Backsliding

2Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 

‘If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein’ one of 1,522 IF’s in the Bible, plainly indicating that all can and some do escape the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Yet some are again entangled therein, becoming worse than they were before they found Christ. Here some proofs follow that these are backsliders: In 2Peter 2:4, Peter warns men that God sent three great catastrophes upon angels and men because of their backslidings and sins. One may argue that the ante-deluvians (pre-flood inhabitants) and Sodom and Gomorrah were not backsliders and had nothing to backslide from, but this argument cannot possibly hold true of the angels that sinned, which, as is acknowledged by all, were created sinless and holy and in God’s grace and blessings. They sinned and are now in hell (2:4; Jude 1:6-7). Angels are definitely called sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4 and Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7. Hence sonship, whether by creation or adoption, will not keep God from damning any angels or men who rebel and sin and who do not get right with Him. In 2Peter 1:5-15, it is clear that Peter lays down conditions to be met if one is not to fall.

One could not forsake or abandon the straight-way if he had not been in it. If they went astray from the right and straight-way, they were one time in it. When we look at 2Peter 1:4; 2:18, 20 we see that the first verse proves that escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust is at the time one partakes of the divine nature, thus it is not possible that these people are not saved or born again at such a time. This confirms that they were one time believers or they would not have had the experiences of like precious faith, grace, peace, and godliness which come with such knowledge, as proved in 2Peter 1:1-4.

The words “again entangled therein, and overcome” (2:20), prove they were once free from such pollutions or they could not be entangled and overcome in and by them again. The statement, “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning,” proves that they were once saved and could have had a better ending than the beginning if they had not become entangled again in the pollutions of the world (2:20).

Peter’s explanation of why it would have been better not to have known the way of righteousness, than after knowing it, to turn away, becoming entangled and overcome by sins again, proves that they were once saved and in the way of righteousness, actually knowing the Christian way (2:21).

The illustration of the sow and the dog proves that they were once saved and that they had gone back into sin again as a dog returns to his vomit and the washed sow to her wallowing in the mire (2:22). If this does not illustrate Christians going back into sin again, it has no point. To argue that it does not refer to Christians returning to sin again on the pretext that the sow always remains a sow and the dog always remains a dog proves nothing, for the same is true of lost sheep, coins, and men (Luke 15:1-32). They always remain what they are when found as do sows and dogs. In none of these illustrations is there a change made in the sow, dog, sheep, coin or lost son. The point is that the sheep, the coin, and lost son were found, and the sow and the dog went back to their old ways. Even a born-again person is not changed into another species; he is still a human being, he is simply cleansed from sin like the sow that was washed (1Jn. 1:7, 9; Rev. 1:5). If he wants to remain cleansed from sin he must walk in the light and in the Spirit (1Jn. 1:7; Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 8:12-13). To argue that the sow was never washed or the dog was never free from vomit is meaningless.

The warning of 2Peter 3:14 proves that some might not be without spot and blameless and the warning of 3:16 proves that it is possible to go into sin and fall from steadfastness in Christ.

‘Pollutions’ [Greek: miasmata] things that infect, pollute, and defile. It is used still today of the contagion of dangerous diseases and of decaying bodies, stagnant water, and putrid matter. The world is here pictured as putrid and full of contagion of sin and uncleanness (1:4; 2:20).

‘Entangled therein’ [Greek: empleko] to plait or weave in; interweave; entangle. This shows to what extent they had escaped from the pollutions of the world and was then entangled again. ‘The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire’ partially quoted from Proverbs 26:11. Here are some examples of those who returned to sin (Aaron and David repented): Aaron and Israel (Ex. 32:32-33; Deut. 32:16-18; 1Cor. 10:1-11; Jude 1:5); Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-20); Korah and company (Num. 16:1-50); King Saul (1Sam. 10:13-24; 16:12-23; 1Chron. 10:13-14); many disciples of Jesus (John 6:66); David (2Sam. 11-12; Ps. 51:1-19); Judas Iscariot (Ps. 41:9; 55:12-14; 69:25-28; 109:8; Matt. 26:24; John 13:18; Acts 1:1-26); Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-14); many Galatians (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:4; 6:7-8); many early Christians (1Tim. 1:19-20; 5:8-20; 6:1-21; 2Tim. 2:18-21); Demas (2Tim. 4:10); whole congregations (Rev. 2-3).

