Reading for Thursday, Nov 8: 2 Peter 2
One of the things that stands out to me in our reading this year is the constant word of warning concerning false teaching that permeates the New Testament. In the early days of Christianity, so much was still in play for the young church. What is the truth about Jesus? Fully God? Fully man? A combination of both? How do we reconcile grace with works? What of the Old Covenant? Peter issues a warning to these young believers to guard themselves against false teachers in their midst, those who would set themselves up as men of God who secretly harbor self-serving motivation. Based on v1, it seems that the teaching Peter has in mind denies the character of Jesus. In particular, there is a warning against sensuality and disregard for authority (v10).
Peter looks back across history and finds plenty of examples to draw upon: angels who sinned, thereby suffering punishment of hell (v4); the unrighteousness of Noah’s day (v5); Sodom and Gomorrah (v6), along with the rescue of Lot (v7). The point is this: “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (v9). He’s done it before; He’ll do it again. Our God is a redemption God. But we should stand vigilant as we seek the path of faithfulness in the present.
Thus, these false teachers are to be exposed as such. But we should be careful in flippantly tossing these terms around. Even the angels do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord (v11). As an inspired apostle, Peter is given this word from the Lord. We are not commissioned to go and do likewise here; rather, we are to be on guard, comparing the words of our teachers to the full testimony of Scripture. Two thousand years on this side of the cross, we are blessed with the Bible and we trust it as the complete revelation of God’s activity to redeem us in Christ. And maybe even this statement is a bit incomplete without the caveat that JESUS is the complete revelation of God to us (Col. 1:15, 19). The Bible is simply our conduit to this revelation.
All of this is to say that we, too, should seek faithfulness to God’s testimony in all things. Are there “waterless springs” (v17) among us, seeking to lead us astray? Perhaps. But we postpone judgment, ceding this to God alone. As always, our responsibility is to seek faithfulness. Nothing more.