The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary

... floods, we may be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation and the enjoyment of our purchased possession. The fact that the elect cannot lose their salvation is further shown from the fact that we are engraven upon the palm of His hands (Isa. 49:16) and our names having been written in the book of life from all eternity (Rev. 13:8; 20:15). All this is given for the confidence and encouragement of the believers in God’s faithfulness, goodness, grace, promise, and power. 

The Impossibility Of Final Apostasy For The Elect

The biblical and Reformed doctrine of perseverance is a great mountain, which gives the saints assurance and faith in God’s almighty power in overcoming sin in us and completely saving us. The doctrine does not teach, contrary to non-Protestant caricatures, that Christians after being saved can do whatever they want to do and still remain saved. Rather, the doctrine teaches that those who have the Spirit of God indwelling in them will persevere in the faith by the almighty power of God. The Lord will chastise, sanctify and lead them toward a holier life.

That the doctrine is true and biblical may be seen from many ways (see paragraph 2), including (1) the decree of election, (2) regeneration, (3) justification and (4) Christ’s obedience.

Election: It has pleased God from all eternity to select a particular people in the Lord Jesus Christ whom He will redeem from sin to be with Him forever without any consideration of foreseen faith or works, merely because of His good pleasure. Seeing that their salvation was not dependent upon them, how would their perseverance be (completely) dependent upon them? There is no debate among Calvinists about whether the elect can lose their salvation. Someone who accepts Unconditional Election must believe in perseverance. It is logically necessary, for to contend otherwise is to say that God has unconditionally chosen a person to be saved, but has not chosen to preserve that particular person, which is absurd on its face. Therefore, the one who accepts Unconditional Election inevitably must accept the Perseverance of the Saints. For to reject the doctrine is to contend that God fails to save those whom He intends to save. See chapter 3, paragraph 5 for more on Unconditional Election.

Regeneration: Through regeneration, we have been made new creatures, given a new heart and a new spirit. Plus, the Spirit of the Almighty has come into our hearts (e.g. Ezek. 36:25-27). We’ve been given a new nature with the Law of the God written upon our hearts (Jer. 31:31-34). What happens when (supposedly) a person loses their salvation? Do they become unregenerate? Do they receive their old nature back? Do they become unborn again? Do you see the difficulty that such an idea of “falling away” brings with it? It is simply impossible that such a thing will happen. And what if the person loses their salvation and then comes to the Lord Jesus again, does God cause him to be born again for a second time? See chapter 11 for more on regeneration.

Justification: Justification is a legal act of God by which He declares guilty sinners free because of Christ's work. Our sin is put upon Him, and we receive His righteousness (e.g. 2Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-31). How does it happen that God’s verdict, for a (supposedly) regenerate believer, become void after that person falls away (see Rom. 8:1)? Does the person become unjustified? Does he lose his justification? But how can that be if G...

Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

...r-17:-Of-The-Perseverance-Of-The-Saints-Commentary/1036">chapter 17 of the 1689 Baptist Confession, so there are some things here that have been previously argued for, as for example the positive case for the doctrine of Perseverance).

This is arguably one of the most difficult and notorious passages in Holy Writ. There is no consensus on its interpretation. I have consulted many commentaries and articles on this passage and I come to it knowing that I don’t have all the answers. But I also come to it with presuppositions in mind. I am unashamed to say that the Bible does in fact teach the Perseverance of the Saints, therefore this passage cannot be describing the actual Apostasy of a regenerate believer totally from the faith. It may be a warning about true believers, it may be hypothetical, but what it cannot be is say that some true and regenerate believers will in fact fall away completely from the faith. I have argued that even in the book of Hebrews itself, the doctrine of Perseverance and the perfection of the work of Christ on behalf of the elect is taught. I have consulted the following articles and commentaries and will cite from some of them freely in the following discussion:

The passage does not say that regenerate believers apostatize:

  • John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be found at here.
  • John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be read at here.
  • Arthur W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Chapters 24-27. His commentary on Hebrews 6 can be found here.
  • Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Chapter 40.
  • John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Chapter 44.
  • J. Ligon Duncan III – Falling Away? (Sermon)
  • Mathew Poole - English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • William Burkitt – Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here
  • Albert Barnes - Notes on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here. He accepts that the descriptions describe a true Christian, but rejects that it is possible for a true Christian to apostatize.
  • Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, David Brown – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Matthew Henry – Complete Commentary on the Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Bob Utley – You Can Understand The Bible (Not that explicit). Commentary on Hebrews 6, here and here.
  • John Owen – Exposition of Hebrews. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Steven J. Cole – Lesson 17: When Repentance Becomes Impossible (Hebrews 6:4-8).

The passage describes regenerate believers who have fallen away:

I have collected some commentaries, articles and sermons on this passage in a

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

...lennium. According to Premillennial eschatology, the following things are to be expected:

  1. The Evangelization of All Nations.
  2. The Great Tribulation and Antichrist (Man of Sin).
  3. The Conversion and Restoration of Israel.
  4. The Second Coming:
    1. The Rapture
      1. Resurrection of all dead saints.
      2. Transformation of living believers.
    2. Destruction of Antichrist.
    3. The binding of Satan.
    4. The inauguration of the thousand year reign of Christ.
  5. The Millennium.
  6. Apostasy at the end of the Millennium.
    1. Satan being loosed and leading rebellion against Christ.
    2. Satan and the wicked being destroyed.
  7. The Resurrection of the wicked.
  8. The Final Judgment.
  9. The New Heavens and New Earth.

The following is a diagram of Premillennialism:

Premillennial Problems

I believe that Premillennialism is not supported by the statement of the Confession here and in the following paragraph. Moreover, there is no Confessional support for Premillennialism in any of the major Creeds and Confessions of Christianity. Paragraph 2 (the current) speaks of the Rapture, i.e., the resurrection of dead saints and transformation of living believers as happening “at the last day”. But clearly, in Premillennialism, the last day is separated from the Rapture with at least a thousand ­­years! Actually, the Confession in this paragraph does not speak of the resurrection of the saints, rather, “all the dead shall be raised up”, this is the General Resurrection. But Premillennialism knows of two resurrections: (1) the resurrection of all saints at the Rapture and  (2) the resurrection of the wicked prior to the Final Judgment. These two resurrections are separated with at least a thousand years. There is also no mention of any Millennium in the Confession or of separate resurrections, rather, the resurrection of all people is said to happen at the last day. This is the Confessional problem of (Classic) Premillennialism.

As to the biblical problems, it must be first of all noted that the Millennium is spoken of nowhere in the Bible except in Revelation 20. In the Old Testament prophecies which are often appeal to, including Isaiah 2, 4, 65, nowhere do we get the idea that the Kingdom will be temporary. Most importantly, a literal reading of Revelation 20 is problematic, because the book of Revelation is clearly and by its own admission a symbolical book (Rev. 1:1 KJV “signified”). Numbers are everywhere used in a symbolical way, so, how do we justify making the number thousand to be literal? Amazingly, all the great things which Premillenniarians expect to happen in the Millennium, are nowhere mentioned in Revelation 20. For example: the restoration and conversion of the Jews; peace and prosperity; Christ reigning from the earth; glorified bodies inhabiting the earth together with fleshly bodies; a decreased influence of sin and death. These things are simply not mentioned in Revelation 20. All these things come from a literal reading of Old Testament prophecies, although they are nowhere said to be limited to a thousand years in the Old Testament, but the Premillennialist interprets them in this way. For more on Revelation 20 and its interpretation, see below.

Premillenniarians argue that the binding of Satan must have such an effect so as to decrease his influence upon the earth, and therefore there will be a decrease (though not total eradication) of sin, death and unbelief. But we believe this is a misinte...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...o since all the previous covenants were essentially the same as the New Covenant, only different in outward form. But this is wrong. Clearly, in the words “the covenants he mediates is better” is implied that He did not mediate for the old covenant. We will come back later on the mediation of Christ in the New Covenant.

