2 Peter 2:1-9: Warning and Encouragement
November 3, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
These days, most of the talk in Christian “professional” circles is of influence, platform, impact, management, leadership, and the like. Few talk about the importance of ensuring that we are teaching sound doctrine. Certainly, it is possible to become a sort of doctrinal “thought police” or a self-appointed pope, placing your judgment about what is right or true over other people. But this passage – and the whole letter of 2 Peter – tells us of the great significance of making sure that doctrine, true healthy biblical doctrine, is what is being taught and believed. These verses give a warning to false teachers and an encouragement to those troubled by false teachers and their false teaching.
First, the warning to false teachers is stern – only because the reality is so stark. “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” If the the fallen angels were sent to hell, held for judgment, if the ancient world was judged at the time of Noah and the flood, if Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned, then surely today too “the unrighteous” are being held for “punishment on the day of judgment.”
What a set of warnings! Do not make up stuff just to make money. Greed is the motivation: “in their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.” There is money in religion if you know how to spin a yarn and tell people what they want to hear. Be warned: do not go down that path. Stick to what is true. God’s judgment may be delayed, but it is coming, and how terrible it will be when it comes. False teachers: you have been warned.
And then second in this passage there is an encouragement to those troubled by false teachers and their teaching. Sometimes when we look around and see false teaching abounding, we can think that something new or unusual is going on. But we can be encouraged that this is to be expected. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.” Do not throw away your confidence in the power of God or the truth of the gospel because there are charlatans causing division for selfish ambition or making a fast buck out of promising peace where there is no peace. There will be false teachers. It is a normal thing, and it can be expected. But also, be encouraged that just as God rescued Lot, “a righteous man who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless,” so also he will rescue you. “If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.” Be encouraged, God can figure out how to rescue from this trial of false teachers.
So, false teachers be warned: “swift destruction” is coming. Repent! And learn to fear God and his word and teach only what is contained in the Bible. And you who are troubled by false teachers and false teaching, be encouraged. God knows how to rescue you!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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