, which give us the added blessing of having His words of truth in “black-and-white.” And those Scriptures are “given [to us; What a wonderful gift!] by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16a). “By inspiration of God” expresses the truth that God the Holy Ghost “moved” (II Peter 1:21) the holy men to write, and put into their minds the very thoughts which they expressed and the very “words” (I Corinthians 2:13) which they wrote down. This is verbal, word-for-word, inspiration! Oh, let us never stop thanking, praising, and blessing our merciful God that we have and, by His grace, keep on having the verbally-inspired Scriptures!
And what ought we to do with God’s “more sure Word of prophecy,” His prophetic, written words, His Holy Scriptures? In II Peter 1:19b, we have the answer: “Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.” We are to keep on and never stop doing what is good and right by continuing to hold on to, believe, give heed to, follow, and adhere to God’s “more sure Word of prophecy,” His prophetic, written words, His Holy Scriptures! There is never a time when we are not to hold on to, not to believe, not to give heed to, not to follow, and not to adhere to God’s “more sure Word of prophecy,” His prophetic, written words, His Holy Scriptures. The written-down words of II Timothy 3 are so timely: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (vv. 14-16). We are to keep on holding to the things which we have learned from the Holy Scriptures, those Scriptures which are well-equipped to bring us to know, to accept, and to believe in Christ Jesus for the salvation of our souls from what we deserve for our sins, which is everlasting punishment and torment in the prison of hell (Romans 6:23). These Scriptures are so spiritually profitable and beneficial because they give us, first of all, the doctrines, the teachings of our God, that are necessary for salvation, especially the two chief doctrines — God’s Holy Law, which brings us to “the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20b), to conviction of our guilt in His sight (Romans 3:19), and to true contrition for our sins (Psalm 51:17); and God’s saving Gospel, which shows us our Savior, Christ Jesus, who “came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15), who by His redemptive work became “the Propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2), that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish [in hell], but have everlasting life” (John 3:16b). Furthermore, these Scriptures are also spiritually profitable in educating us, the sheep and lambs of Christ (Psalm 119:105), for the reproving and rebuking of sin (Luke 17:3), and for instructing us in what is right, correct, and God-pleasing in the sight of our Triune God (II Timothy 3:16), all to show our love for Him who “first loved us” (I John 4:19) by “abhor[ring] that which is evil [and] cleav[ing] to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
We have this warning in II Peter 1: “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” (v. 20). Scripture interprets Scripture; we are never privately, on our own, in our own way, to interpret the Holy Scriptures to make them say and teach what they do not say and teach or to strip them of their normative authority in what they do say and teach. The instruction of our God is unmistakably clear: “He that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28b). Faithful use of God’s Word includes not adding to His written revelation and not subtracting from that same revelation. In the closing chapter of the Scriptures, we have the stern warning: “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Rather, we are to remember the wonderful truth that the “more sure Word of prophecy,” God’s prophetic, written words, the Holy Scriptures are like “a light that shineth in a dark place ” (II Peter 1:19c). God’s written-down words in the Scriptures are as a light which keeps on shining on us, like a big, powerful floodlight which never goes out, revealing everything that we and all mankind need to know for our faith unto salvation and for a God-pleasing life here in this world to His glory (II Timothy 3:16).
The “more sure Word of prophecy,” the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Writings keep shining in this dark world, for the Lord God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). The message of the Scriptures to all in this wicked and sinful world, including to each of us, is set forth by the Savior Himself in Mark 1: “Repent ye [of your sins], and believe the Gospel [for the full and free forgiveness of your sins]” (v. 15b). It is this one and only Savior for the world of sinners who declared: “I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
This “more sure Word of prophecy,” the Scriptures, will continue to shine in this dark world, even if only “few” (I Peter 3:20c) give heed to it as “in the days of Noah” (I Peter 3:20b). We should not expect it to be any different in these latter days than it was in Noah’s day, when his preaching for one-hundred twenty years netted no hearer outside of his own family. Nevertheless it must continue to be our light and lamp “until the day dawn and the Day Star arise in [our] hearts” (II Peter 1:19d), until the Last Day arrives like the rising of the sun, that day when the Day Star, “the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16b), “the Sun of Righteousness” (Malachi 4:2a),“the Son of Man” (Matthew 25:31a), Christ Jesus will show that He is in the “hearts” (and lives) of all of His “branches” (John 15:5a), those attached to Him by saving faith in His “righteousness” (Romans 5:18b). On that final day of this world, Jesus will judge all people on the basis of His written Word alone (John 12:48b), the Holy Scriptures, His “more sure Word of prophecy.” To those “on His right hand” (Matthew 25:34a), to His dear sheep and lambs clad in His righteousness by faith in His merits (Matthew 22:11ff.; Isaiah 61:10) and in the justification He purchased for all mankind (I Peter 1:18-19; I John 2:2), to them the Savior will say: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34b). But to those on His “left hand” (v. 41a), to those who in unbelief rejected both the rebuke and indictment of His holy Law and the ministration of His saving grace in the Gospel, to them the Savior will say: “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (v. 41b). Here we see the justice of God showing itself toward sinners who by their own fault are without Christ and without faith in His redeeming work for them, who arrogantly insist upon being judged according to their works (Galatians 5:4), and His grace in judging believers according to His justice satisfied by Christ, who by His perfect life earned the righteousness that the Law demands (Romans 10:4) and by His suffering and death paid the penalty that the Law prescribes (Galatians 3:13). Jesus’ words in John 14 will most certainly be confirmed on the Last Day for this world: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (v. 6).
What “is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10) in the Scriptures, the “more sure Word of prophecy,” is particularly vital for us to remember during this season of Lent, when we see all that our Savior “hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (I Peter 3:18), “even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8d) “for all” (II Corinthians 5:15a). This is all written down in the Scriptures for us to read for our joy, to ponder for our comfort, to cling to for our hope, and to receive as instruction for our lives, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar [special] people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:12-14).
In the precious words of His “more sure Word of prophecy,” which includes also the Psalms, an excellent prayer book for God’s people, let us pray often the first seven verses of one of those priceless psalms: “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in Thee; let me not be ashamed; let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed; let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths; lead me in Thy Truth, and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Thy mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord” (Psalm 25).
— R. J. L.