We are reading the whole chapter today after I spent some time looking at how I would break it into portions. While this is a very important warning for us, I couldn’t see myself focusing on false teachers for multiple days. I didn’t want you to think that this was not important, because it is! There are many false teachers and sometimes it’s hard to recognize them.
Let’s dig in a little bit and see what clues the Bible gives us for having discernment. “The way of truth will be slandered.” This would be making a false statement about the truths of Scripture in an attempt to ruin its reputation. Many people misquote the Bible or try to shift the words around so “fits” their situation better. I’m not sure this is a “slander” unless their intent is to hurt the truth of Scripture. They are probably coming at it from a state of ignorance or selfishness. If they begin to try and force others to believe the same as they are, then they would be treading in the dangerous waters of false teaching.
What will happen to the false teachers–will they get away with it? From this reading, I would say, not a chance. God is aware of all of his children, those obedient and those who are not. We read what happened to people who were practicing evil and not following God in the examples of the flood and people in Sodom and Gomorrah. “He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people…the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.” I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to be rescued.
We see in these examples that God did rescue the rightheous. Noah and his family lived another day, in fact, they were given the responsibility to repopulate the world! And as Lot escaped the evil of his town, God saved him because of his goodness and faith. God will rescue the godly.
Those who fall into the trap of being false teachers and/or live an ungodly life have some similar characteristics. I have known people in my life with “twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.” These same people are often proud and arrogant. Here are some other observations from our reading: They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight, delight in deception, commit adultery with their eyes, and lure unstable people into sin. They are greedy. But get this, they live under God’s curse. I bet they don’t even know it. They are oblivious to the coming wrath of God.
We may have people like this in our church fellowships, in our neighborhoods, in our families. They tend to brag about themselves. Again, I have known people like this over the years. When people brag about themselves, I tend to think they are only doing so to cover up something ugly and to redirect the focus. Many times this ugliness is a loneliness or a feeling of inadequacy they don’t know how to fill otherwise. How much better it would be for them if instead of wallowing in their weakness of character they were to cry out to God for help.
When we let our weaknesses control us, we are left wide open for the evil one to swoop in and take control of us. I may be making assumptions here, but I would generalize and say we don’t want to be a mouthpiece for the evil one. We don’t want to create any misunderstanding in our own lives, much less spew out untruths to those around us. We need to stand firm and know we are not immune unless we guard our hearts and our minds.
We don’t want to be a slave to sin and corruption. “For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” This chapter of 2 Peter is similar in nature to a portion of the Book of Jude, as I understand it. Both attempt to warn us that we may not always be able to trust those in authority. We need to be equipped with an unshakable truth so that when we hear their lies we recognize them. We cannot be swayed by those teaching a watered down gospel designed to lead us from the truth.
What is your takeaway from the reading today? Have you known false teachers in your life? How did you respond and keep yourself from being caught in their net? We need to take heed of this warning, because false teachers may also be very popular with society and not look as “ugly” as this text would suggest.
It’s important we surround ourselves with sound Biblical teaching and our own personal study and reflection. God will reveal himself through his Word. We just need to take time to listen.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for this reminder to be on the lookout for evil and corruption in our world. We need to stand firm in our faith. Give us the discernment to recognize a false teacher despite how beautiful and desirable they may be. I pray for them that they can break free of the evil that has control of them. Surround my heart with light and love so I can reflect you in all I say and do. May I resist the evil one when he comes and tries to manipulate. I will stand firm with your help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.