Standing Against the Tide
Robert Wurtz II
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being carried away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:17–18)
Peter had been discussing end-time events in 2 Peter 3 in which he articulates some of the challenges related to understanding the second coming of the Lord Jesus. He then mentions Paul writing along these lines and how people had twisted his words. In fact, some had actually taught that the resurrection had already taken place. Peter then adds that people will “twist” the other scriptures to their own destruction.
I wish to first draw attention to the words “carried away” from our text. This is the one Greek word sunapachthentes (sunapacqe÷nteß) and it means to yield oneself to the influence of something in such a way that one is carried off by it. This is something that a person allows to take place. It is the same basic Greek word used to describe how Barnabas was “carried away” with the dissimulation that took place when the believing Jews shunned the non-Jewish believers in Galatians 2:13. In other words, in the same way that Barnabas was “carried along” by the strong pressure to conform to the Judaizers in Galatians 2:13; Christians are at risk of being “carried along” and falling from their own steadfastness as we draw nearer to the coming of the Lord.
Standing Fast in What We Were Established In
It is tragic to watch popular ministers struggle to hold their ground when asked “difficult” questions. Even people who are in reputation for being a strong personality struggle to keep their feet under them when being asked questions that may land them on the front page of a newspaper if they say something politically incorrect. The pressure to conform to today’s immorality is a flashback to the pressure on Barnabas and Peter to conform to the legalism in Gal. 2:13. When you are staring down people who you value their opinion of you the temptation is to serve man’s opinions rather than serve God. It is a very serious danger that we face; especially when so much emphasis is placed on image and self-esteem.
The advantage we have in this battle is that you know this beforehand. God warned us repeatedly in the scriptures that perilous times were coming in which men would be lovers of their own selves. Even Christians would heap to themselves teachers who tickle their ears. And there is more to come. Evil seducers are going to get worse and worse — deceiving and being deceived. Again, you knew this beforehand. And since we know it in advance we can prepare ourselves for what is coming. We can beware lest we fall from our own steadfastness. We who are established in Christ need to stay that way and not fall or fail in the grace of God.
The pressure is on. The error of the wicked is taught in our schools, universities, and is lauded in the mainstream media. It shows up on TV shows, movies, and radio. One minister said you can almost find it on the cereal box. Our response is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Don’t give yourself over to influences that overthrow the teachings of scripture. Grow in grace — not in compromise. Grow in the knowledge of Christ — not the knowledge of wickedness. Make knowing Christ the fundamental thing and reject the temptation to subject yourself to ideologies that weaken your resolve. If we listen to the Devil’s propaganda we will soon start to think like him. You can “fall from your own steadfastness, being carried away with the error of the wicked.” It’s up to us. What are we going to grow in and get established in? That answer will demonstrate whether we stand or fall in this evil hour.