Reposted, 4/25/2012

2 Peter 2


False shepherds, Heresies

2 Peter 2

False shepherds, wolves, have been a continual problem from the time of the garden. They have been and are a major cause of his people's departure from his green pastures, as they tell God's people what they want to hear.

Not only did the Prophets of old issue many warnings, our Lord came issuing warnings about the wolves in sheep's clothing, Matthew 7:15. He confronted them then, and his Word continues to confront them now. One of the marks of the false shepherds is their denial of the validity of God's the law today, Matthew 5:19.

Moreover, rather than the whole word of God, they teach traditions and doctrines of men, Matthew 15:9. The main motive behind their fair speech and flattering words is their own bellies. Romans 16:17, John 10:1.

There is good money in people pleasing theology, as it offers peace and prosperity in the time of social turmoil. Also, their message is many times accepted becasue it appeals to the pride of life. Paul issued a strong warning about the wolves who invade the church to draw away disciples after themselves, Acts 20:28-30.

Paul makes this statement:

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. {Marg. heresies; or sects.}

Note that Paul was not pointing out false doctrine; rather, he was speaking of divisions and disunity in the body of believers. (Sect in Acts 5:17. Christianity was considered a sect in Acts 15:6, 24:5, 14, 26:6, 28:22.)

God did not design "sect making" in the church, but because of human nature, there must be divisions. Human nature leans toward ambition and strife, power and popularity, and money.

God allows heresies and false teachings among his people to expose the wheat and tares. Those who have the stamp of approval of God's Word vs. those who do not. If it were not for heresies, then all professed "believers" would look like wheat. There must be also heresies among you.

What is the heresy

Acts 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Acts 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Acts 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

That is, taking sides or choosing, even choosing men's ideas over God's word.

Heresy: in theology, is any doctrine containing Christian elements, but along with them others subversive of Christian truth. (McClintock & Strongs' Cyclopedia)

In the fixed ecclesiastical sense that it ultimately attained, it indicated not merely any doctrinal error, but "the open espousal of fundamental error" (Ellicott on #Tit 3:10), or, more fully, the persistent, obstinate maintenance of an error with respect to the central doctrines of Christianity in the face of all better instruction, combined with aggressive attack upon the common faith of the church, and its defenders. Roman Catholics, regarding all professed Christians who are not in their communion as heretics, modify their doctrine on this point by distinguishing between Formal and terial Heresy, the former being unconscious and unintentional, and between different degrees of each of these classes (Cath. Encyclopedia, VII, 256 ff). For the development of the ecclesiastical meaning, see Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, I, 119-23. (ISBE)

In other words, heresy is something so close to the truth, that it, error, can be mixed largly unnoticed with the truth.

There are several things defined as heresies:

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Only the imputed righteousness of Christ would surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees of his day.

1 Kings 12, Jeroboam gives us a good illustration:

Jeroboam DID NOT introduce a false religion. (Baal, worship, &c.) All he said was "it isn't necessary to obey God's commands in every area in order to be one of his people. You can serve God just as well here as there, in the way that seems best to you apart from God's word", vv. 25-33. Many people chose the easy, convenient and appealing way rather than God's way which required a trip to Jerusalem. They were willing to make the sacrifices in Dan and Bethel, rather than in Jerusalem.

Jeroboam shows us that people are willing to accept Christ's sin sacrifice, but not his claim of Lord over them. But can Christ's sacrifice be separated from his Lordship?

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which make merchandise of the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God in ye sight of God speak we in Christ. (Geneva)

The truth of God's word is corrupted for the financial gain.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupt from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh, preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached: or if ye receive another spirit whom ye have not received: either another Gospel, which ye have not received, ye might well have suffered him. 14 And no marvel: for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of light. (See all of chapter 11.)

