2Pe 2:1-3 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
False teaching has been around almost as long as mankind. The first instance of false teaching was when the serpent told Eve she and Adam would not surely die, but become as gods, knowing good and evil (Gen 3:1-5). They did come to know both good and evil; in that, the serpent spoke the truth. However, just as God promised, they died an immediate death. Destruction was swift in that they lost the paradise they labored in, and they lost the close communion they had enjoyed with their Creator. They became ashamed of the state in which God had created them.
God’s word is forever true. There were false prophets in Israel in days long gone by. There are false teachers today, and there will continue to be false teachers. We need to be aware where these false teachers are. The first false teacher was not out in the world and broadcasting messages into the garden; he was in the garden. The false prophets were not among the Philistines or the Chaldeans or some other group that plagued Israel. The false prophets that plagued Israel were in Israel. The false teachers of today that bring so much heartache to God’s children are among God’s children. False teaching may even be something that I wrestle with inside me. While I may not openly teach it, it reflects in my walk before God and His people.
These false teachers secretly bring in ruinous (damnable) disunion (heresies). Their teaching will go so far as to deny the Lord that bought them. Pay close attention to this; they deny the Lord that bought them. The false teachers we need to be concerned about are not “out in the world.” They are not men who do not belong to God in an eternal sense. We are told here that the Lord bought them; they are included in His redemptive work. However, their desire to fulfill their own agenda (and therefore be willfully unbelieving) causes them to deny this redemptive work. The denial is plain in some cases, attempting to teach that Jesus needs our help to get us into eternity. His word assures us that He does not need our help to do that. Hebrews 1:3 plainly states the He purged us from our sins by Himself.
In the same manner, He does not need us to establish His kingdom of believers here on earth. While it does please God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1Co 1:21), I am a false teacher if I tell you that God can’t do that without me. Anyone who sets themselves up as being indispensable to God in any capacity is a false teacher. Anyone that tells you that God will not do exactly what His word says is a false teacher. Adam and Eve did not drop over graveyard dead the instant Adam ate of the fruit. They didn’t even get booted from the garden instantly. They had time to try and cover themselves and hide from God. They died instantly to the joy and security they had felt in His presence. For the first time since God had created him, Adam wanted to hide from God.
Make no mistake. There is only one outcome to false teaching, regardless of the form or style. False teaching brings in ruinous disunion. It will turn brothers and sisters against each other. It will divide congregations. Worst of all, it will make us want to hide from our God (deny the Lord that bought us) who has loved us with an everlasting love.
May we hold fast to the truth and never doubt either the promises or the judgments of the Lord who has bought us!