2 Peter 2:1 “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.”
Most Christians don’t understand the importance of knowing the meanings of words when studying the Scriptures. Words in our Bibles don’t always mean what we think they mean. I have often told people that your most valuable tool in studying the Bible is a good dictionary. I recommend Webster’s 1828 dictionary because the definitions are closer to the way words were used when our Bibles were translated (KJB of course).
I recently found out myself, how important this is. For years I have been bothered by something in our text:
As I was studying this verse I decided to look up the word “denying” because, in this context, it is this word that had always bothered me. I know a lot of people who could easily be classified as false teachers who do not deny the existence of the Lord. This always kept me from using this verse in relation to them, even though, in my heart I knew that I should.
To most of us “denying the Lord that bought them” denying denying His existence or His lordship. If we look up the meaning of deny we will find it means something quite different.
Looking up the Greek word “αρνεομαι” and then the English word “deny” was like turning on a great big spotlight. The Greek word means to contradict, and guess what the English word means. It also means to contradict. When someone accuses you of something and you deny it, you are contradicting them. When someone says something is so, and you say it is not, you are denying, or contradicting, them.
You might ask why this was so enlightening to me. The answer is that I learned that this verse does not say that they said that the Lord didn’t exist or that He isn’t Lord, it says that they opposed what He said by what they said. Maybe my readers are smarter than I am and had already figured this out but it was an eyeopener for me.
Let me show how how this changes things. I will use the doctrine of salvation as an example since no doctrine is more important.
Here is a partial list of verses that say that whosoever will can be saved:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The Greek word translated “whosoever” means all, any, every. The English word means any one, any person whatever. The John 3:16 was spoken by the Lord. It is clear from what the Lord said that whosoever, or any one, or all, or every person, who believes is save.
Romans 10:13 says that any one, or all, or every person, that calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1 John 5:1 says any one, or all, or every person that believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
Revelation 22:17 says the any one, or all, or every person who will can come and drink of the water of life freely.
Remember that all of Scripture is inspired of God (the Lord). When the Lord says “whosoever” we must mean that He means any one, all, any person, etc. To say otherwise is to contradict, or deny, the Lord. To make it mean that only those who are part of the “elect” are spoken of in these passages is to add something to the Scriptures that is not there. This is a sign of a false teacher and is very dangerous.
2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It is clear that God does not want any to perish. Quite the contrary, He wants all to come to repentance.
Again, to say that any and all only refer to the “elect” is to add something that is not there. I sure wouldn’t want to be the one doing the adding.
Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, tells us “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
You would have to do some stretching to make “all men” be limited to “all of the elect.” Any unbiased reader of this passage would understand this to mean that God wants everyone, no exceptions, to be saved.
Calvinism denies the Lord on these points. God says that He wants everyone to be save and the Calvinist contradicts God by saying He only want a few, those who were preordained to salvation, to be saved.
There are passages that say we are not saved by works and there are those who say we are. Here are a couple of passages that teach salvation without works:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Those who say that works are, in any way, involved in our being saved are contradicting the Lord. It is true that works are to follow salvation (Ephesians 2:10), and it is also true that a faith that doesn’t produce works is a dead faith,(James 2:17) but they have nothing to do with receiving salvation. They are the result of a new nature that is received when one gets saved.
Another reason I used salvation for this example is that the teachings of the false teachers are called “ damnable heresies.” Here is the definition of damnable: “That may be damned or condemned; deserving damnation; worthy of eternal punishment. More generally, that which subjects or renders liable to damnation.” Notice that there are two different meanings, the specific which means “worthy of eternal punishment, and the general which means liable (exposed to the danger of) to damnation.
The Greek word for “damnable” is a derivative of a word which means to destroy fully. The heresies taught by these false teachers will fully destroy those who espouse them. Those who listen to them are liable to, or in danger of being fooled into accepting them and being fully destroyed thereby.
Fortunately the Scriptures teach one who is truly saved cannot lose his salvation. Because of our security in Christ there are those who are truly saved who sadly believe false doctrine. They are saved in spite of what they believe, not because of it. They cannot lose there salvation, but they can lose reward in Heaven.
2 Peter 2:2 gives us a grave danger that that flows from those who contradict the Lord. “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” This result is seen on every side today. The way of truth, biblical Christianity, is surely “evil spoken of” today.
Not every false doctrine is a damnable heresy. Damnable heresies are those false doctrines that leave people in danger of eternal punishment. It should be obvious that any doctrine that affects our salvation would be fit this description. They would include, but not be limited to, not only how salvation is received, but also the deity of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, His blood being necessary for salvation, etc. because they all have to do with who our faith is placed in (2 John 1:9).
So, who are the teachers of damnable heresies? While it may include others, it surely includes those who contradict the Lord salvation or the Saviour.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved