“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words, for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” – 2 Peter 2:1-3
Heresies are dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims, the word originally represented the making of a choice or having an option, progressing to having a preference because of an opinion or a sentiment which easily slips into a form of disunity. Its having the diversity of beliefs which creates dissension, and substitution self-willed opinions as a contrast to submission to the truth. Another way of putting it is, people professing opinions independently from the truth. How heresy works is false prophets/teachers will bring in an opinion or a lie along side of truth introducing a whole new thought contrary to the truth, hence, they are teachers “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.” Peter was warning of greedy false teachers who will use people as a means of reaching their own selfish goals. The New Testament details that deceptive teachers will characterize the church age and that their activities will intensify “in latter times” 1 Tim. 4:1. Matthew 24:11 sketches the prevailing conditions of religious deception from false prophets in the latter times, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
No time in church history has the church seen the rise of false prophets as we are seeing today. One sure way to identify them is they offer unanswerable proofs of the truths they claim to adhere to. In a secret manner under plausible pretences they don’t at first make an open appeal of their doctrine, their teachings appears to be in agreement with truth, but covertly maintain opinions which undermine the very foundations of the Christian faith. There is no other way to introduce error but “side by side,” or “along the side of” true doctrine. Remember this as we will see later that they are on the path, heading towards truth, but never arrive. Suffice it to say, heresy grows “line upon line, here a little, there a little” Isa. 28:9-10. It is these which the New Testament categorizes as apostates and today there is no short supply. One such example is the New Apostolic Reformation with men such as C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Todd Bently, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and many others. It is these who have blended the Eastern Mystical Cults of Hinduism with Christianity forming a Christian Jihadist movement also known as Joel’s Army.
They vilify the authority and infallibility of Scripture by introducing such doctrines as “contemplative prayer/lectio divina (divine reading),” arts of meditation,” “little gods,” “Jesus was born again,” “follow after signs and wonders”, “open portals to heaven,” instituting a felt faith form of spirituality while endorsing a willful lack of discernment. Eschatologically, they teach the church will overcome through what they call “The Seven Mountains;” Arts & Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government, Media, and Religious institutions through the human efforts of the Church.
Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading,” “spiritual reading,” or “holy reading” and represents a method of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to provide special spiritual insights. The principles of lectio divina were expressed around the year A.D. 220 and practiced by Catholic monks, especially the monastic rules of Sts. Pachomius, Augustine, Basil, and Benedict.
The practice of lectio divina is currently very popular among Catholics and gnostics, and is gaining acceptance as an integral part of the devotional practices of the Emerging Church. Pope Benedict XVI said in a 2005 speech, “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.”
Naturally, the connection between Bible reading and prayer is one to be encouraged; they should always go together. However, the dangers inherent in this kind of practice, and it’s astonishing similarity to transcendental meditation and other dangerous rituals, should be carefully considered. It has the potential to become, and often does become, a pursuit of mystical experience where the goal is to empty and free the mind and empower oneself. The Christian, on the other hand, uses the Scriptures to pursue the knowledge of God, wisdom, and holiness through the objective meaning of the text with the aim of transforming the mind according to truth. Very simply, this method was not originally taught by Christians and it is not an orthodox practice – not by a long shot. It ties in (again) with people being bored with study and discipline, looking for something more appealing to their minds and need for experience, things of the flesh. This is where the supernatural becomes quite dangerous. Many have followed other ‘gods’ without realizing, but simply because they parted from the word of God. (Last three paragraphs supplied by m’kayla’s korner)
The Demise of False Teachers
“For God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them to be kept there in pits of gloom till the judgment and their doom. And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven other persons, when He brought a flood upon the world of ungodly [people]. [Gen. 6-8; I Peter 3:20.] And He condemned to ruin and extinction the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes [and thus] set them forth as an example to those who would be ungodly; [Gen. 19:24.] And He rescued righteous Lot, greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless–[Gen. 19:16, 29.] For that just man, living [there] among them, tortured his righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds– Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom, And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority. Presumptuous [and] daring [self-willed and self-loving creatures]! They scoff at and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling, Whereas [even] angels, though superior in might and power, do not bring a defaming charge against them before the Lord.” – 2 Peter 2:4-11 AMP.
The themes of sinning angels, the flood of Noah’s day and Sodom and Gomorrah bring to light the fact of the “Last Day” setting for a warning against false teachers . This points towards all that is to be expected just prior to the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Much of what we are witnessing today with the ministries listed above set before us the “front side” of the approaching 70th week of Daniel. The course is set and the rudder is fixed on God’s Eschatological plan.
They make a mockery of the Cross of Christ and with humor, charm, and false humility, blending in demandable heresies and doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1). Many of them seek to lower Christ to a mere man while elevating themselves as God’s anointed “little gods” (Matt. 24:5). The examples Peter cites are in order to show that judgments on these false teachers are certain. Today we see many within the Word of Faith and the NAR living for the indulgences of carnal appetites as they unbridle freedoms of all sorts.
