“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion!”—2 PET. 3:11.
WHEN the apostle Peter wrote his second inspired letter, the Christian congregation had already endured much persecution, but this had not dampened its zeal or slowed its growth. So the Devil employed another tactic, one that had succeeded many times before. As revealed by Peter, Satan tried to corrupt God’s people by means of false teachers who had “eyes full of adultery” and “a heart trained in covetousness.” (2 Pet. 2:1-3, 14; Jude 4) Accordingly, Peter’s second letter is a heartfelt exhortation to faithfulness.
Peter wrote: “I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to rouse you up by way of reminding you, knowing as I do that the putting off of my tabernacle is soon to be . . . So I will do my utmost also at every time that, after my departure, you may be able to make mention of these things for yourselves.” (2 Pet. 1:13-15) Yes, Peter knew that his death was near, but he desired that his timely reminders would live on. And, indeed, they became part of the Bible and can be read by all of us today. Chapter 3 of Peter’s second letter is of particular interest to us, for it focuses on “the last days” of the present system of things and on the destruction of the figurative heavens and earth. (2 Pet. 3:3, 7, 10) What counsel does Peter have for us? How will applying his counsel help us to merit Jehovah’s approval?
After mentioning the dissolution of Satan’s world, Peter stated: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion!” (2 Pet. 3:11, 12) Evidently, he was not posing a question but making a rousing statement, an exclamation. Peter knew that only those who do Jehovah’s will and exhibit godly traits will be preserved through the coming “day of vengeance.” (Isa. 61:2) Thus, the apostle added: “You, therefore, beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them [false teachers] by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness.”—2 Pet. 3:17.
Being among those who had “advance knowledge,” Peter knew that in the last days, Christians would have to be especially on guard in order to maintain their integrity. Later, the apostle John clearly explained why. He foresaw Satan’s eviction from heaven and his “great anger” against those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Rev. 12:9, 12, 17) God’s loyal anointed servants along with their faithful “other sheep” companions will come off victorious. (John 10:16) But what about us individually? Will we maintain our integrity? We will be helped to do so if we strive to (1) cultivate godly qualities, (2) remain morally and spiritually spotless and unblemished, and (3) have the right view of trials.