There will also be false teachers among you.
2 Peter 2 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Rise of False Prophets
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. 17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
Today’s text begins saying: False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words. False prophets and false teachers have been around as long as true prophets and teachers. Those that arise today are from one of two different sources. Either they are from within the church and they introduce destructive heresies, or they are unbelievers, those who deny God and Christ and teach of another way. We certainly see today that because many, both in and outside of the church, have embraced sensuality and immorality, the way of truth, God’s truth is maligned. Those who hold fast to God’s standards are considered intolerant and haters. They are maligned, persecuted and even prosecuted for their Godly values. We also see those who exploit with false words in order to fulfill their own greed. These too come both from in and outside the church. There are of course those who fulfill their greed teaching false doctrine to please people, using manipulation to profit from their emotions. There are also hundreds, perhaps thousands of non-spiritual causes that have become profit making sources of greedy people. The “religion” of climate change is one of these things. It is not that there is not some science regarding climate change, but for many it has become a profit making, greed filling, power grabbing false teaching.
Peter ends today’s text saying: Speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” Peter does not speak in deep words, complicated theology or doctrine, but rather as a layman, he speaks simple truth, with simple images and examples. So, I won’t comment and expound farther on what he says in today’s text. I will though confirm what he says with other portions of scripture.
In his letter to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul says: Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Continuing in 4:1-5, he says: I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Certainly Paul accurately describes much of what we see in our culture, society and in much of the church today.
If it does not seem right to you to hear what Peter and Paul said, if your focus is on Christ and Christ alone, consider His words in Matthew 24:4-14: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Take note here that the deception is not that these others claim to be Christ, but rather they deceive many by teaching false doctrine in the name of Christ. They teach that Christ is different. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Look again at the result of the false teaching and false prophecy. Lawlessness is increased. There is a turning from God’s commandments and His truth. Many are mislead into this lawlessness. In the end, most people’s love will grow cold. Even though the world claims to promote love, they do it by way of acceptance and tolerance. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God’s love, true passionate and compassionate love is demonstrated in the cross; that Jesus died for our sins. If we disregard sin and increase in lawlessness, we cannot know and experience God’s true love. Jesus says: “The one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Some today preach a different gospel than the gospel of the kingdom. Some preach sin and judgment. Some preach love and grace. Both of these are parts of the kingdom gospel. The true gospel of the kingdom is that because of love and grace, Jesus died for our sins. He took the judgment for our sins so that we could be in the kingdom of God and heaven. Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; the way, the truth and the life. Thank You Holy Spirit, that while there are many teachers, prophets; many voices in the world today, Yours is the voice of truth. Amen.