Friday, January 9, 2015

The Warnings of the New Testament by Anastasios Kioulachoglou #6

The Warnings of the New Testament #6

The message of many frequently 
avoided New Testament passages.
by Anastasios Kioulachoglou


In the epistle to the Galatians Paul deals with the matter of
law and grace and the fact that we are saved by grace, by God’s
unmerited favor, without the works of the law. The reason he was
saying this was because some were teaching the Galatians that
they had to keep the law and that they even had to be
circumcised. As we said previously, there are, broadly speaking,
two versions of false teachers: the one leads people astray by
effectively perverting the grace of God into a license for
immorality (Jude 1:4) and the other leads them astray through
legalism i.e. through imposing adherence to the law of Moses
(Sabbath, circumcision, tithe, ceremonies etc.) and to things that
God never intended for believers. The Galatians had fallen victims
of this second type of false teachers. Paul dealt with the issue
making clear what such departure from the true Gospel would

Galatians 5:2-4
“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ
will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who
accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you
have fallen away from grace.”

You cannot be severed from something, if you were never
one with it. These people were true believers, one with Christ.
However, this would change if they sought justification through
the law. In that case they would be severed from Christ and they
would fall away from grace. Therefore it is indeed possible to be
severed from Christ and fall away from grace i.e. to be with Him
today but to no longer be with Him in the future, to have
ourselves severed from Him, by - in the case of Galatians -
following a perverted doctrine. Notice also that they would fall
away from grace. It is not that grace would expel them but rather
that they themselves would fall away from it. Therefore grace holds
us as long as we want to be held by it. But if one wants it, he could fall
away from it.

Furthermore, as Paul testifies of them just a couple of
verses later:

Galatians 5:7
“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the

See that he uses past tense: they were running well. But no
longer. Somebody hindered them, obviously by teaching them to
obey the law and get circumcised. As a result, they were no longer
running well. Instead, they were on their way to be led astray.
Therefore, it is possible to run well but then to stop running well
and even be led astray i.e. fall away from the right path and out of
the race of faith altogether.

Now the question to be asked is: if somebody is severed
from Christ and therefore he falls away from grace, will He still be
saved? I believe the answer is clear in Ephesians 2:8 and in John
15. According to Ephesians salvation is by grace through faith. If
these Galatians would fall away from grace then they would no
longer fall into the case of Ephesians 2:8. In addition, according to
John 15:6 :

“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch
and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire,
and burned.”

Whoever does not abide in Christ, whoever is severed
from Him, has the end described in the above passage and which
in turn also tells us what would happen in the case of the
Galatians that would be severed from Christ.

To summarize: yes, is it possible that a believer is, because
of following a deception, severed from Christ. And this, as in the
case of Galatians, can happen when someone replaces the work of
Christ with the law and tries to attain righteousness through it.

Unfortunately some misuse Galatians to go to the other
extreme, saying that God cares only for our faith and the works
have no real importance, as if faith and works could exist
separately from each other. But it is not really like this. As Luther
very correctly said:

“it is impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and
light from fire7”.
7 Luther: An introduction to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. 

This is true. There is no salvation but only by faith and
there is no true faith without the respective fruit, the works that
should normally accompany it. Fruitless “faith” cannot save, not
because the fruit would supposedly save us and this is missing. In
contrast, it cannot save us because fruitless faith is not a true faith.
It is dead as James said (James 2:26) and such faith does not save.
The message of this book is in no way salvation through works.
There is NO such salvation! What there is is salvation through
faith, a faith though that has to be kept to the end and which
should be - and will be if we stay united with Christ – fruitful. In
fact I would summarize the message of this book in the passage
from Galatians 5:6 we saw earlier:

“in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts
for anything, but only faith working through love.”

Faith, love, works (action)! All three go together and I do
not think that any of these can really exist as stand-alone and
without the others.


The next passage we will check is 2 Timothy 2:11-13. There
we read:

2 Timothy 2:11-13
“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will
also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we
deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains
faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”

The word “him”, obviously refers to Christ as He is the
one who has died and will reign. Now can we deny Christ? Again,

if there was no such possibility then Paul would have never
mentioned it. Yes then, it is possible that somebody denies Him.
He should NOT deny Him, but deceived he may end up doing it.
What will happen in this case? The Word leaves no space for
speculation: “if we deny him, he will also deny us”.

