TO KNOW GOD: theon homologousin (3PPAI) eidenai
(Nu 24:16; Isa 29:13; 48:1;
58:2; Ezek 33:31; Hos 8:2; 8:3 Ro 2:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; 2Ti 3:5,
3:6, 3:7, 3:8; Jude 1:4)
"God, they confess that they know" (Wuest),
persons claim they know God"
They profess to
know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him]"
say that they have knowledge of God
from homo = same + lego
= say) means literally to say the same and so to agree in one's
statement. These men admitted openly, freely and continually (present
tense = continuous action) that they know God. The continually make
a profession acknowledging God. Paul does not deny that they have a
theoretical knowledge of God but he does deny that they practically know
Him as their Father. They would continually confess ''Jesus is my Lord & I know
Him'' but their deeds give them away and reveal their heart. Like the
demons (Js 2:19) these
men know (possess an intellectual or head knowledge)
that He is Lord but they do not really possess saving faith. Their head
knowledge has resulted in no change in their heart (it is still
"uncircumcised"). Their will is still their own and not His will.
Saving faith is not just intellectual
knowledge or mental assent to truth but is also a firm conviction, a
surrender to that truth and a conduct emanating from and concordant with
that surrender. In short, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life.
Only God, of course, can evaluate a person’s heart. But by the way they
live, unbelievers usually betray their unbelief and such was the case
with these false teachers in the church at Crete.
"There are many who in word and tongue profess to know God, and yet in
their lives and conversations deny and reject him; their practice is a
contradiction to their profession.
The Lord speaking through
Isaiah described rebellious Israel as a "people draw near with their
words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts
far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by
rote. (Isa 29:13)
And later Jehovah said "Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel
and who came
forth from the loins of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and
invoke the God of Israel, but not in truth nor in righteousness. (Isa
To know (1492)
(eido) means to intuitively know Him and is a knowing that can only come as a result of
God revealing Himself to us. These men claim that at some point in their
life they prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, professed to receive Him as
Savior. Their deeds however show that they deny God and are in "grave" danger
of everlasting damnation in the Lake of Fire.
To think that one intuitively
knows (which is the picture the verb eido conveys) God when
don't is deception of the highest and most tragic degree. It also produces a mindset
in the deceived person that is very difficult to reason with. Why?
Because they really do believe that they are saved from the wrath to
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown write
that these fakes "make a profession acknowledging
God. He does not deny their theoretical knowledge of God, but that they
practically know Him" and they deny him "the opposite of the previous
"profess" or "confess" Him.
Thomas Watson = Some brag they have good hearts, but
their lives are crooked. They hope to go to heaven, but "their steps
take hold of hell," Proverbs 5:5. An upright Christian sets a crown of
honor upon the head of religion, he does not only profess the
gospel, but adorns it (cp Titus 2:10-note)—he
labors to walk so regularly and holily, that if we could suppose the
Bible to be lost, it might be found again in his life. (The
Upright Mans Character)
BUT BY THEIR
DEEDS THEY DENY HIM: tois de ergois arnountai (3PPMI): (Mt
7:21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
in their works they deny" (Wuest)
their actual behavior denies their profession"
they deny their profession by their deeds" (Barclay)
"but from seeing the way they act, one knows they don’t" (TLB)
"They claim that they
know God, but their actions deny it. " (TEV)
in works they deny Him"
they deny him by the way they live" (NLT)
and disown and renounce Him by what they do" (Amp)
by their acts they are turning their backs on him" (BBE)
But - This
term of contrast
is always an "invitation" by the Spirit to slow down, pausing to ponder
the passage and in this case the contrast, asking what Paul is
contrasting, why now, what is the importance, who is he describing, etc
is striking as he makes the vital
connection between a person's lips (what they profess) and their life
(what they practice). In a sense this is a life and death distinction,
for if we say we believe but continually behave in a way that in effect
"denies" our profession, we are lying not just to others but ultimately
to ourselves (But never to God Whose omniscient gaze sees all evil and
good - Pr 15:3, Pr 5:21). We may even be so deceived (cf Heb 3:13, Titus
3:3) as to think we are saved (regenerate, born again) when the truth is
that we are still dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) for there
has been no demonstrable change in our lifestyle - we've never become a
new creature in Christ, with new desires and appetites and ability to
obey the Word. (cf 2Cor 5:17). With our lips we in effect say "Lord,
Lord" but our life tells another tale, for we fail to practice the will
of God (Mt 7:21).
