This Chapter of 2 Peter is a good reminder for us that we must be on guard against false prophets. Peter has already written about how we can be looking forward to the fulfillment of God given prophecies. Now we are warned that not all prophecy is good and therefore should not be accepted without scrutiny. We have another very strong reminder/ warning in Jude 4-18 that not all people are seeking our good.
Peter writes about the danger of false prophets. Their methods are underhand. They “secretly introduce destructive heresies” (v.1). This will lead to many following their “shameful ways” (v.2), bringing “the way of truth into disrepute” (v.2). Their teaching is a complete denial of the truth, “ëven denying the sovereign Lord, who bought them” (v.1). We get the sense of exasperation when Peter writes that they “even……….” He must have found it unbelievable that people could do that.
I personally find it unbelievable that people can follow all sorts of philosophies, strange sects, religions and secularism, and yet will have nothing to do with truth and the Lord of Life.
The end for these false prophets (and unfortunately for those who follow them) will be “condemnation” and “destruction” (v.3).
Peter develops v.3 more fully, drawing on the history of God’s people to show how God’s purposes for salvation and condemnation will come about.
We see how Noah and Lot are rescued when their ungodly contemporaries are destroyed.
We see how how the fate of fallen angels points to the fact of a final judgement. We have the awful picture of human rebellion, selfishness, unbridled indulgence, pride, disobedience, immorality and the rejection of God, all culminating in punishment.
In the later part of this chapter we read of the dangerous character and subsequent influence of these people.
They “follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature” (v.10). They “despise authority” (v.10). They are “bold and arrogant” (v.10). They are licentious, “Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight” (v.13). They are immoral (v.14). They are also “experts in greed” (v.14)
Peter continues, piling word on word about these evil doers. He says in verse 17 that what they offer sounds good, but has no substance. In verse 18 we seeing them offering sensual pleasure to entice new Christians back into their old way of life. In verse 19 their offer is totally deceptive, because the “freedom” they offer leads only to the bondage of sin.
A confession! I have not enjoyed this passage at all. It is a good reminder though, that we do have to be on guard against false messages that attack us daily. We are not going to hear gross heresies from our pulpit (at least not while Ian still has breath in him) but we are going to continue to be saturated with messages of false values through our media etc. I am reminded of that distasteful illustration of putting the frog in cold water and it boiling to death because it didn’t realise the temperature was rising.
May God help us to have spiritual discernment when it comes to the messages that come to us everyday in so many ways.
Have a great day,