About Jesus Steve Sweetman
False Teachers And There Destruction (ch. 2:1 - 22)
has just spoken about the prophets of God of the Old Testament who spoke
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Not everyone who claimed to be a prophet in Old Testament times was
really prophets of God. There
were many false prophets, speaking false prophecy that people would rather
hear. Peter uses these false
Old Testament prophets as a springboard to move the discussion over to New
Testament false prophets and false teachers. As
I've already pointed out earlier, the general consensus is that the false
prophets that Peter was addressing were "Antinomian Gnostics".
Peter's day, as in our day, which is always the tendency, certain
so-called Christians attempted to fuse Christian thought with Gnostic
thought, which if you think of it, is impossible.
We're doing the same today by attempting to fuse Islam with
Christianity. The two
religions are diametrically opposed to each other and cannot be mixed
together. The reason for this
is the Lord Jesus Christ. Islam
views Jesus as a prophet of God. Christianity
views Jesus as the Son of God, that is, God in human flesh.
These two concepts can't be fused.
Gnostics believed all things spiritual are good and all things physical
are bad. Therefore a good God
could never be incarnated into an evil human body.
Again, this is diametrically opposed to Biblical thinking.
This clearly flies in the face of the Deity of Christ, one of the
most basic truths of Christianity. There
is simply no logic in fusing Christianity with Gnosticism.
begins verse 1 by referring back to the Old Testament false prophets.
He says that just as there were false prophets back in Old
Testament days, there will be false teachers in New Testament days, and
that includes our day today. As a matter of fact when Jesus speaks of the
end of this age in Matthew 24 He specifically says that the rise of false
prophets and teachers will increase as we draw near the end.
says that these false teachers “will secretly introduce false
heresies”. The Greek word
“lathra” is the word that is translated as “secretly”.
It gives the picture of a false teacher sneaking into a church, in
a covert style mission, to infiltrate the people with the idea to win them
over to their false teaching.
should note that Jesus does nothing in secret.
Those who live in the
says that these men “will introduce destructive heresies, even denying
the sovereign Lord”. There
have been many “destructive heresies” over the centuries, but denying
the “sovereignty of Jesus” is especially bad. The
“sovereignty of Jesus” means that Jesus is God.
The Deity of Christ is the foundation to Christian teaching.
You cannot; you must not; set aside the Deity of Christ.
uses the term “who bought them”. Jesus
bought all mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross.
He paid the price to God His Father in order for those who trust in
Him to be reconciled to God. This
is what is known as "redemption".
question is often raised here. "Were
these Gnostic Christians"? The
same question is raised about the Judaizers in the book of Galatians.
Some suggest that these false teachers were Christians, or, at
least once were Christians, because Peter says that Jesus bought their
salvation. Jesus paid the
price for their salvation so they must be saved, or, at least must have
been saved. I don't see this
to be true because as Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2, and 1 Timothy 2:6, states,
Jesus paid the price for all men to be saved.
my opinion that these men were not Christian, or, they were defectors from
the faith. 1 John 2:18 and 19
might paint the right picture of who these false teachers were.
They were in church circles but never were part of the true church.
As John puts it, "they were among us but not of us".
This would be confirmed when Peter says in verse 1 that these men
secretly snuck into the church. They
were among Christians, but weren't Christians themselves.
in verse 1, Peter states that these false teachers “will bring swift
destruction on themselves”. In
the process of their attempt to destroy the church, they themselves will
be destroyed. Such destruction
could easily be seen as a judgement by God.
words "swift destruction" tell us that the destruction of these
false teachers isn't judgment at the end of this age but destruction in
Peter's day. This tells us
something about the judgment of God. God's
judgment, whether on individuals, the church, or nations, doesn't always
take place at the end of this age. It
often takes place in real time. This
is something that many Christians just don't understand.
2 says that “many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way
of truth into dispute.” The
word "shameful" tells us something else about these false
teachers. Shameful relates to
immorality in the Bible. This
is a strong hint that the false teachers are "Antinomian
Gnostics". The word
"Antinomian" means "no law".
This particular subgroup of Gnosticism believed that sense spirit
was good and flesh was evil, there was absolutely no way to control one's
flesh, so, you might as well sin and enjoy the sin at the same time.
