Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 Peter 2:1-3

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

The Apostle Peter having declared to us that the prophetic Word of God is the source of all that is ultimately truthful and reliable, for it has it's origins from God. Now warns us that just as there were false prophets amongst God's people, when He gave them His Word through His prophets. So there will be false teachers amongst us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ through His Word. And so in no uncertain terms the Apostle Peter warns us about them, saying that they will secretly bring in destructive heresies. Even denying the Lord who bought them; that is paid the atoning price not only for their salvation, but all people's salvation. For the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for everyone's salvation, but only those who repent and believe in Him will have it. And so in denying the Lord who bought them they will bring on themselves swift destruction. For to deny the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal salvation, is too never have it (consider Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:22-23). And so swift is there souls destruction (consider Heb 10:37-39). Now the word translated destruction here ἀπώλεια (destruction, ruin) along with θάνατος (death) and ᾅδης, (Hades, the place of the dead, in the N.T. it is the word used for hell) are the words most frequently used in the Septuagint to describe mankind's worst enemy (TDNT). That is the finial and everlasting death and separation from God in hell that comes to those don't believe, nor obey God (2 Thess 1:8). Indeed Satan himself is called the son of perdition in John 17:12 and 2 Thess 2:3 using the same word that is translated destruction here. And though ἀπώλεια has a few N.T. usages not pertaining to everlasting destruction, the force of the Apostle Peters usage of the word here and often in the N.T. means just that. That these false teachers in so doing, in denying the Lord Jesus Christ who had bought them, had doomed their own souls.

And though we who now believe were once faced with our own eternal destruction and ruin because of our sins and transgressions. Yet because of what Jesus has done to atone for our sins and make for our reconciliation and peace with God by His death on the cross. We have been forever released from them, and God's judgment against us for them. And that is why the Scripture boldly asserts of every believers victory over death through their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Person. Who having first conquered death, (in every sense of the word), by His own death and Resurrection from the dead. Has made the way for eternal life to be given to all who believe in Him. And so the Scripture boldly asserts against our greatest enemy  "O death, where is your sting, O Hades, where is your victory." 1 Cor 15:55

Now the verb translated denying here appears some 31 times in the N.T. It is also a powerful word with some very serious implications. Making the denial of the Lord Jesus Christ a very serious matter(consider Matt 10:32-42). And though it is used of the Apostle Peters three denials of the Lord Jesus Christ the night Jesus was arrested and taken into custody. Here it is indicating something far deeper, than just a verbal denial in a moment of weakness. Rather it is indicating an utter abandonment of ones faith In Christ. And thus ones beliefs, theology, and lifestyle all will reflect this. As well the word translated denying here often has a very strong sense of no attached to it. As the Jews who refused to have Pilate release Jesus to them when He was to be crucified, and instead demanded a murderer, Barabbas be given them. In so doing they denied (i.e. rejected) the Lord Jesus Christ's Person as being the Messiah and thus His Lordship over them (Acts 3:13-14). Or in contrast to them consider that Moses though living in the highest courts in Egypt refused (same word) to be called the son of Pharaoh, and instead chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. By doing so Moses showed himself faithful to God as Supreme, and the people of God whom he loved dearly, and thus he did not deny either God or them (Heb 11:24-25). Therefore the denial here that these false teachers fall under is a denial that either openly (or in ones heart) rejects, renounces, or refuses to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person as testified too in the Scriptures and to submit themselves to Him as such (consider 2 Tim 2:12). Or it is a denial in the sense of refusing to cease from ones own works and instead receive the saving work of God from ones sins exclusively found through the Lord Jesus Christ's Person and Work at Calvary, as ones Lord and Savior. Thus a denial that either denies the exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ's Person and claims, or a denial that refuses to trust completely in God's saving work at Calvary through Jesus Christ His Son as being all sufficient. All which the Apostle Peter did not do. Though again he out of fear for his life denied being Jesus' disciple while Jesus was being interrogated before the Sanhedrin. Peter did not at any time deny the Lord Jesus Christ's Person as being the Christ, the Son of God. Either when questioned by Jesus about who he thought Jesus' Person was before Jesus' Crucifixion (see Matt 16:13-17). Nor afterwards when Peter having deeply repented of denying Jesus in the High Priest's courtyard, would later receive the grace of God, when Jesus having risen from the dead restored him back to Himself (John 21:1-23). And so the Apostle Peter after the Holy Spirit's outpouring and thus his own transformation by the Holy Spirit's regeneration of his person would go on for the rest of his life to boldly preach the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Savior of the world, just as he had always believed (see Matt 16:13-17; Acts 3:11-26). Therefore Peter though seriously stumbling that night (as all the Apostles did) did not fall away from his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is what is here meant when the Scripture says that false teachers even deny the Lord Jesus Christ who bought them. They either deny in whole or in part the Lord Jesus Christ's Person or His saving work for them. And thus they are rightly called anti-Christ's and liars who deny either the Father or the Son (1 John 2:22-23). For in so doing they renounce their faith in Him, as well as our obligations to Him as His disciples. To keep His Word and live by His commandments, often by instituting their own. Again something the Apostle Peter did not do so. And so they by their own words and works deny that they know Him, or trust in Him (consider 1 Tim 5:8; 2 Tim 3:5; Titus 1:16).