2. The Old Covenant was broken. “if that first covenant had been faultless”, “they did not continue in my covenant”. The people were unfaithful to God and broke His covenant. If Jeremiah was referring to any specific instance, the incident with the golden calf would have been a proper episode in Israel's Apostasy. Then the meaning would be that the people had been breaking the covenant since the beginning of its establishment. This breaking of the covenant and the disobedience toward God we see in the pages of the Old Testament. They always were a disobedient people and whored after false gods. This covenant included in it both true believers like Moses, and reprobates like Korah; Samuel and Eli’s sons; Josiah and Jeroboam, and so on. They were in the covenant because they had been circumcised and lived in Israel, not because they were true believers. Faith was not a prerequisite for membership in the Old Covenant, rather, ethnicity and the sign of circumcision was. But the New Covenant is said to be “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers”. This means then that the New Covenant will be an unbreakable covenant, since it is mentioned that the Old Covenant was not faultless, it was broken and the people were faithless. The New Covenant is unlike the Old, at least in these aspects directly mentioned in this passage. This is why the New Covenant is a better covenant because it is an unbreakable and an infallible covenant. This means that Apostasy from the New Covenant is impossible. There are no New Covenant members who will end up in Hell. There will be a lot of church members in Hell, but not New Covenant members. For a covenant member to be lost means that Christ was not a perfect Mediator and the New Covenant was, in fact, like the Old Covenant in which a lot of people apostatized from the true God. In summary, the New Covenant is unbreakable, faultless, and its members will, in fact, continue in God's covenant. There is clearly a contrast in this passage between both covenants and not merely in the outward things, but in their essence.

3. The reason why the New Covenant is better is because of Christ Who is its Mediator. Therefore, we need to know a few things about what Christ, as a Mediator, does in this covenant. Christ is the High Priest of God’s people who offered Himself as the sacrifice that atones for their sins. After His work of sacrifice, He entered into Heaven to intercede for His people. As Reformed people, we know that there is a perfect connection between those for whom Christ died (the elect) and those for whom He mediates (the elect). They are the same group. The work of mediation and intercession is the continuation of His sacrifice and is for the same people for whom His sacrifice was offered. He is the Mediator and thus, all who are called of God receive the promised eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15). He stands between God and man (1Tim. 2:5) and mediates for His people. The Lord Jesus cannot fail in His mediation and the Father never rejects Him (e.g. John 11:42).


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 23: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows - Commentary

... away with swearing and taking oaths, but He is doing away with Jewish hypocrisy and false teaching concerning the Third Commandment. The Jews “avoided use of God's personal name and instead used reverent substitutions, clever liars could take an oath that seemed to appeal to God without technically doing so (23:16-22).”[8] Therefore, we see here our Lord giving the clear understanding of the Third Commandment and exposing the hypocrisy of the Jews and the taking of God's Name in vain. Furthermore, swearing by other things than God “would indicate idolatry, or Apostasy, which the passage from Jeremiah (mentioned above concerning lust [Jer 5:7-9]) also conveys.”[9] The Lord Jesus did not do away with oaths, but showed their real intent and exposed false and sinful use of oaths.

§4 The Plain And Common Sense Of The Words

  1. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. 1
    1. Ps. 24:4; Jer. 4:2

An oath should be made in the plain and common sense of the words, using common definitions so as to avoid misunderstand and confusion, or worse—deception. Therefore, our words should be without equivocation, meaning open to multiple interpretations, and also without mental reservation, which means by not telling the whole truth. Our words should be clear and understood by everyone involved without ambiguity or reservations or qualifications which we mentally make and those involved are unaware of.

