“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Peter 2:1-3 NIV).
What is a heresy? Here is it defined as “a divergent opinion, here, one that is damnably destructive” (Strong’s #139 haireseis). In this passage the word “destructive” (Strong’s # 684) means “fatally destructive heresies that exclude one from salvation resulting in external exclusion from Christ’s kingdom, loss and ruin.”
These are strong words, words that indicate that turning from the truth of the Scriptures and bringing the way of truth into disrepute can end up resulting in an eternity away from Christ, if there is no repentance (to repent means: to turn around and go the opposite direction, back TOWARD Jesus).
And yet, during deconstruction, if we invite Him in, the Holy Spirit will guide us through our evaluation of how we came to be questioning our salvation, and how we can evaluate where we now stand with the Lord as we seek to rebuild our intimacy with Him.
Some, like these false teachers described above, will encourage us to doubt our faith, guiding us toward false teaching, urging to give up our trust in the Lord, and to grow embittered as we deconstruct, tearing down our relationship with our Savior.
Simultaneously, others will encourage us to draw near to the Lord for comfort, encouragement, and support as we find trustworthy answers from God’s Word that encourage us to return to Him, to seek to truly and deeply know Him, trusting His promises and renewing our affection for Him. These help us along as we reconstruct.
Choose wisely who you listen to.Some will encourage us to doubt our faith, to not trust the Lord, to grow embittered. Others will encourage us to draw near to the Lord for comfort, encouragement, and support in God's Word. Choose wisely. #LovingJesus #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Who is right? Who will we listen to in this fragile time?
The Lord judges those who harm us. He sees everything they do and everything they say.
When people constantly attempt to destroy our faith, sowing seeds of doubt into our hearts, these people should be avoided. These are false teachers, those who introduce heresies, hence, heretics.
To deny the sovereign Lord means to constantly refuse connection with Christ, to constantly refuse to recognize the truth, to habitually refuse to know the Lord, turning away from Him continually.
These people habitually choose not to head toward the Lord. They are not seeking Him. They refuse to respond to His kindness, His love, and His truth.
And, they want to drag many along with them, as many as they can, harming us, shaping us into doubting heretics as well, and enticing anyone else who happens to be going through a difficult time of questioning to join them.
How do they harm?
They not only deny Christ, but they also seek to inculcate in others the destructive heresies that they have embraced. “These heresies will be contrary to what Christ and the apostles laid down as foundational doctrines (cf. Ephesians 2:20-22), resulting in spiritual ruin rather than life. The false teachers will even deny the truth about the Master (Jesus Christ) who bought them.”1.
This is deadly seriously.
The path of wisdom involves seeking the Lord and the wisdom of His Word, which has proven itself true over thousands of generations and many millennia. However, sadly, “many will follow their [the heretics] depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute“ (2 Peter 2:2 NIV).The path of wisdom involves seeking the Lord and the wisdom of His Word, which has proven itself true over thousands of generations and many millennia. #faith #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet
These are always trying to pull others away from the faith, to inflict their own beliefs into the minds of these who have been injured by the church, or harmed by those claiming to be Christians.
Unless we grow wise, seeking the knowledge found in the Word, resting on God’s promises, knowing the Lord in the kind of intimate and loving way that we’ve examined in these past weeks, we might easily, sadly, and perhaps to our eternal ruin, follow the depraved conduct exercised by these.
The depravity Peter addresses here is also related to debauchery, sexual excess, insatiable desire for pleasure, and absence of all restraint. These false teachers exploit others, trafficking in the destruction of others, deceiving others for their own gain.
“In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Peter 2:3 NIV).
These attempts are designed to pull others away from God. They fabricate stories, conflating their falsehoods with their misinterpretations of God’s Word, and polishing it off with sexual temptation.
What does condemnation mean here? What does destruction mean?
Their condemnation, the Koine Greek word written by Peter was krima (Strong’s #2917), which means “judgment for all they’ve done to harm others, for all the false words they’ve said, for all those they have caused to doubt, plus the result of that judgment,” and that result is what leads to their destruction, the Koine Greek word written by Peter was apoleia (Strong’s #684) “the state after death where exclusion from salvation is a realized fact. Man, instead of becoming what he might have been, is lost and ruined, eternally excluded from God’s Kingdom.”
We see confirmation of the meaning of 2 Peter 2:1-3 in 2 Peter 2:1b; 2:3b; 2:12; and 2:17b.
2 Peter 2:1 ESV — “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
2 Peter 2:3b ESV — “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.“
2 Peter 2:12 ESV — “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction.”
2 Peter 2:17b ESV — “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.“
These bring upon themselves God’s judgment.
