The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
July 17, 2011
1) 2 Peter 2:1-3 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
2 Peter 2:1-3
by Tom Edwards
In 2 Peter 2:1,2, Peter writes: "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. Many
will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth
will be maligned."
In the close of 2 Peter 1, mention is made of the true prophets who
"spoke from God" as they were "moved by the Holy Spirit"; but now Peter
shows the contrast to that, and of which he warns the brethren.
In OT times, though there were many good prophets, there were also some
bad and false ones, as can be seen in Jeremiah 6:13-14, where God says
through Jeremiah, "For from the least of them even to the greatest of
them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the
priest Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of
My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no
peace." Consider also Jeremiah 14:14: "Then the LORD said
to me, 'The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have
neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are
prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the
deception of their own minds.'"
It appears that the false prophets had often deceived even themselves
Notice Jeremiah 23:14,31,32: "Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I
have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in
falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one
has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like
Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah." "'Behold, I am against
the prophets,' declares the LORD, 'who use their tongues and declare,'
"The Lord declares." 'Behold, I am against those who have prophesied
false dreams,' declares the LORD, 'and related them and led My people
astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send
them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest
benefit,' declares the LORD."
So just as there were those false prophets of the OT period, there
would also be false teachers during the NT age, and of whom Peter is
alerting the brethren. This kind of needful warning is seen in
several places of the NT: For instance, in Paul's farewell to the
Ephesian elders, in Acts 20:29-31: "For I know this, that after my
departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the
flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them...." In 1 John 4:1, the
apostle John warns the brethren to "...not believe every spirit, but
test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because MANY false
prophets have gone out into the world" (emphasis mine). Jesus,
too, warned in Matthew 7:15-23 about the false prophets and their
deceptive nature; but that they could be detected.
Those who do not love the truth will be more susceptible to these false
teachers: For notice what causes some to stray, according to 2
Timothy 4:3,4: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from
the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
Just as we saw John speaking of the "many false prophets" that had gone
out into the world, Jesus, in addition, shows that many people would be
led astray by them: "And many false prophets will rise up; and they
will deceive MANY" (Matt. 24:11, emphasis mine).
These false teachers would "privily" bring in "damnable heresies," as
the KJV words it. "Privily" is from the Greek word
"pareisago," which Thayer defines as "to introduce or bring in secretly
or craftily." The NASB renders it as "secretly introduce"
Thayer shows that the Greek word for "destructive" (apoleia) can be
used to refer to "utter destruction," "a perishing," "a ruin," and even
"the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell."
This word is also used again in the last part of 2 Peter 2:1, where
Peter informs that these false teachers are "bringing swift destruction
upon themselves." It is also the same Greek word that Jesus uses
when saying, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the
way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by
it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to
life, and few are those who find it" (Matt. 7:13,14). Paul
speaks of those who have become "enemies of the cross of Christ, whose
end is DESTRUCTION, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is
their shame..." (Phil. 3:18,19). The "love of money," which is "a
root of all sorts of evil," can also lead to that destruction (1 Tim.
6:9,10), as well as distorting the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16). Of
course, any sin can lead there; so the Christian must continue to live
righteously and maintain the "faith to the preserving of the soul," in
order to not "shrink back to DESTRUCTION" (Heb. 10:38,39).
The destructive nature of heresies can also be inferred from 2 John
1:9: "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of
Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has
both the Father and the Son." (See also Galatians 1:6-9.)
Peter says of these false teachers that they were "...even denying the
Master who bought them..." (2 Pet 2:1). So they had been
Christians who had fallen away. For only the Christian has been
bought by the blood of Christ; and, therefore, to go back into sin
(regardless of what kind) is to reject Jesus as being Lord in one's
life, which also results in losing out on all the spiritual benefits
they could have had from the Lord. Corresponding to this, Hebrews
10:29 declares, "How much severer punishment do you think he will
deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as
unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has
insulted the Spirit of grace?" God's grace can be nullified and
made vain by going back into sin.
We will see later that it was also those Christians who had fallen away
whom Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 2:20-22, and shows how much more
terrible it is for them to have fallen away, after having been set
free, than to never have become a Christian to begin with.
Much of what we find in 2 Peter 2 parallels with Jude 1. These
false teachers had denied their Lord. Jude speaks of the same
thing in Jude 1:4: "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those
who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly
persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our
only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
Paul shows one way in which people can deny the Lord in Titus 1:16:
"They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being
detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed." So
one doesn't have to become an atheist or an agnostic to deny the
Lord. For one can do so by simply rejecting God's message.
And as Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:12, "...If we deny Him, He also will
deny us." We think of what a terrible thing it was when Peter
denied the Lord three times, but let us remember that we can also do
the same by yielding to temptation and ceasing to listen to God.
Peter says, "And many will follow their sensuality...." (2 Pet.
2:2). The KJV refers to this as following their "pernicious
ways." Again we see the similarity in the type of sin these false
teachers will lead others into with Jude 1:4, where Jude speaks of
those "ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into
licentiousness..." Though the word "licentiousness" is used
there, it is from the same Greek word as "sensuality" in 2 Peter 2:1;
and that is "aselgia," which Thayer defines as "unbridled lust, excess,
licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness,
shamelessness, insolence." "Sensuality" is the most common
rendering of this Greek word in the NASB. It is spoken of as a
"deed of the flesh" in Galatians 5:19, and which will keep one out of
God's kingdom. It appears to lead to many other sins as well:
"and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to
sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness"
(Eph. 4:19). The adjective "sensual" is defined as "1. arousing
or preoccupied with gratification of the senses or appetites;
carnal. 2. lacking in moral restraints. 3. worldly;
materialistic; irreligious..." (Random House Websters Electronic
Concerning these particular false teachers, Guy N. Woods writes: "These
teachers of whom Peter wrote made a religion of lust, and while
confounding Christian liberty with license, preached the gospel of
libertinism. Errors which allow such liberty have ever been
attractive to those who live for the world, and many were led to adopt
such and to follow willingly and gladly those who propagated them."