Forsaken the Right Way

2Peter 2:15-19 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 

‘Have forsaken the right way’ three great sins of Balaam are noted (Numbers 22:1-24:25): The way of Balaam (2:15). This was the love of the wages of unrighteousness and coveting the gifts of Balak (Num. 22:7, 17, 37; 24:11). The error of Balaam (Jude 1:11). This was accepting the wages of unrighteousness for his services in giving the secret of how to get God to curse Israel (Jude 1:11; Num. 31:8, 16). The doctrine of Balaam (Rev. 2:14). This was to teach Balak that if he would give his most beautiful women to the Israelite men and cause them to commit idolatry and adultery that God Himself would curse Israel (Num. 25:1-9; 21:8, 16).

‘Rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb donkey which spoke with a man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet’ we see from Numbers 22:22-35 the story of Balaam’s iniquity which can be summarized as follows: His disrespect for God’s word and integrity when he was forbidden to go and curse Israel (Num. 22:12-20) which he wanted to do because of his covetousness for reward (Num. 22:7, 17, 37; 24:11). We see his hypocrisy in trying to persuade God to let him go (Num. 22:19) and we see his seeming desire and attempt to curse Israel (Num. 22:14; Deut. 23:4-5; Jos. 24:10). Then there is his stubbornness about going in spite of God’s command (Num. 22:19-35) and his lack of desire to do God’s perfect will (Num. 22:12-22). We see his perverseness (Num. 22:32) and his refusal to wait until the men called for him, and arising early to go with the enemies of Israel (Num. 22:20). He tries to persuade God to cooperate with him, through repeated sacrifices, so he could get the reward (Num. 22:19; 23:1-3, 14-15; 24:1) and his tiresome willingness to use every means in seeking to get the reward like most false prophets/teachers today (Num. 22:8, 19; 24:1; 2Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 1:11; Rev. 2:14). God foresaw the backsliding of His prophet through covetousness, and how the destruction of many people would ultimately result from the doctrine of Balaam.

‘Wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever’ two symbols of false prophets/teachers: Wells without water and clouds without rain. In the desert it is distressing to find wells without water and clouds that dissipate without rain. So are false teachers who are as unprofitable as an empty well and as a dissipated cloud. We are warned in Matthew 7:15 to stay away from false prophets/teachers. There are seven ways false prophets are known: By their outward general conduct (Matt. 5:20; 6:1-24; 7:15; 23:1-33; 2Tim. 3:5); by inward their state (Matt. 5:22, 28; 7:15; 23:25-28; Mark 7:21-23); by the kind of fruit in works produced (Matt. 7:16-20; 23:1-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Php. 1:15-17; 3:3, 17-19); by the kind of fruit in doctrine taught (Matt. 7:16-20; 12:33-37; 15:1-9; 16:12; 23:1-33; 1Tim. 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 3:1-8; 4:1-4; 2Pet. 2:1-22); by professing to do, but not doing the will of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21; 23:1-33); by satanic backing usually drawing huge crowds and popularity (Matt. 7:22; 24:24; Acts 8:9-13; 13:6-13; 16:16-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; 2Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:13-16; 19:20); professing to come in the name of the Lord, but they use their own names to promote themselves and their ministries (John 5:43; 1Tim. 6:3-6).

‘For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh’ false teachers cannot give the water of life, but they can damn souls by the methods used in this verse (1Tim. 1:3-4; 4:7; 2Tim. 2:15-17; 4:3-4).

‘Wantonness’ [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness and lustfulness. Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sexual sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians – so that lasciviousness may not be committed.

‘In error’ this error refers to the vile affections of the homosexual sins, as is clear here and in Romans 1:27.

‘While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption’ false teachers promise liberty from the condemnation of sinful lusts, but they themselves are not free.

‘For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’ This verse states clearly that whatever rule over us (overcome) we brought us in bondage, thus we will serve it (Rom. 6:15-23). That’s why it is important to forsake all (Matt. 10:37-39) so that you can serve the one and only true God that will never put you in bondage (Rom. 8:15-17).

To Be Punished

2Peter 2:9-15 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness 

‘To deliver the godly out of temptation’ the godly are not preserved from temptations, but delivered out of them (1Cor. 10:13; Jas. 1:2, 12-15; 1Pet. 1:7; 4:12). These include trials of any kind, not necessarily temptation to sin (Jas. 1:2-4, 12; 1Pet. 1:7).

‘To be punished’ this is the 4th New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. It is clear from the Word of God that the wicked will be punished eternally in hell (Isa. 66:22-24; Matt. 8:12; 13:42-43, 50; 18:8-9; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-49; 12:40; Luke 3:17; 12:4-5; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; 21:8; 22:15). Let us have grace and serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for God will punish by fire (Heb. 12:28-29).

‘Them that walk after the flesh’ here it refers to the sins of sodomites (please note that even though a specific sin is discussed here, those who commit for example adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (Gal. 5:19), are mostly guilty of the same attitude and arrogance): they commit homosexual sins (2:10; Rom. 1:1-32); they despise government and law (2:10); they are presumptuous, bold, daring, headstrong and reckless (2:10; Rom. 1:29-32); they are self-willed and self-sufficient in their own eyes (2:10); they speak evil of lawful authority (2:10); they live like brute beasts (2:12); they speak evil and blasphemy (2:12); they commit sins in open daylight and without sense of shame (2:13); they make sport of their deceptions (2:13); they have eyes full of adultery (2:14); they beguile innocent and unstable souls leading them into perversion (2:14); they have forsaken the right way (2:15-22); they live in covetousness (2:14-15); they are braggarts and boasters (2:18); they seduce and allure others to surrender chastity and live in lusts (2:18); they promise people liberty from sin but they themselves are sinful (2:19).

Such are the chief ones reserved for punishment in eternal hell (2:10). ‘Lust of uncleanness’ this is definitely the homosexual sin (Rom. 1:24-27).

‘Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them, before the Lord’ the idea here is that the holy angels who are given the responsibility to report to God of the actions of fallen angels and wicked men, do not rashly accuse or condemn, but merely report facts as they are without bitterness and railing. They are courteous in their reports (Zech. 3:1; Jude 1:9).

‘As natural brute beasts’ like animals that are void of reason, following depraved instincts. ‘They feast with you’ they attend your love feasts and pose as godly men while in your midst.

‘Eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin’ the images of sinful acts are continually lingering before their eyes. They revel in imaginations of lustful acts. ‘Beguiling unstable souls’ they seduce the innocent, unwary, inexperienced, light, and trifling women and even men to surrender chastity.

God Spared Not

2Peter 2:4-8 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)

‘For if God spared not the angels …’ over one-third of God’s holy angels rebelled with Lucifer (Rev. 12:3, 7-12) and became destined to hell with satan (Matt. 25:41; Isa. 24:21). Many of these committed the additional sin of fornication and are now in hell (2Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6-7). Angels are sons of God (Gen. 6:1-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7) and yet those who sin are to be punished forever in hell, so sonship is no unforfeitable guarantee of heaven. Three examples of judgment are given: [1] The fallen angels (2Pet. 2:4). They rebelled with Lucifer when he ruled the earth and when he invaded heaven to dethrone God in the pre-Adamite period (Gen. 1:1-2; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-17; Jer. 4:23-26; Luke 10:18; 2Pet. 3:5-8). [2] The ante-deluvians [pre-flood humans] (2:5; Genesis 6-8); [3] and Sodom and Gomorrah (2:6; Gen. 19:1-38).

‘Sinned’ it does not say here what sin they committed causing them to be confined to hell, but Jude 1:6-7 and Genesis 6:1-4 tell us that they committed fornication, living with the daughters of men contrary to their own nature and produced races of giants on earth which caused a lot of human destruction (Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:33; Deut. 1:28; 2:10-11, 21; 9:2; Josh. 11:21-22; 14:12-14). These angels committed sin beyond that of falling with Lucifer, and they are now confined to hell for that sin. If all the fallen angels had committed such sin they all would now be bound in hell and none loose with the devil to fight against God in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, 3 1/2 years before the second coming of Christ (Rev. 12:7-17). It would not be just to bind some and not all if the same sin was committed by all. Thus it is clear that there are two classes of fallen angels – those now bound and those now loose with satan.