I can’t think of anything more horrific than to be excluded from Jesus’ presence for all eternity, separated from the Living God, never again to communicate with Him or to be comforted by Him.
The torment of being forever apart from Him will destroy the spirits/souls of those thus condemned to eternally exist in a dark niggling place where one’s worst traits forever worsen, and one’s arguing and bickering continues for eternity, consumed with one’s own bitterness, repeating over and over and over again one’s grievances and bickering.
Away from all measure of time and away from Christ’s nearness and life-giving presence, a day will tick away more slowly than can be imagined in total nothingness. It will hold nothing but torment because the enslaving darkness will bar all happiness, all measure of time passing, and all sensory stimulation. A single day will feel like a thousand earth-years of anguish, as if it’s lasted forever when it’s merely a day.
Listen to Tim Keller here on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: Click here.
That is the essence of hell. And yet, the Lord provides the way of escape: We are still alive!We are still alive! Anyone can turn again to Jesus, either heretic or doubter. We can recant, renounce, and withdraw our former denial of Christ Jesus, just as the apostle Peter did. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
We can seek to reconstruct our faith with renewed confidence in the Word of God and in the Savior.
Anyone who is repentant can embrace Him. We can seek the company of kind believers who truly love Jesus, of wise ones who can discern the lies of the evil one and his crafty words, actions, and suggestions. These can teach and help us to strengthen our Christian life with prayer and honesty.Anyone who is repentant can embrace Christ Jesus. It's never too late. The Lord welcomes us with open arms. We can reconstruct our faith with renewed confidence in the Word of God and in the Savior. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Any one of us can turn again to Jesus, either heretic or doubter, recanting, renouncing, and withdrawing our former denial of Christ Jesus, just as the apostle Peter did after Christ resurrected.Anyone can turn again toward Jesus, whether heretic or doubter, recanting, renouncing, and withdrawing our former denial of Christ Jesus, just as the apostle Peter did after Christ rose from the dead. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet No matter what we've done, whether heretic or doubter, we can still return again to Jesus. We can seek to reconstruct our faith with renewed confidence in the Word of God and in the Savior. #bgbg2 #KnowJesus Click To Tweet
We grow to love Him more and more each day. We avoid those whose life’s purpose is to seek to turn us away from Him. Instead we can focus on becoming strong in the Lord. Maybe, when we have grown in spiritual maturity and certainty, we can win those of heretical bent to return to Jesus. This will require kindness, love, patience, and wisdom, perhaps helping them to return to Him.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
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- Note in ESV Study Bible for 2 Peter 2:
It’s terrifying to see so many pulled away from faith in our faithless society. And my prayers are for the people who need to turn back to Jesus. He WILL forgive!
Yes! Same here, Linda. The Lord has His arms open wide, totally aware of the circumstances every single one of us experience. We need only “repent” (this means: to turn around and go the opposite direction). Turn in Jesus’ direction. Find Him there, waiting for you. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior, run into the arms of Jesus. I remember the day I did. My life was changed.
Very, very true. We shouldn’t look to others, even pastors, for the truth… they are mere humans. God is the source. His word is a lamp to our feet. Jesus is THE way, truth and life. As you say, “The path of wisdom involves seeking the Lord and the wisdom of His Word.” AMEN AMEN.
Well said, Jessica! The Word of God is the only truth that we can always believe, aware that God is not a liar. His book has been written by those led by His Spirit, crafting a Word that we can always trust.
Sadly, many Christians don’t realize the influence of false teaching that has already made inroads into the Church and into their lives. Christians as taught to be on guard against the bombardment of false messages, from the world, but let down their guard within churches. This reminds me of one of my favorite verses in Scripture – Acts 17:11:
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
May we follow the Bereans’ example!
Drawing attention to the Bereans here is truly helpful, Ava. The Bereans eagerly examined the Scriptures to determine if everything Paul said was true. IN THE SAME WAY, we must be on guard in our churches, listening to every word the pastor or other leaders speak, and seeking through the Scriptures to make sure that they are actually speaking the truth. Even the best pastor can be wrong on any point.
I’m surprised how many Christian fall for such false teaching. This is why we need to be in the Bible daily as well as praying for God to help be discerning. Thanks Melinda for all this great information
Solid Biblical teaching is indeed necessary, Yvonne. Sadly, I think we have far too few well-trained, Biblically solid pastors.
We must put on the full armor of God and be ready. False teachers will try to entice us with their words. We are called to worship God, not people. I pray we all seek God and not people.
Amen, Melissa! Worship God, not people, particularly the kind of people who are attempting to destroy the faith of others.