The good life has been known by other names throughout history, most apparent in our country as “the pursuit of happiness,” “the American Dream,” or simply “freedom.” And while this pursuit is regularly conceived of as a private, individual endeavor, the good life is primarily a social vision — not simply an expression of our own “little worlds,” but the world as a whole.
In his final letter, Peter wants to protect the church from false teachers (ch. 2) and skeptics (ch. 3) who were offering competing visions of the good life. Of the false teachers, Peter says they “promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption” (2 Pet. 2:19). Their vision—as all false teaching does—indulges the self and denies Jesus as the Lord and giver of the good life (cf. John 10:10). Peter calls their vision a “destructive heresy” (2 Pet. 2:1). Heresy, according to Alister McGrath “is about being master of our own universe, choosing the way things are—or at least the way we would like them to be.” Peter wants to remind the church that freedom is found in a life of “virtue” rooted in the knowledge (i.e., the love) of Jesus and will one day be experienced in full when Jesus returns to usher them into his “eternal kingdom” (2 Pet. 1:11).