Sadly, it isn’t hard today to think of popular teachers who claim to be Christians yet make statements that directly oppose God’s Word. Many of them have best-selling books and huge internet followings. They encourage the church to bend with the culture and accept practices that the Bible clearly calls sinful, twisting the Bible to support their personal beliefs. Their influence is misleading and destructive.
In today’s reading, Peter has harsh words for these false teachers. He colorfully describes their sinfulness and their menace to new and weak believers. These teachers were familiar with the gospel but turned their backs on it, becoming worse than ordinary pagans. In a sense, it would have been better never to know the truth than to reject it (vv. 20–22).
These people are so immoral that they “carouse in broad daylight” (vv. 13–16). They have no shame and revel “in their pleasures while they feast with you.” Peter was referring to the church’s “love feasts,” at which both a meal and the Lord’s Supper were served. They “never stop sinning”—it is their way of life. They “seduce the unstable,” picking off the weaker sheep from the flock. They’re also guilty of greed, like Balaam, who was rebuked by a donkey (see Num. 22–24 for Balaam’s story).
False teachers are “springs without water and mists driven by a storm” (v. 17). They’re deceptive, unable to deliver what they promise. Their words are empty and boastful. They offer “freedom” when they themselves are “slaves of depravity” (see Rom. 6:16). As we read yesterday, false teachers will meet their just punishment, “blackest darkness” (v. 17). We must be vigilant, but God will protect truth and His people.
>> In our modern culture, we are certain to encounter false teaching that masquerades as Christianity. As Christ followers, it is important to check every teaching against God’s Word to discern who is telling God’s truth and who is circulating lies.
Lord, make us sensitive to Your voice, even when the world’s voices try to drown You out. You are our rock and our fortress. You alone know, seek, and unerringly accomplish what is best for us.