Thus they indulged themselves in many immoral sexual practices that
Peter called shameful.
says that many in the church will follow the way of these shameful false
teachers. This doesn't just
effect the reputation of the church as seen by the eyes of the world.
As Peter says, it “brings the truth into dispute”.
People will dispute the truth of the gospel because of these false
teachers. People will deny the
truth of the gospel because of the bad behaviour of those in the church,
and also those who claim to be Christian and are not, as in this case of
of the biggest problems the church faces today is its hypocrisy.
We claim one way of thinking but live another way.
This not only makes the church look bad in the eyes of the world,
it makes the truth of Scripture look bad in the eyes of the world.
believe that church leaders are responsible for making sure that false
teaching does not creep into the church.
In my opinion, today's church leaders are doing a poor job at this,
mainly because many have downplayed the importance of the Bible in both
the life of the church and the lives of individuals within the church. .
verse 3 Peter sheds some light on the motives for some of these false
teachers. He says that
“greed” is the motive for many of these false teachers.
Peter says that these teachers will actually “exploit”
Christians “with their stories”. Their
teaching is only made up stories that they know will interest people.
I think of today’s explosion of positive thinking and
motivational speakers who make a good income at speaking in Christian
conferences. The gospel of Jesus is far more than a “motivational
my thinking that the modern day Prosperity Movement with prosperity
teachers comes very close, if it is not, exploitation of Christians.
Prosperity teaching basically states that as kids of the King,
meaning Jesus, we can have it all. It's
playing on our human tendency of greed and wanting more than what is good
Bible warns us against such greediness from false teachers in Micah 3:11,
1 Timothy 6:5, and Titus 1:11.
verse 3 Peter pictures the condemnation of these men as a dark cloud
hanging “over them that has not been sleeping”.
Sooner or later these men will reap what they have sown.
Some men reap what they sow in this life, while others will reap
what they sow in the next, or a combination of both.
That being said, I believe what Peter is saying here is that the
cloud of judgment and condemnation on these men won't take place at the
end of this age. The clouds of
judgment will burst on these men at any time.
should distinguish here from overt heresy and wrong teaching that is based
on a lack of understanding, yet with good motives.
Wrong teaching, no matter where it comes from is not good, but
Peter is specifically pointing out false teachers who know what they are
doing. He is not speaking
about Christians who say something that is not doctrinally correct and
don't know it. Many of us are
wrong on some point in our beliefs, but we are not classified as false
teachers. We are not overtly
attempting to distort the gospel and draw people unto ourselves.
I comment on verses 4 and 5 we need some background information.
I warn you in advance, that some of what I say is not accepted by
all Bible teachers, but, is a well held position over the centuries both
in Christianity and Judaism by well educated and scholarly teachers.
Genesis 5:21 – 24 we see Enoch. The
name "Enoch" means "dedicated".
The text states that "Enoch walked with God".
He was a very godly man. The
text also states that he did not die.
It simply says, "He was no more because God took him
away". Enoch had a son named "Methuselah".
Methuselah had a son named "Lamech", who was Noah's
father. Although I have not
fully worked out the math, it is said that the year Methuselah died was
the year the flood came. Some
suggest, not all, that the name "Methuselah" means, "when
he dies, it shall be sent'. Those who understand this to be the meaning of
the name "Methuselah" link his death to the flood.
Others believe "Methuselah" means "man of the
javelin or worshipper".
Genesis 5 we now go to Genesis 6:1 - 4.
It reads as follows. "When
men began to increase on the earth and when daughters were born to them,
the sons of God saw the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married
any of them they chose … The Nephilim were on the earth in those days
– and also afterwards when the sons of God went to the daughters of men
and had children by them. They
were the heroes of old, men of renown."
question is raised. "Who
are these "sons of God"? Some
believe that there were two lines of humans prior to the flood.
One good line of people from Seth and one bad line of people from
Cain. Those who believe this
also believe the "sons of God" mentioned here are those of the
lineage of Cain. I don't
really believe this.
do tend to believe, with some reservation, that these "sons of
God" were bad fallen angels. This
means that angels would have had sex with women.
