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The False Teachers

27 Mar
False Teachers - 2

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God knows very well how to rescue the godly out of trouble, while still reserving the wicked for judgment. Both Noah and Lot were counted righteous by God (Genesis 6:9; 2Peter 2:7). However, at least in the case of Lot, the righteous had to be literally pushed by the angels before they would leave their wicked environment (Genesis 19:16). On the other hand, Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were also considered righteous (dikaioi – Luke 1:6), praised God for what he was doing in their lives (Luke 1:68). The righteousness of Lot is seen in the fact that both he and Noah stood alone in their respective wicked environments. God is just, and it is not his intention to destroy the righteous with the ungodly. Therefore, the believers in Asia Minor could take heart and be encouraged through Peter’s epistle (2Peter 2:9).

In 2Peter 2:10 Peter describes the false teachers as despising the principle of authority (Romans 8:7), whether that authority is God, the Law or the apostles. They are self-willed and presumptuous. They follow the impulse of the flesh rather than the Spirit, and in doing so their earnest desire (i.e. what they want to do) becomes an act defilement.

In Jude 1:7 Jude describes the Sodomites as having given themselves over to fornication. That is, they went after strange (G2087 – heteros) flesh, translated so only in Jude 1:7. The Greek word is usually translated into another or other. Paul uses the word to say the Galatians believed another Gospel (Galatians 1:6). James uses the same Greek word to say: “…who are you that judges another?” (James 4:12). Paul says in Galatians 6:4 that every man should prove his own work and then he would rejoice in himself rather than in another (G2087). I think this is what Jude meant. That is, the Sodomites wanted to abuse anyone who was new to the city, someone who was not their own (familiar citizen) but from another place. It wasn’t the sin of fornication per se that God intervened to judge. Rather, it was the violence, the fact that no one was safe in Sodom, that God needed to judge. Normally, God allows the consequences of our sins to correct us (Jeremiah 2:19), but escalating violence needs to be judged or the weaker party will have no place in society.

I think Peter is referring to the same thing in his epistle that Jude mentions in his. Just as the Sodomites went after other flesh, meaning not their own city’s people, the false teachers were going after other flesh, meaning believers, or those who are part of a new creation, created in Christ (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10).

In 1967 President Charles de Gaulle of France made an official visit to Canada. While there he attended Expo 67 in Montreal, and in a speech given there he uttered his controversial remark: “Vive le Québec libre!” (Long live free Quebec), which was apparently the slogan of Quebec separatists seeking sovereignty for the Canadian province. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was outraged, saying: “Canadians do not need to be liberated.” Due to the uproar created by the media and the strained diplomatic relations, the President of France decided to cut his visit short and leave for home without ever meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada. While President de Gaulle had a right to sympathize with the desires of some of the citizens of Quebec, it was quite a breach of protocol to enter the authority of Canada and stir up some of their citizens against their government. He had no right to do that and expressed his disrespect for the Canadian government.

In a similar manner the false teachers despised the government of Christ, of which the apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers are offices within the church. The offices of authority were created by God and populated by men of the Lord’s choosing. It was the men whom God had appointed to these offices that the false teachers despised and ignored, while they did their work of deception. 2Peter 2:10 shows the false teachers boldly intruded into the body of believers as though they had every right to do so, but they had no right. They were self-willed men, whom God had not sent. If a man is motivated by his flesh and not the Spirit of God, his works have no place in the Body of Christ.

 

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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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