We should not say things which would imply different things than what we actually intend. We should not use verbiage which communicates something different to people in order that we may deceive in what we actually intend. Our words must be plain and to the point. “The language of the oath must be unequivocal and unambiguous so as to be clearly understood by all parties.”[10] If we are to use difficult verbiage we should be plain about our understanding and definitions of the word. Our intent is to honor the truth and the God of truth (Isa. 65:16), therefore, we make every effort to be truthful in our words and oaths.

§5 Vows

  1. A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness; but popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself. 3
    1. Num. 30:2-3; Ps. 76:11; Jer. 44:25-26
    2. Num. 30:2; Ps. 61:8; 66:13-14; Eccles 5:4-6; Isa. 19:21
    3. 1 Cor. 6:18 with 7:2, 9; 1 Tim. 4:3; Eph. 4:28; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 19:11-12

Now the Confession moves to consider vows. What is the difference between an oath and a vow? An oath is between men while calling upon God. A vow is a promise made to God alone and any creature (Num. 30:2; Ps. 76:11). A vow should be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness. It is not a secular matter, but it is part of God’s worship. Therefore, it should be made and performed and not neglected. Therefore, we should be careful in what we vow to do. Finally, the Confession goes on to reject popish...vows. These include monastical vows of perpetual single life wherein a person vows to remain single and dedicated to the service of God as a monk. The Scripture rejects this because it is not something commanded by God and it strips one of ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...tresses. The New Covenant, which is wholly salvific, is only for the elect. In other words, all the member of this covenant, unlike all previous covenants, are redeemed and elect of God from eternity. All the members of the New Covenant are truly regenerate and Spirit-dwelt believers. This is seen for example from Hebrews 8:6-13 where all members of the New Covenant, from the oldest to the youngest know the LORD. Not merely know about Him, but truly know Him. Furthermore, this New Covenant is unlike the Mosaic Covenant which had members who were unbelievers and members who were believers. This New Covenant is one which will not be broken like the Mosaic was and from whence Apostasy is impossible. So basically, the Universal Church or the Invisible Church consists of the members of the New Covenant, all redeemed and elect believers throughout all ages. For more on covenant theology, I refer you to the case I tried to provide for 1689 Federalism in chapter 7 (see here).

Matthew 16:18

The Lord Jesus promised to establish His church which no power of hell could stand against. He said:

Matt. 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

It is Christ who builds His community of believers, His congregation, His church. Men do not build the church. Men may build church buildings, but Christ is the architect of His Church. Sadly, this is often now what this verse is remembered for As Albert Barnes noted, if “it not been that the Church of Rome has abused it [Matt 16:18, and who the rock is], and applied it to what was never intended, no other interpretation would have been sought for.”[2] The controversy that surrounds this verse between the Protestants and Catholics lies in the fact who “this rock” is which is being referred to and the further Roman Catholic implications of this. The Roman Catholic church claims that here Christ gave Peter supreme authority over the church and raised him above all other disciples. Furthermore, they see in this the Papacy. They say that Peter was the first bishop of Rome and from him, there has been a direct succession of popes/bishops of Rome. Therefore, they see in the Pope the authority of Peter, which they understand as being the supreme on earth over the Church. The Pope, so to say, is Christ on earth.

Barnes was right, these things could not be found anywhere in the Bible, let alone in Matthew 16:18. It was not the intention of the Lord Jesus to give us here a doctrine of a single bishop of Rome who will be called the Head of the Church. There is no difficulty in identifying Peter as “this rock” which Christ was speaking of. As Keith Thompson has studied this passage and observed, “Conservative Protestant exegetical scholarship is basically unified in affirming Peter is the rock here. D. A. Carson, Craig Blomberg, Craig S. Keener as well as the late Oscar Cullmann and W. F. Albright among many dozens of others are in agreement on this point.”[3] The difficulty lies in the fact that the Papists have read all kind of things in the words of the Lord Jesus which He never intended.

