Archive for the ‘2 Peter 2:1 (and Jude 4)’ Category


James Fraser of Brea (1639-1698) on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


And finally, the Spirit of God tells us plainly, to put the Matter beyond Debate, that Christ bought Reprobates, 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, 3, the same words used, Rev. v. 9. and xiv. 3, 4, Gal. iii. 13, not such as gave out themselves, or were thought in the judgment of charity to be really redeemed, but designed and deciphered as such, yet brought on themselves swift damnation, these are said to be bought. And as it would be an incongruous speech to aver of these false prophets, that they denied the Lord who elected them from eternity to Glory (which they say is of equal extent with redemption) tho’ they gave out themselves for elected persons; so is it incongruous to affirm they were redeemed by Christ if they had no interest in Christ’s death at all, more then in God’s gracious and eternal election: besides, let us but thus distinguish and gloss, and what shall ye be able to prove as real from Scripture? It is not far from the distinction of Secundum te est verum; Secundum me est falsum:1 It’s truly said so, but it is not meant as it is said, but as it appears; then Christ died only in appearance as Mahomet says, then Paul may be said not to be really converted, tho’ it be expressly affirmed in Scripture, only he seemed to be so, and gave out himself to be so, I confess it is a distinction that cannot be insisted upon.

(4.) That however justification, effectual calling, sanctification, glorification are of as large extent as redemption, as some maintain; and that it is a certain truth that he hath elected, sanctified, glorified and justified some of all ranks as well as redeemed them; and that merely upon this account these general terms are used in the matters of redemption, and because of the vast church of Gentiles, to whom the Gospel was preached, and of which the Church of God’s Elect was to consist under the New Testament, and not so under the Old. I ask,

How come it that it’s not said in Scripture that God has elected the whole world, sanctified every man; for in that sense it is as true that God elected, sanctified, justified and glorified them all, as that he died for them all; for he elected, justified and sanctified all sorts and ranks of persons? Why are comprehensive universalities used in the matter of redemption, when such restrictions are used in the matter of election and justification?

Surely (that I may express myself in the ingenuous gentleman Mr. Polhill’s words) it imports this much to us, that redemption has a larger sphere then election has, and therefore the Scripture contracts election in words of specialty only, while they open and dilate redemption in emphatic generalities: These considerations move me to think that there may be a general common redemption of all mankind, I dare not gainstand such light, and express clear and various Scriptures; I conclude then, that as the Lord, if he had pleased, might have made his Son die for all, and having done so, could have expressed it in words sufficient to make us believe it; if words can express and hold out this truth to us, I think we have it. And I ask, “Were it true that Christ died for all, what form of words imaginable is not this holden out to us by that we could desire? And what Expression will not that Distinction in reality and in appearance elide.

James Fraser (of Brea) A Treatise on Justifying Faith, Wherein is Opened the Grounds of Believing, or the Sinner’s Sufficient Warrant to take Hold of what is Offered in the Everlasting Gospel: Together with an Appendix Concerning the Extent of Christ’s Death, Unfolding the Dangerous and Various Pernicious Errors that hath been Vented about it (Edinburgh: Printed and sold by William Gray at Magdalen’s Chappel within the Cowgate Head, 1749), 194-195. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting, italics original; and underlining mine.]


1 Latin: “According to you it true, according to me it is false.”


Leonard Woods (1774-1854) on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Secondly. The inspired writers speak familiarly of this work of divine mercy, as actually relating to those who perish, or who may he supposed to perish. Rom. 14:15; “Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.” 1 Cor. 8:11; “And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died.” Peter speaks of false teachers, who deny the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Pet. 2:1. They are false teachers and bring destruction upon themselves, and a very aggravated destruction, because they denied the Lord that bought or redeemed them. Is it conceivable that the inspired writers would speak in this manner, if the death of the Redeemer had no relation whatever to those who will finally perish, and produced no effect upon their circumstances?

Leonard Woods, ‘Lectures” in The Works of Leonard Woods, (Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1851), 498. [Italics original and underlining mine.]