By their deeds - The words
may be "smooth," but their fruit is rotten. The attitude of their heart
was such that it continually contradicted their profession that they
[word study]) means to say one does not know about or is in
any way related to God. How? Continually (deny
present tense =
this speaks of one's lifestyle, the habitual practices of one's life) as a way
of their lost lifestyle. Watch where they go, what they listen to, how
they respond to external circumstances, etc. Their denial is not with
their lips but by their actions. Their actions prove they are rotten
fruit. In short, their actions speak louder than their words.
Arneomai - 33x in 30v in
NAS - Matt 10:33; 26:70, 72; Mark 14:68, 70; Luke 8:45; 9:23; 12:9;
22:57; John 1:20; 13:38; 18:25, 27; Acts 3:13f; 4:16; 7:35; 1 Tim 5:8; 2
Tim 2:12f; 3:5; Titus 1:16; 2:12; Heb 11:24; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 2:22f;
Jude 1:4; Rev 2:13; 3:8. NAS = denied(10), denies(5), deny(12),
denying(2), disowned(3), refused(1).
What do your actions or deeds
"say" about who (and "Whose") you are?
Jesus made it very clear that
"whoever shall deny
Me before men, I will also deny
him before My Father who is in heaven.
Our deeds "speak" very loud to those around us! Watch
what you "say" (by your behavior)! When a man has an impure mind and conscience, he may have
book knowledge of God but his life denies that knowledge. He says
one thing with his lips and another with his life. Purity of life can only
spring from purity of thought. Their "knowledge" of God is professed in
vain for it is contradicted in practice!
At the conclusion of His
incredible Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called on His
audience and all who profess Him with their mouth, to examine themselves
using the plumbline of the following passages...
Not everyone who says to Me,
'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will
of My Father who is in heaven.
22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in
Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform
23 "And then I will declare to
them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon
them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.
25 "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been
founded upon the rock. (See notes
profession and practice were at continual variance. Full of a pretended
faith, while utterly destitute of those works by which a genuine
faith is accredited and proved. Dio Cassius represents Caesar as saying
of his mutinous soldiers: “Having the name of Romans, while they had the
manners of the Gauls.” How near are those words to the saying of the
Does your walk match your talk?
Has your life truly changed as a result of your profession of faith in
Karl Rahner has written a statement that should cause all believers to
carefully examine their walk -- The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who
proclaim God with their mouths and deny him with their lifestyles are
what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable. -- Servant,
January, 1995 p10.
I basically agree with Rahner but would add that the
number one cause of "atheism" is that men by a volitional choice,
continually (present tense, active voice) "suppress the truth in
unrighteousness, because that
which is known about God is evident within them (stated another way,
every atheist knows there is a God! They simply choose to deny His
divinity.); for God made it evident to them (the point is that no one
has an excuse - certainly we are to send missionaries to the "lost" and
for those lost who choose not to deny God but to seek after Him, He will
find a way to get the gospel to them.)
BEING DETESTABLE: bdeluktoi ontes
(PAPMPN): (Job 15:16; Rev 21:8, 21:27)
"being abominable" (Wuest)
"for they are obviously vile"
"because they are repulsive" (Barclay)
are rotten" (TLB)
"They are despicable" (NLT)
"they are detestable and
"they are hated by all" (BBE)
Spurgeon - This was bad soil,
but it had to be plowed and to be sown. And with an Almighty God at the
back of the gospel plower and sower, a fruitful harvest came even in
Crete. We do not need to be afraid of the adaptation of the gospel to
the lowest of the low. If there is any quarter of the town where the
people are more sunken in vice than anywhere else, there the gospel is
to be carried with more prayer and more faith than anywhere else. Depend
upon it, God can bless His word anywhere, among Cretans or among any
other sort of degraded people.