To avoid these plain words many go to verse 33 and say:
“but see verse 33: “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he
cannot deny himself”. Then they try to use this verse to support
that if we deny Him is actually nothing that serious for He is
faithful and He will not actually deny us. But such an
interpretation is obviously wrong, for just one verse before we
read it plainly and clearly: if we deny Him, He will deny us. What
verse 33 actually tells us is that He is always faithful, but this does
not mean that He accepts us even when we deny Him, because
one verse earlier Paul settled this question. It is a contrast between
us, if we are faithless, and Him, who is always faithful. Christ is
never going to be faithless! We may choose to be faithless but He
is never that way. He is always faithful.


Reading further, let us go to James 5:19-20:

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and
someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back
a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will
cover a multitude of sins.”

The phrase “If anyone among you wanders from the
truth”, makes clear that a brother – and this text refers to brothers:
“My brothers, if anyone among you..” – can wander from the truth.
What does this mean? He can err in teaching and be led astray – as
those Galatians who wanted to follow the law as means of getting
justified – or follow after sinful practices. Concerning the latter,
we are not speaking here about a sin while we are walking on the
right way (see later our discussion on 1 John). Rather we are
speaking of somebody who wanders from the truth, wanders
from the light and walks now in darkness. So, is it possible that
“anyone among us” wanders from the truth? Unfortunately, yes it

Now James says that if a brother brings back somebody
who wanders from the truth he “will save his soul from death”. The
passage, speaking about death of that soul, makes clear that if the
respective person does not return he will not at the end receive
eternal life but the exact opposite of it. And this despite the fact
that he was once on the right path. The same truth we find also in
other places in the epistles. Here are some:

Romans 8:13
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the
Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Galatians 6:7-8
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows,
that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will
from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit
will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Hebrews 10:26-27
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain
fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will
devour the adversaries.”

We reap eternal life when we run the race of faith, sowing
to the Spirit and to the new nature. Paul is very clear: “the one
who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” This
does not mean that we are faultless or sinless. Nobody is. These
however are mistakes while on the way. We strive to live a life of
righteousness and sometimes we may have some episodes of sin
here and there. But they are just that: episodes, not something we
are really practicing, living as a way of life. If however, we
essentially live a life of sin, we work lawlessness, we live -
habitually and as a way of life - according to the flesh, then we
will reap what we sowed and from what we read this is “a fearful
expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire”, corruption and death.
Now some may ask: “but why? Is it not salvation by faith?” Yes it
is, but true faith and living according to the flesh never go
together. They are mutually exclusive. We cannot be in both at the
same time.


Moving on in 1 Timothy 4 we read:

1 Timothy 4:1-3
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the
faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences
have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry
and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created
to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who
know the truth.”

If somebody who came to the faith could never abandon it
then it would also be impossible for these people the Spirit is
speaking about here to do that. But as it is obvious this is not
impossible. How does it happen in their case? By falling victim to
false teachers, who in turn are but instruments of deceiving
spirits. We spoke previously about two main groups of false
teachers. It seems to me that the false teachers of the above
passage belong to the second group, the legalistic one, which uses
false humility and promotes that a person can supposedly come to
God through such things as abstinence from food or denying
marriage. This is again so relevant. In fact it was only a few
hundred years after Paul wrote the above, in the council of Elvira
in 306 AD when, according to Canon 33: “all bishops, presbyters,
and deacons and all other clerics were to abstain completely from
their wives and not to have children" thus opening the way to the
obligation of celibacy, which later became a requirement for
ministers of some denominations.

False teachers will always lead people astray and we need
to watch out. It is nevertheless impossible to watch out if we do
not know for ourselves what the Word of God says. Are we reading
the Word of God on our own, without the “glasses” of cherished
doctrines, or do we essentially base our faith on what others say
about the Word? There are many cherished beliefs that people
have, yet sad to say: they would not arrive to them by reading the Bible
on their own, without somebody teaching them these beliefs. They only
“see” these “truths”, if they put on the particular “glasses” of
interpreting Scripture that somebody has given them. But the
Scripture interprets itself and needs no such glasses.

