The Danger of False Teachers
Verse 1 – But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
Do you know how to tell a false teacher or preacher is not teaching the true gospel? Know your Bible so well that the moment you hear or read something, your spirit is unsettled. You will instantly know, “That’s not true!”
Verse 2 – And many will follow their destructive ways because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
Verse 3 – By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Peter is talking about teachers that only teach what the people wanted to hear, in order to gain wealth. These teacher’s conduct was as corrupt as what they had been teaching. They may sound sincere at first, but if people don’t know the word of God and don’t have His Spirit, they will fall for their false teaching.
I think the biggest lie that is being taught today is that sin doesn’t have to be repented for. Sin is glossed over in the churches as a “mistake” instead of being called what it is – sin. If there is no sincere repentance there is no transformed life.
Verse 4 – For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
Verse 5 – and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing the flood on the world of the ungodly;
Verse 6 – and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;
Verse 7 – and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked
Verse 8 – (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day-to-day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) –
Verse 9 – then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
Verse 10 – and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,
Verse 11 – whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
If God did not spare the wicked people before the flood, or the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, He will not spare false teachers!
There are many today, as was then in ancient days, that don’t believe in the “supernatural.” They don’t believe that demons can and do possess people.
However, all through the Bible people were possessed and evil spirits consumed people’s thoughts and behaviors. Any teacher or preacher that teaches that God is so loving that He will overlook ad accept any kind of behavior, is delusional themselves. God does punish sin, and sin is clearly defined in Scripture.
Verse 12 – But these like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
Verse 13 – and will receive wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes carousing in their own deceptions while they feast on you,
These false teachers were slandering celestial beings that they did not understand, taking Satan’s power lightly and claiming to have the ability to judge evil. Same as today, many mock the supernatural. They deny the spiritual world and say what only is seen or felt is real. some don’t believe Satan is even real.
Verse 14 – having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.
Verse 15 – They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
This is in reference to using religion for personal gain and achievements.
Verse 16 – but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
Balaam was hired by an evil pagan king to curse Israel. He did what God told him to do for a time, but eventually his evil motives and desire for money won out. One day Balaam was beating his donkey and the donkey rebuked him and in no uncertain terms told Balaam that Israel was God’s people.
Verse 17 – These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, to whom the gloom of darkness is reserved forever.
Verse 18 – For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lust of the flesh, through licentiousness the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
These teachers use deceitful statements, knowing they are false, to ensnare others. These false teachings entice people to believe in false doctrines.
Verse 19 – While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption: for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
A person is in bondage to whatever or whomever is in control of them. Christ frees us from these bondage in order to live for him, resulting in the ultimate good.
Verse 20 – For if, after they have escaped the pollution’s of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
This verse does not imply that the person ever had any true knowledge of the Redeemer’s saving grace. People can “outwardly” perform and reform, but have no true grace of heart. They have heard the gospel, know they need to be saved, but it’s only an outward show to others. And before long, they are back to living in sin in a back-slidden state. Their end result will be worse than before they acknowledged the truth!
Verse 21 – For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Verse 22 – But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Meaning, they return to their former vile behavior. Under all the appearances of reformation, still their evil nature remained. This passage is referring to those who never truly have a change of heart. A dog and a swine have never been anything but a dog and a pig, and these people were never anything but a sinner!