‘Hell’ [Greek: tartaroo] from tartaros (Latin, tartarus), a dark abyss; a place of punishment. Eight facts about Tartarus: It is a prison for angels and is located under the earth (2:4); it is a place of confinement for angels until the judgment (2:4; Rev. 20:11-15; Jude 1:6); A place visited by Christ when He went to hell (Ps. 16:10; 1Pet. 3:19); It is a place of darkness, eternal fire and vengeance (Jude 1:6-7). The word is used only here but in Greek writings tartarus was held to be a place in the earth lower than hades were the Titans, the primeval deities or the giants who were supposed to be the first children of the earth and even older than the Greek gods, was cast when they lost their war with Zeus.

‘Chains’ [Greek: seira] a cord; rope; chain. It could mean literal chains, for the Greek in Jude 1:6 are desmos which is a band; fetter; halter; imprisonment. Angels can be bound by literal chains and confined to prisons as we see from Revelation 9:1-2, 14; 20:1-3, 7, 10.

‘Of darkness’ Jude 1:6 reads under darkness. The Greek word zophos is used here. It is literal, not spiritual.

‘Spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly’ we read this history in Genesis 6:1-8:22. ‘Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes’ See Genesis 19:1-38 for this part of history.

‘Those that after should live ungodly’ Peter refers to God’s judgment when He did not spare the angels, the ante-deluvians, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and that He will not spare any man who lives ungodly, including the backslider (2:9-22).

‘Filthy’ [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness and lustfulness. Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sexual sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians – so that lasciviousness may not be committed.

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrophe] conduct, behaviour or manner of life; the whole conduct of life in domestic and public relations. Here it refers to sodomy.

False Prophets and Teachers

2Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not. 

‘False prophets also among the people …’ this is the 3rd New Testament prophecy in 2Peter being fulfilled. [Greek: pseudoprophetes] False prophets (2:1; Matt. 7:15, note; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; Acts 13:6; 1Jn. 4:1; Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). ‘False teachers’ [Greek: pseudodidaskalos] false teachers. Compare with false brethren in 2Corinthians 11:26 and Galatians 2:4. ‘Privily’ cunningly and secretly. The enemy steals the Word of God from men’s minds (Matt. 13:19) through deceptions and false religions (2Cor. 11:14; 1Tim. 4:1-16; Rev. 12:9) and we cannot listen to false teachers’ teachings and think we will afterwards understand God’s Word at all (1Tim. 4:1-2; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 2: 16-17; 2Jn. 1:10).

‘Damnable heresies, even denying the Lord’ heresies of destruction that will damn the soul. All deviation from the truth is heresy (2:1; Gal. 5:20; 1Cor. 11:19). True Christians apply it to all false religions who do not accept the true Christian doctrines even though the Jews called the Christians a sect (Acts 24:5, 14; 28:22) as did Christians correctly called the Pharisees and Sadducees and other groups sects (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 26:5).

‘The Lord that bought them’ as the slave is the sole property of his master, so we, having been bought by the precious blood of Christ, are not our own (1Cor. 6:19-20; 7:23; 1Pet. 1:18-23).

‘Bring upon themselves swift destruction’ deviating from God’s Word will most definitely bring destruction to anyone as the enemy will and can destroy all who is not armoured and prepared for his devices (Eph. 6:10 – 18).

‘Pernicious ways’ heresies of destruction; some texts read “follow their lasciviousness” or “their lust of the flesh.” ‘By reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of’ – lusts and slander of the truth have destroyed multitudes. People ‘hear’ (Rom. 10:17) what false leaders or teachers say and are programmed according to their opinions and beliefs. We must study the Word ourselves (2 Tim. 2:15) to confirm what God says – on the whole subject – and not trust what others say or what their opinions are. Be careful to misquote the Word of God by adding or taking away thereof (Deut. 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19). We ourselves must live in obedience to God’s Word (Rom. 6:16; 2Cor. 10:5-6) and become doers (Jas. 1:19-24) in all He commands.

‘Covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you’ in order to get money to spend upon their own lusts, they fabricate counterfeit doctrines, false theories and fake miracles to deceive.

