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Showing posts from February, 2024

2 Peter 2:21: For It Would Have Been Better For Them Never To Have Known The Way Of Righteousness

2 Peter 2:21 [21] For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (ESV) Knowledge is powerful. If it is used rightly great things can be accomplished. If it is ignored or abused, quite the opposite result can be expected. These false teachers had been around the truth. They had heard the truth. There is no way that any of them could stand before God and suggest that they were innocent because they never heard the truth. The problem was that these false teachers heard the truth and refused to follow it. The Apostle Peter tells us that the false teachers, even though they had heard the truth, turned back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It is not enough to hear the truth. There is a necessity to obey the truth. This is an important biblical principle. The Apostle James tells us in James1:22: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yoursel

2 Peter 2:20: For If, After They Have Escaped The Defilements Of The World Through The Knowledge Of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ, They Are Again Entangled in Them And Overcome,

2 Peter 2:20 [20] For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (ESV) There was a time when these false teachers, being caught up in the wickedness of the world, came toward Christ. They wanted the freedom that comes from a relationship with Christ. However, they wanted to have a relationship with Christ on their terms. They did not fully surrender themselves to him. Therefore, they were not ever set free.  The last state of these false teachers is even worse than when they initially moved toward the Savior. Their condition is worse because they never repented, yet they heard the message of the Gospel. Their rejection of truth led to them teaching things that also were not true. Their sins were never forgiven, yet because of their knowledge of what truth they did hear, they are now more accountable. We are all

2 Peter 2:19: They Promise Them Freedom, But They Themselves Are Slaves Of Corruption. For Whatever Overcomes A Person, To That He Is Enslaved.

2 Peter 2:19 [19] They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. (ESV) In the time of the Apostle Peter's writing of this letter the false teachers had already infiltrated the church with destructive heresies. The message from these teachers was presented as the promise of freedom. Certainly, the church also wanted to share a message of freedom. However, these false teachers' promise of freedom was a hollow one.  Peter describes these misguided ministers as promising freedom, while they themselves were in bondage.  How can a person who is enslaved be the one offering pardon? The false teachers were enslaved to corruption. In previous verses Peter has described these wicked men as being slaves of greed, sensuality, and the pursuit of power. Not much has changed over the centuries. The church is still plagued by false teachers, enslaved to sin, making vain promises of freedom. You can regularly lis

2 Peter 2:18: For, Speaking Loud Boasts Of Folly, They Entice By Sensual Passions Of The Flesh Those Who Are Barely Escaping From Those Who Live In Error.

2 Peter 2:18 [18] For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. (ESV) False teachers are notorious for using words to deceive people. Because they do not value the truth they cannot teach the truth. They desire for people to think that they are teaching the truth. In order to deceive people they are sure to include elements of the truth in what they say. No false teacher would be foolish enough to come out with what they really believe. Their falsehood is always disguised. Notice how Peter says that the false teachers are boasters. I have heard many false teachers who will make wild claims of a spiritual nature that would impress people who are easily fooled. They will speak of how they have been to heaven and spoken with God. They have had regular conversations with angels. God is giving them direct revelation equal to the authority of Scripture. Foolish boasting. These evil men entice peopl

2 Peter 2:17: These Are Waterless Springs And Mists Driven By A Storm. For Them The Gloom Of Utter Darkness Has Been Reserved.

2 Peter 2:17 [17] These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. (ESV) For those who lived in the Middle East, where many of the recipients of the Apostle Peter's letter lived, finding spring of water would be a significant thing. Imagine traveling for many miles, struggling with intense thirst and finding a spring. Imagine the disappointment of discovering that the spring was completely dried up. The promise of water was a false promise. This is one of the ways that Peter has described the false teachers. They prey upon people who are spiritually dying of thirst. They offer refreshing water to those who are in desperate need. They talk about spiritual water. They claim to know where to find such water. They even have books they can sell you all about water. Only one problem. They have no water. A similar illustration that the Apostle Peter gives is mists that are driven by a storm. Again, we need to consider that th

2 Peter 2:16: But Was Rebuked For His Own Transgression; A Speechless Donkey Spoke With Human Voice And Restrained The Prophet's Madness.

