2 Peter - Dealing with False Teachings

Background

Peter wrote this letter to the same group of people that he wrote to in 1 Peter (2 Peter 3:1). So what prompted him to do so? The reason is that he came to know that false teachers had infiltrated the church. Peter wanted to warn them about these false teachers  (2 Peter 2:1) and encourage them to stand firm.


Importance of eye witness accounts

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

There have been many false teachings that have cropped up in recent years purporting an account that is different from the biblical account. Here Peter lays a sound principle that is necessary to filter off heresy. If a story arises that is different from eyewitness accounts, it should not be believed in. Many of these false teachings are sensational stories discovered upon the discovery of a “lost document”. Now if these documents were authentic and really came from an eyewitness that was accepted during the days of the document, would the documents not be widely distributed and read just like the other biblical documents. Would it be left to only one copy totally undiscovered till modern times?



Authenticity and accuracy of the prophecies

2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter emphasized that the prophecies contained in Scripture came from God. They were not inventions of man. Only God has the capability to look into the future. That is why they are authentic and the passage of time proves that they are accurate.

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Read more about biblical prophecies here.



False teachings lack moral values

2 Peter 2:13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!

Many of these false teachers lead double lives. While they appear spiritual on the outside, behind the scene they lead a life of sin. Jesus taught that a good tree will bear good fruit.  An alarm bell should ring within us if we find a person who purports to be a teacher and yet lead double lives. This is not to say that all teachers who lead moral lives have true teachings nor to say that a teacher of truth never falls into sin.


Denial of clear bible teaching

2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

One of the traits of false teachers is the denial of clear bible teaching. During the time of Peter, the false teachers denied the coming of the Lord just because it wasn’t happening during their time. When we encounter false teachers, we need to confront them with God’s word. Do they deny the clear teachings of the bible in favour of their experiences or own interpretation?


Our antidote is to be grounded in God’s word

2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Peter tells us to be on guard against false teachings by growing in the knowledge of God. How do we discern the many voices that are not from God? By recognizing God’s voice. Jesus says that His sheep hears His voice and recognize it. If we know God’s voice well, we can easily detect another voice that is not God’s.