The Second Epistle General of ST. PETER
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; as his divine power hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us by glory and virtue, through which he hath given us precious and exceeding great promises; that by these, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through desire, ye may become partakers of the divine nature: For this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith courage, and to courage knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For these, being in you and abounding, make you neither slothful nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that wanteth these is blind, not able to see afar off, having forgotten the purification from his former sins. Wherefore, brethren, be the more diligent to make your calling and election firm; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not neglect always to remind you of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the present truth; yea, I think it right, so long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by reminding you: Knowing that shortly I must put off my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. But I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, while we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; but were eye witnesses of his majesty; for he received honor and glory from God the Father, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory; This is my beloved Son, in whom I delight. And we being with him in the holy mountain, heard this voice coming from heaven. And we have the word of prophecy more confirmed, to which ye do well that ye take heed, as to a lamp that shone in a dark place, till the day should dawn, and the morning star arise in your hearts: Knowing this before, that no scripture prophecy is of private interpretation. For prophecy came not of old by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake, being moved by the Holy Ghost.
But there were false prophets also among the people, who will privately bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their pernicious ways, by means of whom the way of truth will be evil spoken of. And through covetousness will they with feigned speeches make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but having cast them down to hell, delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment: And spared not the old world, (but he preserved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness,) bringing a flood on the world of the ungodly: And condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, turning them into ashes, setting them as an example to them that should afterward live ungodly: And delivered righteous Lot, grieved with the filthy behavior of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, by seeing and hearing, tormented his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds:) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unrighteous to the day of judgment to be punished. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Daring, self-willed; they are not afraid to rail at dignities: Whereas angels, who are greater in strength and power, bring not a railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these men, as natural brute beasts born to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil of the things they understand not, shall perish in their own corruption, receiving the reward of unrighteousness. They count it pleasure to riot in the day time; spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings, while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery, and that cease not from sin; ensnaring unstable souls, having a heart exercised with covetousness, accursed children: Who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the reward of unrighteousness. But he had a rebuke for his iniquity: The dumb beast, speaking with manís voice, forbade the madness of the prophet. These are fountains without water, clouds driven by a tempest, to whom the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever. For by speaking swelling words of vanity, they ensnare in the desires of the flesh, in wantonness, those that were entirely escaped from them that live in error. While they promise them liberty, themselves are the slaves of corruption; for by whom a man is overcome, by him he is also brought into slavery. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, their last state is worse than the first. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has befallen them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
This second epistle, beloved, I now write to you, in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior: Knowing this first, that there will come scoffers in the last days, walking after their own desires, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, through which the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth that are now, are by his word treasured up, reserved unto fire, at the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ye ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise (though some men count it slowness) but is long-suffering for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then all these things are dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening on the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we look for new heavens and a new earth, according to his promise, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for these things, labor to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless. And account the long-suffering of the Lord salvation, as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking therein of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.
Ye, therefore, beloved, knowing these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away by the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness: But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity! Amen.