Now along with that word. The Apostle Peter also says that false teachers will secretly bring in destructive heresies. The word translated secret here is a rarely used word in antiquity, combing two words that basically mean: "to lead before" and "bring in alongside". Strongs says it is to introduce surreptitiously. The TDNT says it was "specifically designed to express what is illegal, secret or unobserved." The Apostle Paul uses a similar word in Gal 2:4 to describe false brethren secretly brought in amongst true brethren to spy out our liberty in Christ. And thus they not only come to observe our liberty in Christ, they inevitably try to turn believers away from living by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only means of justification before God, to living back under the Law. Whether this is God's law or mans self imposed religious ideals and ordinances. False teachers and false brethren will attack us on two primary fronts. One is through the denial of all that Jesus' Person was and has done for us. The other is just what Jesus requires of us in the Gospel and what He does not, which itself is confirmed and further explained in the Biblical Apostles N.T. writings. And so even though they preach in Jesus' Name, they are in reality preaching or teaching another Jesus, and thus another gospel (see 2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15; Gal 1:8-9). And so the Apostle Peter says that by stealth these false teachers will secretly bring in destructive heresies, whether by bringing them in alongside of the truth, or placing them before it. They will in all guile (consider Eph. 4:14) seek to lead people astray from the grace of God which only comes to us through the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Or they will turn the grace of God into a license for sin. Now in contrast to that false "grace", consider Titus 2:11-12 which defines for us the real. Even going so far as to deny the Lord Jesus Christ's Person (vs. 1). Now whether this is in whole, or in part, again does not matter. "For there is no other Name under heaven given amongst men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 Therefore to deny any part of the Lord Jesus Christ's Person as being Completely God and Completely Man as testified too in the Scriptures, is only to deny Him. For Jesus Christ is the Son of Man/Son of God. Born of a virgin as witnessed by men and angels and testified too in the Scriptures, crucified onto death, as witnessed by men and testified too in the Scriptures. Buried three days in the grave, and then risen from the dead, as witnessed by men, and angels and testified too in the Scriptures. Then forty days later Jesus ascended back to God the Father in the presence of the Apostles, again being witnessed by men and testified too in the Scriptures. Therefore to deny apart of the Lord Jesus Christ's Person is only to deny Him. Same with the completeness of His salvation which He purchased by His broken body and shed blood for everyone at Calvary. For the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for all sins, of all of mankind, in every generation in which He is preached, believed on, and thus received into ones heart by faith (John 3:16; Rev 3:20). For God has made peace with us who believe in Jesus through the blood of Christ's cross (Col 1:20). Therefore there is no other means to be saved by Him, other than through the grace of God which comes to us all by repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ's Person as the only Lord and Savior, confessing Jesus Christ alone as Lord (consider John 1:17; Acts 20:21; Rom 3:19-28, 4:4-5, 10:3-4, 9, 10, 13; 11:6; Eph 2:8-9 etc.). Therefore to try to bring in alongside of, or place before the Lord Jesus Christ's Person or Gospel, anything or anyone as a way to God, or as a means to be justified by God, (and thus be washed of, and completely forgiven ones sins) must be fully refuted and completely rejected! For the Lord Jesus Christ said: "I am the Way, the Truth and Life, no one comes to God the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). Therefore no other name or person, is ever to be placed before Him, nor alongside of Him. Either as a means to God, or as a requirement for receiving the saving grace of God by faith in Christ's Person. For Jesus alone is the Son of God, and He alone was crucified for our sins, and He alone rose from the dead for our justification. Therefore Jesus having ascended back to God the Father in heaven, now exclusively serves as God's High Priest and Advocate for us all who believe in Him. Therefore we who believe in Jesus have no other priest on earth, or in heaven, other than Him (Heb 4:14-16; 5:4-11, 7:11-28, vs. 25).