‘Long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not’ God predicted their punishment long ago and their damnation is sure.

Prophetic Word

2Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 

‘More sure word of prophecy’ we have a more sure word of prophecy than the oracles of heathen priests who fake messages from their idol gods. Oracles [Greek: logion], as described in 1Peter 4:11, is a divine answer to a question. It always implies a speech purely celestial, in which man has no part (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12). Heathen gave the highest respect to oracles from their gods. They held them as sacred and inviolable and did scarcely anything in business, war, making peace, or making laws without an oracle. How much more should Christians obey the Bible which they hold to be the oracles of God! Heathen gave many presents to their priests to get an oracle that could be interpreted either way a matter happened, but Christians have an infallible revelation in all affairs of life – and it is free.

‘Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts’ this is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. This refers to the second coming of Christ, which was so signally foreshadowed on the mount of transfiguration (Num. 24:17; Mal. 4:2).

‘Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation’ this is the first principle of truth, that no prophecy is self-originated by the speaker or from a mere impulse of the prophet’s own mind. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (1:20-21). ‘Private’ [Greek: idios] one’s own; personal; private. Translated his own 76 times, and private only here.

‘Interpretation’ [Greek: epilusis] a release. It means no prophecy is of personal release or from the prophet’s [New Testament the office was called apostles, not prophets] own mind or from human impulse.

‘Prophecy’ the predominant Hebrew verb meaning “to prophesy” is naba’ which not only has to do with foretelling events, but also with praying and making supplication. The prophet [Hebrew: nabiy] was not by office a declarer of future events, but primarily a preacher of righteousness for his day (Neh. 6:7; Hos. 12:10; Acts 3:21; 1Pet. 1:10-12). He foresaw future events in the light of the righteousness or wickedness of the people to whom God made everlasting covenants. His main work was to urge men to live righteously and godly according to the Law of Moses (Old Testament times – Genesis to Christ’s crucifixion). His other work was to warn of events to come in view of the attitude of the people concerning the will of God and to pray and make supplication for the people and for God to be merciful. The prophet’s predictions of things to come were chiefly conditional, and many of their prophecies were stated in conditional terms. The unconditional prophecies were the fixed plans of God concerning necessary events to bring the earth into complete submission to Himself again and do away with sin, rebellion, and enemies so His eternal program could finally be realized (1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21:22). Other events were flexible and based on obedience or disobedience to God in the ordinary fulfilment of the general plan.

‘Old time’ referring to the Old Testament times (Heb. 1:1) when the Father spoke (oral Word) through prophets and in the New Testament times through Jesus Christ who spoke through His apostles (Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2; Rom. 1:1; 1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; 1Pet. 1:1; 2Pet. 1:1; etc.) so that we have the written Word today.

‘Moved by’ [Greek: phero] to bear along. The prophets were borne along or moved by the Holy Spirit. They uttered things far beyond their knowledge and searched diligently the meaning (1Pet. 1:10-12).

The Excellent Glory

2Peter 1:16-18 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

‘Cunningly devised fables’ Peter evidently refers to the fables of the heathen priests about their gods. He declares that he and others were eyewitnesses of Christ and His transfiguration (1:16-18). Today we have the fables (1Tim. 4:7; 2Tim. 4:3-4) are made up when so-called preachers tell stories to entertain and make their hearers feel good about themselves and their relationship with God instead of teaching the Word of God (2Tim. 4:2, 5) that was given that we can live purified lives (Tit. 2:14; Jas. 4:8) instead of in bondage (2:19-22; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 5:1) to the dictates of this world, sin and satan 1Jn. 5:18).

‘Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty’ this refers to the transfiguration which was an actual demonstration of Christ coming in His glory to earth to set up His kingdom (Matt. 16:27-28; 17:1-8; 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21).

‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ God has declared by an audible voice that Jesus of Nazareth is His beloved Son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; 20:13).