Heresies: Following the implications of Paul's words of 2 Corinthians 11 with our Lord's words of Matthew 5, we see that, among other things, separating the Lord from Christ offers another Jesus. All of the New Testament authors, especially Paul and Peter, preached the LORD Jesus Christ, emphasizing the authority of his law over the whole world for all time, regardless of what "dispensation" might be involved.

Error is so close to the truth that only the Holy Spirit using the Word of God can expose, divide the truth from error:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is likely, and mighty in operation, and sharper than any two edged sword, and entereth through, even unto the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and of the joints, and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and the intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature, which is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto his eyes, with whom we have to do. (Geneva)

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed away unto another Gospel, from him that had called you in the grace of Christ, 7 Which is not another Gospel, save that there be some which trouble you, and intend to pervert the Gospel of Christ. 8 But though that we, or an Angel from heaven preach unto you otherwise, then that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

The enticing words of errors, errors concerning the gospel, race, &c., appeal to human nature:

Colossians 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words: 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and your steadfast faith in Christ.

(Note 1 Timothy 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. The study of genealogies only bring more foolish questions and do not edify, build up).

There is an abundance of Scriptures warning of false prophets and teachers:

1 Timothy 4:1-7, the Spirit of God spoke very clearly that the mark of the end time church, which started with Christ, would be a departure from the historic faith to a disobedience of God with a clear conscience, the conscience seared with a hot iron.

In fact, those of whom our Lord spoke in Matthew 5:19 are able to teach their false and strange doctrines, and their conscience never bother them.

Problem: Here our Lord implies they are saved, but Peter, below, implies they were never saved, for they return to their own vomit and mud.

Paul and Timothy:

In 1 Timothy 6:3, Paul tells believers to withdraw from those who do not teach the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, in its context, we might add. We are assured throughout Scripture that Jehovah God, the great I AM of the Old Testament, even the one who met Israel at the Mount in Exodus 20, is none other than Christ. The truth is found in the Old Testament, 2 Timothy 2:15. Moreover, Paul told Timothy, 2 Timothy 3, that the "Gospel Church Age" will be overrun with false teachers. Paul's major theme to Timothy concerns false teachers–chapter 4 also.

The prophets of old gave the same warning to Israel. Read what happened when Israel failed to head the warnings about the authority of the Lord over them; that is, His command-word over the many winds of false doctrine blowing around them.

Paul continues his warnings to Titus, 1:10-14 also.

It is only God's Word that can expose error.

Men primarily of the circumcision (Jews, sons of Abraham, after the flesh) subverted the gospel in the area of circumcision, primarily, for both profit and for power over the people. There are many who mix truth with error so cleverly that the truth is overshadowed with the error, and the followers go into the error.

The common theme of the false shepherds, wolves, is that they speak according to what human nature desires—that is, pleasing messages that appeal to their own pride and lusts, 2 Timothy 4:3. The pleasant messages of the false shepherds are as prevalent today as they were in Jeremiah's day. The shepherds love money, public acclaim and their power over people.

Note that sincerity does not make the message right; only God's word can make that detirmination.

The Lord said that though their shepherds are the ones who turned his people away from their resting place, his revealed law-word, the sheep are the ones who are held responsible for listening to the false shepherds and turning away. In Jeremiah, the result was that Babylon devoured them. Jeremiah continuing warning was ignored as the sheep followed the shepherds who appealed to their own reasoning and lusts.

History has proved that attacks from the enemy from without strengthens his people in their resolve to be faithful and serve him. The destructive undermining comes from respected "Christian" sources within, using trusted sources to promote their errors.

Warnings abound concerning the shepherds who cause the sheep to go astray, to where they can be devoured by the lion who is walking about.

The mention of false prophets of old naturally leads us to the false teachers who make their way into the Church.


Many believe that heresy is a false doctrine from way out in "left field." But is it?

Heresy may consist of several things, and all so close to the truth that it can difficult to identify. Heresy can be mixed so well with truth, that the heresy is accepted along with the truth.

