We are commanded to keep ourselves in the love of God. How? "Read the Bible, pray every day!"
Published August 5th, 2017; Updated August 8th, 2017
Main point summary
While you expect Christ's mercy at his return, keep yourselves safe in the love of God by means of God's word and prayer.
But you, beloved, w building yourselves up in your most holy faith
1. By means of building yourselves up on the foundation of the true gospel
and x praying in the Holy Spirit,
and 2. by means of praying in the Holy Spirit, i.e. in his guidance and towards his goals
y keep yourselves in the love of God,
keep yourselves in the conscious experience of God's love.
z waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
while you are looking with longing and full of expectancy to the coming of the Lord, who will grant you the mercy to inherit eternal life.
God's love towards his children is always there, like the sun. But sometimes we do not feel it, because clouds have come between us and the sun of God's love. Being aware of God's love keeps us happy and safe in our pilgrimage. This is why there is the command in this text to keep ourselves in the love of God. Although some translations have several commands (imperatives) in this text, there is only this one in the Greek. V.20 gives us the means to this end: building ourselves up on the gospel-foundation, which includes the ministry of the word spirit-led prayer The means are holy (holy faith and Holy Spirit) because holiness is a prerequisite to enjoy God's presence and love - He is holy. I find it an interesting thought, that we are in a position of waiting for and expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have received a lot of mercy already and will do so until the end of our lives. But how great will His mercy be, when he transforms us into his likeness and makes us fit to live in His presence forever. Conclusion: We are commanded to keep ourselves in the love of God. The well known children's song reminds us how to do this: "Read the Bible, pray every day, if you want to grow!"