Peter concludes his correspondence returning to an idea from the start of this letter: the believer’s diligence. It almost sounds paradoxical, for people relying in faith on God to make them holy and acceptable to work at their change. Are we to see it as our responsibility to work at the change that only God can effect in us? In a word, yes.
We have seen Peter repeatedly speak out against the false teachers of his day. Even though I made the point a while back that legalists have the same root problem as the people who claim that sin doesn’t matter, those are the people Peter is warning us against. He even refers to Paul’s writings with a warning: they are difficult to understand so beware of those who would distort them. Our lives and actions as God’s people matter. In fact, they are the evidence of whether we are His or not. The proof of faith.
The New Testament is clear. We are saved by God and must trust Him for our restoration; yet we are saved to a task and we need to be at it. We need to live the only life acceptable in the face of what Christ has done for us and grow in our ability to please God and follow His plans. And chief among God’s plan for every single one of His people is that we do our part in bringing the salvation He offers to everyone who will receive it. We need to see that this “patience” of God exists so that more people can be reached with His love. And THAT is our task.