The Depravity of False Teachers
“But these [people]! Like unreasoning beasts, mere creatures of instinct, born [only] to be captured and destroyed, railing at things of which they are ignorant, they shall utterly perish in their [own] corruption [in their destroying they shall surely be destroyed], Being destined to receive [punishment as] the reward of [their] unrighteousness [suffering wrong as the hire for their wrongdoing]. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously and delicately]. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions and carousing together [even] as they feast with you. They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed), [they are] children of a curse [exposed to cursing]! Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness. [Num. 22:5, 7.] But he was rebuked for his own transgression when a dumb beast of burden spoke with human voice and checked the prophet’s madness. [Num. 22:21-31.] These are springs without water and mists driven along before a tempest, for whom is reserved forever the gloom of darkness” – 2 Peter 2:12-17 AMP.
Natural brute beasts.
Speak evil of things they do not understand.
Count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime (living luxuriously and delicately)
Carousing in their own deceptions. (painting the town read, raising the roof) is the picture being painted here.
Have eyes full of adultery.
A heart trained in covetous practices.
Love the wages of unrighteousness.
These have already infiltrated the church, the emphasis now falls upon their character which is sensual, arrogant, and indulgent. At this point more is said of their false lifestyle than of their false beliefs. A lifestyle of luxury, extravagance, explicitly flaunting it they promise the same to their followers as part of their allurement, which today would look more like a ponzi scheme.
There is noise, motion, and something to watch, but nothing profitable happens. So the question is, since these false teachers have nothing to offer spiritually, how are they able to attract followers? First, they are eloquent promoters of their doctrines (vs18). They are able to impress with their religious oratory. Secondly, they appeal to the base appetites of the old nature such as pride and the human ego but always avoiding repentance. We have before us an array of examples such as; Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, Jesse Duplantis, Oral Roberts, TD Jakes, Robert Schuller, Paula White, Cheflo Dollar, Paul Crouch, Rod Parsley, C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, and Bill Johnson.
The Deceptions of False Teachers
“For uttering loud boasts of folly, they beguile and lure with lustful desires of the flesh those who are barely escaping from them who are wrongdoers. They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity and defilement–for by whatever anyone is made inferior or worse or is overcome, to that [person or thing] he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through [the full, personal] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them and are overcome, their last condition is worse [for them] than the first. For never to have obtained a [full, personal] knowledge of the way of righteousness would have been better for them than, having obtained [such knowledge], to turn back from the holy commandment which was [verbally] delivered to them. There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire”
2 Peter 2:18-22 AMP.
Much can be said of their deception, however, I want to focus on verse fourteen; “They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls.” This then shows the true intent of their deception! To “lure” means – To entice; to attract; to invite by anything that promises pleasure or advantage. It is one of their arts to place inaccurate allurements such as false doctrine before those who are known not to have established doctrine, having an advantage over them, they induce a following from the masses, the result is mega-churches, TV Evangelism, etc.
Temporary reformation without true repentance and rebirth only leads to greater sin and judgment. We must remember that bogus believers, nominal Christians are not saved at all, they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them, they think they are Christians but have never had a born-again experience. To fall from the faith is the same as to fall short of the faith, this is the core of what Paul presents in this chapter.
It is very important that we understand that the pronoun “they” from verses 17-22 refers to the false teachers and not to their converts. These false teachers are unconverted, “sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19). They are apostates for the reason that they have a profession of spirituality, a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof. It is not profession of spirituality that marks a true believer but possession of the Spirit of God within! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” 1 Peter 1:3-5. Anyone who doubts should read that phrase over and over: KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD, it’s not us that have to hang on, He is the one who hangs on, once a individual receives that vital born-again experience by the Holy Spirit into the family of God, they have been established by the Faith we exercise as a free gift from Him, nothing will ever change that relationship established between us and God, for He is the one who does the keeping not us! The false teachers mentioned in our text experience some kind of “religious conversion,” this is how they are able to fellowship in the assemblies, but their experience, like their promises are false. In the end, a pig is still a pig and a dog a dog.
Verse 20 tells us these false teachers “after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savor Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” To have “knowledge” of Jesus Christ in the Greek refers to knowledge which very powerfully influences the form of religious life. The Greek word for “knowledge” epígnōsis is more intense than gnosis because it experesses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner. The thought being conveyed here is they go beyond “what is written 1 Cor 4:6) and are dependent upon knowledge which is self-determined or self-regulated. The Greek preposition “epi” connected to the Greek word gnosis means “on, or upon,” giving us a clear picture of the type of knowledge these teachers respond to which is a surface, a facade, or exterior knowledge of Jesus Christ. This then is an unregenerate form of religious knowledge which conforms to a form of the true, these false teachers recognize Christ by the knowledge of Him but are still in the end unregenerated.
When epígnōsis is used as an objective in the Greek it shows the relationship of the learner to the object of his knowledge such as in 2 Peter 1:8; “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, when our knowledge is in co-operation with God, the natural fruit of a trusting faith in God is accomplished, this becomes a precise and correct knowledge.
“They themselves are the slaves of depravity and defilement, shows us the means by which they are over come and then entangled. Obtaining a knowledge of the “way of righteousness” does not necessarily achieve righteousness, true converts rest in and become the righteousness of Christ in God. The word “way” is describing someone who is a traveller on a journey. They know the way “of righteousness,” but are not righteous in their nature. These false teachers would not have incurred such a aggravated condemnation as is mentioned here, being resolved on wickedness they would be better off never to have pretended if they are to be cast off in the end. To have knowledge of Christian doctrine and of the Lord Jesus Christ in itself does not qualify as nor results in a new creation in Christ.
The dog turning to his own vomit again and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire is further evidence of their true nature and impulse to deceive others. There are many set before us in our generation who have risen to national and world popularity that have been revealed by scandal. Jimmy Swaggart, Earl Polk, Ted Haggard, Bishop Eddie Long, and the list could go on and on. Yet in spite of these men’s clear discrepancies they remain unaccountable in ministry today, with the exception of Polk who has died. And this is just their sexual misconduct, when their doctrine is examined with the magnifying glass of God’s Word it too falls short of sound doctrine and truth. Adding to it, looking at their lifestyles they live high off the hog having multimillion dollar homes, privet jets, exotic vehicles etc, all on the dime of God’s unsuspecting people who I might add, are promised the same IF they have the faith.
There are many today clinging to a doctrine that once a person is genuinely saved, they are always in jeopardy of losing salvation. By using a few remote verses from the passages listed above and without consideration of the whole context they insist you can fall from grace and still end up facing the Wrath of God and His pending Judgment. Using many cliché’s, they support a works based form of salvation which hinges on the efforts and ability of the believer to remain within God’s Graces rather than resting in the complete and finished work of Christ on the Cross. With no biblical support I have heard several people and pastors use the cliché, “Grace is a gift, and like any other gift, it can be returned.” In every case, I have asked for their definition of the Gospel, in every case I was never given an answer. In defense of their position they use another cliché, against those who believe in the security of the Believer, “People then can live like hell and still go to heaven.” The impression they give by their staunch and unbiblical stance is one can live a sinless life.
1. The Seal of God upon the Believer (Eph. 1:13-14)
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our heritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
The Greek word for sealed in the New Testament is SPHRAGIZO which means: to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation (lit or fig); by impl. to keep secret, to attest. (Strongs Concordance). The word for sealed in the Greek implies security and preservation. The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His SEAL on Him” (John 6:27). In Revelation Ch. 7 the 144,000 are sealed (SPHRAGIZO) with God’s seal and in Ch 14 all of them are with the Lord Jesus Christ and none of them is lost. What does it mean by “sealed by that holy Spirit of promise”? The answer is in John 14:16,17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth;…” Notice the promise is for the Holy Spirit to dwell with the believer forever and ever. The sealing of the believer is a permanent, unbreakable seal.
2. The Power of God to Keep (1 Peter 1:4-5)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy had begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Can you see the strong language used here, “to a living hope,” to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does NOT fade away,” reserved in heaven for you,” kept by the power of God,” and lastly, “revealed in the last time.” When the Lord Jesus said “it is finished” on the cross, that meant our salvation was complete and there is nothing anyone can do to add to it or take away from it. John writes about God’s will: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). What the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, He did totally apart from any work or effort on our part. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12,14). Therefore the Christian can be confident because God gives the promise: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil.1:6). Also, in 1 Cor. 1:8 “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice, it is God who does the keeping of the believer. God’s salvation is complete and when God does something it lasts forever: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Eccl.3:14). When a person trusts Christ and is born again, it is not conditional or temporary.
3. The forgiveness of Sin.
How many sins does the blood of the Lord Jesus cover? This is necessary to know because in order to deny eternal security one must also deny the believers future sins were paid for by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who believe that a Christian can lose his salvation are saying that past and present sins are forgiven when a person is saved. However, forgiveness for future sins is conditional and is dependent upon the Christian. If a person continues in sin without repentance, there comes a time, (not defined), when he has sinned too much and he loses his salvation and becomes an unsaved, unforgiven sinner again. He is then un-born again and un-adopted by God. There are two schools of thought embraced by those who believe in conditional salvation at this point: (1) Some believe the person is now lost and it is impossible for him to be renewed again to repentance and re-saved. (2) Others believe that if that person repents and turns back to God with all his heart, he can be re-forgiven, re-saved, re-born again, re-adopted by God, and restored as a new creature again, and again, and again……..
The salvation that God provided cleanses from all sins, not just a few. Paul writes in Eph. 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Also, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). These verses state that the blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses us from all sins. how many sins are “all”? Does “all” include past sins? Does “all” include present sins? Does “all” include future sins? According to Websters dictionary “all” is defined as: the whole amount or quantity of; as much as possible; the whole number or sum of. Concerning sins “all” would include the whole amount of sins and exclude none. This means “all” sins would include all the sins of a Christian from birth to death (past, present, and future sins).
I think I’ve made my point! And when you consider the “whole” context of 2 Peter 2 the issue has nothing to do with either argument, conditional salvation nor the security of the believer. It has to do with false teachers; their destructive doctrines, their demise, their depravity, and their deceptions.
1 The People’s New Testament Commentary
2 The Complete Word Study Dictionary
3 Thayer Greek Definitions