2Peter 2:1-22, “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”
In the bible, Jesus addresses extensively false teachers (prophets) in Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24; and so is Paul in 2Corinthians 11; and Peter in 2Peter 2; and in Titus 1; and John in 1John 4; in Jude 1. They kept sending warnings and even gave marks of such people. Peter here deals with the false prophets and he teaches us how to identify them so that we flee. These were not personal issues but doctrinal the same reason I address them. How sincere they are and many are is also not the issue, TRUTH is the issue. Peter and Paul could tolerate those who were hostile to them as long as they preached the gospel of Christ.
This chapter is parallel to the epistle of Jude. Peter says that one mark of a false teacher/ prophet is that vs. 1. “They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, …” . False teachers parade themselves as Christian pastors, teachers, evangelists, faith healers. They bring heresy (a deviation from the truth), self-designed religious lies which lead to division. “…, even denying the Lord …”, this is the heart of deception because if you deviate from the true teachings of the Lord, anything goes in the name of Christ. They have Christ label in their ministry (theologically) but their lifestyle denies Christ as the center. They deny supreme authority of the Lord, they may confess Him as the Savior, but they don’t receive His divine authority. From the way they sound, it seems the Lord is their master who is out to meet and service their needs. The Lord is not their treasure, what they want from the Lord is their treasure. The Lord is like a gene they rub on to get whatever they want. While it’s hard to spot them, the primary way to get started would not be theological, it would be ETHICAL. “It is not their theology that unmasks them, it is their morality that unmasks them.” John McArthur
They have elevated themselves in the level of the Lord, they have dethroned Christ, and they have perverted the truth preaching another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel (2Corinthians 11:3). They have elevated another spirit, they preach Christless Christianity, He is rarely mentioned in their midst, and His finished work on the cross is a ticket to get stuff. They are more concerned about now than eternity. The false teacher’s basic error is that they will not submit their lives to the rule of Christ. Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work”
Vs. 1, “… who bought them”, A master bought slaves, and the slaves owed the master allegiance as their sovereign. While the Apostles always referred to themselves as bondservants, not so with the false teachers. Among the ones I know, they have elevated themselves as small gods, they believe they have the ability to create and bring things into existence with their own words calling it faith. Some believe Christ is not the only begotten Son of God because they too have been begotten. They believe they are little messiahs walking on earth and they teach others to follow. These are some well-known televangelists.
How do we test those who claim to speak for the Lord, 1John 4:1-2, “1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world, 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God” this is more than mouth confession, this is a life style confession. Listen to Paul talking to Timothy his son in the faith, 2Timothy 3:10-14,”10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”
Those you listen to, do they deny Christ in their living? leave alone what they may believe or teach. Do you know their doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith etc? Timothy was a good Berean, he did not receive Paul at face value, something we do many times. He knew Paul’s background and followed him carefully. He did not look at one aspect of his life, he looked at the totality of his life. He could have not done this without God’s word as the plumb line. Paul did not deny Christ in words, thoughts and deeds. Toxic gospel may not deny Christ’s salvation, it would deny His Lordship.
“ Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason, …, my conscience is captive to the word of God. …”Martin Luther, blessings Ev