Terrance Callan, «The Soteriology of the Second Letter of Peter», Vol. 82 (2001) 549-559
2 Peter presents Jesus as savior in that he purchased his followers from
slavery to corruption and the defilements of the world. Human beings became
slaves of corruption through erroneous thinking and following the desires of the
flesh, i.e. sin. Jesus’ followers have been released from this servitude by their
recognition that Jesus has purchased them from their previous owner and is now
their master. The ethical teaching of 2 Peter is based on continuing in the freedom
from slavery to sin that has come through Jesus. The eschatological teaching of 2
Peter describes the completion of salvation, the culmination of both slavery to sin
and following Jesus.
The Pauline character of the soteriology of 2 Peter is very marked. In view of the author’s claim (in 2 Pet 3,16) that Paul agrees with what the author has said, this is not surprising.
star49. The image of the morning star may allude simultaneously to Num 24,17 and to Hellenistic astrological interests50. Expectation of the end of the world does provide a negative incentive to virtue, namely to avoid being destroyed with the impious. However, the expectation also provides a positive incentive; it will be the dawning of day after a dark night.
The return of Jesus and the end of the world are mainly presented as God’s final punishment of the impious. However, insofar as the situation of the pious is like that of Lot, distressed by the behavior of the impious (2,7-8), the punishment of the impious will benefit the pious. The punishment of the impious will also eliminate their temptation of the pious (2,18). In addition, righteousness will dwell in the new heavens and earth that will replace the present heavens and earth when they are brought to an end (3,13, alluding to Isa 32,16).