2 Peter 2:16 [16] But was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (ESV) This verse is speaking of the Old Testament prophet, Balaam. This prophet was motivated by greed. He agreed to give a prophecy against Israel, God's people. The evil king Balak, of Moab, hired the prophet to speak curses upon Israel. God would not allow Balaam to do so. God only allowed Balaam to prophecy blessing on his people. This speaks of the greatness of God. In Numbers 22 you will find a most fascinating narrative between Balaam, and of all things, his donkey. Balaam strikes his donkey because she would not proceed on a pathway. The reason she was not moving is that the angel of the Lord was in her way. Balaam could not see what his donkey saw. In the text we find that God actually opened the donkey's mouth to speak, and explained why she could not go any further. The fact that God restrained Balaam by his donkey shows that G

2 Peter 2:15: Forsaking The Right Way, They Have Gone Astray. They Have Followed The Way Of Balaam, The Son Of Beor, Who Loved Gain From Wrongdoing

2 Peter 2:15 [15] Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, (ESV) It is frightening to think that there are those who know enough of the Word of God to be dangerous. They may have a Bible degree. They could have years of experience in the area of preaching and teaching. Perhaps, they have a very charismatic personality. If they are not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, all of those other things are irrelevant. Peter is continuing to describe false teachers who have some knowledge, but have an immoral character. Here he compares them to the Old Testament prophet, Balaam. Balaam was a prophet who could be bought by the enemies of Israel to prophecy against Israel. He portended to speak for God, and was even respected as a prophet of God, yet loved money more than righteousness. We actually get a little more insight into the wicked teaching of Balaam, which Peter is referencing, in the

2 Peter 2:14: They Have Eyes Full Of Adultery, Insatiable For Sin. They Entice Unsteady Souls. They Have Hearts Trained In Greed. Accursed Children!

2 Peter 2:14 [14] They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! (ESV) The Apostle Peter continues in his condemnation of those who are teaching false doctrine in the church. What is most disturbing is that these who claim to teach the truth are completely motivated by the very actions that we know come from Satan himself. What is even worse is that there are those who claim to follow Christ who follow the false teachers, ignoring their sinful character. Those who have eyes full of adultery are clearly using their position of power and influence as a means to engage in sexual perversion. They are insatiable. This is a characteristic of sin and the empty promise that it offers. Those who engage in it are never satisfied. For these teachers who engage in adulterous behavior, it never ends. There is no ultimate satisfaction.  They entice unsteady souls. Satan is behind these abusers of men and women. T

2 Peter 2:13: Suffering Wrong As The Wage For Their Wrongdoing. They Count It Pleasure To Revel In The Daytime.

2 Peter 2:13 [13] Suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. (ESV) False teachers who had infiltrated the church were known by their arrogance and immorality. We look at those who are involved in the lusts of this world, and we sometimes think that the people who engage in their lives of sinfulness get away with no punishment. The Apostle Peter is reminding us that suffering wrong is the wage for those who live for their flesh. Sin has consequences. These leaders are described as reveling in the daytime. This speaks to the fact that most of those who engage in all kinds of sinful behavior tend to do so in the nighttime. More than one person had a parent who would warn their children that nothing good happens after a certain hour of night. There is a sense in which people do wicked things at night, so as not to be seen. These sinful men sinned bol

2 Peter 2:12: But These, Like irrational Animals, Creatures Of Instinct, Born To Be Caught And Destroyed, Blaspheming About Matters Of Which They Are Ignorant, Will Also Be Destroyed In Their Destruction

2 Peter 2:12 [12] But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, (ESV) Peter is continuing in this blistering rebuke of false teachers who have infiltrated the church. Here he describes them as irrational animals born for destruction. Their ignorance does not seem to stop their mouth from running. They boldly and willfully speak against things they know nothing about. And you might suspect that they attack any who disagree with them. This is one of those verses that has direct connection to the world in which we now live. With the increase in accessibility to all kinds of technology it is amazing how many false teachers have the ability to reach untold thousands of people with their heretical horse-hooey. They love to talk about visions, dreams, prophecies, and other things which impress people.  One of the things that you will hear these false