That sounds weird, but there are a vast number of well respected
theologians who believe this. It's
been a position taken by many in both Christianity and Judaism.
would suggest that just because something sounds weird and strange to us
doesn't mean we should reject it. I
would suggest that the resurrection of Jesus sounds pretty strange and we
certainly don't reject that.
might say that Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that angels don't give in
marriage. What Jesus said
might well be that angels don't marry, not that they don't have the
capability of sexual relations. If
that doesn't convince you, we do know there are all sorts of different
types of angelic beings in the spiritual world, both good and evil.
The four living creatures, cherub, seraphim, principalities,
powers, and on it goes. These
particular angels might well be a type of angel that was capable of sexual
activity. We also know that
angels often appear as men in the Bible.
It might be quite possible that as they appear as men, they have
the capability of being sexual.
it comes to angels there is more that we don't know about them than there
is that we do know about them. The
Bible speaks of angels, but not to the degree that clues us in on the
totality of the angelic world.
the case, children born to this angel human daughter intimacy were giants,
were heroes, and men of renown. The
word "Nephilim" is translated from the Hebrew word "nephiyl".
"Nephiyl" comes from the Hebrew word "naphal",
meaning, "to fall". Some
versions, including the KJV, translate this "Nephilim" as
giants, but it seems more likely that the word should be understood in
terms of "fallen excellent, noble, or, skillful ones".
The ancient world seems to have associated "nephiyl" with
the constellation Orion, thus its association with angels.
term "sons of God", or, "ben elohiym" is used three
other places in the Old Testament. They
are, Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7. In
these three cases, it is clear the term "sons of God" refers to
angels. Also, in Daniel 3:25
"bar Elohiym" (Son of God) is used in reference to the fourth
man in the furnace of fire, namely Jesus.
We note that these Nephilim lived both prior to the flood, and "afterwards". This might be the reason why we see them again in Numbers 13:31.
is interesting that the Alexandrian Septuagint translates the word
"sons of God" in Genesis 6:1 as "angels of God".
This means that the Jewish translators of the Septuagint believed
the sons of God were in fact angels.
What makes this interesting is that much of the New Testament
writers read and drew their thinking from the Septuagint, the Greek
version of the Hebrew Old Testament.
It is therefore thought that the first generation church viewed the
sons of God as angels, just like their Jewish heritage would have taught
we turn to Jude 6. I mentioned
in my introduction that Jude and Peter use exactly the same phrases. As if
one of them plagiarized the other. I'm
not convinced that one just copied from the other. These phrases might
well have been common phrases among Christians, or, maybe Jude and Peter
had been in close contact with each other and talked these things over.
Jude quotes from the book of Enoch as we see in Jude
14 through 16. Jude appears to
be quoting from 1 Enoch 1:9 and 10. The
book of Enoch has never been accepted into the canon of Scripture in most
Christian circles, although in some circles it is accepted into the canon
of Scripture. It seems to date
around 300 B. C. and seems to ascribed to the Enoch in Genesis 5.
who believe the "sons of God" in Genesis 6 are fallen angels
believe that Jude 6, 14 and 15 are speaking of these fallen angels who had
sex with women. Let's look at
what Jude says about these angels. Jude
says that these angels had a "position of authority".
He then said that they "abandoned their own home."
If these angels are the angels of Genesis 6, it would be clear that
these fallen angels left their heavenly home to unite themselves with
women. God judged these fallen
angels by putting them in eternal chains.
Then, on the Day of Judgment, they'll be judged again.
7 is very enlightening if you believe the angels spoken of by Jude are the
fallen angels of Genesis 6. Jude
says that "in a similar way"
we will go to 2 Peter 2:4. Here
Peter is basically telling the false teachers that if God judged angels
for their sin, you can bet he'll judge all false teachers for their sin.
In verses 4 and 5 Peter said the following.
"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent
them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
if He did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its
ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven
others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah …"
is speaking of the same pre-flood fallen angels that Jude spoke of'; those
who had left their home to have sex with women.
God sent them to hell. The
Greek word "tartarus" is translated as "hell' here.
