Read 2 Peter 2:1-22."... the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment...."
Peter is warning the scattered believers about the false teachers that will be among them. He even promises them through his "if" passage that God will faithfully punish all those who are claiming to follow Christ, but clearly spitting in His face by their actions.
We see the same thing happening today. Sometimes it is as blatant as Peter portrays - "never stop sinning, seduce the unstable, greedy, love the wages of wickedness...." We have all known someone claiming to be a believer and then caught in a secret sin that becomes for most their downfall. At that point, they make a decision to repent and turn completely away from their sin, or they decide that this is the life they have chosen and will continue in it.
But I think the greater dangers in this society are the ones who draw believers away through subtler means. They call themselves believers; they seem to be living a life following God, but there are little differences. They will twist truth; make compromises; or simply be two-faced -- one person on Sunday and another throughout the week. These are the "believers" that destroy the name of Christianity and make it so much harder to reach out to those who don't yet believe. By living with their feet in both worlds - a sinner's world and a believer's world -- they destroy the integrity of Christianity. We'd already had a great deal of damage done through being called a Christian nation. We are not a Christian nation. We may have started out that way, but capitalism, greed, and complacency has moved us away from the truth of that title. I've seen hypocrisy so much around me that I rarely say I'm a Christian. I call myself a believer in Jesus Christ.
Now we will always have believers in different stages of their growth in their walk with Jesus. So you will see sin in some people's life because they have not learned to surrender that area to Jesus yet. That is very different from what this passage is talking about. These are people as it speaks about in verse 20 that have walked away from the world, followed Christ, and then turned around and chose the ways of the world again. It makes me very sad and honestly, I can't understand why anyone would walk away from the Lord. Makes me wonder if they ever really looked to see who Jesus is. Did they take the time to really get to know the Father? Did they surrender their heart and desires to His will? I guess that is between them and God. But once I made a complete commitment to God, there was no going back -- ever.
- Look at other passages on false teachers/hypocrites.
- Compare and contrast this passage with the Matthew 23-24 passages regarding the Pharisees.
- Are there false teachers you know around you? How can we know if they are false? Find passages that tell us how to recognize the false teachers. What are we supposed to do with them?