2 Peter 2:11: Whereas Angels, Though Greater In Might And Power, Do Not Pronounce A Blasphemous Judgment Against Them Before The Lord.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble gas they blaspheme the glorious ones 2 Peter 2:11 [11] Whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. (ESV) Peter is continuing in describing the brazen actions of the false teachers who had infiltrated the church. In order to fully understand verse 11, let's just add the last words of verse 10. This extra bit of context will help us greatly.  It says, "Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones." Who are the glorious ones? These are actually fallen angels. So, if the angels in question here are fallen, should we not feel free to blaspheme them? After all, they rebelled against God himself. They will ultimately be judged and punished eternally. The issue here is about the boldness of these teachers. They are not greater than the fallen angels in might and power, yet they boldly and brazenly act as if they have authority over them.

2 Peter 2:10: And Especially Those Who Indulge In The Lust Of Defiling Passion And Despise Authority.

2 Peter 2:10 [10] And especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, (ESV) Peter is speaking of the judgment that is being stored up for the false teachers who have infiltrated the church. He describes their character in ways that we would do well to acknowledge. In the previous verses the Apostle spoke of Lot and Noah. During those times there were many godless men who had given themselves over completely to lust and rebellion.  The false teachers Peter is mentioning claim to know Christ. They are teaching people in the church. They have assumed roles of responsibility and authority that they clearly are not qualified for. This was a problem for the recipients of Peter's letter. It continues to be a problem in the world in which we find ourselves today. There are many unqualified teachers in the church We seem to find it shocking and surprising when a religious leader ha

2 Peter 2:9: Then The Lord Knows How To Rescue The Godly From Trials, And To Keep The Unrighteous Under Punishment Until The Day Of Judgment

2 Peter 2:9 [9] Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (ESV) Any verse that starts with word, "then," it must be preceded by the word, "if," somewhere in the text. In this case, we see the word "if" in verses 4, 5, 6, and 7. The theme in all of the examples given by the Apostle Peter is godly people who were rescued from the sinful environment around them. This point is made in the overall context of false teachers who appear to be getting away with their sin. In verse 4, Peter uses the example of angels who sinned against God. They were chained in gloomy darkness, awaiting certain judgment. In verse 5, he uses the example of the ancient world that was judged by God by a flood, sparing Noah and his family. In verses 6 and 7, the Apostle references the judgment God brought against sinful Sodom and Gomorrah, while sparing Lot. All of these examples make it clear that Go

2 Peter 2:8: For As That Righteous Man Lived Among Them Day After Day, He Was Tormenting His Righteous Soul

  2 Peter 2:8 [8] (For as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); (ESV) The Apostle Peter is talking about Lot, Abraham's nephew. He describes him as a righteous man, who lived among lawless people in Sodom. If you read Genesis 18 you will find an account where Abraham is pleading with God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He is trying to protect his nephew and the other people who live there. Abraham goes back and forth in dialogue with God, ending the discussion with God saying that if there are even ten people who are righteous in Sodom he will spare their city. There were not even ten people in Sodom and Gomorrah that were righteous. However, we are told here by the Apostle Peter that Lot himself was a righteous man. One might wonder how God viewed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here is what we read in Genesis 18:20: "Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against

2 Peter 2:7: And If He Rescued Righteous Lot, Greatly Distressed By The Sensual Conduct Of The Wicked

2 Peter 2:7 [7] And if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (ESV) There are verses that, at first glance, cause us to be confused or perplexed. This is one of those verses. Peter describes Lot as righteous. Of all the adjectives that one could think of to describe Lot, the word "righteous" would not readily come to mind. Lot was Abraham's nephew who lived in the wicked city of Sodom. We will take a brief look at the narrative in Genesis. Lot was living in a city that God said was going to be destroyed because of its wickedness. God sent two angels to Sodom to inform Lot of the coming judgment. The men of the city viewed the angels as men whom they had not yet had sexual relations with. They were banging on Lot's door, demanding to come in so that they could sexually assault these angels sent from God. Here is Lot's response: Genesis 19:7–8:  "and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have

