Peter is writing in response to acquired knowledge of false teachings in the church which denies the second coming and accompanying judgment (3.4). He is certain of the immanency of his death (1.14) and, forecasting the future acceleration of false teaching in the church (2.1), writes to encourage believers toward orthodoxy in his absence. He seeks to remind these believers of the truth (1.12), and stir them up by way of reminder (1.13; 3.1).
A significant aspect of the letter is assurance of known promises. Nevertheless, a number of actions are required of the faithful reader.
These steadfast believers are first instructed to diligently “make certain about His calling and choosing you” 1.10. As has been shown from an analysis of the antagonists, the line between believer and unbeliever is not always readily apparent. Peter also directs the readers to examine carefully the Scriptures (3.2). Finally, in light of the coming of Christ and the accompanying judgment, one ought to at all times be ready by conducting a godly, holy life (3.11-14).
The readers’ behavior toward the antagonist is to be one of caution, so as not to be led astray into licentiousness: “be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness” (3.17).
The revelation awarded to Apostles and the Old Testament Scriptures supply Peter with his theology. Peter was an eyewitness of the Lord Jesus Christ (1.16) and walked with him for several months. He occupied a front row seat at Christ’s transfiguration (1.17-18), and implies that the very words he is writing are in fact from God (1.21).
Peter directly contradicts the false doctrines expounded by the antagonists with an affirmation of the second coming of Christ and the accompanying judgment: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (3.10). Furthermore, he refutes—in the very next line—the error that believers are free to sin in light of Christ’s delay: “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…” (3.11).
Since Peter possesses authority granted him by Christ, his teachings are to be believed and obeyed over the antagonist. Furthermore, since the day of the Lord is sure—and with it severe judgment—the reader should live a godly life in proper preparation for His appearing (3.10-11).
Peter, an Apostle and fellow believer, is writing to remind steadfast believers to accept his theology that; Apostolic revelation and the Old Testament indicate that the day of the Lord and judgment are imminent and that a life of godliness reflects readiness for His coming which will result in hopeful anticipation of the Lord’s return and a life lived in righteous expectation.