“…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” (2 Peter 2:9-21).
Who’s Your Teacher?
In the second half of chapter 2, Peter warns the church about false teachers. Teachers are not only those who stand in front of a class or behind a pulpit. Teachers are those who influence, who lead, who discipline, who catechize your responses. Teachers are those who you follow. And so, who is your teacher?
There are no imperatives in this chapter about false teachers, merely Peter’s raw and brutal and sickening description of the false teachers in the church. Peter describes two aspects of these false teachers 1) The Depravity of False Teachers (vs. 10-16) and 2) The Deception of False Teachers (vs. 17-22). Even in the depravity and in the deception, Peter reminds Christians that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment” (vs. 9). The main point is that Peter wants you to know that the Lord knows how to keep the unrighteous, both teachers and disciples, under punishment, and realize that part of the punishment is their depravity and their deception.
The Lord Knows (vs. 9)
Verse 9 provides a helpful summary and transition from the first half of the chapter to the last. The Lord knows how to 1) rescue the godly and 2) keep the unrighteous under punishment for judgment. God knows how to rightly deal with people–– Rescue good guys like Lot and Noah and punish bad guys like false teachers.
The Lord knows the unrighteous and knows how to keep them now under punishment for the day of judgment. They are under punishment now. And part of their punishment is their depravity. Paul makes this connection in Romans 1:18-28). Their depravity is the consequence of their disregard for God and so is their punishment. Heaven is the place man says to God, “As you wish.” Hell is where God says to man, “As you wish.”
The Depravity of False Teachers (vs. 10-16)
Two defining traits of the unrighteous teachers are that they indulge in lust and despise authority. Sound familiar? Will 21st century America please stand up? Our culture both despises the lordship of Jesus and indulges in sexuality. We live in age where our cultural has been secularized and sexualized.
Peter describes that these false teachers are “bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.” The unrighteous are proud. Strong. Fierce. Woke. A Corinthian dude is having sex with his dad’s wife, and the church allows and even celebrates their progressive and open relationship (1 Cor. 5:1). And when they should mourn and despair and tremble, they stand firm without fear when they blaspheme the glorious ones.
They are like rats driven by their desires. Just like a rat’s passion for food leads to the rat trap, so these false teachers desires for sex, for money, for authority will snap down and break their back. Here is their end––they will be destroyed in their destruction, they will be wronged as the wage for their wrongdoing (vs. 12-13). These false teachers are like Balaam––greedy, blind to their own spiritual danger, and refusing to receive good advice even if it came from a talking donkey. The depravity of the false teachers ends in their own destruction. But not theirs only, but also those who follow them.
The Deception of False Teachers (vs. 17-22)
In these final verses, Peter describes the deception of the false teachers. “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.” Christians are given the glorious promise of freedom in Christ. Deceiving teachers then conclude, “Christian, you are free to do what you want. You are free from judgment, free from condemnation of the law, free from restrictive systems of the past. Free to love who you want. Free to express yourself. Free to be you.” No, no, no!
What happens to those who listen to their false promises? “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world 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 than the first” (vs. 20). You’ve escaped from the defilements of the world. You’ve been rescued from Sodom. And you’ve been told to flee to the mountain. But on your way, you met a convincing man or a passionate woman who says, “Follow me! I know the way.” And they lead you back to Sodom. Don’t go back to the city of worldliness. Don’t cast longing eyes back to that old life. Don’t settle on the plain. Because that is where the Lord keeps the unrighteous under punishment for the coming judgment.
The Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Only in knowledge of Jesus as Savior and Christ and Lord, will you find salvation from your unrighteousness and satisfaction for your soul. You must go to Christ crucified. And Christ crucified is where false teachers will never lead.