As part of Peter’s final letter to the churches, he prepares them for the inevitable; false teachers and prophets coming in. This has been the pattern from the beginning of the ages and will continue to be so until God’s final judgement.
Peter is not pointing out any specific false teaching or prophet operating in the churches currently. He is preparing them for the future. He knows this is going to be a problem and wants to warn his readers about it in advance.
There had already been false teachings cropping up that were addressed by Paul and many others in authority. Peter probably dealt with some of these in person during his visits with various churches. He was certainly part of the Jerusalem council that dealt with the issues brought concerning requiring the Gentiles to follow the Law. He knew firsthand the damage that can come from false teachings.
Peter’s warning didn’t prevent the false teachers or false prophets from coming and leading many away from the truth. Just look at us today! If this warning had been enough we wouldn’t see SO many “churches” around us. I wonder what the original would have looked like. I wish there was some way to rejoin the broken parts and remake the original whole again. It WILL happen when Jesus returns, but not before.
So what can we do in the meantime? Look to the word for our source and pray about ALL things. Don’t blindly follow anyone who stands and says, “Thus saith the Lord!” Check it out for yourself. Even what I say! If it doesn’t line up with the word RUN the other way!!!
What about those who say that the bible is outdated and written by man anyway? To them I say, God has managed to preserve His word over the centuries and through MANY different world changes. If in doubt, look at the prophecies of old. Look at the prophecies concerning Jesus. Look at the historical accounts that are proving out His word even now. There is MORE than enough independent evidence to support the bible’s accounts. If He can’t protect His own word, what hope would we have of Him protecting us? He did and does continue to keep His words pure, so I can certainly trust Him with my life!
To those who bring false teachings and false prophecies, WATCH OUT!!! You WILL pay for it! God sees what is going on. He is not asleep or in the bathroom. You will be judged for your sins and for all those you have harmed along the way! We don’t always see the judgement immediately or even in our lifetime but we can be CERTAIN that there is a reckoning coming for those who pervert His words.
Peter gives a short but explicit list of some of God’s judgements for those who lead others astray. I think my favorite story is Balaam and the donkey. Talk about getting someone’s attention! I would have loved to see that one in person. I pray he is in Heaven to ask about that experience when I get there. Can you imagine the shock he felt when it finally dawned on him that his donkey was TALKING to him? Talk about an “ah ha moment!”
Father God, it would be so wonderful if ALL false teachings or wrong roads were as quickly identified as Balaam’s were. I could count on being protected every time by a miraculous sign. But many times the lies go undetected until they become an infection. I still have scars in my heart from some of them. Help me turn loose of the hurt while maintaining the lessons learned from those wounds; even the ones that seemed innocent in the beginning. Thank You for freeing me from them!
Please keep me alert Holy Spirit to things that don’t line up with God’s word. Help me see through the lies. Give me the words to share that will shine Your light on the lies before others buy into them. Help me shine that same light on the lies my children have bought into. I know I probably won’t be the one to argue them back from the brink, but let my life at least be an example to them of Your truth. Send those along, armed with Your truth, that can make that argument to them on Your behalf (and mine).
Lord Jesus, I know it has to get worse before You return. I would LOVE to be one that experiences that event but I don’t relish the idea of experiencing the “worse” that lies ahead. I simply pray Your protection over Your children who do have that time to face together. I know this is a prayer that is SURE to be answered! Thank You for the fact that I KNOW that You look after Your family! Thank You for allowing me to be part of that family too!