There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. (2 Peter 2:1–3, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Destructive heresies, denying the LORD, following shameful ways, bringing the truth into disrepute, exploiting believers, made up stories. False teachers. The damage they can do, the damage they are doing, is plain to see. But the things they are doing to cause the damage is not so plain. Because they are not doing them openly, but in secret. “To deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (Matthew 24:24, NIV 1984).
But, this kind of spiritual discernment comes with some effort on our part. We must be students of the Holy Scriptures. In general, but also in two important specific aspects.
Old Testament Prophets (What They Foresaw) – We have the word of the prophets made more certain. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19, NIV 1984).
Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility. It could never happen, no matter how much time was allotted. One mathematician’s estimate of those impossible odds is “one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.” (Lee Strobel, “The Case For Christ”).
New Testament Eyewitnesses – (What They Saw) – We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16).
After His resurrection, “[Jesus] appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to [His half-brother] James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me [Paul] also.” (1 Corinthians 15:5–8, NIV 1984). Certified dead by His impartial Roman executioners, body never produced by His detractors, eyewitnesses accounts not refuted or recanted. Many died because of their testimony.
My Advice – “Evidently [these false teachers] are throwing [some] into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:7–9, NIV 1984). It is not enough to know what we believe, we must also know why we believe. Study the truth in order to recognize the lies.