The Lord Jesus led me to read 2 Peter 2 (Select vv. ESV).
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. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 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. Vv. 1-3
There are multiple destructive heresies making their way around in Christian circles, but there is one primary one which is leading many people astray and to a false hope of salvation and eternal life with God, based on a lie. It focuses on the fact that, in Jesus’ death, he took our place and our punishment that we might be set free from condemnation, forgiven our sin, and have the promise of heaven when we die. So far so good, right?
Yet, the lie is that they say that all we have to do to have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny is to acknowledge the existence of Jesus Christ and/or his sacrificial death for our sins on a cross, and then all we have to do is just accept his grace or his forgiveness of our sins. Yet, they completely leave out the need for repentance, submission, and obedience to Christ and his Word. And, they completely leave out death to sin and living to righteousness, which was the reason Jesus died for us on that cross, that we might be free from the control of sin and live for Christ (Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Since this gospel does not require repentance or obedience to Christ, it gives free license for lasciviousness, and then it even tells its adherents that God is pleased with them no matter what they do, and that he smiles on them even when they are steeped in sinful practices, self-deceived, and living to please their flesh, while ignoring the Spirit of God.
Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 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. 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. Vv. 10b-12
These teachers of what is false also heap abuse on those who are living godly lives and who are teaching the true gospel message. They will either try to convert them to their way of thinking, and will try to get them to compromise their faith and to accept a diluted gospel message, or they will attack them, and accuse them falsely of teaching works-based salvation or of being legalistic or of being self-righteous or hypocritical, etc.
The reason they abuse those who are living righteously and who are teaching what is right is because the godly lifestyles of the righteous expose the lies of the unrighteous, and they expose the sinful behaviors of these false teachers, and that serves as a threat to the chosen sinful (addictive) lifestyles of these false teachers, and so they attack back, to try to frighten the follower of Christ to submit to them and not to Christ.
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. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 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. Vv. 13-16
These false teachers are enslaved to all sorts of evil practices, and they will stomp on anyone who serves as a threat to their sinful lifestyles. Because God has not yet called them to account for their wicked behaviors, they feel empowered to continue in them, and they will even do them out in the open, convinced that they will not be caught. They have no fear of God and no conscience about wrongdoing or fear of consequences or punishment.
They have no conscience about lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, slandering others, committing adultery, leading others into sin, and leading others away from pure devotion to Christ to follow after lies, etc. They will join in your fellowships, talk like they are genuine believers, pray with you, etc. while they are still holding on to addictive behaviors and living for self, and they have no conscience about that whatsoever.
They are conniving, manipulative, often charming, winsome people who easily persuade the naïve to follow their lies. They may even make a show of following the right way, while they live just the opposite. And, if you serve as a messenger of God in confronting the lies and exposing them and proclaiming the truth, they may, like Balaam, beat you verbally or in other ways in hopes that you will cease in opposing their destructive behaviors.
These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 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. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 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. 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 returns to her wallowing in the mud.” Vv. 17-22
These false teachers would lead you astray to believe that you can have eternal life with God and be forgiven your sins absent of godly repentance and obedience and submission to Christ and his Word. But, what they mouth are empty words which appeal to the lustful desires of the flesh. The gospel of our salvation has been diluted by these liars and deceivers for the very purpose to appeal to human flesh, and to “make nice” with the world.
They do promise them freedom in Christ based on a lie. They promise them that God will forgive their sins, and that they have the hope of eternity with God in heaven and that nothing can ever take that away from them. But, those are false promises, because they are not based in the truth. The truth says we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God.
There is a warning here to anyone who has made a profession of Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives, but not just a profession, but who genuinely trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord. If we listen to these lies, and we think now that we can be saved and have eternal life with God and yet walk in sinful lifestyles, and that God is going to just sit by and do nothing about it, then we are wrong.
The Bible speaks of judgment beginning with the house of God. We also read in Revelation 2-3 of how Jesus warned 5 out of 7 churches of failure to repent of their sins, that it would result in judgment which would come upon them in some form or another. So, we need to take this warning seriously.
Yet, we should not fear these liars and deceivers who would come against us and who would abuse us because we expose their lies and because we teach what is truth. For, they can destroy our reputations with their lies, and they can say all manner of evil to us or about us, and they can kill our bodies, but they can’t kill our souls. So, we should not fear them or what they might do to us, but we must remain faithful to God in doing what he says and in saying what he gives us to say, even if they do heap abuse on us in return.
When I Am Afraid / An Original Work
October 17, 2016 / Based off Psalms 56-57
When I am afraid, Lord, I will trust in You.
Your Word, Lord, I praise. I yield my life to You.
Enemies pursue me, slandering Your Name.
Lord, have mercy. I trust in You. Hear my cry today.
Lord, I love Your Word. It comforts me today,
As I look to you, and bow my head and pray.
You are Christ, my Lord. You saved me from my sin,
That I may walk, Lord before You, purified within.
Steadfast is my heart, O God, I sing of You.
I will praise You, Lord. To You, I will be true.
Oh, how great Your love. Your faithfulness endue.
Be exalted, God of heaven. Glory be to You.
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 2:22 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. May we take it to heart, and apply its truths to our lives.