False Teachers and Their Judgment
Click Here to Read 2 Peter 2:1-10a
Our world is full of false prophets and teachers. Some of them are outside the church and some
are inside. Peter warns us to be on the lookout for those who deny Christ died for our sins
and that He is the Only Son of God. They want to add others sons that aren't in the Bible.
Chapter two tells about the danger of false teachers within the local church. It tells us to
expect their appearance, and it tells of God’s judgment on them with examples from history
in the Old Testament.
Click Here to Read 2 Peter 2:1-10a
VERSES 1-3. " But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be
false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying
the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2: And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
These are false teachers. The Old Testament prophets gave us the inspired Scriptures. The false prophets led the people of Israel astray and false teachers were doing that when Peter wrote this.
Peter declared the New Testament Scriptures as well as the Old Testament were true:
2 Peter 1:16. "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known
unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his
2 Peter 1:21-2:1. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Verse 1 states the false prophets were from their own people. They didn't come from outside the nation, but from inside it, just like Moses had predicted:
Deuteronomy 13:1-3. "If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and
giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2: And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3: Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
In New Testament times the Apostle Paul predicted the false teachers. He called them wolves
Acts 20:29-30. "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous
wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
The false teachers will bring in teachings opposed to scriptural doctrine. They'll infiltrate God’s
people and bring in teachings just like they did in Galatia:
Galatians 2:4. "And that because
of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which
we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
They appear educated in the scriptures and use the same language as the church, but with changed meanings. Their teachings usually water down the truth, such as, "that was only for that time in history," or, "those are just Paul's writings." Their object is to corrupt the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ.
They were "denying the Lord who bought them." They refer to Him as Lord but mean that He's something less than God. Sometimes they're sincere in their thinking but aren't scripturally and spiritually pure and correct. It's wrong nevertheless.
They don't acknowledge Jesus as the One and Only Son of God.
Every false cult fails this one test, that Jesus Christ is God. They deny other truths which surround the person of Christ such as virgin birth, salvation, the trinity, heaven, hell, the Holy Spirit, and the second coming of Christ.
To “deny the Lord who bought them” is to deny that the cost of our salvation was the finished work of Christ on the cross. He paid the full price for our redemption from the penalty of sin. We are "bought with a price" which was the precious blood of Christ:
1 Peter 1:18-19. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
19: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"
Those who refuse God's gift of salvation are under God’s wrath. The work of Christ is sufficient for all, but efficient only for those who believe.
The false teachers “bring on themselves swift destruction” because they are lost and will be in Hell for eternity when they die.
There are two examples of destruction in verse 1. Their teaching is destructive to others, and they bring destruction on themselves.
False teachers are often popular because they advocate things that appeal to the natural man such as sex and greed. “Many will follow their pernicious ways” (verse 2). The word “pernicious” is translated “licentiousness," and that's sexual immorality. That's the meaning here. This brings to mind the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas a few years ago.
They broke man's laws and God's laws at the same time, and are without excuse. Their leader had immoral contact with the young girls and said it was his right as God's appointed leader.
Today we see a lot of people who profess to be Christians condoning and even promoting homosexual behavior. They want to be accepted as ministers to lead Christian worship, even though God expressly forbids it. The false teachers claimed Christian liberty to live immorally. They attracted a following who called themselves Christian, but like their teachers, denied the Lord who bought them. When sexual sin is accepted by the world, “the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (verse 2).
God sees adultery and fornication as sin just as He does homosexual activity, even though society in general sees nothing wrong with adultery and fornication.
In verse 3, these teachers were motivated by greed for money and used religion to get money from the people.
Most of the organized churches today ask for and expect money from their people in a demanding way. If it isn't given willingly, they shame you into giving. Some even use a threat that God will withhold His blessings if you don't give generously. Many of the popular preachers on television today are in business for the money only.
We're not speaking of the proper financial support for legitimate teachers, which is biblically right, but of the greed that motivates illegitimate teachers. In the last part of verse 3, God promises damnation for those people.
Peter warns us of three sins of false teachers in this section. They are usually found together. They corrupt the doctrine, endorse moral perversion, and practice financial exploitation.