Being detestable - The
(being) pictures the "professors" abominable state as their
lifestyle. They are continually vile, repulsive, rotten, despicable,
detestable and loathsome!
(bdekluktos from bdelusso = to emit a foul
odor in turn from bdeo = to stink) means detestable, idolatrous,
abominable and abhorrent. This word referred to heathen idols and images
and so describes that which is an abomination to God. Thus the deeds of
these "professors" are a stench in the nostrils of God and cause Him
disgust! What a horrible thought. And they don't even see it because of
their self-deception! God abhors their deeds and finds them abominable.
The only other Scriptural use of bdekluktos
is in the
translation of Proverbs "He
who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, Both of
them alike are an
(bdekluktos) to the LORD" (Pr 17:15) International Children's Bible translates it
"The Lord hates both these things: letting guilty people go free and
punishing those who are not guilty."
To get a sense of the hatred of God for their deeds note that bdelusso,
the root word, is used in the
several times to describe heathen idols and images. Out of 50 uses of
bdelusso the following are used in the context of idolatry (Deut
7:26; 1 Ki 21:26; Hos 9:10). The related noun, bdelugma, meaning
abomination is used by Jesus to describe the
Antichrist in (Mt 24:15)
and in the
is also used in the context of idolatry in (Ex 8:26, Dt 7:25-26, 12:31,
17:1, 18:9, 18:12, 20:18, 27:15, 29:16, 32:16, etc). Moses speaking of
Deuteronomy 32:16 "They made
Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations (bdelugma)
they provoked Him to anger.
cognate (bdelusso, bdelugma) uses of bdekluktos in the
give one a sense of how
description is of one who is a professor but is not a possessor of Christ's
John records that "nothing unclean and no one who practices
(present tense = habitual, as a lifestyle) abomination (bdelugma
= abhorred by God) and lying, shall ever come into (Heaven),
but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."
Brian Bell writes that...
Paul reminds his readers of his
Lord’s teachings that purification is largely a matter of the internal
rather than the external. [There is nothing that enters a man from
outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him,
those are the things that defile a man.] Nothing outside can corrupt one
who is internally pure; but someone who is internally impure corrupts
all he touches.
The false teachers were corrupt to the core (mind and conscience) Result?
Even though they claimed to know God, their corrupt actions belied their
true natures. “The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he
commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Their impure interiors
thus rendered them externally detestable!
A defiled conscience is like a dirty
window: no light can enter! Recent experiments have been made in which
people were fitted with special prismatic glasses. These devices greatly
distort the vision so that straight lines appeared to be curved, and
sharp outlines seemed fringed with color. Within just a few days,
however, the unnatural shapes, tinted edges, and inverted landscapes
gradually disappeared, and the world began to be normal again, even
though they still wore their optical fittings. The brain was finally
able to overcome the false data that came through the prismatic lenses.
In the area of the spiritual, however, the human mind does not function
very well. In fact, man is a sinner whose deepest imaginations are evil,
and his thought life produces a world of illusions. He thinks of himself
as pure when in reality he is guilty before God.
The following words are from an old engraving on a cathedral in Labeck,
Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
You call Me master and obey Me
You call Me light and see Me not.
You call Me the Way and walk Me not.
You call Me life and live Me not.
You call Me wise and follow Me not.
You call Me fair and love Me not.
You call Me rich and ask Me not.
You call Me eternal and seek Me not.
If I condemn thee, blame Me not.