James M. Pendleton (1811-1891) on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Paul says, “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” Rom. xiv. I5. “And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” 1 Cor. viii. 11. But there are those who say that though these passages, at first view, seem to intimate that it is possible for one for whom Christ died to perish, yet they may be explained in another way. Be it so then, for it is not needful that I be tenacious of the view presented; but there is one passage about which there can be no dispute. It reads as follows: “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” 2 Peter ii. 1. Here the fact is plainly stated that these “false teachers” would introduce” damnable heresies,” literally, heresies of destruction, and that, prominent among these destructive heresies, would be a denial of the Lord of whom it is said that he “bought them.” Bought them how? Evidently with his blood; he having become a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and thus acquiring a mediatorial claim to the love and service of every human being. The special point to be emphasized is. that these “false teachers,” though “bought” by the Lord, were to “bring upon themselves swift destruction.” It is therefore possible for those to perish for whom Christ died. This is the teaching of the divine word, and I leave it, without further comment, to make its own impression.

James M. Pendleton, The Atonement, (Philadelphia: American Baptists Publications Society, 1885),  99-100. [Underlining mine.]


James Richards (1767-1843) on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


We draw the same conclusion from 2 Peter ii. 1, where the Apostle speaks of some who privily bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. You have already heard the opinion of Calvin upon this text. And though our brethren of another school have often nibbled at it, and applied to it the various arts of criticism, still it stands as firm as the pillar of Hercules against the sentiment that Christ died for his people only.

If wicked men deny the Lord that bought them, doubtless they were bought, and bought by the price of that blood which alone is an adequate ransom for the soul.

But we are told that the Lord that bought them was not Jesus Christ, and of course, that they were not bought with his blood. Who, then, was this Lord, and how did he buy these wicked men? Why, the Lord is God the Father, the Sovereign Ruler of the world, and he bought these men as Jehovah bought the Israelites, when he delivered them from the bondage of Egypt. But when was this interpretation first introduced? Can it be found in any of the ancient scholiasts or glossaries? Its modern date shows its origin; that it has been resorted to, not from its obvious agreement with the words, but from the necessity of the case. It has been seen that the old interpretation would be fatal to a certain theory; the words of the Apostle, therefore, must speak something else than what the Church from the beginning has supposed them to speak.

But let us hear the defense of this novel interpretation. The word in the original, translated Lord, is despotes, and not Kurios, the more common appellation of Jesus Christ. This word, it is said, signifies Supreme Ruler, and is thus applied to God in several places in the New Testament. True; but is it not also applied to Christ, and even to men who sustain the relation of master to others as their servants? Whom does the Apostle mean by despotes in 2 Tim. ii. 21, where he says, “If a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the master’s use?” Whom does Jude mean by despotes in a passage strikingly parallel with that under consideration, where he speaks of “certain men crept in unawares, who were of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ” as it should be rendered. The best lexicographers tell us that this word has the force of dominus among the Latins, and may be applied to God as the Supreme Ruler, to Jesus Christ as the great Head of his Church, or to any head or master of a family. Nothing is therefore more futile than the attempt to escape the obvious construction of this passage by a criticism upon the word despotes, which in this very place, Schleusner tells us, is applied to Jesus Christ. But if God, the Supreme Ruler of the world, is here designated by despotes, I should like to know a little more definitely how he has bought these wicked men, who privily bring in damnable heresies? Will you say he delivered them from the bondage of corruption? This neither the text nor the context declares. But if it were so, what was the price which he paid for their deliverance? When he bought the Israelites, he paid a price for them, and a heavy price it was; he gave Egypt for them–Ethiopia and Sheba for a ransom. Was there anything to correspond with this, when he bought the false prophets and false teachers spoken of in this text? According to our judgment, there was never a harder shift to blunt the edge of plain and pointed Scripture testimony. But we need not wonder, because as long as this text stands in the Bible, unperverted, it is entirely fatal to that scheme which contends that Jesus Christ was a sacrifice for the elect only.

