Read 2 Peter 2
False Teachers and Their Destruction
2 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. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 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; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 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. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.
13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
Upon first reading it, this chapter can seem like a downer. All this talk about false teachers and the flesh and sinful desires can make us want to turn the page. But there is so much to learn from 2 Peter 2–and so much hope to be found.
Here’s the important but hard pill that this chapter gives us to swallow: Our sin is gross. And it’s a big deal. Peter starts this chapter by saying that words from false prophets aren’t just little white lies. It calls them downright “destructive” (v. 1). Greed, lust, deceit… our world has “eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin” (v. 14, ESV). Just reading this list makes our stomachs hurt at the depravity of this fallen world. In fact, our world is enslaved to sin! This chapter tells us that, without Christ, we are “overcome” by our fleshly passions (v. 19).
However, those that are in Christ are no longer slaves to the ways of this world. And in this chapter, we see a clear distinction between what’s in store for those that belong to Christ and those that don’t. We see the contrast between the fate of fallen angels vs. Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah vs. Lot, and those overcome by sin versus those overcome by God. Because our sin is such a big deal, it deserves punishment. And for those that haven’t trusted in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay for their sins, this chapter shows us the reality that justice and “gloomy darkness” await them (v. 4, ESV). But, for the believer who is in Christ, Jesus’s righteousness covers us. He has protection, mercy, and life in store! The difference between those who face the judgment due the false prophets and those who experience the fullness of God in eternity is whether or not they have trusted in Christ’s work on the cross. God is both just and merciful. He “…knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment” (v. 9).
If we are in Christ, we are no longer enslaved to the gross sinfulness of this world. What has overcome us is Christ and His righteousness. We are now slaves to that! Let’s live in the reality of that, putting our old ways behind us through the help of the Holy Spirit. Let’s find comfort in the fact that we serve a God who exacts justice for evil and also preserves His children on the day of trial.
- Which camp do you fall into? Have you trusted in Christ to cover your sins and carry your into eternity with Him or are you still apart from God, facing the penalty for your sins? Christ wants to offer you freedom and life today! (John 5:24)
- What sin patterns are you returning to “like a dog to his vomit?” Confess it to someone today and find freedom brining it into the light!
- How are you guarding your heart and mind against the “false teachers” of our world today. They could be from social media, the news, lies culture is telling you, etc…
By the Way
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” If we have trusted in Christ, we don’t have to return our sin like a dog to its vomit. We have been made new!
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