Verse: 2 Peter 1:12-15
Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.
As Peter was nearing death, important “things” were on his mind. He wrote to Christians to tell them that, while alive, he would “always be ready to remind [them] of ‘these things’.” And, after he was gone, he wanted to make sure that they remembered “these things”.
What were “these things” he was so concerned about at the end of life? What was he “diligently” focused on when time was short? Unquestionably, he wanted to be “diligent” to tell Christians to be “diligent” to supplement their faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
He said, “[B]e all the more diligent to make certain about “His” calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” Was this important to Peter because he was a stumbler? At the beginning he was a Jesus denier. By the end, he saw that practicing “these things” brought change and he/we would not be useless. We could have great assurance. (I’m sure he felt useless when he denied Jesus. He wept bitterly.)
At the time of his death, biblical historians calculate Peter’s age as between 64-67 years old, and believe he was under 30 when he was called as a disciple. That means that he had at least 30 years or so to implement moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love in his own life. He was passing on what he knew and had learned himself—that practice makes perfect!
There is a Latin adage that says people die the way they live, or your death will be as your life has been. People think they will prepare for death later, maybe when they are dying. At his end, Peter saw that we do not have time for that.
Having seen the death of loved ones up close, I realized that no one changed at the end. Each death was marked by how the person’s life was “practiced”. An employer continued to cheat employees when only months away from dying, and I thought, “How can that be? Don’t you want to curry some favor in the afterlife?” They died the way they lived.
On the other hand, I have seen the fruit of an incredible life that, through determination and practice, was filled with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love grown over that lifetime—fruit that never could have been borne at the end of life (in the fleeting time it took for cancer to metastasize).
“These things” take time and must be practiced. There is no time for last-minute changes that produce a lifetime of fruit.