The Story:This problem of false teachers is more than serious; it’s dangerous. Using the language of faith and the Gospel, false teachers hobnob with believers, schmoozing around in their churches and homes, spouting their lies, and poisoning the environment against the inroads of truth. In our day they might not do this in person, but through television, books, and the Internet. In Peter’s days these false teachers were after fleshly gratification, and things haven’t changed much since. Only these days, false teachers shroud their materialistic longings in a blanket of universal self-indulgence: “God wants you to be prosperous and healthy! He wants us all to be prosperous and healthy!” We are beginning to see the way false teachers in the Roman Catholic Church preyed on innocent children by the scores of thousands, using the Gospel as an excuse to gratify their lusts. It’s not so obvious among Protestants, but it’s just as widespread and venal. Any teaching that does not proclaim the Gospel, equip people for Kingdom living, and call them to repentance and holiness – but, instead, encourages them in self-indulgence – is a gospel of the flesh, and no true gospel at all. Only accursed children will gravitate to such teaching.
The Structure:“Unsteady souls” are those who do not have a firm footing in the Word of God and a growing relationship with Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Pet. 3.17, 18). They’re always eager for the next “new thing” as they slip and stumble from one false teaching or pop star evangelist to the next. It’s much easier to listen to someone tell us “This is the way; walk ye in it!” than it is for us to search the Scriptures daily and find our footing on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. But if we fail to do this, we may find ourselves fresh meat for the next devouring false teacher who is able to lure us into his orbit and capture us in his thrall.
How firm is your footing in the Word of God and your relationship with Jesus Christ? Is there room for improvement?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Beware False Teachers: 2 Peter 2.12-22,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.