Though, space permitting, we may look at other heresies, let us start with Peter:

2 Peter 2:1But (1) there were false prophets also among the (a) people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 (2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 (3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make (b) merchandise of you: (4) whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

(1) As in times past there were two kinds of prophets, the one true and the other false, so Peter tells them that there will be true and false teachers in the Church, so much so that Christ himself will be denied by some, who nonetheless will call him redeemer. (a) Under the law, while the state and policy of the Jews was yet standing. (2) There shall not only be heresies, but also many followers of them. (3) Covetousness for the most part is a companion of heresy, and makes trade in souls. (b) They will abuse you, and sell you as they sell cattle in an auction. (4) Comfort for the godly: God who cast the angels that fell away from him, headlong into the darkness of hell, to eventually be judged; and who burned Sodom, and saved Lot, will deliver his elect from these errors, and will utterly destroy those unrighteous. (Geneva Note)

Damnable heresies; Greek, heresies of destruction, i.e. destructive, such as lead to destruction, viz. eternal, or damnation.

Even denying; either in their words or their practices, either directly, or by consequence of their doctrines or actions; they that profess they know God, but contradict that profession in their lives, are said to deny him, Tit 1:16. (Matthew Poole)

heresies—self-chosen doctrines, not emanating from God (compare "will-worship," #Col 2:23). (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown)

2 Peter 2:1, But there were false prophets.... follows 2 Peter 1:21, holy men of God... The contrast is between the Old Testament false prophets and the holy men of God. Among the holy men of God who preached obedience to the entire law-word of the Lord were false prophets who preached heresy, saying that obedience to the entire law-word of God was unnecessary, e.g., 1 Kings 12:25ff.

Peter tells us that heresy is the gospel without the Lordship of Christ in it. It teaches that Jesus is the Christ (death, burial, resurrection of Christ) and teaches about his subsitutionary death, &c., but it denies his total Lordship over every area.

Damnable heresies include anything that cannot be supported by the word of God, e.g.,
Ask Jesus into your heart, salvation by race rather than grace, including the Identity theory that the Anglo-Saxon race is special before God.

Heresy brought in by these false teachers will be very hard to recognize and counter, for they are mixed with a huge amount of truth.

V. 2, Pernicious, v. 1, damnable, v. 3 or damnation. Peter issues a very strong warning against false teachers who appeal to the pride and lust of man. Their unbiblical message which is mixed with truth is a message of destruction and damnation.

According to Peter, the false shepherds' message looks and sounds the same as the truth, yet it denies the Lord that bought them, because it is more profitable to ignore the fact that the Lord Jesus demands obedience to his every word. John 14:15.

As far as Jesus being the Christ, they will stake their lives on it. But when it comes to his being both Lord and Christ, (Acts 2:36) they compromise. When Scripture presents something contrary to what they want to believe, their ears are deaf. When the Lord requires obedience, human nature does not want to hear about responsibility to the law of the Lord. John 14:15.

Who privily, secretly, unnoticed, unknown, to escape notice (Strabo, a Greek historian about the time of Paul uses the word of enemies introduced secretly into a city by traitors within).

These destructive teachers come in with a lot of truth and very little error. Gradually, the truth is replaced with error once they have gathered their followers. Ever so slowly, the sheep's clothing is removed, and the wolf takes over, and many sheep never notice that the wolf is now in charge. Matthew 7:15.

Barnes' comment is worth repeating:

That is, in a secret manner, or under plausible arts and pretences. They would not at first make an open avowal of their doctrines, but would in fact, while their teachings seemed to be in accordance with truth, covertly maintain opinions which would sap the very foundations of religion. The Greek word here used, and which is rendered "who privily shall bring in," [(Greek),] means properly to lead in by the side of others; to lead in along with others. Nothing could better express the usual way in which error is introduced. It is by the side, or along with, other doctrines which are true; that is, while the mind is turned mainly to other subjects, and is off its guard, gently and silently to lay down some principle, which, being admitted, would lead to the error, or from which the error would follow as a natural consequence. Those who inculcate error rarely do it openly. If they would at once boldly" deny the Lord that bought them," it would be easy to meet them, and the mass of professed Christians would be in no danger of embracing the error. But when principles are laid down which may lead to that; when doubts on remote points are suggested which may involve it; or when a long train of reasoning is pursued which may secretly tend to it; there is much more probability that the mind will be corrupted from the truth. (Barnes' Notes, 2 Peter 2:1.)

That is to say:

First, the teachers come in with plausible and acceptable utterances, keeping their false doctrine quiet. At their first appearance, their doctrines are sound and unobserved.

Second, their doctrine will stand along beside other as they gain the confidence of those around them.

Third, catching others off guard, they gently and silently begin to lay down principles that, if followed through to their long range natural conclusions, will lead to error.

Fourth, their suggestions do not seem to be out of line, for few folks think through the logical conclusions of what they say nor of what they might hear or be taught. The truth of what they are saying, which is error, can easily be hid among the many true things they offer.

Fifth, the doubt about the truth of God's word is raised , and the hearers start down the road to destruction; that is, to the destructive logical conclusions of what they heard from those they trusted.

Though Peter is writing in the context of the heresies of his day, the Ebionites, Cerinthians, Nicolaitans, Menandrians and Gnostics, it is a "living warning", equally applicable for our day.

The false teachers have taken over Christendom from the SS Class to the upper levels of the highest learning institutions. They have taken over the pulpits, Christian institutions of all kinds as well as the mission fields. They did not, nor do they proclaim their false doctrines in an open and easily understood manner. Rather, they may cloak their destructive doctrines in a lot of "truth". But after they gain the confidence of those around them, they may bring their strange, new doctrines out into the light. It was after they won the hearts and minds of others, primarily with their "winning personalities", that they started saying what they really believed.

Shall bring in, speaking in the yet future from Peter. Though they were present in the new church, the Apostles kept them at bay.

Damnable heresies, destructive teachings that undermine the truth, and lead loss or ruin. Silently and unnoticed, they subvert the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter names one of the great many heresies to which at the church has been and is subjected:

Denying the Lord - - Peter identifies the heresy and it brings destruction upon themselves, and gives the motive behind the heresies: covetousness for the things that appeal to the flesh.

Many shall follow their flesh appealing ways.

Through covetousness could define both the speaker and the hearer, Peter identifies the covetousness, vv. 14, 15—forsaking the right way for the gain that can be obtained in the wrong way. Again, keep in mind the heresy they are involved in denying the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, not denying Christ—that is, his authority to command their lives according to his law-word.

They deny the true applications of God's law-word in order to gain their following.

Lordship Salvation

Wikipedia seems to give a good, concise definition:

Lordship salvation is a teaching in Christian theology which maintains that good works naturally and necessarily follow being declared righteous before God. Thus, good works are a necessary consequence that confirms salvation.

In other words, Jesus cannot be considered a person's savior (that is, bringer of salvation) without simultaneously being lord of the person's life, which is demonstrated by the gradual purification from sin and the exercising of good works (for instance, caring for widows and orphans, James 1:27). This teaching is advocated in many of the creeds of Protestantism, but is not universally accepted. Advocates and opponents of the doctrine within Protestantism all agree that justification before God is through faith alone by grace alone, but they differ on whether true salvation can ever be followed by leading a worldly life or even apostasy. Many Lordship salvation adherents, Calvinist, Arminian and others, hold to the understanding that the good works expected of the believer are works of God prepared for the believer.

The opposing position is called Free Grace theology, which maintains that the Lordship salvation view is an indication of legalism and a lack of graciousness. In particular, Free Grace theology claims that the Lordship position is "fixated" on the works-minded Gospel of Matthew while overlooking the Grace-minded Gospel of John. An in-between position also exists, which asserts that the Lordship salvation view is legalist and Free Grace theology is antinomian. ...