Closing this section I exhort us: let us pick up our Bible
and read it thoroughly, focusing on what the text says and
without filtering the text through theories and theological
doctrines we may have heard. God says what He means and He
means what He says. If a particular doctrine is in the Bible, you
will clearly see it when you read it. But if a doctrine can only be
“seen”, after you put on particular “glasses” of interpreting the
Scriptures, I would be very careful in considering this doctrine as

To see an example of how Paul meant faith and that for
him it was not just a confession but a way of living, let’s go to 1
Timothy 5. There Paul is writing to Timothy about the widows
and the obligations that children and grandchildren have to them.
Verses 3 and 4 tell us:

1 Timothy 5:3-4
“Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has
children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to
their own household and to make some return to their parents, for
this is pleasing in the sight of God.”

God cares for the widows and He commanded that first
children and grandchildren take care of their needs. This is the
declared will of God. Now let’s suppose that a believer with
widows in his family, denies to do this. Paul speaks about this
case in no unclear terms in 1 Timothy 5:8:

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially
for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse
than an unbeliever.”

I do not think anybody would speak like this today. People
today are afraid of speaking the truth, lest they offend somebody.
But Paul did not have such problems and I am sure he loved the
people probably more than all of us. In fact I believe he did not
have such concerns exactly because he loved them. Paul and the
other apostles and first and foremost the Lord Himself, never
considered faith as something that cannot be denied, nor did they
consider someone faithful just because he said so. When Paul said
to the Corinthians to examine themselves whether they were in
the faith, he was not referring to people who had verbally denied
the Lord. These were definitely not in the faith. Instead he was
referring to believers, to people who thought that they were in the
faith and yet perhaps denied to practice it, denying for example to
take care of the members of their household, including their
widowed mother or grandmother. Such ones were not in the faith
and though they had never verbally denied the Lord, they did so
practically, by their acts. Therefore, denying the faith does not
mean I stand up and make a confession with my mouth against
the faith (though this can happen too). More frequently it means I
deny to practice it, to do - consistently and habitually - what
accompanies the faith, living it out. Paul, using the case of a so
called believer who denied taking care of his household, said that
he had denied the faith and he was worse than an unbeliever.


In John 8:3-11 we have an indicative record of the Lord’s
great love, compassion and forgiveness for sinners. Let’s read it:

John 8:3-11
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been
caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him,
"Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now
in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what
do you say?" This they said to test him, that they might have some
charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his
finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood
up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be
the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down
and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away
one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left
alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and
said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned
you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I
condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."

See the great love of the Lord. He in no way wants the
death of the wicked but that the wicked returns and lives. As we
read in Ezekiel 33:11:

Ezekiel 33:11
“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in
the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; 
turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O
house of Israel?”

This was and is the will of God for the ungodly: He wants
him to repent and turn back. He in no way wants his
condemnation, his death. This does not mean that He is
indifferent to sin. But to the sinner, He says: “I do not condemn
you. The past is past. Go and from now on sin no more”! Please note
here: He does not just say “neither do I condemn you”, but also
“go and from now on sin no more”. Therefore He expects something
from the sinner: to go and sin no more. May we be thankful for
His forgiveness and instead of taking it for granted, may we take
it as it truly is: a new beginning and may we strive to go and from
now on sin no more.


In Luke 8:20-21 we read how and who Jesus defined to be
His brothers and His very own:

Luke 8:20-21
“And it was told to Him by some, who said, Your mother and
Your brothers are standing outside desiring to see You. And He
answered and said to them, My mother and My brothers are those
who hear the Word of God and do it.”

Those who hear and also do the Word are the brothers of
Jesus. As we have repeatedly seen up to now, it is for Jesus the
doing of the Word that matters. The hearing of the Word should
also be followed by acting on what we heard.


Moving now to 1 Corinthians 5 and starting from verse 1
we read about some great sexual immorality that was going on in
the Corinthian church.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you,
and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his
father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn?
Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For
though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I
have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a
thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and
my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to
deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

Among whom was there sexual immorality? “Among
you”, among the believers, Paul says. This immediately tells us
that a believer is indeed capable of such things as practicing
sexual immorality of the worst kind that even the pagans could
not tolerate. Now I would like to ask us the following: would the
people who practiced these things and who were obviously
“believers”, be saved, if they did not repent for what they were
practicing? This is a rather rhetorical question as the answer is in
the text and the way Paul reacted to the situation. Let’s see it again:

1 Corinthians 5:4-5
“When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my
spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to
deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

The reason that this man should have been delivered to
Satan was to lead him to repentance, through the “destruction of
the flesh” that this would bring, “so that his spirit may be saved in
the day of the Lord”. To say it differently: if the flesh, the old man,
of this person was crushed and he repented then his spirit, he
himself, would be saved in the day of the Lord. From this it is
obvious that if this “destruction of the flesh” would not happen
and this person would not repent, then his spirit would not be
saved in the day of the Lord. Paul, in order to avoid this and bring
repentance, says deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of
the flesh. But did those who were practicing such and similar sins
finally repent? In 2 Corinthians Paul follows up on the matter of
sexual immorality in the Corinthian church. Here is what he says:

2 Corinthians 12:21
“I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before
you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned
earlier and have not repented of the impurity and fornication and
lasciviousness that they have practiced.”

As we see it was not just one but many who were living in
impurity, fornication and lasciviousness. As we also see, many of
these people had NOT repented and we do not know whether
they ever really did.

A couple of things that I would like us to notice concerning
these people: what they were doing was not a sin while being on
the right way. This was not an episode of sin, but, as the text says,
their practice, what they did habitually and as a way of life. They
were working lawlessness to use the words of the Lord (Matthew
7:23). If they would not repent, would they find the door of the
Kingdom open and the King waiting for them to welcome them in,
just because once upon a time they believed? The answer is no.
Because it is clear from Matthew 7:21-23 that the King will not
welcome but rather send away those who work lawlessness:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the
kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father
who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your
name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I
declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of

In contrast to many today who have chosen to ignore the
above reality, Paul did not ignore it. That is why he was rather
upset that the church in Corinth was arrogant and had not taken
action to discipline these people so that they might repent and
their spirit “may be saved in the day of the Lord”.


I left for last two of the “heaviest” passages in this chapter,
which are incidentally similar: 2 Peter 2 and Jude. Let’s start from
2 Peter. This epistle has three chapters. The biggest of the three is
devoted to the description of some very dangerous people related
to the topic we are discussing here. We saw already parts of this
chapter in a previous section. But let’s read now a big part of it:

2 Peter 2:1-19
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will
be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in
destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them,
bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow
their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be
blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false
words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their
destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when
they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains
of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not
spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of
righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon
the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making
them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and
if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual
conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among
them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over
their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows
how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous
under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those
who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the
glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and
power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them
before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of
instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about
matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their
destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing.
They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and
blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.
They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice
unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed
children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have
followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from
wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a
speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the
prophet's madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven
by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been
reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual
passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those
who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they
themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a
person, to that he is enslaved.”

Many oppose the idea that the people we read about were
ever believers. And indeed, up to here somebody may say that it
is perhaps not 100% clear whether the people Peter is speaking
about were ever Christians, though there are some indications:
they denied the Master who bought them. Also as we read:
“Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray”. How could
somebody forsake the right way if he was never in the right way?
Nevertheless, the verses of 2 Peter that follow leave no doubt that
these people were once part of the family of the believers but
eventually turned back, returning to the defilements of the world:

2 Peter 2:20-22
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again
entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse
for them than the first. For it would have been better for them
never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to
turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the
true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its
own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow
in the mire."

That these people were once believers is obvious from the
following facts:

i) they had escaped the defilements of the world through the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It speaks about
knowing the Lord here and you cannot know Him without faith.
Even as believers, knowing the Lord Jesus Christ is an aim and
not something that happens automatically.

