Peter the Prophet

This post is hard to write. The text in 2 Peter Chapter 2, doesn’t lend itself to being broken down into “bite-sized” pieces upon which to easily chew on one at a time, rather it is one big thought.  Reflecting on it bit by bit would probably cause us to stumble into the same mistakes made by preachers and commentators for centuries, and before we would finish, we’d be pointing fingers here and there and hollering about fire and brimstone; things better left to God, who has reserved all rights as to vengeance and wrath to Himself!

So, for best results, please read Chapter 2 now…

OK, welcome back, wasn’t that a scream!  There are a few verses that we ought to take a closer look at…

Verses 1-3: Peter sets up the discussion: But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. (1a) Following Peter’s remarks about the old prophets, now he points out that they also had false prophets back in the day, and we will have false teachers. He pulls no punches describing what will happen to them.

In verses 4-10, he recalls God’s judgment of angels who sinned, and then reminds his readers of the times of Noah and of Sodom and Gomorrah, and what God did about the wickedness of the people. He continues through verse 16 describing the wicked ways of false teachers, and how they all came to ruin and judgment, recalling the story of Balaam and the donkey.  This description and ruin scenario continues through verse 19, and then comes home to us:

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

2 Peter 2:20-22

There’s the warning we were looking for!  If we, as followers of Jesus Christ, allow ourselves to be drawn back into the old, wicked ways of this world by false teachers, we will have a serious problem with God. Please understand that the things that Peter has said about the false teachers are not so that we can be ready to heap abuse on them. He even pointed out that they heap abuse on angels, and the angels don’t return fire, even when they are there to execute God’s judgment. (verse 11) No, there is no finger-pointing, no fire and brimstone stuff, and no condemnation from any one of us.  Peter has given us this information so that we can, 1) recognize what is going on, and 2) avoid falling victim, and 3) encourage and sustain one another so that all of us can avoid falling prey. Remember that he began in chapter 1 telling us what spiritual growth looks like; there wasn’t any condemnation going on in that process, and we must bear in mind that any sort of retribution, condemnation or judging that will take place is God’s job, not ours.

In the next section, Peter will continue with his letter, and you might be amazed at the turn he takes…

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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