by Jerry Shugart
1 Peter 1:13
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.1:13).
Those who assert that the doctrine contained in the Jewish epistles is for the "great tribulation" and the 1000 year reign of the Lord Jesus say that the words "hope to the end" for the grace "that is to be" brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ are speaking of those times.
However, Peter is referring to the "blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). This is the rapture, which will be the consummating evidence of His mercy, when Christians will put on bodies just like the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jn.3:2).
2 Peter 1:5-11
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge...For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet.1:5,11).
Those who assert that the Jewish epistles are teaching that "works" plus faith are required for salvation say that this verse is saying that that entrance into the kingdom requires faith plus works--"add to your faith".
However, the Apostle Peter never says that one must "add" to one's faith in order to receive an entrance into the kingdom. Instead, the refernce is to an "abundant" entrance into the kingdom:
"For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet.1:11).
If a Christian does not abide in the Lord Jesus in his "walk" then he will not be fruitful and therefore he will not receive "rewards" at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who do not bear fruit will be "ashamed" when the Lord Jesus appears:
"And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 Jn.2:28).
2 Peter 2:20-21
"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 (2 Pet.2:20-21).
Those that deny the eternal security of those who originally received the Jewish epistles ask, "If this passage refers to people who have eternal security then how would it have been better for them NOT to have known the way of righteousness?"
Let us look at the following verse: "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" (2 Pet.2:21).
These people were obviously saved because they knew "the way of righteousness", which is by the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ:
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death...That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Ro.8:2,4).
They knew the "way of righteousness" was by denying "worldy lusts" and "ungodliness":
"Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12).
However, after being saved and knowing the "way of righteousness" they turned away from the "holy commandment". The Greek word translated "commandment" means "of the whole body of moral precepts of Christianity 2 Pet. ii. 21" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
The words of Peter at 2 Peter 2:20-21 are speaking of some Christians who were born again and they are described as "those who are just escaping from those who live in error" (v.18) and as having escaped the pollutions of the world (v.20). However,some false teachers had "promised them liberty" (v.19) and allured them through the lusts of their flesh into believing a false teaching in regard to "morals". This false teaching is probably the same thing that Paul refers to at Romans 3:8--that the Christians were falsely accused of teaching "Let us do evil that good may come." This was a false teaching that said that the more we sin then the more that grace will abound, and was based on a false interpretation of the words at Romans 6:1-"shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?"
So the people who had escaped moral pollution by the knowledge of the gospel as well as the moral teachings that urge the Christian to keep himself "holy" had been deceived into believing that they should continue to sin so that grace would abound even more. They returned to their old way of life (v.22). They are worse off now and it would have been better if they had never even heard the moral commandments at first because now they have no excuse for their behavior.
1 John 3:7-9
"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 Jn.3:7-9).
Those who say that the doctrine contained in the Jewish epistles is for the tribulation period assert that since Christians sin today then the words about those "born of God" cannot sin must be for after this dispensation as come to an end.
However, the same people say that the epistle to the Hebrews is for the same time period, and they quote Hebrews 10:26 and says that if a Jewish believer sins willfully then they will receive everlasting punishment.
So what is John saying when he writes that "whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin"? The point being made is that since the Christian is "born of God" then the child partakes of the nature of his Parent, Who is God. Therefore sin cannot come from what a Christian truly is as being a child of God. And that is the same thing that Paul is saying in the following verse:
"For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me" (Ro.7:19-20).
In the same chapter under discussion John calls the Jewish believers "children of God":
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 Jn.3:2).
Here are Pastor Finck's comments on Romans 8:16 which concerns those who are "children of God":
"Here is the first aspect of our inheritance as believers: by virtue of the fact that we are children of God, we also become 'heirs of God.' That is, we will literally inherit God, or the privilege of being in His presence for all eternity" (Ibid., p.27).