False teachers promote heresies that deny Jesus Christ. They promise people freedom, but put them in bondage and make them slaves. They win many followers. [UPDATED]
SUMMARY: In ancient days, as well as in our day, there are false teachers. They teach heresies that deny Jesus Christ, but in clever ways that win them many followers. They are quite good at deceiving and exploiting the very people who trust them.
VERSE 1. But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.
false prophets also arose among the people. There will always be Christian leaders who drag people away from pure faith in Jesus Christ. Peter lists two key characteristics of their modus operandi:
destructive heresies. They twist some key point of Christian faith, or some important doctrine.
Peter calls that “destructive.” For Peter, doctrines are important. What we believe matters.
denying even the Master who bought them. At the core of a Christian heresy is a denial. The denial us almost always about the identity of Jesus Christ.
The originators of heresies are usually pretty clever, thought. They portray their heresies as an important “insight” to the historic Christian faith. A “breakthrough.”
VERSE 2. Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned.
many will follow. False teachers are very skillful at what they do. They enchant people. And those enchanted people follow them.
VERSE 3. In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn’t linger, and their destruction will not slumber.
in covetousness. False teachers are greedy. They want your money. And your obedience. And your soul.
they will exploit you. False teachers exploit people. After all, they are scam artists.
with deceptive words. False teachers lie and spin and misrepresent.
VERSE 4. For if God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness to be reserved for judgment;
VERSE 5. and didn’t spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;
VERSE 6. and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live in an ungodly way;
VERSE 7. and delivered righteous Lot, who was very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked
VERSE 8. (for that righteous man dwelling among them was tormented in his righteous soul from day to day with seeing and hearing lawless deeds):
VERSE 9. the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
SUMMARY: False teachers promise people freedom. But they actually put people in bondage and make them slaves. This is true for a false teacher, as well as for any other abuser. Peter clearly denounces false teachers.
VERSE 10. but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries;
Daring, self-willed. That is, brazen and insolent.
False teachers are courageous. They can stand up to anybody. They have a an unholy skill for lying and misleading.
Beneath the surface, they are arrogant and filled with contempt. But they conceal all that. On the outside, they seem charming and sincere.
VERSE 11. whereas angels, though greater in might and power, don’t bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord.
VERSE 12. But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed,
VERSE 13. receiving the wages of unrighteousness; people who count it pleasure to revel in the daytime, spots and defects, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you;
VERSE 14. having eyes full of adultery, and who can’t cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing;
VERSE 15. forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing;
VERSE 16. but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.
VERSE 17. These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
VERSE 18. For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error;
VERSE 19. promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him.
promising them liberty. A false teacher promises people freedom. But all he does is make people his own slaves.
brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him. When a false teacher overcomes someone, they put that person into bondage.
That is true for a false teacher. And for any other situation of abuse.
VERSE 20. For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
VERSE 21. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
VERSE 22. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.”
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