Life-Study of 2 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The first chapter of the Epistle of 2 Peter is on the divine provision. This provision includes two matters: life and light. The first part of chapter one emphasizes the divine life, and the second part emphasizes the divine light. The divine life is contained in the faith that has been allotted to us, and the divine light is contained in God’s word, in the word of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. Therefore, life and light are the two components of the divine provision.
Chapters two and three of 2 Peter are on God’s government. In the messages on 1 Peter we had much to say regarding God’s governmental judgment. Chapters two and three of 2 Peter continue to show us how God exercises His governmental judgment. In 2 Peter 2 we see God’s judgment on the false teachers (2:1-3), God’s judgment of old on both angels and men (vv. 4-9), and the evils of the false teachers and their punishment under God’s judgment (vv. 10-22). In this message we shall cover 2:1-9. Let us consider these verses one by one.
Second Peter 2:1 says, “But there arose also false prophets among the people, as also among you there will be false teachers, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” After presenting to the believers the rich provision of the divine life and the shining enlightenment of the divine truth, thus providing for the maintenance of life and inoculating against the poison of apostasy, the apostle Peter faithfully indicates as a warning to the believers in this chapter the awful contents of the apostasy and its dreadful result. This warning is a close parallel to that given in Jude 4-19.
In the Old Testament there were not only genuine prophets speaking God’s word, which is like a lamp shining upon us, but there were also false prophets among the people. In 2:1 Peter says that there will be also false teachers among us, those who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.
The Greek words rendered “secretly bring in” may also be translated “bring in by smuggling.” Literally, the Greek means to bring in alongside, to bring in sideways, to introduce a new subject for which the hearers are not prepared. Here it denotes the false teachers bringing in and introducing their false teachings alongside the true ones. These false teachings are called destructive heresies, or, literally, heresies of destruction.
“Heresy” is an anglicized Greek word, hairesis, which means choices of opinion of doctrine different from that usually accepted, “self-chosen doctrines alien from the truth” (Alford), thus causing division and producing sects. This word is also used in Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; and Titus 3:10 in the adjective form, hairetikon, heretical. Here it denotes the false and heretical doctrines brought in by the false teachers, the heretics, similar to the doctrines of today’s Modernism.
Heresy involves three matters: opinion, the causing of divisions, and the producing of sects. Therefore, opinion, divisions, and sects are the three constituents of heresy. Heresy, of course, is not constructive. Instead of building up the church, heresy destroys the church. For this reason, Peter speaks of destructive heresies, or heresies of destruction.
In Peter’s words the false teachers even deny the Master who bought them. The word “Master” implies the Lord’s Person and His redemptive work. The false teachers at Peter’s time, like today’s Modernists in their apostasy, denied both the Lord’s Person as the Master and His redemption, by which He purchased the believers.
A type of Modernism that was prevailing fifty years ago was called Buchmanism, after a man named Buchman, a professor at Oxford University. Buchman put out a book entitled For Sinners Only. When we were in China, we criticized this book and opposed it because it did not say anything concerning the blood of Jesus. When Buchman became elderly, he was the leader of a movement called Moral Rearmament. Buchman may be regarded as a false teacher, one who denied the Master and His redemption.
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