I believe the above states the case for Lordship Salvation very well.

Note that in the definition above, the idea that one must cease from a sinful lifestyle to be saved is missing. The belief that one must do any works of the law in order to be saved must be considered legalism; that is, adding works to grace–grace plus works.

Also included is the belief that ones race, Anglo-Saxon, leads to salvation

Actually, therefore, Lordship Salvation is a teaching that genuine faith in Christ involves the heart turning from sin and self to submission to the law-word of God. It also holds to progressive sanctification; that is increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10, Ephesians 4:1, 5:15, Philippians 1:27, &c.

Note Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

If old things are not passed away, and all things are not become new, then we are none of His. 2 Corinthians 5:17, and race has nothing to do with being His.

The logical conclusion of those who teach against Lordship Salvation, and instead "permit" life governed by the "inwrought divine will", are antinomian.

Lordship Salvation involves a new heart, given by the sanctifying Spirit, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2, who turns one from sin to obedience to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matthew 28:20 requires "Lordship Salvation"; that is, teaching converts to obey all things commanded by God.

The opposing position is called Free Grace theology, which maintains that the Lordship salvation view is an indication of legalism and a lack of graciousness....

The Free Grace movement is, therefore, known as "easy believism", for it requires nothing except a prayer, with no genuine repentance and turning from sin to righteousness.

Following Peter's line of thought, we see that the false teachers separate Lord from Christ—simply accept Christ and you will be saved. Though teachers my use Romans 10:9, 10, for salvation, they ignore the meaning of Lord.

2 Peter 2:19 tells us that denying Christ's Lordship, they promise liberty to follow one's heart, and do as he feels is best in particular situation. However, Peter continues by saying that when the Lord's authority to command his people is denied, permitting them to ignore the requirements of his word, they are actually in bondage to corruption. Though they escaped the bondage of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, but having denied the Lord (v. 2) they are back in bondage in worse shape than they were before.

Now, did they lose their salvation when they compromised on the Lordship of Christ and became entangled again? He only says that it would have been better for them to have not known the truth.

But notice the context down to v. 22. Peter is speaking of the false prophets who bring in the damnable heresies, which in this case involves denying the Lord that bought them, but can include a multitude of other things, such as salvation or God's calling on one based upon his race.

First, they are motivated by covetousness. Maybe they covet material goods, but they could covet fame, reputation, numbers, security, ease, or any of many things human nature can covet.

I have mentioned previously of the Methodist preacher in Linden... Their parsonage was right behind ours in the small town. My wife would go to the hairdresser in Crawfordsville where the preacher's wife worked. The wife told my wife one time that the reason her husband became a pastor was because it was easer and more secure than selling vacuum cleaners. Clearly, he was in the ministry out of covetousness of an easy and secure job.

Another young man who was an associate pastor of the large Southern Baptist Church in Shreveport LA, told his childhood friends why he was in the ministry while his friend was installing (slate) roofs in the hot weather. He had an air-conditioned office and a second house on a lake while his friend was sweating in the hot sun. And thus he admitted he was in the ministry out of covetousness for an easy and secure job.

2 Peter 2:15, the false teachers love the wages of unrighteousness, and find a way to avoid godly rebuke in order to gain those wages. Though Balaam could not curse God's people, he taught Balak how to bring God's curse upon his own people. Numbers 24, 25.

2 Peter 2:18, ... they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness,

They appeal to the lusts and the desires of the flesh. Lusts here does not have to be sexual, but those natural desires we all experience. An obvious example is the televangelists who tell the simple, "Send my your seed money of $100, and I will pray for you, and God will multiply that money". But the heretical teachers of Peter's warning are far more subtle.

Second, they use fained words. That is, false words with little or no regard for the truth. V. 14. They beguil – bait, allure – unstable souls; that is, those who depend upon others to search the Scriptures for them, so they cannot counter the fained words.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Sadly, the vast majority of institutions of higher learning, "Christian" and otherwise, instruct their students in how to use fained words.