Again these evil people bring with them destructive doctrines by which people will be led astray from Christ (consider Acts 20:29-31). Therefore they are not to be given any leeway, or be trifled with when one is dealing with them (Deut. 13). Consider that four times in just three verses the Apostle Peter uses the same word to describe first their doctrine, "destructive heresies", then their punishment for doing so "swift destruction", then the fruit of their lives "destructive ways". And so in verse three the Apostle Peter says again that "their destruction does not slumber". For such teach not only rebellion against the Lord Jesus and His commandments, but inevitably a rejection of His Person. Making the way of salvation something can be had apart from Him and obedience to Him (consider Rom. 1:5, 6:16, 15:18, Heb 5:9). And thus when they are found out they must be speedily refuted and put out of whatever assemblies they themselves have crept into (consider Jude 3). For as the Apostle Peter says it is by them that the way of truth will blasphemed; that is cursed and heavily spoken against because of their destructive doctrines and lifestyles. The Gospel will not only be distorted by them, it will become a reproach to men and women. For they themselves will not only use it to exploit people for their own financial gain; but they will distort the grace of God so as to justify all manner of moral wickedness in and amongst themselves. And thus they will turn God's house of prayer where all people are to feel safe to seek the Lord and get to know Him, into places where people are exploited or prayed upon by those who are only seeking to profit from them. Now in regard to financially exploiting people, the Scripture says here that by covetousness (either through their own greed or yours) they will exploit you with deceptive words. That is through ones greed and lust for more these false teachers will make all sorts of grandiose claims and promises, literally made up promises and stories that sound "spiritual" to the uniformed but have nothing to do with the Spirit of God. And so many will follow their destructive ways because they will make the gospel appeal to lower nature of mankind, just as the world likes it.

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

Word Studies/Additional Resources
Secretly: STR 3919; GK 4206; TDNT 5.824; LN 13.132 (1x) N.T. usage 2 Peter 2:1
Denying: STR 720; GK 766; TDNT 1.469; LN 30.52, 31.25, 33.277, 34.48, 36.43, 88.231
Destructive: STR 684, GK 724; TDNT 1.396; LN. 20.31; 65.14 (20x), N.T. usage Matt 7:13; 26:8; Mark 14:4; John 17:12; Acts 8:20, 25:16; Rom 9:22; Phil 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim 6:9; Heb 10:39; 2 Peter 2:1 (2x), 3, 3:7, 16; Rev 17:8, 11.

TDNT: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
* Septuagint: The ancient authorized rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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