I want to start out in the middle of this passage (2 Peter 2:10-16) with this portion of scripture: "They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, (and here it is) while they feast with you"(vs. 13b). These people ARE among us! It's not a matter of "if". Who are they? How can we tell? Peter gives us some descriptions to help:
- "They are bold and willful. They do not tremble when they blaspheme (malign, dishonor, revile) the glorious ones." These people really do not believe in the powers of light or darkness. They do not really believe in the power of God. It is as if they are thumbing their noses and saying "You're(angels, God) not going to do anything, because you lack power, so I will be OK". Now can't you just see the angels (vs. 11) just seeing this situation and not responding with a ZAP! But they don't. They leave that up to God! Boy I sure wish I would respond like the angels! That's some self (or God) control!!! Can I get an AMEN!!
- "They are like Irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed." YIKES! When I think of irrational animals I think of an animal with rabies. They are just plain out of their minds! Their is no reasoning in their thought process.
- Which leads into our next description: "They blaspheme about matters they do not understand". They have ceased to reason. In their thinking they have it all figured out. They know what the Word of God says, they do not need to study it. Also, if the Spirit is not in them (which it's not) they would not be able to understand the scriptures anyway. They are Ignorant, and worse yet they are irrational. There is no understanding AT ALL!
- They are not ashamed of their behavior (goes again to the bold and willful). They revel in the daytime. It's there, right in your face. Try to prove me wrong, they may say. This reminds me of what Peter says in verse 2 ~ "The way of truth is blasphemed" because of their ignorance. Can't you just see the scenario? Unbelievers or young Christians (unsteady souls from vs. 14), who do not know the Word, listening to people like this, and falling prey to their wrong thinking.
- Their eyes are full of adultery, insatiable (incapable of being satisfied, unable to stop) for sin.
- Hearts trained (they are practiced) in greed. Remember in 2 Peter 1 where Peter is telling us to practice, well here is one reason. These false teachers are well trained. They have put their all into self serving practices. Which brings us to a delightful fellow. Balaam! Read Numbers 22, if you are unfamiliar with the story. Basically, Balaam was about his own business. He was going to give a false prophecy (placing a curse on) concerning Israel for profit. But God took care of him in a most embarrassing way.
- They are waterless springs, and mist driven by a storm. There is no life in them, and they will soon disappear. But the destruction the leave behind is deadly and eternal. Because of their determination (loud boasts of folly) they entice (bait, allure, deceive)by sinful (sensual) passions those who are barely escaping. They are trying to take many with them. But please remember here, if you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, you are secure. Satan has lost the battle when it comes to you! Rest in that!!
- They promise freedom, but are themselves slaves. Now here is another telling statement "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved". There is no freedom in what these people preach, just a different enslavement. It says in John 8:34 " Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin." But Christ has called us to true freedom. In 1 Peter 2:16 is says "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants (slaves) of God." (Also the book of Galatians speaks much to our freedom in Christ). Be enslaved to Christ, may he overcome you!!
- Now again we get to who are they, or should I say, who they are not? This is a very difficult passage of scripture from verses 20-22. Scholars differ over what the meaning is, and I am NO scholar, so I will give you my take and leave it up to God from there. These false teachers have never been, nor will ever be part of the "true" church of Jesus Christ. They are counterfeit. They are fakes. They have all the looks of being real, but are not. They are in and among the "true" church. It reminds me of the parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43. They will one day be sifted and sorted out and thrown away! There is no hope for them. They will always return back to what they know, as a dog to it's own vomit (which is so yuck when you see it isn't it!?) (Prov. 26:11) or a sow to the mud after being cleaned. It's just their instinct to return to it.
II. True freedom only comes through Christ. Are you weakened in an area where a false teacher might be attacking? Stay true to God's word for reinforcing strength!
Boy I'm tired!!! This was a hard one. Praying you are blessed!!!