In these next seven verses God is going to illustrate the judgment that waits for false teachers. It's certain and impartial. Verse 4 to the middle of verse 10 is one long sentence, both in the literary way as well as God's judicial way.
VERSES 4-10a. "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell,
and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5: And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6: And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7: And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9: The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government."
In each example, God judged those who did the evil. The wicked angels and the people of the ancient world who knowingly sinned with a flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah with fire.
Before God brought about judgment, He rescued the righteous from the flood as well as those who were righteous from the fires of
Sodom and Gomorrah.
Verse 9 indicates that God will continue to rescue the godly.
The first example was the judgment of God against wicked angels:
Genesis 6:1-4. "And it came
to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born
2: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4: There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."
The giants were fallen angels called "sons of God." They sinned when they abandoned their proper domain as angels to reproduce with human women. The offspring were evil beings and God punished them by casting them all into “hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment” (verse 4). Hell is a special place of confinement for those angels from the time of their judgment until their punishment for eternity in the lake of fire. God didn't design it for man, but the same fate is reserved for the false teachers.
The second example would refer to the people who also were destroyed in the flood (verse 5). Their minds were filled with evil continually and the earth with corruption and violence:
Genesis 6:5. "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that
every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 6:13: And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
The people laughed at Noah’s warnings about the coming flood and rejected God's warnings that came through Noah and they died when the flood came.
Peter uses their example to warn false teachers that they are not going to be spared since God actually wiped out the whole "world of the ungodly" at that time (verse 5).
Noah was called a “preacher of righteousness” because he was “a just man, perfect [blameless] in his generation. Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:9). His life and preaching were a condemnation of the ungodly. The ark they scoffed at provided the only way of escape.
This illustrates that God judges the wicked, yet He'll save anyone who will turn to Him.
The third example also comes from Genesis. It's the judgment taken on sinning man when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. [verse 6] The two cities and their inhabitants were turned to ashes. The point here is that God condemned and destroyed them as “an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.”
Society today should pay close attention to the parallels between it's morals and that of Sodom and Gomorrha. San Francisco would be a good place to preach this message.
Before the judgment of Sodom, God "delivered just Lot" just as He had saved Noah from the flood (verse 7). Lot is called "righteous" in verse 8, but it is not obvious in the Genesis account. He appeared as though he was as worldly minded as the rest. Peter does tell us that he was vexed, or disturbed, by the conduct of the wicked.
The effect of this morally perverted society on Lot was torment on his “righteous soul from day to day” (verse 8). He was shocked by what he saw and heard, as any righteous person should be. God knew his heart and saw that his faith was genuine, but just remember what it did to his family. His wife perished, his older children all died in the fiery destruction, and his two youngest daughters got him drunk and committed incest with him, all to his sorrow and that of many others.
Lot should have separated himself from that society long before God forced him to, but today we often put up with conditions un-becoming to the Christian life and don't distance ourselves from them even when God provides an obvious way.
We don't have the right to throw brickbats at Lot for his behavior if our own isn't what it should be. Jesus said, "Let Him who is without sin cast the first stone."
Lot's life should be a warning to us so we don't get caught up in wrong situations like he did. God saved both Noah and Lot from living in a morally corrupt society, and Peter tells us that “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations,” (verse 9).
Christians living in a godless society can take comfort from this promise in:
1 Corinthians 10:13. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
These men were delivered “out of” an existing trial, not from being tried. Neither Noah nor Lot escaped the pain and suffering. Noah was outwardly mocked by un-believing men and Lot was inwardly tortured by the lifestyle loss of his family.
If we obey God in our lives, we may endure trials for many years, but when God’s time comes He'll deliver us safely.
God is keeping these fallen angels and wicked people under guard and in punishment, waiting for the day of final judgment (verse 9).
The fallen angels are in hell where they will be held until the final judgment at the Great White Throne of God. At that time they'll be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. This judgment and hell are not only for the false teachers. Anyone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior will suffer the same fate as the false teachers. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Don't pass up God's gift of salvation and become one of those “who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority [government].” (verse l0a).