2 Peter 3:17 MEANING

2 Peter 3:17
(17) Know these things before.--Seeing that I have forewarned you of the certain appearance, conduct, and success of these false teachers and scoffers. "Forewarned, forearmed."

Being led away with.--The Greek word occurs only thrice in the New Testament--here, Romans 12:16, and Galatians 2:13. In Romans 12:16 its meaning is a good deal different (see Note there). In Galatians 2:13 it has the same meaning as here; and, strangely enough, it is of Barnabas being "carried away with" the dissimulation of Peter and his associates.

The error of the wicked.--Better, the error of the lawless (2 Peter 2:7), but not "the seduction" or "deceit of the lawless," as some would render it. It is the same word as occurs at the end of 2 Peter 2:18, and it implies wandering from the path, but not leading others astray. The context, not the word itself, shows that there was seduction. "The lawless" are the false teachers and scoffers.

Fall from your own stedfastness.--Referring back to 2 Peter 1:10-12, just as 2 Peter 3:18 refers back to 2 Peter 1:5-8; showing how complete is the coherence between the beginning and ending of the Epistle. (Comp. Galatians 5:4.) This "steadfastness" will be based on belief in Christ's coming, and on the hope of entering into His kingdom, and thus will be in marked contrast to the unbelief of the "unstable" in 2 Peter 3:16. The word for "steadfastness" occurs nowhere else.

The entire absence of directions--which St. Jude gives rather elaborately--as to how these evil men and their victims are to be treated by sound Christians is in favour of the priority of this Epistle. When evil men begin to arise, the first impulse is to avoid them and their ways, and to this course St. Peter exhorts his readers. When such men have established themselves and gained proselytes, people begin to consider how to deal with the seducers and to win back the seduced, and to these points St. Jude directs his readers.

Verse 17. - Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things before. The pronoun "ye" is emphatic; others have gone astray; "continue ye faithful." The construction is participial, and there is no expressed object; literally, "knowing before," i.e., that false teachers will arise. Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness; rather, as in the Revised Version, lest, being carried away... ye fall. It is interesting to notice that the word rendered "led or carried away" is used by St. Paul, in Galatians 2:13, of St. Barnabas, who, along with St. Peter himself, was then "carried away" with the dissimulation of the Judaizers. The word rendered "wicked," rather "lawless," is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in chapter 2 Peter 2:7. The word for "steadfastness" (στηριγμός) occurs only here.

3:11-18 From the doctrine of Christ's second coming, we are exhorted to purity and godliness. This is the effect of real knowledge. Very exact and universal holiness is enjoined, not resting in any low measure or degree. True Christians look for new heavens and a new earth; freed from the vanity to which things present are subject, and the sin they are polluted with. Those only who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to dwell in this holy place. He is faithful, who has promised. Those, whose sins are pardoned, and their peace made with God, are the only safe and happy people; therefore follow after peace, and that with all men; follow after holiness as well as peace. Never expect to be found at that day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle in this your day, in which we must finish the work given us to do. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian in the day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or shortly call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to make a right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays his coming. Proud, carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest some things into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines. But this is no reason why St. Paul's epistles, or any other part of the Scriptures, should be laid aside; for men, left to themselves, pervert every gift of God. Then let us seek to have our minds prepared for receiving things hard to be understood, by putting in practice things which are more easy to be understood. But there must be self-denial and suspicion of ourselves, and submission to the authority of Christ Jesus, before we can heartily receive all the truths of the gospel, therefore we are in great danger of rejecting the truth. And whatever opinions and thoughts of men are not according to the law of God, and warranted by it, the believer disclaims and abhors. Those who are led away by error, fall from their own stedfastness. And that we may avoid being led away, we must seek to grow in all grace, in faith, and virtue, and knowledge. Labour to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know him so as to be more like him, and to love him better. This is the knowledge of Christ, which the apostle Paul reached after, and desired to attain; and those who taste this effect of the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will, upon receiving such grace from him, give thanks and praise him, and join in ascribing glory to him now, in the full assurance of doing the same hereafter, for ever.Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,.... As that there will be such mockers and scoffers in the last days, and such unlearned and unstable men that will deprave the Scriptures, and wrest them in such a miserable manner:

beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked; from the simplicity of the Gospel, along with such wicked men, that wax worse and worse, deceivers and being deceived, by giving into any of their errors which respect the grace of God, or the person and offices of Christ, or particularly his second coming; be upon the watch and guard against them, having previous notice of them, for they lie in wait to deceive: lest ye

fall from your own steadfastness; which was proper to them, and which, by the grace of God, they had, and retained, both in the faith of Christ and doctrine of the Gospel; for though the saints can never finally and totally fall into sin, or from the truth, yet they may fall from their steadfastness, both as to the exercise of the grace of faith, and as to their profession of the doctrine of faith; and to be fluctuating, hesitating, and doubting in either respect, must be very uncomfortable and dishonourable.

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