Saturday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on November 21, 2020 byunder
Scripture: 2 Peter 2:1-22 (NKJV)
2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
This entire text is condemning in no uncertain terms those who preach and practice heterodoxy (heresy blended with orthodoxy) among God’s elect. Understanding this one fact is critical to properly reading and inwardly digesting this holy inspired Scripture. The apostle is earnestly warning all believers to watch diligently for this compromising of God’s holy doctrine, and he is calling to repentance those who are guilty of knowingly promoting this abominable hypocrisy.
False teaching and behavior is widespread in Christianity today, masquerading under the popular guises of tolerance, progressiveness, compassion, etc., as it cunningly draws many ever closer to eternal darkness and damnation. This concern about the horrible dangers of hypocrisy is not unique to this epistle or this apostle either, for the Gospel of Saint Matthew is filled with impassioned warnings and judgments against hypocrisy throughout, spoken by Christ Himself.
Our text points to the reality that false prophets and teachers are not always raving heretics or pagans; they are subtle, crafty, pleasant people who claim to be part of the Church while slipping deadly poison into her life-giving, life-sustaining Means of Grace. This is likely the reason there is such stark warning throughout Scripture regarding hypocrisy and heterodoxy, for it is subtle and shrewd, just like its father, the great deceiver and serpent of the Garden, who also tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
Prayer: Almighty God, grant that the tremendous gift of faith You have bestowed purely by grace may be ever strengthened in us by Your holy Means of Grace and daily repentance; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.