‘We heard, when we were with him in the holy mount’ three disciples heard God’s voice and saw the glory of God and the appearance of Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:1-8) at the transfiguration when they were sent to confirm the following: The abolition of the lawof Moses (Matt. 11:11-13; Luke 16:16; Gal. 3:19-25; 4:21-31; 2Cor. 3:6-15; Col. 2:14-17). The fulfilment of prophecies of the sufferings of the Messiah (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45; John 1:45; Acts 13:29-41). Christ as the Messiah, the sole authority from God and the Mediator between God and man (Acts 3:22-23; Heb. 1:1-2; 1Tim. 2:5). The reality and consciousness of departed spirits (Luke 16:19-31; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11). The immortality of the soul (1Pet. 3:4; 4:6; Ps. 16:10; Luke 20:38). The second coming, rewards and punishments (Matt. 16:27; 24:29 – 25:46). Physical resurrection (Matt. 17:9; John 5:28-29; 1Cor. 15:1-58; Rev. 20:4-15). The reality of the future eternal kingdom (Matt. 16:28; 17:1-9; Rev. 5:10; 11:15; 20:1-10).

In Remembrance

2Peter 1:11-15 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me. Moreover I will endeavour that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 

‘For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly’ ten things that guarantee abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God: Obtain like precious faith (1:1); increase in grace and peace (1:2); live a godly life by God’s power (1:3; 5-13); partake of the divine nature (1:4); escape the corruption of the world and the lust of the flesh (1:4); add the graces of 2Peter 1:5-7; let these graces abound (1:8); be fruitful in knowledge (1:8); live free from past sins (1:9); give diligence to make personal calling and election sure (1:10).

An allusion is made here to Roman generals who were given triumphal parades as a reward for some signal victory or conquest. A public and solemn honour was conferred upon a victorious general, by allowing him a magnificent procession through the city of Rome. This was not granted by the Senate unless he had gained a very decisive victory or conquered a province. On such occasions, the general was clad in purple and gold woven in figures setting forth his achievements. He wore a crown and in one hand held a branch of laurel, the emblem of victory. In the other, he carried his staff. He rode a magnificent chariot, adorned with ivory and plates of gold, and drawn by white horses. To keep him humble in the midst of all this a slave rode at his back, casting railings and reproaches and enumerating his vices and failures. Musicians led the procession; young men led sacrifices to be offered; then came loads of spoil, followed by the kings, princes, and generals that were taken captive. After these came the triumphal chariot before which people strewed flowers and shouted triumphant cries. Following this, came the senate, priests, and the rest of the parade.

‘Everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ this is the 1st New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. Scripture is clear that Christ’s kingdom will be eternal (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 27; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 22:4-5). He will reign 1,000 years for the purpose of ridding the earth of all rebellion, and then continue reigning over the restored and perfect earth forever (1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 5:10; 20:1-10).

‘Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth’ in view of the reasons Peter have stated as necessary to enter into eternal life, he said that he will not neglect to remind believers of these things, though they already know them, and are established in them.

‘As long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance’ Peter stated here that as long as he alive he will keep believers in mind that there are certain conditions they must meet in order to enter into eternal life (1:11). ‘Tabernacle’ the human body (1:13-14; 2Cor. 5:1-9).

‘As our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me’ referring to the prediction of Christ in John 21:18-19.

‘Endeavour’ [Greek: spoudazo] to be diligent; zealous; earnest (Eph. 4:3). This word is translated “diligent” in 2Peter 1:10 and 3:14, showing Peter’s concern for Christians to make their calling and election sure by meeting the terms of eternal life. ‘Remembrance’ the third time Peter makes reference to keep in remembrance the conditions of entrance into eternal life (1:12, 13, 15; 3:1). Many today emphasize forgetting any conditions of eternal life. In fact, they teach that there are no conditions other than accepting Jesus, that the rest of the Christian program is up to God and that if one is lost it is God’s responsibility, not man’s.

Give Diligence

2Peter 1:8-10 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall 

‘If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’ a guarantee against backsliding (1:8-10). We see from Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” that our love for God will increase as we increase in knowledge of His Word (His thoughts, His will; etc.) and we will increase in all judgment which is the Greek word aisthesis meaning discernment. His knowledge allows us to discern between right and wrong (Heb. 5:14).

