Peter in his 2 epistle stated Paul is difficult to understand. Peter continues saying regarding Paul’s epistles, the untaught and unstable distort, as they do the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction. Many disagree with Peter and state Paul is easy to understand and that he is delivering a message from G-d telling everyone that Yeshua (Jesus) free us from the Torah. A question to keep in mind while reading this is: if keeping Torah is truth would you do it? Would you believe it? If you are unwilling to follow the truth, even if it is confirmed to you to be the truth, then the issue is more about what you want and less about loving G-d. Let’s look into what Peter was saying about those distorting Paul’s epistles and dig into the truth.
just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of the wicked and fall from your own steadfastness 2 Peter 3:15b-17
Peter is very clear that Paul is difficult to understand, but who are they who distort them as they do the rest of Scripture? The untaught and unstable. The Greek word used for untaught is only used this one time in Scripture. It means unlearned, ignorant. That is easy to understand. Someone who is untaught in a subject is ignorant of the subject. The word used for unstable is used only one other time and is also within Peter’s epistle. It means…..unstable.
having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 2 Peter 2:14
In this section of Peter’s epistle he is talking about those who are teaching falsely. They are never ceasing from sin. It is critical than to determine what is sin. Sin can be easily defined as going against G-d’s word. Some today think that means only the commandments restated in the Gospels or only the epistles. Some think it is only the ten commandments. The problem with those two understandings of sin is it is the teaching of men. No where in Scripture is sin redefined. G-d’s Torah is the foundation and never changed. In fact, John in his epistle defined sin:
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4
Anomia is the Greek word translated as lawlessness. Nomia translated as law or the Torah and anomia as without the Torah. One who practices sin is Torahlessness. They are with sin.
Peter warns us in the Scripture above to be on guard so that we are not carried away by the error of the wicked. The wicked are those who break through the restraint of the law and gratifies his lusts. That is the definition of the Greek word translated as wicked. The NIV translates verse 17 like this:
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 2 Peter 3:17
Be on guard that you are not carried away by the error of the lawless. Those who are without the Torah or those who believe they are under grace and therefore continue sinning. Peter is warning all those who teach something other than the truth. The truth is important. You may think you know the truth, but do you? How does Scripture define truth?
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Psalm 119:142
You are near, O L-rd, And all Your commandments are truth. Psalm 119:151
The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Psalm 119:160
The Torah, the commandments, the sum of His word is truth. King David could only be referring to the Torah when he stated the sum of Your word is truth. It is critical that one allows Scripture to define Scripture. We cannot bring our own thoughts and philosophies into Scripture and define truth. With this knowledge of what is truth, let’s look at a few verses:
Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
Here Paul is telling the Thessalonians that the lawless one will with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth. They did not receive the Torah. You have heard it said that the Torah can be summed up in one commandment, to love. The Torah is love. It expresses love. Following the commandments show love:
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6
If you say you love G-d but don’t follow the commandments, then you are a liar. Please know these are not my words but John’s:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 1 John 2:3-4
The lawless one will come deceiving. The lawless one does not want you to follow the commandments. The Torah gives us a formula to use to determine whether someone is from G-d or not. It is a pretty simple formula that all can follow, if you know the truth:
Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. Deuteronomy 12:32 – 13:4
The formula is if anyone comes claiming to be from G-d and they tell you to not follow G-d and His ways (Torah) then you are not to listen. So, when the lawless deceiver comes, it will be easy for those who know Torah to not be deceived. The truth sanctifies you…it sets you apart, makes you holy.
because G-d has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13b
Paul makes it clear in Romans 2:8 about obeying the truth:
but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
Paul says the truth of Christ is in him in 2 Corinthians 11. Jeremiah speaks of the truth being put in your inward parts and written on your heart:
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the L-rd, “I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their G-d, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:33
This is why John said for those who do not keep the commandments, the truth is not in him. The truth is Torah. The role of the Spirit? Bear fruits of righteousness, which is following Torah. Ezekiel talks about the role of the Spirit:
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36:26-27
This is G-d’s plan. To give you a new heart, a heart of flesh. He will put the Torah in your inward parts and write it on your heart. The Spirit will then cause you to walk in G-d’s statutes and ordinances. Those are G-d’s commandments.
If you have read this you know the truth. You see what G-d considers truth. Are you willing to start following the truth, Torah? It is not expected of you that you start following ALL the commandments immediately. That would be too overwhelming. Just start walking in them. Start reading the Torah. Start attending a Torah observant synagogue who is centered on Yeshua like Sar Shalom Synagogue. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived. The deception is great and so is the prize. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by the error of the lawless. Love G-d!
Baruch Hashem…until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!