This is the only place in the New Testament that
"tartarus" is used. This
might well be because Peter is addressing mostly Gentile believers who
would understand the meaning of "tartarus".
"Tartarus' in Greek mythology was a subterranean place where
the wicked dead were located. It
was a place lower than Hades. Peter
said these fallen angels were put their by God as a means of judgment.
Jude tells us that once God put them in this dark and gloomy
dungeon, He then put them in eternal chains.
Jude, Peter, in verse 6 links these fallen angels with
a side note, it is interesting that other old cultures and civilizations,
Greek mythology, Titans were half god's or angels, and half men who sinned
against the god Zeus. Zeus
decides to give up his throne to his son Dionysus.
The Titans attempt to lure Dionysus with toys.
Their intention was to catch him, kill him, boil and roast his
limbs and eat him. Zeus caught
the Titans and killed them. I
simply mention this because the Titans were half men and half gods.
Where did they get this idea? Like
other mythologies, they might well have gotten this from a distorted view
of Genesis 6 and the fallen angels who produced half men and half angel
beings when have sex with the daughters of men in Genesis 6.
think things are bad today, but they cannot be as bad as they were back in
pre-flood days. If the
"sons of God" in Genesis 6 are really fallen angels who
had sex with human women, producing giants, heroes, and men of renown,
then things got so bad, that is, the mixing of angels and humans, that God
caused the flood.
interesting to note that Jesus said that as it was in the days of Noah, so
shall it be before his return. (Matthew 24:37)
Some today suggest that we might well have the same kind of angel
human mixture as there was before the flood.
In one sense of the word, the anti-Christ is an example.
He is satan incarnated in a human man.
the flood, things can't be as bad in the world today as they were prior to
the flood or else God would have brought on another judgment.
There had to be something different going on in the world that is
going on now for God to bring about such a judgment, that He has not
brought to the earth since. The mixture of angels and women might just be
the difference between then and now.
in verse 5 that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.
The Genesis account does not mention this, but Peter did.
also in verse 5 that God protected Noah from the flood.
The point here is that God protects those who are truly His when
His wrath comes on the earth, as He did with
verse 6 Peter mentions the destruction of
7 and 8 speak about
verse 10 Peter points out two particular sins of these false teachers.
One is following our corrupt nature, which obviously leads to all
sorts of sin. The other is not
following proper authority, as I would suggest is linked to the angels who
left their home and place of authority in the pre-flood days.
The word "authority" here is translated from a form of
the Greek word "kyrios" that we translate into English as
Colossians 1:16 it's translated as one of the ranks of angels.
The KJV uses the word "government".
people suggest that the authority being spoken of here is religious or
civil authorities. I tend not
to believe that. I see the
context here as being angelic authorities.
the last half of verse 10 and into verse 11 Peter says that these false
teachers he has been talking about are arrogant.
They are not afraid to slander “celestial beings”, or,
"dignities" in the KJV. You
can see there is some trouble translating this into English.
The NIV thinks Peter is speaking of angelic beings and the KJV
translators don't really specify who they think Peter is thinking of.
that Peter distinguishes between angels and celestial beings here. That's
assuming the NIV has the proper translation.
That's also assuming Peter is using two ways of viewing the
same spiritual beings. So, as I've said before, in the spirit world, or,
the angelic world, there are numerous types of beings.
We see two here in angels and celestial beings.
11 and 12 are hard to understand. Most
commentators compare these verses with Jude 8 and 9 where the same wording
is used. Jude tells us about
Michael the angel contesting with the devil over the body of Moses.
There is no doubt that Jude is quoting the non-canonical Jewish
book of the Assumption of Moses. Why
both Jude and Peter would quote this non-canonical book is simply unknown.
It's probable that they were drawing on information that the people
of his day believed to back his point.
Also, even though the canon of Old Testament books had been
developed, the canon of our Bible as we have it today in the Protestant
world had not yet been developed.
Deuteronomy 34:5 and 6 we see that Moses died on
false teachers slander celestial beings.
Part of the Gnostic doctrine concerned an emphases on angels and
the spirit world. They
believed that there were many levels of angels between God and humans.
These levels were meant to separate God from sinful humanity.
