Verse of the Day Devotion. 2 Peter 2:1
“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 Peter 2:1
At the end of 2 Peter 1, Peter ends with the following. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21. This describes the difference between true and false prophesies, and ultimately true and false prophets. True prophesies come from God alone, but false prophesies come from the thoughts and hearts of men.
Therefore, he begins this chapter by warning his readers that just as there were false prophets spoken of in the Old Testament, there were also false prophets in their current time. He tells them ‘who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” Peter is pointing out that they are ‘secretly’ bringing these false teachings in. And this is sad when we see what was happening within the Church. But they would ask, ‘What is all this fuss about? We have not departed from the truth, we are as sound in the faith as any of you are,’ when they know, the traitors that they are, they are undermining the foundations of the faith, trying to take away the very cornerstone of the Church, Jesus Christ. These false teachers will strive to deceive everyone they can to build up their own reputations, going as far as denying the Son of God.
And because of this, “And 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; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Peter 2:2-3. Errors, particularly those which give free reign to the flesh, are very contagious. But God, throughout history, did not allow false teachings to prevail. “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; 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; 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 thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4-9. Those who taught these false teachings and did not repent of them and begin teaching the truth will be punished for their false doctrines.
And we see false teaching today all over the place. One major false teaching is called ‘antinomianism’, the idea that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law, thus allowing them to continue in sin with no consequences. However, Paul said, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2. Another is the Word Faith movement, that states if you have enough faith, you can ask for anything you want and it will be given to us. However James countered this with “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3. There are many others, but these are two major ones I used as examples.
We must spend time reading the scriptures to understand what it is saying, and not what others say or what we want it to say. Paul, writing to his disciple Timothy wrote, ”Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. And one way we can do this is to be as the Bereans whom Paul preached to. “And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:10-11. We must become knowledgeable about what the scriptures say. And if we question what anyone says, we must be ready to, like the Bereans, check what the scriptures really say and obey only that. We must be careful, for there is a lot being taught in churches and elsewhere which are not biblical and could be sinful. Knowing His Word is the only way to protect ourselves and others from errors that could seriously affect our spiritual growth, and ultimately our eternity.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.