‘He that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins’ this proves that one can have the graces and experiences of 2Peter 1:3-7 and then lose them even to the point of actually forgetting he was purged from his old sins (1:8-9). Peter exhorts everyone to be diligent, making his “calling and election sure,” declaring that they who do the things of 2Peter 1:4-7 will never fall (1:10). The doctrine of calling and election has been surrounded by many traditional theories and mysteries down through the centuries, but there is no excuse for this, as the term simply means chosen. Any person or group of persons selected or chosen of God for any particular purpose is the elect of God. Christ is called God’s elect (Isa. 42:1; 1 Pet. 2:6). A particular woman in a local congregation is called an “elect lady” (2John 1:1, 13). Israel as a nation is spoken of as the elect of God (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt. 24:22-31; Mark 13:20-27; Rom. 11:7, 28; 1Pet. 1:2). The body of Christ, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, is called the elect of God (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1Thess. 1:4; Tit. 1:1). Angels are also called the elect of God (1Thess. 5:21). Anyone called to be saved and chosen for any particular mission is elected of God for that work (John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16; Acts 1:2; 9:15; 15:7). Every person saved is the elect or chosen of God to salvation (John 15:19; 2Thess. 2:13; Jam. 2:5; Rev. 17:14).

It is very clear from Scripture that final election to salvation is man’s own responsibility. The Bible is very clear that man looks on the outward appearances and God looks on the heart (1Sam. 16:7; Isa. 55:8, 9). It says that God’s ways are always righteous (Ps. 145:17). He is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11; Jam. 2:9). His will is for all to be saved (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4, 5; 2Pet. 3:9). God’s will and ways are made plain in His word and all who conform to them are loved on an equal basis according to the degree of obedience. This is how God will be able to judge all men according to his ways (Prov. 24:12; Jer. 17:10; Ezek. 18:30; 33:20; Hos. 12:2; Matt. 16:27; 1Cor. 3:11-15; 2Cor. 10:9, 10; 2Tim. 4:4; Rev. 20:11-15). God repeatedly declares that He demands wholehearted service from every man (Deut. 11:13; Josh. 22:5; 1Sam. 12:20, 24; Matt. 22:37). God constantly searches the hearts of men and deals with them in order to bring them to righteousness (Job 33:14-30; Ps. 139:23; Jer. 11:20; 17:9, 10; 20:12; Heb. 4:12). Therefore, God does not choose some to be saved and others to be lost and He is not responsible for those who will be lost.

‘Give diligence to make your calling and election sure’ the second time in six verses Christians are warned to give diligence to meeting certain terms of God lest they fall into sin and be lost (1:5, 10).

‘If you do these things, you shall never fall’ one will not fall away from grace (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31) when living according to the given standard of diligence (1:5-8).

‘Fall’ [Greek: ptahyo] a form of [Greek: pipto] to trip, that is, (figuratively) to err, sin, fail (of salvation): – fall, offend, stumble, meaning to be slain, or to lose one’s favour or grace.

Life and Godliness

2Peter 1:3-7 According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 

‘Divine’ [Greek: theios] that which belongs to the Godhead. ‘Power’ [Greek: dunamis] inherent power; power to reproduce itself, like a dynamo.

‘All things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us’ this divine power is capable of giving one all things of life and godliness through the proper knowledge. ‘To glory and virtue’ the object of Christian calling.

‘Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises’ by His glorious power (1:3). ‘By these you might be partakers of the divine nature’ seven blessings of the promises are given: Like precious faith (1:1; Rom. 10:17); righteousness (1:1; 1Cor. 1:30); grace and peace (1:2); all things that pertain to life and godliness (1:3; Tit. 2:11-12); glory and virtue (1:3); the divine nature (1:4); escape from corruption and lust (1:4).

‘Corruption’ [Greek: phthora] moral corruption, decay, ruin, depravity, wickedness (1:4; 2:12, 19; Rom. 8:21; 1Cor. 15:42, 50; Gal. 6:8). Also translated “perish” (Col. 2:22) and “be destroyed” (2:12).

‘Beside this’ along with this, or by the side of your obtaining precious faith (1:1). ‘Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge’ there are seven steps in spiritual arithmetic: Add to faith virtue (Christian Virtues); add to virtue knowledge (1:5); add to knowledge temperance (Gal. 5:22); add to temperance patience; add to patience godliness (1Tim. 3:16); add to godliness brotherly kindness; add to brotherly kindness love (1Cor. 13:4).