In Peter’s day there were problems with false teachers who were enticing people away from the true gospel of grace. Today is just as bad, as the above quote shows! The internet is a great force for spreading the truth, but sadly also for fake news and a fake gospel.
In the first few verses we see that false teachers can exhibit any of the following:
- They “deny the master” – so often they bring Christological heresies – teachings that deny Jesus is fully God and fully man – like the JW’s and Mormons
- Sensuality – immorality is often involved with false teachers, v.2, 14
- Greed – it’s often about the money, v.3, 14
- They promise freedom but actually bring corruption, v.19
- They cause slavery/bondage by what they teach.
Verses 4 – 10a are one very long sentence, the focus of which isn’t until verse 9. A helpful technique is to identify the ‘trouble’ and the ‘grace’ in a text, and the key to finding them in the story is to look for the ‘God active’ language. So what is God doing in this particular text? Verses 4-9:
“God did not spare… sent them to hell… he did not spare the ancient world… but protected Noah… he condemned cities… made them an example… he rescued Lot…” and “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.”
In summary, God judges the unrighteous who choose a way other than what he set out for them; but God also saves the righteous who obey and follow his ways. Judgment is real but so is salvation.
Jesus rescues us from our sin and mess. These teachers drag people back to sin and mess – whether it be legalism or licentiousness.
Would you rather follow Jesus or dogs that eat their own vomit? Well, when you put it that way, Peter…