2 Peter 2
by Pastor David Groendyk
Chapter 1 of this letter is theologically rich, encouraging, empowering, and generally quite uplifting. Chapter 2 is a little more sobering, but it becomes quite apparent what the pressing issue is for the Christians that Peter is writing to. False teachers are present, they are dangerous, and they must be avoided at all costs.
We haven’t heard exactly what it is these false teachers are teaching yet (that comes in chapter 3), but Peter describes the teachers themselves for us.
- The false teachers are secretive (v. 1). They sneakily come in and teach what is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the apostles. They claim to know Jesus Christ and to have been redeemed by him, but what they teach actually shows that they deny their Master. False teachers are often hard to spot! They look like sheep, but actually they’re wolves (Matt. 7:15). Therefore, it is all the more imperative for us as Christians to know our Bible. We have the true testimony about Jesus Christ written down in Scripture (see 1:16–21), so we must be diligent in training ourselves in the true doctrine.
- The false teachers are money-hungry (vv. 3, 14–15). They are willing to exploit other Christians for the sake of monetary gain. They use and abuse their standing as teachers purely for the purpose of monetary gain (see also 1 Tim. 6:5). They are not concerned with truth but with themselves. It should absolutely raise our suspicions when we see megachurch pastors who have a net worth in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Million-dollar mansions and private jets are nearly impossible for a pastor to justify. So when we see the personal wealth of men like Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen mushroom through their ministries, we must be wary that an ulterior motive might be in play.
- The false teachers are immoral (vv. 2, 10–19). They listen to the desires of their sinful flesh and pursue those desires rather than true righteousness and godliness. They revel in sin (v. 13), love adultery (v. 14), and are constantly engaged in all kinds of sexual immorality (v. 10). And they teach other people to do the same (v. 18)! They have no desire to follow God’s commands. But true Christians should not be dominated by their sinful desires (vv. 19–20). As Paul would say, “How can we who are dead to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:2). Never let anyone excuse their sin! Christ’s death on the cross freed us from the enslaving power of sin. True Christians are marked by righteousness and godliness (see 1:3–11). True Christians have the power of God in them to grow in godliness, and they will most certainly grow in godliness. That’s not to say true Christians never struggle with sin. We most certainly will! And sometimes that struggle can be fierce. But the false teachers aren’t even trying to fight their sin. They indulge. Dear Christian, don’t indulge your sin! Don’t play with it! Kill it.
- The false teachers are judged (vv. 4–10, 20–21). God has already condemned these wicked men who are leading people astray, and their eternal judgment is as certain as true believers’ eternal salvation. Their end has been written in stone. Therefore, don’t let them trouble you, but also don’t treat their presence lightly. Identify false teachers, and don’t be afraid to call them out, so that they would no longer drag other true believers down with them. For the sake of the spiritual health of the flock, false teachers must not be allowed in the church.
One final word of encouragement and hope for the believer comes in verse 9. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly. Don’t let that little phrase pass you by. He knows the temptations we face. He knows the allure of the false teachers’ teaching. He knows the secretive danger we might be in. And he knows how to rescue us through it all. He is always protecting and guarding us. God is surely providing for us an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1:11). And nothing can shake that inheritance.