Some people are like good watches: They’re pure gold, open-faced, always
on time, dependable, quietly busy, and full of good works! (Brian
DISOBEDIENT (unpersuaded): kai apeitheis:
(1Sa 15:22, 15:24; Eph 5:6; 1Ti 1:9)
"unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious" (Amp)
are outrageously rebellious"
(NJB), "hard–hearted" (BBE)
"Unpersuadable, unbelieving, and
consequently disobedient" (Adam Clarke)
from a = without + peítho
= persuade) (See also related word
apeitheo) is literally one who refuses to be persuaded.
speaks of a stubborn, stiff-necked
attitude of disbelief which ultimately manifests itself in disobedience.
It is opposed to the main idea in the verb
Men do not
avoid Christ because of insufficient facts but because of proud and
unrepentant hearts. They are unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving and
The men who profess to know God are unpersuaded by God's clear Word.
They suffer the same fate that the writer of Hebrews pronounced on the
Jews who were disobedient
to whom did He (God) swear that they should not
enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient (related word apeitheo)? And so we see that
they were not able to enter because of unbelief (apistia)." (He
In this verse we see that Hebrews equates disobedience with unbelief.
You can say you "believe" but if you don't "obey", your belief is not
saving faith. There are many voices even in evangelical circles who
would not hold to this teaching, saying in essence that profession
equates with possession. Paul says
Let no one deceive you with empty
words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons
of disobedience. (Ep 5:6-note)
In the OT, the prophet Samuel gave
a similar warning to Saul saying
Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in
obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed than the fat of rams. (1Sam 15:22)
Such a man cannot obey the will of God. His conscience is darkened. He
has made himself such that he can hardly hear the voice of God, let
alone obey it. A man like that cannot be anything else but an evil
influence and is therefore unfit to be an instrument in the hand of God.
AND WORTHLESS FOR ANY GOOD DEED: kai pros pan ergon
(Jer 6:30; Ro 1:28; 2Ti 3:8)
"and with reference to every good work, disapproved" (Wuest)
"and when it comes to doing any real good
they are palpable frauds." (Phillips)
for any good deed"
"worthless so far as doing anything good is concerned"
fit to do anything good"
for every good work" (NKJV)
are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any
"and judged to be without value for any good work" (BBE)
for any good work are utterly useless"
from a = without + dokimos
= tested and thus reliable or acceptable) refers to that which is rejected after
a trial or examination because it fails the test. It means to put to the
test for the purpose of being approved, but failing to meet the
basic meaning of adokimos is that of failing to meet the test
or not standing the test. It describes that which does
not prove itself to be such as it ought and which is therefore
disapproved and useless. For example, "sterile soil"
(see Hebrews 6:8 below) is unfit for fulfilling its purpose.
In short adokimos describes that which is worthless, spurious, unqualified,
disqualified, corrupted, not approved,
Adokimos was commonly used of metals that were rejected by refiners
because of impurities. The impure metals were discarded, and
adokimos therefore came to include the ideas of worthlessness
In relation to God, the rejecting
mind becomes a
rejected mind (Ro 1:28)
and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless. Thus
Romans 1:28 And just as they did not
see fit (dokimazo)
to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved
(adokimos) mind, to do those things which are not proper. (Comment:
This is literally a disapproved mind or a mind which is no mind and
cannot discharge the functions of one, a mind in which the divine
distinctions of right and wrong are confused and lost, so that God’s
condemnation cannot but fall on it at last). (see note
the 6 other NT uses of this picturesque adjective adokimos...
1Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my
body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to
others, I myself should be disqualified (adokimos). (Comment:
Here adokimos presents a metaphor from the Isthmian games. A contestant
who failed to meet the training requirements was disqualified from
engaging in the athletic contest. Thus he could not even run, much less
win. Note that Paul was not speaking of being disqualified from
salvation, but of being disqualified as a usable instrument, a vessel of
honor, of the Lord in ministry.)
yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine (dokimazo
yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test (adokimos)?
2Corinthians 13:6 But I trust that
you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test (adokimos).
2Corinthians 13:7 Now we pray to God
that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but
that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved
2 Timothy 3:8
(see note) And just as
Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth,
men of depraved mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the
Hebrews 6:8 (see note)
but if it yields thorns
and thistles, it is worthless (adokimos) and close to
being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
There are 2 uses of adokimos in
Pr 25:4 and Isa 1:22.