That these people were once of the family of the believers
with personal knowledge of the Lord becomes undeniable by the
use of the Greek word “epignosis”. This word does not mean just
head knowledge or simply knowledge. In contrast it means
precise knowledge that is applied in practice. Here is how Vine’s
dictionary defines this word:

Epignosis: "denotes" exact or full knowledge, discernment,
recognition," expressing a fuller or a full "knowledge," a greater
participation by the "knower" in the object "known," thus more
powerfully influencing him" (emphasis added)

Epignosis is the noun form of the verb “epiginosko”.
About this verb, Vine says:

"it denotes "to observe, fully perceive, notice attentively, discern,
recognize" and "suggests generally a directive, a more special,
recognition of the object "known" than does [ginosko]; it also may
suggest advanced "knowledge" or special appreciation; thus, in
Rom. 1:32, "knowing the ordinance of God" (epiginosko) means
"knowing full well," whereas in verse Rom. 1:21 "knowing God"
(ginosko) simply suggests that they could not avoid the
perception. Sometimes epiginosko implies a special participation
in the object "known," and gives greater weight to what is stated;
thus in John 8:32, "ye shall know the truth," ginosko is used,
whereas in 1 Tim. 4:3, "them that believe and know the truth,"
epiginosko lays stress on participation in the truth." (emphasis added)

An unbeliever may hear about God but if the Word does
not enter his heart it will never lead to real knowledge of Jesus
Christ, let alone full perception as the word “epignosis” denotes.

Just for the record, here are some examples where the
word “epignosis” is used in connection to knowing God and the
Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 4:11-14
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the
shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of
ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to
the unity of the faith and of the knowledge [epignosis] of the Son of
God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to
and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Ephesians 1:17
“the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give
you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge
[epignosis] of him”

Colossians 1:9-10
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for
you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge [epiginosko]
of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to
walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him,
bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge
[epignosis] of God.”

Colossians 2:1-2
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and
for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to
face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in
love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and
the knowledge [epignosis] of God's mystery, which is Christ.”

Colossians 3:9-10
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self
with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being
renewed in knowledge [epignosis] after the image of its creator.”

2 Timothy 2:24-25
“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to
everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his
opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them
repentance leading to a knowledge [epignosis] of the truth”

I think that we could not seriously support that any of
these passages referring to knowing (epignosis) God and His Son
could also apply to unbelievers. I wonder though why then some
so fiercely oppose the idea that these people of 2 Peter were once
believers, when it is so clearly written in the Word that they go
back to the defilements of the world, after they had initially
escaped them “through the knowledge [epignosis] of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ”, the same knowledge that is the aim and the
prayer for all of us, the believers? I would instruct us instead of
fighting what is clearly written in the Word of God in order to
support whatever cherished doctrines we may have, to submit to
the Word accepting it like little children, especially since to Him,
to the living Word of God, we will one day give account.

ii) That these people in 2 Peter were once believers is also obvious
by the fact that, “the holy commandment was delivered unto
them”. Could a holy commandment ever be delivered to
unbelievers? I do not think so. Speaking about commandment
brings to my mind what Paul said to Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:12-14:
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to
which you were called and about which you made the good
confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the
presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus,
who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good
confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from
reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Really, why would Paul charge Timothy to keep the
commandment unstained if it was impossible that he would ever
stain it?

Back to those of 2 Peter: they were recipients of the “holy
commandment”, which in a broad sense I take to mean the Word
of God and what it commands us. As for example 1 John 3:23 tells

“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his
Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded

Furthermore, these people also got to know the way of
righteousness. Again the word “know” is a translation of the
Greek word “epiginosko” i.e. it is not a simple knowledge that is
meant but a rather deep and good knowledge of the way of
righteousness. Could this really happen to people that are not
believers? No it could not. What I believe the above facts very
clearly say is that these people belonged originally to the family of
the believers, but then they apostatized from the faith. To
apostatize means to belong somewhere and then betray it, turning
back, moving away from it. Such apostates were also those of 2
Peter 2.

What will the end of these people be? The answer is in the
following parts of 2 Peter 2:

“For it would have been better for them never to have known the way
of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy
commandment delivered to them.”


“bringing upon themselves swift destruction”

Posted January 9, 2015
To be continued on next post...

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