They believed that Jesus was one of these created angels.
Gnostics claimed to have special secret information from the spirit
world that the ordinary man didn't have.
Both Peter and Jude must have viewed Gnostic beliefs concerning
angels as being slanderous.
clear to say that in these verses that Peter writes, we don't have his
full thinking. Therefore,
we're really not sure how Peter viewed the angelic world.
We don't know if he accepted the Assumption of Moses' account or
not. I'm not convinced that
because he quotes from it, that he actually believed it to be true,
although I can see why people would think he did accept the validity of
this non-canonical book.
goes on to say in verse 12 that these false teachers “blaspheme in
matters that they don’t understand”.
They don’t understand because the motive of their teaching has
more to do with greed than with understanding what they teach.
This is the way of the world. So
often on news reports of Christian things, reporters and others make
statements that are clearly incorrect from a Biblical standpoint.
The reason for their error is their lack of understanding of
Biblical things, as Peter says here.
has no love for these false teachers.
He compares them to “brute beasts, creatures of instinct”.
These men are like animals who follow natural instincts and not
solid mental understanding. Humans
use their thinking capabilities along with natural instincts, while
animals follow basic instincts more than mental abilities.
The problem with human natural instincts is that they are
inherently sinful. The only
reason why these men should exist in Peter's thinking is so God can judge
and destroy them.
uses some very strong words here. Such
strong words would not be tolerated in today's world, but Christians must
not go soft when it comes to false teaching.
When I say false teaching, I'm not talking about secondary issues.
I'm talking about primary issues that go to the heart of our
Christian thinking, and in this case, the primary issue is the Deity of
verse 13 Peter says that these false teachers “will be paid back with
harm”. He is most likely
speaking of the Day of Judgement. The
Bible teaches that Christians should not repay evil with evil, because God
Himself will do the repaying on the Day of the Lord, and He can do a much
better job at repaying than we can do.
I believe this is what is being said here.
might wonder why Peter uses the word "harm" in this verse.
These Gnostic false prophets were doing great harm to the church.
So, in like manor to their sin, great harm would be done to them in
judgment. Basically, the idea
is what you sow you will reap. If
you sow harm, you will reap harm. That
being said, other translations do not use the word "harm".
The KJV uses the phrase "reward for unrighteousness",
which might actually be a better way to put it.
verse 13 Peter points out the sins of these false teachers.
He says that they “carouse in broad daylight”. Many
pagans would openly have wild sex parties in the city center.
These teachers obviously were involved in such activity.
They were involved in such sexual immorality because of their
Antinomian Gnostic belief system that stated all human flesh was evil and
beyond any means of change. Therefore,
there's no use fighting the flesh. You
simply give in and do whatever your sinful flesh wants too do.
says that they are “blots and blemishes”. They
stain the society around them, as well as themselves with their sinful
lifestyle. While they are in the process of such staining, they feast with
Christians, causing blemish on the church as well.
clear that these pagan Gnostics were interacting with the church, to the
degree that they ate together. You
might wonder why the church would allow this.
Human tendency, and that includes human Christian tendency, has
always been to unite with those who oppose you.
We do the same today in our attempt to unite Islam with
Christianity, or other religions with Christianity.
This is not right.
might well have taken advantage of the church in the sense that the church
called their gatherings "love feasts".
The term love feast to pagans would mean something altogether
different that to Christians. Love
feasts to the pagan Gnostics would imply a sex party.
verse 14 Peter says, "With eyes full of adultery, they never stop
sinning". These sexual
sins are not an every so often event.
Their eyes are always looking for new adulterous situations to be
involved in. Again, the basis
for this adultery was their Antinomian Gnosticism.
Part of their involvement in church circles might well have been to
seduce the women in the church. This
might be what Peter means when he says that these men "seduce the
unstable". That being
said, in this Roman culture homosexuality was ramped.
Therefore the word "unstable" could refer to men as well.
The context in my thinking seems to imply unstable in sexual ways
but some commentaries suggest it's unstable in thinking, not just sexually
continues to say that "they are experts in greed, and they follow the
way of Balaam". "Experts
in greed" tell us that these men weren't only sexually immoral, they
were greedy. This was far from
godly behaviour. We need
to realize that even though this was far from godly behaviour, it was the
norm for Roman society. People
really didn't know any better. It
was how they were raised. Boys
were raised at an early age to have sex with other boys and men.