Let me draw your attention to a single remark more. This important passage has always been considered as parallel with that in Jude, already mentioned. There is a striking resemblance in all the important points of character attributed to these wicked men by the two sacred writers, and an equally striking analogy in their doom. But what did they do, besides turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and leading a life of brutal sensuality? What did they do which in a peculiar manner irrevocably sealed them to perdition? Why, they denied the despotes, and by despotes Jude manifestly intends the Lord Jesus Christ.

James Richards, Lectures on Mental Philosophy and Theology (New York: Published by M.W. Dodd, 1846), 325-327. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]


Douglas Kennard on 2 Peter 2:1

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism



This is a difficult issue, based on the interpretation of 2 Pet 2:1. Two non-soteriological solutions are suggested: (1) God’s bringing Israel out of Egypt, and (2) God’s temporally delivering false teachers from sins. There are four soteriological solutions as well: (1) Peter’s charitably calling the false teachers by their own description, (2) hypothetical redemption, (3) loss of salvation, and (4) the apostatizing of previously non-saved knowers of the truth. Instead of defending and critiquing each position I will attempt to show that contextually the most reasonable view of 2:1 maintains the apostatizing of previously non-saved knowers of the truth who have been soteriologically redeemed.12

The redemption is not that of bringing Israel out of Egypt because 2 Peter 1s written to a mixed group of Christians, some of whom have come from Gentile backgrounds. Most notably, in 2:1 “the people,” which should be understood as Israel,13 are distinguished from the recipients of Peter’s letter. That is, Israel had false prophets; the present recipients will have false teachers rise from among them. Furthermore, since 2 Peter is now Peter’s second letter, 2 Peter is written to the same group as 1 Peter (2 Pet 3:1). In this case the recipients of these letters include Gentiles along with Jews, as indicated by the Asia Minor church character and the previous manner of the lives of the recipients, For example, when Jews rejected the offer of salvation Gentiles in Asia Minor rejoiced at being included in salvation. Additionally Peter’s description of the ignorant, futile way of life in Gentile excesses is a strong indication that Gentiles are included (1 Pet 1:14, 18; 4:4). Since Peter writes to a group of Christians from mixed backgrounds it is inappropriate to claim that the exodus was accomplished for them.14

The context of 2 Peter develops soteriological concerns.15 For example, the recipients of the letter have the same kind of faith as Peter (2 Pet 1:1). Additionally the recipients have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Christ (1:3). Furthermore they are to be applying moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness in their lives as they pursue the kingdom (1:5-6, 11). Following this. Peter guarantees that kingdom salvation shall be fulfilled by appealing to earlier stages of the prophecy that have already occurred (1:16-19). Those who do not pursue such things, however, shall be severely judged and miss salvation (2:2-9). Some have escaped such defilement through this knowledge of Christ only to be reentangled, which results in being worse off than at first (2:20-22). That is, these scoffers shall be condemned while the beloved shall be saved (3:3-15). The temporal deliverances of Noah and Lot in the midst of temporal judgments of others are subsumed under the greater soteriological concerns (2:5, 7, 9). These deliverances are not developed to make the great day of judgment seem less. Rather, they reinforce the fact that since God has judged previously, he will certainly do so again in this greater future judgment when he also saves those who are his. The buying (agorazo) is best seen as soteriological redemption. Even though agorazo does not translate OT words for soteriological redemption, the word always means soteriological redemption in the NT when it refers to people as the object of the purchase (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; Rev 5:9; 14:3-4). The context clearly develops soteriological issues. Within this development there is a major emphasis on lifestyle, which is quite appropriate to Petrine redemption. For example, those who have knowledge of Christ are to abundantly appropriate in their lives faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Pet 1:2-7). This meaningful way of life assures the believer that he shall bear fruit and enter into the eternal kingdom (1:8-11). This meaningful way of life is the reverse of the preredemptive, futile, sinful way of life (1 Pet 1:18; 2 Pet 1:9). So agorazo here is best seen as soteriological redemption. The lack of a mentioned price is no reason to overthrow this soteriological meaning since half of the NT soteriological meanings of this word omit any mention of a price (2 Pet 2:1; Rev 14:3-4).

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