Who is the Master?
Some Reformed men have said that the Master being spoken of here is God the Father. The word used for master is the Greek δεσπότης (despotes, G1203), which means “an absolute ruler.” The word is found 10 times in the NT and it refers to–
- The Father - Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim. 2:21; Rev. 6:10.
- The Lord Jesus - Jude 1:4.
- Non-theological - 1 Tim. 6:1-2; Titus 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:18.
The idea that by “Master” God the Father is referred to is contradicted by the parallel in Jude—
Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
There is no question that Jude relied a lot on Peter’s material and this is one of the many parallels between these two writers. The argument was made that God the Father is being spoken of here is because of the absence of the Granville Sharp’s rule in the Greek. In the KJV, for example, the last part reads: “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” In both passages, the authors speak of people who were designated for condemnation and deny the Master. The Master (δεσπότην, despoten) spoken of here is also the Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, seeing this clear parallel between the two passages, we must conclude that the Lord Jesus is being referred to in 2 Peter and not the Father specifically.
Master – Soteriological or not?
What does it mean that the Lord Jesus is the Master of these heretics? Does it mean that He is their Savior? Is it soteriological? That Christ is Lord over all creation is clear from the Bible (e.g., Matt. 28:18-19; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:10-11), so in this sense, He is the absolute ruler and owner of everything, believers and unbelievers alike. The word despotes is never used in the New Testament to speak of God or Christ as Savior, therefore, this raises a reason for me to reconsider if this passage speaks of soteriology. This word is never used of Christ as a mediator in the only place where it is again used (Jude 1:4). Jude makes a distinction between Christ as Despotes and Lord (kurious). Moreover, it is interesting to see the source from which Peter is drawing here—
Deut. 32:5-6 KJV They have corrupted themselves, their spot [is] not [the spot] of his children: [they are] a perverse and crooked generation. 6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? [is] not he thy father [that] hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
The word translated “bought” is a different word (κτάομαι [G2932], ktaomai) than the one in 2 Peter 2:1 with the idea of “to procure for oneself, to get, gain, acquire”. Verse 6 speaks of God’s ownership of Israel by virtue of Him being their Creator (and the Creator of everyone else). He is the One Who formed them as a nation and also as individuals. They ought to love and obey Him with all their being. They are indebted to Him for every blessing. God did not pay anything to acquire them. Indeed, the ESV and other translations translate the word there with ...