Chapter 2 deals entirely with the subject of false teachers.
We have been talking about the authority of the word of God, and believing in the word of God, both collectively as a church and as individuals.
Peter reminds us of divine dictation, Scripture that was divinely given to inspired men of God who were willing to write down everything that came to them from God.
However, there were also false prophets, men who were annointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the word of God. But they have perverted the word of God. The false teachers described by Peter knew exactly what they were doing.
There are also false teachers among us, the believers. In Peter’s day, much of the false teaching was done in secrecy. Now it is done in open on television and social media.
False teachers will bring on themselves swift destruction (more on this next week). God will deal with their evil, wicked nonsense.
Even the devil himself can be transformed into an angel of light. False teachers will always court the truth just enough to put a hook in your mouth. Indeed, we will know them by their fruits (or lack of fruits).
Unfortunately, many will follow their perverted ways. False teachers speak of the truth as though it is evil.
1. The chief tool of the devil has always been the perversion of God’s word. The devil doesn’t care what you believe, as long as it’s not the truth, for it is the truth that shall set us free.
In fact, the devil has been perverting the word of God since the Garden of Eden. He planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding what God had said.
Verse 2:1 describes “damnable heresies even denying the Lord that bought them.”
2. The heart of deception will always be an attack on the gospel. There are other “gospels.” False teachers will always try to take away from the real gospel.
For example, false teachers will often try to take away the blood of Christ because they deem it too offensive. But the offense of the gospel is the reason we get saved in the first place.
Anyone who tries to tell you that you have to work for your salvation is a false prophet.
The gospel is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is nothing more nor nothing less. False teachers will always try to put a front on this truth of the gospel. The first damnable heresy they introduce is to deny the Saviour who bought them.
Matters of church tradition can be debated (speaking in tongues, for example). But the gospel is not debatable.
A false teacher will bring reproach to the message. Followers also bring a reproach to the message.
3. False teachers and those that follow them have brought reproach and shame to the message of hope. There are a multitude who follow these crooks, and they tend to taint all of Christianity.
Sometimes false prophets do what they do for riches, and this causes others to question the motivation of all ministers and leaders, even the genuine ones. This is also a motivation of false teachers — to taint the gospel for everyone.
The writer compares the depravity of false teachers to the time of Noah and calls them Sodom and Gomorrah.
The purpose of false teachers:
- Dilute the word
- Destroy the church
- Divide the sheep
- Deceive the weak
- Damage the message
In these last days, it is going to get increasingly worse. We are told to be wary of these wolves. They are everywhere: in church, in politics, maybe even in our workplace. A genuine teacher wants his listeners to know the Bible, and wants his church to know what they believe and why they believe it.
When you know the truth, the foolishness of false teachers represents something you will want no part of.