They were taught to view girls and women as "baby
verse 16 Peter associates these false teachers with Balaam who we see in
the Old Testament as a non-Jewish prophet.
Balaam turned out to be a very greedy man and was judged by God for
his sin. Peter reminds
his readers that Balaam had to be rebuked by a donkey.
This is clearly meant to be a slam against these Gnostic teachers.
used the word "madness" in relation to Balaam.
By comparing the false teachers with Balaam, Peter was saying that
these Gnostic teachers were mad, were insane.
They were insane because the fusion of Antinomian Gnosticism with
Christianity is illogical. You
can't mix the two because the basis of Christianity is that Jesus is God
in human flesh. Gnostics did
not believe this. So, how
could you fuse the two together when the basic tenants of both oppose each
doesn’t end in his railing against these men.
He says in verse 17, “these men are springs without water”,
meaning these men are empty. They
claim to be something they weren’t. “They are mists driven by a
storm”. These men have no
stability and when the storms of life blow there way, they blow wit the
wind. Because of this,
“blackest darkness” is reserved for them.
Peter uses two words here, “blackness" and "darkness”
for emphasis sake. This isn't
jus darkness. Neither is it
just blackness. It's the
blackest of darkness that one could experience.
The place that God has prepared for these false teachers is that
darkest place known. This would be "tartarus" as we saw back in
verse 4 where we see the Greek word "tartarus" translated into
English as "hell".
verse 18 Peter says that they "mouth empty and boastful words that
appeal to human nature". Once
again, basic human nature is evil, not good.
Therefore the things these men speak are spoken in order to entice
those who follow their sinful nature.
The situation is circular. That
is, they speak things that sinful nature wants to hear.
Then our sinful nature hears the words and ask for more, resulting
in more empty words. And on
and on it goes.
men were all about playing on our sinful nature, like many modern
preachers do today. I believe
present day prosperity teachers do the same today.
They play on our greed for more.
They stir up the lust for worldly things within us and say we can
have all we want from the Lord. They
say that having it all is just part of the gospel of Christ.
way in which you can distinguish a false teacher from a real teacher is
that if the teacher appeals to your sinful nature, you can next to bet he
is a false teacher. This is
why I say that many prosperity gospel teachers are false teachers since
they appeal to our lust for more material possessions.
in verse 18 Peter says that these teachers entice those who have just
escaped from their lives of error. These
men prey on new Christians who are in the process of escaping the
corruption of the world. Once
again we see Peter’s use of the word “escape”.
He feels that Christians should understand that they need to escape
from the things of the world. These
false teachers are trying to seduce new Christians back into the world.
These Gnostics believed that there was no escape from the world and
that's why they gave themselves to fleshly lusts.
verse 19 Peter says that these teachers offer their listeners “freedom
while they themselves are slaves to depravity”.
You see Peter’s thinking on the theological doctrine of “the
depravity of man” here. Both
Peter and Paul agree that man is depraved.
Paul clearly points this out in Romans chapters 1 and 2.
Mankind is trapped in his fallen state of depravity.
This means that there is no good within man, especially when
compared to God’s standard of goodness.
We cannot get out of this depraved state on our own.
We need to escape by the help of the Holy Spirit.
This happens when one is truly born again. Then,
once being reborn by the Holy Spirit, you live by the power of the same
Antinomian Gnostics would believe like Peter when it comes to the
depravity of man and that man had no capacity to escape this depravity.
Where the Gnostics and Peter disagreed was that God came to earth
in Jesus so that the Holy Spirit could come to live within man to free man
from his depravity.
continues by saying that “a man is a slave to whatever has mastered
him”. A smoker is a slave to
his cigarettes. Anyone who is
addicted to anything is a slave to that thing.
When it comes to our own sinful human nature, we are all addicted
to it. We all tend towards
serving ourselves and fulfilling our human fleshly lusts.
the decade of the 1960's the youth were searching for freedom.
No man is really free, and the youth of the 60's were no different.