Third, make merchandise of you. Their words are carefully crafted as to make their followers a source of personal gain in order to fulfill their covetous desires. I like Matthew Poole's comment here:

as of slaves or beasts: it seems to be a metaphor taken from merchants that speak great things of bad wares, the better to vend them; the sense is, with specious words, and pious pretences, they shall deceive you to make a gain of you.

They take their followers to market, and sell them to Satan with fained words for their own personal gain. Our Lord's words certainly apply to them as they sell the souls of men to the enemy:

John 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence: make not my fathers house, an house of merchandise.

Fourth, judgment ... lingereth not against the false teachers. God is watching, his judgment is on its way, and it cannot be avoided.

Fifth, God spared not... angles, the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah are all listed as examples to the false teachers that they will not escape. They are also listed as encouragement to the righteous that God's truth and justice will prevail.

Sixth, vv. 7-9 is placed in the midst of the warning about and description of the false teachers. The Lord protected and delivered righteous Lot from the prevailing evil, but not his family. He failed to pass on his righteousness, by faith, to them, and they fell to the surrounding evil.

By Lot's account being placed in the context of false prophets, Peter implies that there were teachers in Sodom and Gomorrha who assured the people that their unlawful deeds were acceptable. Unlawful implies that laws existed, and were known to the people, and the people were held accountable. Thus all nations are accountable to God's law, and it is heresy to say otherwise. (Is their not an abundance of people, including religious leaders, who are assuring everyone that the unlawful deeds of sodomy are acceptable, as they were in Sodom?)

Seventh, wells without water, clouds carried with a tempest. The farmers' fields are dying for lack of water, and the black clouds come with many promises of rain, but no rain. The false teachers promise something they cannot deliver. V. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: Liberty from the law-word of God in the context here, which makes one a servant of moral decay, v. 1.

Eighth, not to have known... the dog and sow returned ...

There are several conclusions one can reach concerning 2 Peter 2. But I can see only one conclusion considering the context:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

And Jeremiah 50:6,

My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

The context is the false teachers of heresies who are making merchandise of their followers. Peter implies that they never ceased from being a dog or a pig, for they return to where they were previously.

The "dog" eases his stomach, vomits. Feeling better, he returns to his old nature and licks it up.

So sinners, false teachers in this case, convicted of the truth of their erroneous teachings, relieve their conscience. Then feeling better, they return to their former lusts.

The sow naturally loves the mud (they have no cooling glands, leaving the poisons in their bodies, so the mud cools them). Though washed of the mud, her nature is not changed, and returns to the mud.

So the sinner, false teachers in this case. Their conscience cleansed when washed from the pollutions of this world, yet they retain their old nature, and return to their former corruptions.

2 Peter 2

The message of this chapter is concerning the false prophets and teachers. Peter is issuing warnings about the false teachers, identifying them with the Old Testament false prophets. His warnings are to those who might be inclined to follow those teachers.

V. 1 starts with But there were false prophets also among the people of old, as described by Jeremiah in places like chapter 50. Those prophets, denying the Lord's authority—that is, the authority of God's law—over God's people, led them astray. They were then left open to being devoured by their enemies with false doctrines and wrested scripture. 2 Peter 3:16.

V. 21, they knew the right way. He does not say they were converted from self and sin to follow the right way as defined by the Scripture, e.g., Psalms 19:7-14, and Psalms 119.

According to the context, the natural understanding of v. 22 is: Those false teachers who creep into the church with their heresies are recognized by their denial of the authority of the Lord's law and commandments from over his people. They are antinomian, as well as present theology with their "truth".

Their nature did not change upon their "good confession" of faith; they did not become new, and the old things did not pass away. Rather, those old things were only suppressed for a time, there "conversion" being very superficial, i.e., "easy believeism". Then once established in authority in the church, they returned to their old nature of lust for power, money, fame, &c.