Genesis 3:19: By The Sweat Of Your Face You Shall Eat Bread, Till You Return To The Ground, For Out Of It You Were Taken

Genesis 3:19 [19] By the sweat of your face  you shall eat bread,  till you return to the ground,  for out of it you were taken;  for you are dust,  and to dust you shall return.” (ESV) These words are given to the first man, Adam, in the Garden of Eden. Adam had just sinned against God by eating the fruit that was forbidden to him. Struggle would be a part of every man’s life because of the sin that Adam committed. There is something very humbling about the dust that we will all return to. Because of sin, there is death. Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are, in fact, dust. Our lives are short. They will involve labor, struggle, sorrow, pain, grief, sickness, and ultimately death. There is no way around it. Part of preparing our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to remind ourselves that our sin separated us from the bliss of right relationship with God. Adam learned the hard lesson that his sin would separate him from God. Thankfully, in the Garden, God promised t

2 Peter 2:6: If By Turning The Cities Of Sodom And Gomorrah To Ashes He Condemned Them To Extinction, Making Them An Example

2 Peter 2:6 [6] If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; (ESV) There are many people who have a hard time dealing with a God who brings judgment that is so intense and complete against sinful people. In this verse the Apostle Peter is bringing to remembrance the account of Sodom and Gomorrah being completely annihilated by God. These cities were given to total depravity and lawlessness. God brought judgment that Peter says is an example of what is going to happen. It is interesting to see that Peter is speaking of future judgment from the time that he was writing in the first century. Some of the people who have a hard time with God's judgment see God as being wrathful in the Old Testament, but loving and passive about our sins in the New Testament. Here in the New Testament, Peter emphasizes that this example of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah is for the future. One th

2 Peter 2:5: If He Did Not Spare The Ancient World, But Preserved Noah, A Herald Of Righteousness, With Seven Others, When He Brought A Flood Upon The World Of The Ungodly

2 Peter 2:5 [5] If he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (ESV) Peter continues in speaking to the fact that judgment is coming for those who have boldly and brazenly distorted the words of Scripture and taught things that ought not to be taught. These false teachers are twisting God's words to manipulate others in support of their own greed and sensuality. The Apostle Peter wanted people to know that God was not unaware, nor was he unwilling to bring judgment. In the previous verse he used the illustration of God's judgment reserved for angels who rebelled against him in heaven. Here, in verse 5, he mentions the fact that God brought a flood to destroy all of mankind, with the exception of 8 people on the ark. An argument could be made that a few of the eight people on the ark were lucky to be there. Their actions after the flood were quite suspect. Even in the

2 Peter 2:4: For If God Did Not Spare Angels When They Sinned, But Cast Them Into Hell And Committed Them To Chains Of Gloomy Darkness

2 Peter 2:4 [4] For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; (ESV) The Apostle Peter has just described, in the previous verses, those who are false teachers. They have deceived people in the body of Christ, even denying the Savior himself. They are motivated by greed, exploiting people for their own selfish gain. They follow sensual lusts, instead of following the Savior, who is the one whom they should be proclaiming. Peter tells us in the previous verse that the punishment for these false teachers is not idle. It is coming. God will surely bring wrath upon those who distort the truth for personal gain. This is a sobering thought. False teachers abound today. The way that they speak, with such arrogance, one would think that they are untouchable. In fact, if you want their attention, you would need to be giving them even more money. There are times when other godly ministers ca

2 Peter 2:3: And In Their Greed They Will Exploit You With False Words. Their Condemnation From Long Ago Is Not Idle, And Their Destruction Is Not Asleep.

2 Peter 2:3 [3] And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (ESV) There is a common distortion of the gospel being preached all around the world. It is not really a gospel at all. I am referring to what people call the "prosperity gospel." In this false teaching we hear that if we have enough faith God will make sure that our bank accounts will be fat, our bodies will never be sick, and we will have whatever we demand from God. The idea of salvation is only a means to get what you want. If you are a Christian then you are considered a "god." Many teachers who teach this lie from the pit of hell use words like, "decree and declare your miracle." They will encourage you to plant your "seed" money into their ministry. It is interesting that they always demand that for you to be rich, you must send them, the false teacher, your money. As the Apostle Pete

2 Peter 2:2: And Many Will Follow Their Sensuality, And Because of Them The Way Of Truth Will Be Blasphemed.

2 Peter 2:2 [2] And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (ESV) We know that there will always be false teachers who will try to work their way into the church and deceive all whom they can. We have been warned that we are to be aware of their falsehood. We know that doctrine is essential. We must be continually striving to know the truth of God's Word so that we can counter the lies of the enemy spoken through false teachers. It is sad to think that, as the Apostle Peter tells us, many will follow these false teachers. He says that people will follow their sensuality. This tells us a lot about the character faults of false teachers. They have in common that they are led by their sensuality, not their spirituality. They are immoral. They claim to be following Jesus, but they do not live as if he is their Lord. One of the reasons that people are drawn to lawless, sensual, immoral leaders is because they themselves are led by thei

2 Peter 2:1: But False Prophets Also Arose Among The People, Just As There Will Be False Teachers Among You

2 Peter 2:1 [1] But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (ESV) One of the greatest challenges to the church of Jesus Christ in every age is exactly what the Apostle Peter is warning us about. Where there is a proclamation of the truth, there will be a distortion of that truth brought about by those who would undermine God's Word. What is even more disturbing is that so many Christians are caught unaware, even though the Bible is full of warnings against false teachers. It has been said that there are warnings against false teachings in every single book of the New Testament, with the exception of Philemon. It is almost as if the Lord wanted his church to be aware of false teaching. The deceptions that are brought against the church are not small, although they may start small. Peter warns us that

2 Peter 1:21: For No Prophecy Was Ever Produced By The Will Of Man, But Men Spoke From God As They Were Carried Along By The Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21 [21] For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) Many a skeptic will make accusation that the Bible is just a man-made book. They will suggest that all religion is man-made. People want to control other people, so they write a religious book to keep people in check. The Bible goes out of its way to counter that erroneous notion. Peter informs us of the actual origin of the words of Scripture. No prophecy originated in man's will. In fact, there are times when the Old Testament prophets were reluctant to even speak the words that God gave them. There were ungodly kings who would kill the prophets of God who spoke words from God that were against them and their immoral behavior. The prophecies that were recorded in Scripture are from God, and often got the prophet in great trouble. God chose to give us his perfect word, delivered by imperfect people. The fact that humans were used to de

2 Peter 1:20: Knowing This First Of All, That No Prophecy Of Scripture Comes From Someone's Own Interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20 [20] Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (ESV)   Those who handle Scripture need to be so careful. Those who preach and teach have great influence over the ones to whom they are giving instruction. If the message of the Bible is distorted one could think that they are in right relationship with God, when they are not. Bringing the truth of Scripture to people is literally a matter of life and death; eternal life and eternal death. The Apostle Peter was dealing with false teachers. They were mishandling Scripture. They were undermining essential truths, particularly concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We often refer to Christ's coming as the blessed hope. If there is no coming of Christ, where is our hope? False teaching leads to the tearing away of our hope in Christ. There is an important concept here for us to consider. No prophecy comes from someone's own interpretation. The source of all

2 Peter 1:19: And We Have The Prophetic Word More Fully Confirmed, To Which You Will Do Well To Pay Attention

2 Peter 1:19 [19] And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (ESV) After the Apostle Peter has given his testimony of being an eyewitness of the glorification of Christ at the Mount of Transfiguration, he speaks of the value of the Word of God, the Scriptures. We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed. This is a reference to the fact that the Bible is the words of prophets who spoke for God. It has been confirmed as true. So often, we like to believe whatever it is that we think we experience. Peter had one of the greatest experiences ever, seeing Jesus appear with Moses and Elijah. As wonderful as that experience was, it is not experience that is our authority in our walk with the Lord, it is the proven Word of God, Scripture. Peter reminds his original recipients of this letter that they would do well to pay attention to the B