CONDEMNATION OF FALSE TEACHERS
(a) Danger of False Teachers
Peter now warns of teaching that can become evident in the church taught by “false prophets (teachers)”, and likens them to the false prophets that plagued the people of God in ancient times: “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.” ; and there are numerous N.T. passages that warn of false teachers coming into the church today . He warns that many “church-goers” will follow their shameful ways discrediting scriptural truths. Their method will be to “exploit you with stories they have made up.” adding that “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping”, an indication that God’s judgment will fall on them as it has always been for false prophets; this may not be an immediate but will be a certain judgment.
(b) Destruction of False Teachers
Here, in this section, Peter gives three examples of God judging the ungodly:
- Angels – “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment”
- The ancient world: “if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people”
- Sodom and Gomorrah: “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”
He delivered the godly from judgment: “but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others” ; “and….Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men, (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)” .
Therefore, God is able to rescue all godly individuals, even though such a rescue may seem overdue to us today; “if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” ; God’s word is sure and such judgment on the ungodly is a certainty .
(c) Description of False Teachers
“…those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” are bold and arrogant and not scared to slander heavenly beings . Such behaviour is evident in the Church today, even as they gather with believers “in the presence of the Lord” and speak openly against what is taught in Scripture and practiced by the church leaders and congregation, as they practice their ungodly beliefs and pleasures; “They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.” . Peter refers to them as adulterers (“to pollute“ [from Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.]), who seduce young and unstable believers. They are experts in greed who have denied their faith in God following the “way of Balaam son of Beor” who was restrained from his wickedness by a human voice from his donkey ; monster beasts and creatures of instinct, and like such beasts they will perish, “They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done…..Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” . We see this type of behaviour constantly displayed on our Television screens and printed in newspapers and magazines, and the church is restrained by our culture from saying anything against this behaviour; church leaders can only be on guard and by the help of The Holy Spirit remove such members from the church family .
Peter ends this section with a warning to his readers against following the teachings of these false prophets: “They [false teachers] promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 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. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”” . Our profession of faith in Christ must be genuine and not merely “cosmetic”, and those who are genuine believers cannot be “lost” or lose their salvation , but for those that are “fake believers” or believers in word only, who have only “tasted” and not fully embraced righteousness, it would be better if they had not professed to know the way of righteousness.