Peter tells us that those who deny the Lordship of Christ are not saved, any more than were the false prophets of the Old Testament who preached peace and safety in contrast to the godly men of old, 1:21, 2:1.

It was Peter who said,

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

It was the message both Lord and Christ that brought about the next statement:

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

The obvious conclusion is that the modern teachers who deny the Lordship of Christ, that is, his authority to command every thought and action through his law-word, are still dogs and sows. Their heresies that Christ is not Lord in this dispensation has led us to our present antinomian attitude, and sold Western Christian Culture to the Enemy.

The problem is not that we do not understand we as Anglo-Saxons are not aware that we are actually Israel of old, as some claim. Te problem is that we have turned our back on the law of the Lord, which brings conversion. Psalms 19.

What causes the destruction of his people? Jeremiah 50:6, their religious leaders ignored the Lordship of Christ, drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin, e.g., 2 Kings 17:21.

Their shepherds and pastors denied the Lord that bought them, and many follow them to their damnation.

God chastised his people much more severe for following the false prophets and turning from him than he did against the pagans others of their time. You will have a hard time finding a more complete devouring, destruction, than what is found in Jerusalem by Syria and Babylon, or Jerusalem by Rome in A.D. 70.

The heresies of the false shepherds and prophets is a Lordship issue, and issue that can be defined by obedience to the entire command-word of God over every area of life and thought, particularly in the area of salvation, 2 Peter 2.


A good number of years ago, (9/25/85) I spoke with a pastor who relaid to me this account:

He had a young man go to camp who had been in church all his life. He went forward for salvation at the camp.

However, the young man had been "saved" at a real young age. While sitting in the back seat of his parent's car, the thought came to him—Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he died, buried and rose from the dead. The boy then said to himself "I believe that" and from then on he considered himself saved.

However, the camp counselor said "but you have to confess you are a sinner and ask Christ to save you." It took some time to convince the young man (13 or 14 at the time) that he had to do make that confession because everything they told him he had to do, he claimed he already did: That is, Believe in Jesus, &c.

The counselor finally got him on "you must ask Jesus to save you."

Note that in both cases, there was no explanation of nor trust in the subsitutionary work of Christ.

One of the primary heresies of our day is a corruption of the gospel:

1. Ignores the necessity of understanding the subsitutionary death of Christ.

2. Separates the Saviour from the King: he is both Lord and Christ. Can there be salvation without proper submission to the Laws of God? Can he be Christ without being Lord? The entire book of James deals with this situation.

Another heresy, not so well known, is the teaching that the Anglo-Saxon ("white") race is the Israel of old, and has special favor with God. This false doctrine is presented in the midst of much truth, but the presented truth does not make error true.

Heresies appears and sounds the same as the truth, while missing a key part of the truth.

The Christian's resting place in green pastures is fenced in by his law. Jeremiah 59:6, 7 makes it clear that ignoring that fence makes us "fair game" for the wild beasts.

Warnings abound:

1 John 2:18, 26, 4:1-5, 2 John 7-11—John also issues very strong warnings, as did Paul, Peter and Jude, as well as did our Lord in places like Matthew 5.

False teachers proliferating (reproducing in quick succession) like rats, and mice (maybe should say like rats). They are WITHIN THE CHURCH as Balaam taught Balak to destroy God's people from the INSIDE, and brought in a disregard for God's law within the camp (Church), which resulted in judgement from God.

They promise liberty, while they themselves are servants to their false unscriptural ideas, and wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction, 2 Peter 2:19, 3:16.

They Loadicean Church of Revelation 3 was neither cold nor hot. Though they accepted Christ as Saviour, they rejected him as Lord; that is, having final power and authority to command every area of life and thought.

In short,

Heresy is not some way off in left field teaching, such as Mormonism. Rather, heresy is so close to the truth that the Spirit of God is needed to seperate the truth from error.

God help us to do his will with a humble spirit. Doing so would save a lot of heartaches on our part.