Peter says that because of these false teachers, "the way of the truth
will be maligned" (2 Pet. 2:2) -- from the Greek word "blasphemeo,"
which Thayer defines as, "1) to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile,
calumniate, blaspheme 2) to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed
We can probably think of many examples of this. For instance,
when Christians (especially those much in the public eye) are publicly
exposed for some crime or immoral behavior, it gives many
non-church-goers more reason, in their own mind, as to why they should
not even go to church. To them, those who bring reproach upon the
church are simply showing how corrupt the church is -- and why no one
should need to be a part of it. Of course, the truth of the
matter is that these individuals don't epitomize the true church of the
Lord; but, yet, they do cause others to think badly about the church in
general, by wrongly stereotyping and forming a negative prejudice.
Peter also shows one of the motivations of these false teachers -- "and
in their GREED they will exploit you with false words..." (2 Pet.
2:3). So their greed leads to using others selfishly for personal
gain, and their "tools" are their "false words." The KJV renders
this as, "they with feigned words make merchandise of you."
Jude also indicates the greed of the false teachers in Jude 1:11, where
he points out that, "...for pay they have rushed headlong into the
error of Balaam...." As we recall, Balaam was the man whom Balak
offered a great reward for bringing a curse upon Israel. Though
it appears that Balaam initially wanted to do what was right, he
eventually allowed greed to lead him astray. Peter also speaks of
Balaam in 2 Peter 2:15, "forsaking the right way, they have gone
astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved
the wages of unrighteousness."
If one is motivated by worldly greed, he will surely be heading in the
wrong direction. Proverbs 11:6 states, "The righteousness of the
upright will deliver them, But the treacherous will be caught by their
own greed." And Jesus warns, "...`Beware, and be on your guard
against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance
does his life consist of his possessions'" (Luke 12:15).
Peter also speaks of these in 2 Peter 2:14, "having eyes full of
adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a
heart trained in greed, accursed children." Again we find a
parallel in Jude 1:16, where Jude speaks of them as "...following after
their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake
of gaining an advantage."
The path of sin that these have chosen will never lead to heaven.
The apostles, however, were very much the opposite of this (cf. 1
Thess. 2:3-8). Not only did the apostles preach the pure word of
God, but they also did so from hearts that had been made pure by that
Iniquity can never be hidden from God, and the Lord is not passive
toward sin. As Peter shows about these false teachers, "their
judgment from long ago is not idle" (2 Pet. 2:3). In other words,
God's judgments, which were with God before the world even began, will
be carried out. Just because we do not see immediate judgments
being outpoured as we often do in the OT, it does not mean that the
Lord's attitude toward sin has diminished during our NT Age.
Sometimes people seem to think that time itself can blot out sin, but
such is not the case. Though man forgets, God doesn't. And
whether a man committed a sin yesterday or 50 years ago, what
difference would that make to God?
In the parallel account, Jude speaks of certain false teachers, in Jude
1:4, as "...those who were long beforehand marked out for this
condemnation...." This doesn't mean that the Lord pre-ordained
these people to commit iniquity; but He certainly knew in advance not
only that they would do wrong, but that it would, therefore, also
require the sacrificial atonement of His Son Jesus. But He went
ahead and made man anyway!
Peter says "their destruction is not asleep" (2 Pet. 2:3). The
same God who, according to Psalm 121:4, would neither "slumber nor
sleep" while watching over Israel, is also the same God who watches
over all today. "The Lord looks from heaven, He sees all the sons
of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of
the earth" (Psa. 33:13,14).
May it be that when the Lord looks down on us that He will see us
striving to live for Him, being well equipped with His word so that we
won't be led astray by any of the many false teachings today, which
lead to destruction. We can, therefore, be very thankful for
God's word. For if we take heed to it, it will keep us on
that narrow path, which helps us here on earth and leads to that
supernal realm in heaven above.
News & Notes
For those of us who are Christians, let us continue praying for the
Danny Holton, who has
pancreatic cancer in the 4th stage.
R.J. Evans, who recently found
out that he does have prostate
cancer. On a positive note, however, this was detected during its
early stage; and it is also said to be a very slow developing
Bill Barfield, who also has
cancer. He is 85 and not doing very well physically. About
11 years ago, he had also suffered a stroke that has impaired his
walking; and lately he has been confined primarily to his home -- and
just going out for doctor appointments.
Anthony Branton, Ken
28-year-old nephew, who recently had his entire large intestine
removed, due to
Bill Holt, who is now out of
the hospital (after spending about 2.5 weeks there -- or more), but
will probably need several more weeks to recuperate.
Dottie Newcomb and her
Caleb Newcome who are
recuperating at home from a 3-wheeler motorbike accident that had put
them both in trauma
hospitals for several days. Dottie also suffers from dizziness,
due to an inner ear problem she acquired while going on an ocean cruise
about three years ago; but now her dizziness has been even worse.
Cheryl Crews, who
undergo various health problems.
Here is a link to an audio sermon on "Prayer" that I preached July 14,
for the Park Forest church of Christ in Baton Rouge: http://ThomasTEdwards.com/sermons/prayer.mp3
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)