Peter says: “But there were false prophets, too, in those days, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly tell their lies about God…, many will follow their evil teaching that there is nothing wrong with sexual sin. And because of them Christ and His way will be scoffed at. These teachers in their greed will tell you anything to get hold of your money” (2 Pet. 2:1–3 - Living).
Notice here the two main ways in which a false teacher can be detected – sexual sin and love of money (2 Pet. 2:2, 3). It is not by checking a preacher’s doctrines primarily that we will be able to distinguish the false teacher from the true. Because there are many more false teachers whose doctrines are all correct. If a preacher comes preaching from the Gita or the Koran, or says that Jesus Christ is not God, no true Christian will be deceived by him. But if someone comes preaching from the Bible and preaches all the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, most Christians will never consider him to be a false teacher at all. But Peter says here, that the primary marks of false teachers are their loose attitude towards sexual sin and their greed for money (2 Pet. 2:2, 3). Their eyes are full of adultery. So I warn all sisters: “Be careful of any preacher whose eyes are not pure, who you feel is looking at you in a lustful way. Stay clear of such a preacher, if you value your life. He is a false teacher. And to both brothers and sisters I say, stay clear of any preacher who urges you to give your money for his ministry and quotes Scripture to pressurise you to give. Beware of preachers who have become rich through preaching the gospel. Sexual impurity and greed for money are the two primary characteristics of false teachers. If you watch out for these two things in a preacher, you will be saved from many false teachers.
Then Peter says that just like God punished
1. The angels who sinned in Noah’s time, and
2. The whole world of ungodly people (except Noah’s family), and
3. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and
4. Balaam the false prophet
– Even so, He will severely punish all false teachers as well (2 Pet. 2:4–16).
Noah is called “a preacher of righteousness” here (2 Pet. 2:5). That is the type of preacher that God needs in these last days, which have become like the days of Noah. And once again Peter repeats the two primary marks of false teachers – adultery and greed (2 Pet. 2:14). In the case of Balaam, his donkey knew more about God than “the prophet”. So it is with today’s false teachers too! They are worse than animals.
These false teachers may have known the way of righteousness at one time. But they have turned away from it now (2 Pet. 2:21). They have become like the pig that has gone back to its wallowing in its mire and like the dog that returns to its own vomit (2 Pet. 2:22). There are many false teachers and false prophets in the world today, who started out as very sincere people, and were like washed pigs. But they never partook of God’s nature.
They remained as clean pigs, instead of partaking of God’s nature and being transformed. They remained as dogs instead of partaking of God’s nature. In other words, their cleanliness was only on the outside. They never cared about their inner daily walk with God. And so, after a while they went back to eat what they had vomited out and back into the muck.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon