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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

June 26, 2013

2 Peter 2:13-22

  1. Verses 13. Recalling our lesson from two weeks ago, Peter was making several charges against those who preach a false gospel. Today we pick up at Peter’s third charge against the false teachers. Besides the fact that their language is insulting and extreme, speaking as though they were God, these false prophets are perverse in their display of evil, like those who carouse in the daytime. Even pagan society thought it strange and unnatural to hold drunken revels in broad daylight, but these teachers have no qualms about practicing their concept of Christian "liberty" in open display. They even used sacred events to display their sin.

  2. Verse 14a. Another form of their deceptive practices. Their own eyes were full of adultery (literally, full of an adulteress), i.e. they looked at every woman as a possible sex partner! Further, they cannot cease from sin for such lustful fantasizing had become habitual with them. As a consequence they easily convinced certain unstable souls in the church that this was acceptable Christian behavior and lured them into sexual immorality. The term enticing or seducing means "to catch with bait." These young, unstable converts, not yet fully grounded in Christ, were easily "hooked" into a lascivious lifestyle. It happens in every age!

  3. Verse 14b. The latter half of v. 14 belongs with vv. 15-16 since Balaam is an example of the covetous ways of the heretics. Peter's charge is serious for he maintains the false teachers have deliberately trained their hearts in greedy practices. Covetousness is used of both greed for money and greed for bodies, i.e. sex outside of marriage. Here it is primarily greed for money or comforts. But, as Jesus plainly stated, "You cannot serve God and mammon (money)" (Matthew 6:24).

  4. Verses 15-16. The account of Balaam in Numbers 22-24 is used in the N.T. in Jude 11and Revelation. 2:15, as well as here, is to depict a dangerous temptation to Christians to forsake the right way and to go astray. Balaam's primary downfall was that he loved the wages of unrighteousness. He sold his prophetic powers to the pagan king, Balak, and for a promised monetary reward sought to curse the children of God. On his way to do this he was rebuked by his donkey, who saw what Balaam could not see--a mighty angel with drawn sword standing in the path. By this story Peter is encouraging those unstable souls who were easily impressed by the teaching of the heretics. A dumb donkey possessed sounder prophetic vision than a religious official whose moral sense had been perverted by gain from wrongdoing. Though Balaam's subsequent sin of introducing immorality into the camp of Israel is not mentioned here, it is significant that both greed and lust were the major motivations of the false teachers here. The two sins are seldom far apart!

  5. Verse 17. Continuing his exposure of the deceitful ways of the false teachers, Peter accuses them of awakening false expectations and false hope, like empty springs which, when approached, contain no water; or like storm-driven clouds which darken the earth temporarily as if it will soon rain heavily, but prove to be dry. These false teachers say things that get their hearers to place hope in false promises. Peter highlights that these false teachers take advantage of desperate people who trust that these teachers would not lead them astray.

  6. Verse18. The bait or the hook these false teachers is that they appeal to the lusts of the flesh. The false teachers know that many new converts are just leaving lives of sin, and with that knowledge they entice these new converts appealing to their fleshly desires. Most false teachers know that most people want money or sex. So these false teachers subtle use sex and money as a way to entice people to usually give them money or sexual favors.

  7. Verse 19. These false teachers talk about freedom, but what they really are offering is another form of bondage disguised in Christian freedom. The idea Peter is making is that men in bondage can only lead others to bondage and not freedom.

  8. Verses 20-22. Peter concludes this section with the firm warning that these false teachers are in really bad shape if they were really believers once. Most likely they were not really believers, but those who saw the faith as a way to personal gain. Peter quotes Proverbs 26:11, which highlights that returning to sin is like a dog eating his vomit or a pig going back to the mud after they have been washed.

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