The Apostle Peter did function as the "starter" of the Church. On the day of Pentecost, it was he who first preached the Gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:14-41). Furthermore, it was also he who brought the message of salvation to the Gentiles in Acts 10. So, in a real sense, Christ did build His church on Peter's preaching and through Peter'...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

... between Sabbath observance and God's sanctifying work in his people.”[91]Based on these two verses, Dr. Martin writes:

From the parallelism of these verses [Ezk 20:12, 20] we may deduce that the covenant relationship expressed in the words “I am the Lord your God” includes also the commitment “I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” The Sabbath was meant to be a reminder of these truths.[92]

After the general Apostasy of humanity from the commandments of God and the fourth commandment in particular, Dabney observes the importance of the Sabbath as a sign:

To understand this “sign” we must remember that all the world except the Hebrews had gone off into idolatry, neglecting all God's laws and also the proper observance of his Sabbath. The covenant which Israel made with him was, to be separate from all the pagans and to obey his law, so neglected by them. Now, the public observance of the Sabbath gave the most obvious, general, visible sign to the world and the church of this covenant, and of the difference between God's people and pagans. Hence it was eminently suitable as a sign of that covenant.[93]

The Seventh-Day Sabbath Pointed To Christ

The Sabbath moreover was a sign of a greater reality, namely, rest in Christ. The seventh-day Sabbath under the Old Covenant pointed toward spiritual rest in Christ. The Israelites were eagerly expecting to enter the Promised Land and thus into their rest. In some places the idea of rest and entering the land is connected together (e.g. Deut. 12:9; Josh. 1:13). Their rest in part consisted in receiving the Promised Land, but this was not what the Sabbath was pointing to ultimately. As we have argued above, the Sabbath was first of all given to Adam and for him to keep. It was not given first in Exodus 16 or on Sinai. Therefore, Adam had an obligation to keep the Sabbath holy, following his Maker’s example. The Lord told Him to obey Him, otherwise he will die (Gen. 2:16-17). He had to toil in his state of probation, however long that was designed to be, and after passing God’s test, he would have entered and shared into God’s rest, too. He would have entered into God’s Sabbath rest. God rested from His work of creation since the seventh day and had Adam obeyed God in his time of probation, he would have shared in God’s Sabbath. But he did not. Concerning the eschatological significance of the Sabbath even from the Creation, Dr. Waldron writes:

The weekly Sabbath instituted at creation was itself typical. It pointed forward to the consummation of history when Adam would have entered a higher condition and would have entered into God's rest had he successfully completed His probation in the Garden of Eden. The six days of labor symbolized the labor of history and the 7th day the rest to be entered at the end of history when the creation mandates of God had been successfully completed.[94]

To the effect that the seventh-day Sabbath under the Old Covenant pointed to rest in Christ, we read in Hebrews 4:

Heb. 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.

Joshua had in fact given them rest (Josh. 21:43-45), but this rest was not the one which the seventh-day Sabbath pointed to. The seventh-day Sabbath pointed to the rest that people would have from the sinful labors and enter into the joyous and peaceful fellowship of God. No longer away from Him, but to be with Him forever. The Sabbath was not merely pointing to the ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...e="color: #00ffff;"leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
Prov. 22:4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.

Simply put, you cannot live a godly life, the life which the Lord desires His children to live, without the fear of Him and reverence for Him. A person who knows God and does not fear Him is an oxymoron. Among those things listed in Proverbs, the fear of the Lord planted in us in the New Covenant will not allow us to apostatize. The fear of the Lord will lead us in the right path and not lead us into Apostasy as in the days of old with Israel. The New Covenant will not have apostates because the Lord will graciously work and cause the obedience of its members. The visible church will have apostates, no doubt, but the New Covenant will not have apostates because all of its members will persevere by the promise and thanks to the power of God. The Spirit of the Lord will lead us to fear the Lord and live godly lives for the sake of Christ.


