“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1 (ESV)
In 2 Peter 2:1, Peter tells the early church that false prophets and false teachers have come in and will teach people to deny the Master who bought them. What must we do in order to deny the Master who bought us? In order to understand what we must deny, we have to understand exactly who the Master is, the content of the Masters’ instruction, the reasoning behind the instruction, and the example of the Master proving all this.
Creation Account (Humankind)
In the creation account, God reveals two aspects concerning man. The first is that man is made in his image, and likeness (Gen. 1:26a). The second is that man is to have dominion over creatures and earth (Gen. 1:26b). The relationship between the two show that to be made in the image and likeness of God includes duties and responsibilities (Gen. 1:27-31). Understanding the identity of God gives us insight into our own life (Gen 2:15-17).
The creator establishes the order by which we exist. God states that it is not good for man to be alone, hence the purpose for the creation of creatures and earth, the pinnacle being the creation of woman out of man with the duty and responsibility of marriage, which reflects the image and likeness of God (Gen 2:18-22; Gen 2:22-24). This all stems from being created in the “image or likeness” of the LORD.
The creation and early instruction of humanity show us how men, women, children, creatures, earth, and the produce from earth are directly linked to us being in the image and likeness of the LORD. We also clearly see how our duty and responsibility for such directly affects all created things as well as our LORD. The LORD is our Creator and first Instructor. The One who directs our paths. He is the lawgiver and the One who enforces discipline.
Pharaoh thought it an important inquiry when the Egyptian empire is confronted by God via Moses and Arron. While we discern from the evidence that this leader is both idolatrous and blasphemous; we can also see the wisdom in his inquiry, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?” (Ex. 5:2a). He also states, “I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go” (Ex. 5:2b). The LORD just finished prophesying that Moses and Aaron would not be believed, and that it will take supernatural events in order to prove the statements of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 3:19-21; 4:1-9; 4:10-12; 6:1-13).
From this account we can learn that knowledge of the identity of the LORD is directly related to all aspects of life within Egypt, and in nations surrounding Egypt (Ex. 3:1-10). After this encounter, while Pharaoh is shown to choose to remain in defiance to God; he did in fact come to know exactly who this LORD is and the power of this LORD, so much so that he let Israel go (Ex. 7:14-12:29; Ex. 12:30-32).
Moses and the Levitical priests give instruction concerning how to live (Deut. 27:9). They tell Israel that they have become the people of the LORD their God. As we read further, Israel are exposed to curses for not upholding the standard established by the LORD their God (Deut. 27:15-26). The pronouncements begin with “Cursed be anyone who…dishonors, moves, misleads, perverts, lies, strikes down, takes, or does not confirm the law by doing them.” By doing so, they also pronounce a blessing on “anyone” who honors, does not steal, leads properly, maintains purity, fidelity, and law keeping.
Moses and the Levitical priesthood go on to instruct them on the consequence of their obedience (Deut. 28:1-14). They are set above all nations, overtaken with fortune, the womb shall bear fruit, the ground and creatures which they rule over shall produce great fruit as well. Their enemies (no matter the size, power, or support) shall be defeated before their very eyes. They shall prosper in all they undertake. The nations surrounding Israel are woefully disadvantaged.
Their material fortunes and the level of power in the world are unparalleled. Their obedience renders them unmolested by warring and poor economic situations amongst the nations outside Israel. They would never experience the conditions of drought, no children being born, no ruined crops, etc. Likewise, their disobedience would bring upon them the exact opposite (Deut. 28:15-68).
Who is the LORD then? The LORD is the One who can overpower and subdue nations, the One who can cause the ground to give produce even though the ground is cursed due to the sin of our first parents (Gen 3:1-19). The One who makes a covenant with those whom He created and enforces this covenant. We see the reversal of curses in a cursed world by the interceding authority and power of God who performs his will at his own good pleasure.
Jesus, the Master as LORD
In the opening chapter of John, the Apostle informs us of multiple truths concerning the identity of Jesus and the identity of God (John 1:1-4; 9-18). The identity of Jesus and God are given a special relationship (v.1). Jesus is shown to be with God prior to the beginning and taking part in the creation of all things (v.2-3). John tells us that life is within the composition of Jesus (v.4). John affirms that the world was made through him and those who receive him are given the right to become children of God (v.10-13). John affirms that Jesus, who is also the LORD was physically birthed and lived among them.
In another letter penned by John, he tells us that knowing him, and keeping his commandments are synonymous (1 John 2:3-6). Jesus is also the LORD. The LORD sent his son into this world. Jesus and the LORD are responsible for creation as well as the giving of the covenants. The purpose of Jesus is to save the world by being the sacrifice (John 3:13-21).
Another purpose of Jesus entering into this world is to establish the church/kingdom of God (Matt. 16:13-20). We also see the content of Jesus’ teaching concerning anger (v.21-26), lust (v.27-30) divorce (v.31-32), oaths (v.32-37), entrance into his church/kingdom which correctly defines what belief, repentance, baptism, and how to follow is (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38;1 Pet. 3:18-22). The subjects continue throughout the inspired writings.
While we can point to a greater number of passages, these chosen contribute to affirm who our Master is. The Master, who is also the LORD is creator, law giver, covenant giver, and the one who holds unrivaled power and authority. The Master, who is also the LORD is communicative to his creation. The Master, who is also the LORD disciplines the nations, and even though the adversary remains defiant, the adversary is always in subjection to the Master. He causes the nations to rise and fall according to his will.
The Master gives his creation choice, and even if the person chooses to defy the Master, his will is not thwarted or subdued. The Master reveals himself to humans in the form of Jesus the Son of the LORD, who went to the cross and died for our sins and was resurrected and ascended back to rule and sent the Comforter, who is also the LORD, in order to establish the church/kingdom of God. We learn exactly what the Master taught, and how He taught it.
When the Apostle Peter tells us about false prophets and teachers who come in and teach people to deny the Master, we can clearly see what this entails. The instruction of God teaches us that to deny the Master is to deny the Christ, the HS and the Father. If we deny the Master we condemn ourselves. It involves both acknowledgement and obeying/disobeying.