"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."—2 Pet. 2:1,2.
We are asked to examine the above passage critically. First we remark that the words italicised above are all from the same Greek word. Destructive heresies swiftly destroy the teachers as teachers, and others follow their destructive ways and bring the true teachings of Scripture into disrepute.
A question arises: Does the Apostle predict that the class referred to will deny the Lordship of Christ, or deny that he "bought" or ransomed them? Those who have the Emphatic Diaglott will notice that its interlineary translation reads thus: "Even the having bought them, Sovereign Lord denying." Thus making prominent the denial of their having been bought, as the destructive heresy.
And when we carefully consider the matter, the reasonableness of this view becomes apparent. If these "false teachers" denied the Lordship of Christ, they would not be received at all by the church; hence could have no opportunity of bringing in that as a heresy, for all the church and all pretending, even, to be of the Church of Christ, acknowledge Christ as the Lord and Head of the Church. On the contrary, had any man said, I believe in the ransom, but reject the Redeemer as my Lord, such position would be ridiculous. We have never yet known or heard of any one who acknowledged the ransom that denied the Lordship of Christ. We have heard of some both in the days of the Apostles, and especially now, who acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but deny that he "bought them." It is evident, then, that to this last named class only this Scripture is applicable.
And that it is a destructive heresy is evident—destructive of the truth, destructive of the faith once delivered to the saints. It makes shipwreck of faith, by removing from it the only sure foundation—redemption and remission of sins through the blood of the cross.
The heresy to which the Apostle alludes was future from his day, and though the cross of Christ has ever been a stumbling block which hindered many from coming into the nominal church, yet never until the present time has this destructive and subversive heresy obtained so strong a foothold among professing Christians.
The description suits the methods now employed by teachers of the no ransom theory: They "privily" or privately bring in the doctrine. They do not openly deny the meaning of the words "bought" and "ransom," etc., and openly contradict the Scriptures where these words are used; but while quoting these words they covertly and privily seek to leave an impression contrary to their true and undeniable meaning.
Let us see well to it that we acknowledge Jesus both as Lord and Saviour, and not as Lord only. He was the Lord or Master of the Disciples when as a perfect man he made consecration of himself and called them to be his disciples or pupils. In view of what he had been before he left the glory of the heavenly condition, and in view of his superiority as a perfect man among imperfect ones, no less than in view of the high exaltation to which he was heir through his sacrificial death, it was proper that his followers, who recognized his true character and believed his claims, should call him Lord and Master, for such indeed he was.
Our Lord was publicly recognized as Saviour when as a babe he was named Jesus. (See Matt. 1:21.) He was publicly recognized of God through John at the time of his baptism, as the Saviour—the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. It was by virtue of his putting away the sin by the sacrifice of himself that he had the right to exercise to some extent his power as Lord, in casting out devils and reviving the dead and dying. But it was when he had fully completed the sacrifice at Calvary, that the full right and authority and Lordship began.
When he was risen from the dead, he no longer said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (Jno. 5:30; 8:28); but on the contrary he then declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18.) The Apostle tells us that full power and authority were bestowed on him at his resurrection. He says, he was declared to be Lord of the living and dead BY a resurrection from the dead. Him hath God raised up to be a prince (Master or Lord) and a Saviour. Rom. 14:8,9; Acts 5:31; Rom. 1:4.
He was our Saviour or Redeemer first, and having bought, purchased, redeemed, ransomed us from the dominion or control of death, he became rightfully our owner, our Lord, our Master. Let us keep our faith-building on the rock foundation, recognizing him who is Lord of all, as equally Redeemer or Saviour of all—"Our Lord AND Saviour Jesus Christ."