The promise of the New Covenant found in Ezekiel is likewise amazing and encouraging. It gives me hope because God promises that He will help me and cause me to obey by His grace because, in myself, I am hopeless. Ezekiel, living among the exiled community of Judah, comes to them as the mouthpiece of God and gives Israel this hope of a great future. I believe that this prophecy concerns both the present time and the future. It is what is called a blended prophecy. Let us look at the text:

Ezek. 36:25-28 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God

Obviously, there are similarities between the New Covenant found in Jeremiah and this passage here. Although the word “New Covenant” is found nowhere in Ezekiel, it is inarguable that this passage speaks of the New Covenant. The Lord promises in this covenant to cleanse His people from their sins. He will sprinkle water (this is not about the mode of baptism...) upon them to cleanse them from their sins. This promise speaks of a spiritual cleansing like that for example in Titus 3:5 –

Titus 3:4-6 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 

In this passage, we can see how Paul has in mind the promise of the New Covenant in Ezekiel and the like. He speaks of washing and renewal of spirit by the Holy Spirit. Obviously, as Reformed believers, we do not believe that baptism causes our regeneration, therefore this verse is speaking figuratively of our spiritual cleansing and not of our baptism. See also 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26, and chapter 29 on Baptism. The Lord will wash us and sprinkle cleansing water upon us to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and uncleanness. He will drive us away from our idols and will cause us to look up...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

...hin the context of the whole Bible. Plus, I follow the analogia fidei: clear passages first and then obscure passages. 2 Peter 2:1 is by no means clear and if it to be taken in a "straightforward” manner, it generates problems elsewhere in our theology. We need to harmonize and not make the Bible a mish-mash. If the apostle wanted to speak about the false teachers being bought by Christ the Savior’s blood, then he certainly knew how he could communicate that to his audience as he did previously (1Pet. 1:18-19). Let us not forget that this passage was not put down to say anything about the atonement. What the passage speaks about is the Apostasy of the false teachers and their dangerous heresies (cf. 1John 2:19). It is not a discussion on the extent of the atonement. Therefore, it is desperate if non-Calvinists would want to spend much time speaking about this text all the while there are other texts, which were penned to discuss the subject of the atonement and Christ's work (e.g. Hebrews 7-10).

Since we have ruled out the soteriological view, therefore, now we must explain what the passage is speaking about. We have already spoken of the connection between the present text and Deuteronomy 32:5-6 where "bought” is used in the sense of create and own. Therefore, I believe that this passage teaches that Christ has acquired, created and bought all people without exception, including these false teachers. They are owned by the Lord in the sense that He is the One who has created them and to whom they by nature they owe their thanks, worship, and adoration. Therefore, their public rejection of Christ brings them under His condemnation. Therefore, interpreting the text this way gives it the sense:

“There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who created18 them and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”[69] 

If some object that the word found in the LXX is not agorazo, then the answer would be that Peter was not citing, but alluding to the text and since these words are synonymous, he was free to choose from both. There is, therefore, no radical difference between the two words.

The word Peter uses is ἀγοράζω (agorazō), which means, basically, "to buy." The LXX uses it in 1 Chronicles 21:24 where the Hebrew uses the word קָנָה (qanah), meaning "to get, acquire, create, buy, possess." The word used by the Septuagint in Exodus 15:16 and Deuteronomy 32:6 is κτάομαι (ktaomai), which means, "to acquire, get, or procure a thing for one's self, to possess," and is often used to refer to something acquired at a price--a purchase. And sure enough, the Hebrew word used in those places is, again, qanah.

So agorazō and ktaomai are, indeed, largely synonymous. In many cases they can be used interchangeably, being used by the translators of the Septuagint to translate the same Hebrew word. Since Peter is hearkening back to the Old Testament, but not quoting the LXX, he's free to choose between these two Greek words to communicate the point.[70]

Other Possible Interpretation

One possible interpretation is what has been called the Christian Charity View. By this is meant that we take the false teachers at their word. They claim to be Christians, we take them at their word even though they are not, similar to 1 John 2:19. Support of this may be found in vv. 18-22. They appear to be living the Christian life, but deep within they are wolves; they are...