I love how the Lord cares about us so much that he warned us centuries ago in the Bible of things that were forthcoming so we could spiritually prepare ourselves. We find such warnings in 2 Peter 2 when Peter tells the church about false teachers to come and the types of practices or doctrines they would promote. How did Peter know of these things ahead of time? Because he was the fulfillment of his own writing in 2 Peter 1:21 in that his prophecy came not by the will of man, but he as a holy man of God spake as he was moved by the Holy Ghost. Here’s what he said:
1But 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.
2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. [2 Peter 2]
What are damnable heresies? Teachings that are condemned by God, coming straight from the pit of hell. They are doctrines of devils. The fact they are brought in privily (or privately and subtly), shows how cunning false teachers can be. Damnable heresies are often introduced slowly to a few people to test how well they will be received and when enough people receive them, they are then taught blatantly.
Some heretics go so far as to deny the Lord in various ways, including the denial that Jesus Christ was 100% God and 100% man, or the denial that the Godhead is three persons in one, or denying Jesus’ death brought salvation and denying his resurrection, or even that the Lord Jesus is the same as the God of the Old Testament. Basically, they speak evil of the things they don’t understand [2 Peter 2:12]. They can also deny him in their lifestyle, for “[t]hey profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate,” Titus 1:16. When destruction comes because of their heresies, it comes because they brought it upon themselves.
Since they speak great swelling words of vanity (think Eddie Long or Brian McLaren) they allure a great number of people, by catering to the lusts of the flesh [2 Peter 2:18], who then follow their wicked ways. False teachers think of their deceptions as a fun sport as they fellowship with real Christians [v. 13]. Many of them get caught up in adultery and refuse to give up their sins [v. 14]. Because they indulge their sin (secretly or openly), the way of truth is evil spoken of when Christianity is called false religion because of the hypocrisy of false Christians.
The way of truth (Jesus Christ and Christianity) is also evil spoken of because the false teacher who promotes sin in the church raises the expectations among those in the world that the church should compromise its values to match the world’s. So the worldly then get upset when the true church doesn’t accept “shacking up” or other sins.
False teachers love to use feigned words, words of insincerity that hide the dark motives and intents they have. They are pretenders motivated by their greed to make merchandise of churchgoers by taking advantage of them with any type of covetous practice they can think of [v. 14b] so they can obtain some type of payment for their unrighteousness like the false prophet Balaam did [v. 15]. Whether its an offer of healing prayer cloths or super special anointing oil for a “love gift” or some other strange requirement, they will try to put a spiritual spin on their greed.
This is why it’s important to keep on the full armor of God powered by prayer. Just like the devil is going to and fro like a lion seeking whom he may devour, so are his false teachers in these last days of damnable heresies.
–Harry A. Gaylord–