They may have freed themselves from one world system, but in the
process, they enslaved themselves to another world system.
In one real sense of the word, people are either slaves to satanic
forces or slaves to Godly forces.
20 speaks to the issue of Christians falling back into a non-Christian,
and in this case, a pagan, lifestyle.
For those who backslide, the end for them is worse than the
beginning. This is a hard
statement to get our heads around. Some
might suggest that this means "once saved always saved", or,
"eternal security" as it's been called, is unbiblical.
Those who believe in eternal security believe such people weren't
really saved in the firs place.
verse 21 Peter continues this thought.
He says that it would have been better for one to not have known
the way of the Lord, than to know it and walk away from it.
This gets to the seriousness of becoming a Christian and just what
a Christian is all about. Becoming
a Christian is more than making a decision to follow Jesus.
It's repenting of your sin. It's
handing your life over to Jesus. It's
receiving the Holy Spirit. It's
responding to the call of God when He calls on you.
It's my thinking that many who claim to have become a Christian,
even at an altar in a church service don't necessarily become Christians.
It's also my thinking that many Evangelicals, in their enthusiasm,
have done more harm than good by forcing people to make a quick so-called
decision for Christ. The
decision for Christ should only be made once the person understands the
you interpret the word "known" in verse 21 will determine your
stance on eternal security in relation to this verse.
If the word "known" means to simply know and understand,
then one might say those who knew the way of righteousness weren't saved.
If the word "known" is to "know experientially"
the way of righteousness, as I think it might mean, then you'd believe
these people were saved and that they walked away from their salvation.
If they walk away from salvation, how can they remain saved?
To me the term "way of righteousness" suggests a
lifestyle of right living, not just the knowledge of right living.
This would mean these people actually lived the righteous life and
now have walked away from it.
does Peter mean when he uses the word "command' in verse 21?
In context, I believe the command is the command to be saved, and
what needs to be done to be saved.
22 ends this chapter. Peter
quotes from Proverbs 26:11 when he says "a dog returns to its
vomit". This analogy
shows us the life of one who turns back on the Lord.
He's like a dog returning to his vomit.
That doesn't sound very nice.
uses another proverb as an analogy. He
speaks of a pig returning to the mud.
Now this is not an Old Testament proverb.
Where Peter picks up this proverb is unknown.
It's probably a regular run of the mill street proverb used in
everyday talk. The Jewish Old
Testament would not use an unclean animal like a pig to make such an
last three verses are tough verses. They
challenge some of our doctrinal positions.
Beyond that, they speak of the serious nature of actually becoming
a Christian. I believe that in
many respects, Evangelicals have taken away the serious nature of becoming
a Christian by their quick and easy salvation message.
We've preached come to Jesus and live happily ever after.
We've preached, "Repeat after me and become a Christian".
We've ignored the aspect of repentance in much of our preaching.
We haven't explained that faith is handing your entire life over to
Jesus. It's not adopting a
belief system. It's not
accepting the idea that Jesus exists.
We've failed many times to lead people to receive the Holy Spirit.
We've told them to simply decide for Jesus and they'd be saved
without understanding that becoming a Christian is responding to the call
of God when He calls us, not before or not after.
There are so many ways we've done more harm than good over the
years concerning this issue. What
Peter points out here is that becoming a Christian is a serious and life
long matter. God forbid that
we minimize this.
thing to note along this line is that becoming a Christian is not a matter
of our choice alone. We can't
simply become a Christian just any old time we want to.
As Jesus said in John 6:44, no one can come to Him unless the
Father draws him. The Father
draws us by means of the Holy Spirit.
I would suggest that becoming a Christian is more about God drawing
us to Jesus than we simply deciding for Jesus.
This is why prayer for our loved ones is so important.
realize that there are many passages that say, "Call on God and you
will be saved". Many of
these passages are in the context of those doing the calling are in a bad
situation that forces them to call out to God.
Thus, the situation that they find themselves in is part of the way
in which the Father calls those people to Jesus.
As a matter of fact, the Greek word that is translated in English
as "draws" in John 6:44 is often translated as "drag"
in our English Bibles' as in, "drag a net of fish".