Isaiah 1:22 Your (speaking of
unfaithful Israel) silver has become dross (Septuagint
= adokimos = worthless),
Your drink diluted with water.
Of unbelievers, Jeremiah wrote, "They call them
rejected silver, because
the Lord has rejected them." (Jer 6:30).
The mind that finds God worthless
becomes worthless itself. It is debauched, deceived, and deserving only
of God’s divine wrath. The sinful, depraved mind says to God, “Depart
from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways."
These professor's deeds are "proof positive" that their profession is positively
preposterous and their
destiny is the Lake of fire.
Adam Clarke writes that
these men are "Adulterate; like bad coin, deficient
both in the weight and goodness of the metal, and without the proper
sterling stamp; and consequently not current. If they did a good work,
they did not do it in the spirit in which it should be performed. They
had the name of God’s people; but they were counterfeit. The prophet
said; Reprobate silver shall men call them." (Titus
was used to describe a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard
weight, the worthless money being called adokimos. The word also was
used of counterfeits of various sorts.
Adokimos was used to
describe a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle.
Adokimos described a
candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless.
stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for
construction, the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital "A"
(for adokimos) on it's surface.
The ultimate test of life is usefulness,
and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of
no use to God or to his fellow-men.
Instead of helping God’s work in
the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster.
It is as if these unsaved men
in Titus 1:16 profess
Christ but in actuality deny
Him have a giant "A"
stamped on their head and heart. Rejected by the Master Architect and of
no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our
hearts that these men and women are so deceived. Doubtless they will be
"Many (who) will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and
in Your name perform many miracles?' (Mt7:22)
to whom He declares "I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO
PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS." (see note
The ultimate test in this life is usefulness to God and the man whose
influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no
use to God or to his fellow men. Instead of helping God's work in the
world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster.
For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he
truly examined himself realized he was not "in the faith" as illustrated
by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled "The Almost Christian":
I did go thus for many
years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to
eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence;
redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good
to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all
the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady
seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God
is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity;
having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will
in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good
fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.” Yet my own conscience
bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but
almost a Christian.''
click for discussion of what
constitutes a "good deed" in the sight of God.
Barnes comments "that in reference to everything that
was good, their conduct was such that it could not be approved, or
deserved disapprobation. It was for this reason; from the character of
the people of the island of Crete, and of those who claimed to be
teachers there enforcing the obligation of the Mosaic law, that it was
so important for Titus to exercise special care in introducing men into
the ministry, and in completing the arrangements contemplated in the
organization of the churches there.” (Ed note:
Can the selection of elders and other
church leaders be any less important in "Crete-like" America?)
And one last story... There was a very pious family. In it was a
daughter and sister who seemed very devout. She was a regular attendant
at church, participating in all the parts of the services -- singing,
praying, and the Lord's Supper. All believed her to be genuine. Finally
she was taken suddenly and seriously ill. A minister was informed of her
serious illness and, at her request, came to see her. He expected to
find a happy, victorious Christian; but not so. The sick young lady
asked him to have a seat, saying, "I am glad you came, for I cannot bear
to go out of this world a deceiver and a hypocrite without telling
someone." Then she said, "I cannot afford, for the sake of my loved
ones, to tell you all of the sham, deceitfulness, and hypocrisy of my
life. I have talked about religion, have professed religion, and
pretended to be a Christian; but I am not and have never really loved
the Lord or His service. Now I must die without any of the prospects of
religion and be shut out of heaven forever." Then the minister spoke of
the mercy and grace of God. "Yes," she replied, "but that is not for me
now. I have been a worthless hypocrite, and God is justly my enemy. My
character is finished. What I am, I shall be forever. The tree is even
now falling, and it is too late now." In a few minutes she went out to
meet God. It will be a fearful thing to come to the end of the way and
find it dark.
"if you confess
with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved,
for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness,
and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."