Thursday, 19 April 2018
Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 2 Timothy 3:8
Jannes and Jambres are the names of two of the “wise men and sorcerers” mentioned in Exodus 7:11 & 22. Though their names are not recorded in Scripture before this, the oral traditions of Israel kept them alive. They are also recorded in the Targum of Jonathan for Exodus 7:11 & 22. Paul now equates these two men of Pharaoh’s court, who stood against Moses as he cried out for Israel’s release from bondage, to those he has been describing in verses 1-7. And this is exactly what these false teachers Paul warns against are working towards – bondage for those they cunningly connive to captivate with their falsities.
Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, and these people resist the words of the prophets and apostles which point to the finished work of Jesus Christ. As Paul says, “so do these men resist the truth.” Christ’s work is complete, and the Law of Moses is fulfilled and annulled in Him. But false teachers claim that we must continue to observe some or all of that now obsolete law. Christ calls us to holiness, but false teachers claim we can live lives of immorality and licentiousness. The Bible is written, and Scripture is complete. But false teachers continue to claim special revelation from God. On and on it goes. Where there is a stand against what is taught in Scripture, there the same spirit found in Jannes and Jambres continues to resist the truth.
Paul then speaks about their character, first calling them “men of corrupt minds.” The meaning of this is that these people have hearts which are wicked and they focus on evil, teach what is evil, and spread any falsehood which suits their depravity. They are men who are destitute of the truth. The meaning here is that they once knew the truth, but they put it away from themselves. Thus, they have nothing but that which is false to pass on to their hearers. This type of person doesn’t look to Christ for godliness at all. They look to bring others into subjection in order to wield authority over them. They are, as Paul says, “disapproved concerning the faith.”
The Greek word here signifies, “failing to pass the test; unapproved; counterfeit.” Their doctrine is worthless, and thus they are reprobate. This, however, does not mean that they were not ever believers. Nor does it mean that they have lost their salvation if they were saved. What it means is that they have departed from the faith, and they now teach that which is completely false. There will be no reward, but only loss, for their teachings.
Salvation is by grace through faith. It is a one-time occurrence which is eternal in its scope. Doctrine, however, is something to be developed after salvation. When one fails to learn proper doctrine, he will inevitably have bad doctrine. For those who wish to lead, but who are not sound in their doctrine, they will most likely end up like those Paul now describes.
Life application: The only knowledge Jannes and Jambres had of the Lord is what they heard from Moses, or what they learned as they saw the works of the Lord. At first, they stood opposed to the Lord. Eventually, Pharaoh’s magicians claimed that what Moses did was actually the finger of God (Exodus 8:19). It may be that this included Jannes and Jambres. If so, they realized that the Lord is God. However, whether they stayed in Egypt and continued down a wrong path, or whether they joined the Israelites in the Exodus, we cannot know. Having a knowledge of the Lord does not mean one has proper doctrine concerning the Lord. One must first grow in doctrine before becoming a teacher. If not, disaster will certainly be the end result.
Lord God, how can we know if the pastor at our church has proper doctrine or not? Maybe he is spot on, or maybe he is just blowing smoke. Unless we are willing to study the word ourselves, read up on sound doctrine, and then listen carefully to his words, we obviously have no idea at all. Whose fault is that then? With our souls destined to stand before You for judgment some day, shouldn’t we care a bit more about such things? Help us in this. Give us wisdom to apply our time to careful study of Your word. Amen.