Summary: 2 Peter 2 deals with false teachers who's destiny is destruction, who's actions are depraved, and who's words are deceitful.
Standing Firm (2 Peter 2)
CHCC – November 16, 2014
Have you ever known someone who was pulled into some sort of pseudo-Christian Cult? Most of us have, and we know how completely deceived … even brainwashed … people can be.
It is a frightening fact that many people who are now zealous members of false cults were at one time faithful members of Bible believing churches. How did that happen? What drove these people away from Biblical truth into deceptive error?
In the Second chapter of 2 Peter, the subject of false teachers is addressed at length. Even when the church was in its infancy, false teachers were already pulling people away from saving faith in Jesus Christ. This is one of the main reasons Peter wrote this second letter to the scattered Christians.
Peter gets right down to business in explaining about the ways of the false teachers. He begins with a short introduction to the Counterfeits which Satan has inserted among the true believers. In three short verses he blasts their evil ways with 3 facts about false teachers.
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. … 2 Peter 2:2-3
When it comes to false teachers, Peter makes these 3 things clear: their destiny is DESTRUCTION, their actions are DEPRAVED, and their words are DECEITFUL. Before he says anything else about false teachers, Peter wants us to know that in the end, God will pour out judgment on anyone who leads God’s children astray.
1. Their destiny is Destruction
2 Peter 2:3-6: …Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment …
In the next verses, Peter gave three examples of the judgment that is sure to come for false teachers:
• Fallen angels, (who were chained in hell);
• The old world before the flood (where all the world was destroyed, even though Noah and his family were saved.)
• and Sodom and Gomorrah (where two entire cities were destroyed with fire and brimstone, while only Lot and his family were saved.)
Peter is reminding us that our God of love and grace, is also a God of power and justice. In American churches today, we sometimes get the idea that “grace” and “love” means we can’t speak out against any teaching (no matter how false) or any behavior (no matter how sinful.) This supposedly tolerant attitude comes from an out of balance view of scripture … that doesn’t take in the whole counsel of God. Scripture, when taken as a whole, gives the balanced view of a God who is full of both amazing grace and perfect justice.
The damage that false teachers were doing in the early church made Peter really angry. He wasn’t being “un-Christ-like” in that anger. In fact, Peter was reacting the same way Jesus reacted to false teachers. When Jesus saw the religious leaders making merchandise of the temple worshipers, he actually turned over the tables of the money-changes and drove them out with a whip! He called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs” and a “brood of vipers” because of the harm they were doing to God’s children.
Peter doesn’t pull any punches. He says in vs. 12-13: They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done.
I think we can see from this that it’s not “un-Christ-like” to be angry about false teachers. But Peter gives a word of caution in verse 11: … yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.
Do you remember what Peter’s personality was like as a disciple of Jesus? He was usually the first to speak out, and he ran around with two guys that Jesus called sons of thunder. But by the time he wrote this letter, Peter had learned that it’s not our place to take God’s judgment into our own hands. Even angels leave judgment to the Lord! We can speak out against false teaching, but other than that, our job is to teach the truth and trust in God … and wait for HIM to give out His perfect judgment at the right time. That day WILL come. Every false teacher is headed for certain DESTRUCTION.