2 Peter 2 (English Standard Version)
False Prophets and Teachers
1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
Even as there were holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), so also there were false prophets – and false teachers today. Peter stated this as a fact and not as a possibility; and he said they were among you, not only on the outside of the church.
“There were not only holy men of God among the Jews, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and perverted many.” – Adam Clarke
False teachers work secretly. It isn’t that their teaching is secret, but the deceptive nature of their teaching is hidden. No false teacher ever announces himself as a false teacher.
False teachers bring in destructive heresies that destroy by telling lies about Jesus Christ and His work for us and in us. By these heresies people are hurt and destroyed. Heresy isn’t harmless.
– David Guzik
2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
These three examples of judgment show us the important principle that Peter wants to highlight.
- God judged the angels who sinned, so no one is too high to be judged.
- God judged the ancient world before the flood, so God doesn’t grade on a curve.
- God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so even the prosperous can be judged.
Therefore, what makes the ungodly think they can escape God’s judgment? Their coming judgment is certain. As Jesus said in Luke 10:10-12, for those who reject the truth it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom.
— David Guzik
7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,
Peter, as much as anyone, knew how true it is that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,” because the Lord had sent an angel to jail to bring Peter out (Acts 12).
and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
Let’s talk about sin.
He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil.
I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God’s will.
–Joan of Arc
You sin in thinking bad about people — but, often, you guess right.
Sorrow is held the eldest child of sin.
15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
Balaam was hired by a pagan king to curse the people of Israel. For a while he refused, out of obedience to God — but eventually his greed overpowered him: “he loved gain from wrongdoing.” His donkey had to try to talk sense into him!
17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.
Jude 1:12 (New International Version)
These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Christians warmly debate the issue of whether or not it is possible for a true Christian to ever lose their status as a true Christian and fall away to damnation. Perhaps the best way of understanding the issue is to say that it is certainly true that those who appear saved – those who fit the description of Peter here – can end up in a place where it would have been better for them not have known the way of righteousness.
Regarding these, those with a Reformed perspective will say that they were actually never saved; those with an Arminian perspective will say that they were actually saved and lost their salvation. To divide along the lines of this debate – which focuses on things that are unknowable to outside observation – seems to fall into the category of being obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, as in 1 Timothy 6:4.
22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
Ick — I don’t want to return to my vomit! Leave the past and all its sin alone! Instead, “Take me to the cross again,” for there is where I see most clearly your redeeming love and find my new life.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.