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2 Peter 2.2-3 doc; Jude 17-25 NOTES

2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude 17-23 - T. CONSTABLE EXPOSITION

THE DANGER TO THE CHIRSTIAN (2 Peter 2:1-3):  Peter next warned his readers of the false teachers who presented a message contradictory to that of the apostles to help them avoid their influence. In chapter 1 Peter stressed the importance of building oneself up spiritually. In chapter 2 he described the reason it is important to be strong. He began by describing the characteristics of false teachers, then the consequences of their teaching, then their conduct, and finally their condemnation. The connecting link with the end of chapter 1 is the reference to the Old Testament prophets.  Only Christ's forceful woes against hypocritical leaders in Matthew 23 and the parallel picture in the Epistle of Jude (see, below) convey the same severe denunciation of false teachers contained in this chapter.  This whole chapter gives evidence of being written out of great emotional concern.  Peter did not discuss his subject of false teachers in a cool, dispassionate fashion. He kept returning to previous thoughts and adding additional information. Some of his sentences are quite long and involved. His thoughts almost seem to have been rushing ahead of his ability to articulate them.

A. The Characteristics of False Teachers 2:1-3

v. 1: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. - The "people" to whom Peter refers are God's people in Old Testament times, as previously mentioned (1:19-21). False prophets in Old Testament times sought to lead God's people away from the revelations of the true prophets (Num. 22-24; Jer. 6:13; Ezek. 13:9), whereas, false teachers in Peter's time were trying to lead God's people away from the teaching of the apostles, i.e. "sound doctrine."  These men--typically males--aose from the believers (cf. Jeremiah 5:31; Jeremiah 23:9-18; Acts 20:29).

  ▪ The term "false prophets" (Gr. pseudoprophetai) may refer to those who falsely claim to be prophets of God and whose prophesy is false.  And, likewise "false teachers" (Gr. pseudodidaskaloi) can refer to those who claim to be teachers of God's truth but whom the churches' leaders do not recognize as teachers and or those who teach falsehood. This is the only place that this Greek word for false teachers occurs in the New Testament.

  ▪ "Secretly introduce" literally means to bring in alongside. The heretics would seek to add some other teaching to the orthodox faith and or some other teaching as a substitute for the truth (cf. Galatians 2:4). The implication is that they would seek to do this in some devious way. They would unobtrusively change the doctrinal foundation of the church and thereby make it unstable. "Heresies" refers to ideas inconsistent with the revealed truth of God.

  ▪ Peter was not claiming that all the false teachers were Christians. In view of how he described them, most of them appear to have been unbelievers (2 Peter 2:4-6); however, some of them could have been believers. Therefore the warning concerns any false teacher, unbeliever or believer. Of course, frequently only the teacher himself knows whether he is an unbeliever or a believer; others cannot tell.  "False teachers are better known for what they deny than for what they affirm." [Wiersbe]


v. 2: Many will follow their sensuality [bodily desires], and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; - Reckless and hardened immorality would accompany their doctrinal error. Clearly they permitted and defended immorality in a very broad sense.

  ▪ When people abandon God's standard of truth they typically adopt a lower standard of morality.  Since sensuality appeals to the fleshly desires, many people follow the example of heretics (false teacher/prophets) believing that they are correct in doing so because of the rationalizations of their teachers.

  ▪ No doctrine, however ridiculous or grotesque, when taught under the appearance of religious faith that appeals to the sensual appetites of men, will ever lack followers.  Furthermore, such false teaching can bring  great dishonor on the church because unbelievers will use it to identify professing Christians as immoral and

judge their behavior as hypocritical. 


v. 3: and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. - False teachers typically desire to satisfy themselves rather than God. This leads them to take advantage of their audiences. Peter points out that the false teachers used "false words," which is The Greek word is plastos, from which we get our English word plastic.  Plastic words! Words that can be twisted to mean anything you want them to mean!  "The false teachers use our vocabulary, but they do not use our dictionary.  They talk about 'salvation,' 'inspiration,' and the great words of the Christian faith, but they do not mean what we mean. Immature and untaught believers hear these preachers or read their books and think that these men are sound in the faith, but they are not." [Note: Wiersbe, 2:447.]

  ▪ Peter personified their "judgment" and "destruction." His point was that God is never late or asleep in executing justice, though He is patient (cf. 2 Peter 3:9).

  ▪ We can argue that the danger of false teaching is greater in our day than it has ever been. Why? Because we live in an era that is deeply suspicious of absolute truth. [Note: Moo, p. 97.]


BOOK OF JUDE INTRODUCTION:  According to tradition, the writer of this epistle was "Judas" (Jude), who was both the half-brother of Jesus Christ (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3) and a brother of James, the leader of the Jerusalem church (Jude 1; Acts 15:13).  As such, Jude (Gr. Judas, Heb. Judah, "praise") was a Jewish Christian. Like James, he was a Hellenized Galilean Jew who wrote with a cultivated Greek style.  Jesus' haff-brothers did not believe in Him during His earthly, pre-resurrection ministry (John 7:5).  Since James became a believer after Jesus' resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7), we may assume that Jude did too.  Jesus' brothers were part of the praying group that awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). They were well known in the early church (1 Cor. 9:5). Jude's many allusions to the Old Testament suggest that his original readers were very familiar with it. While this could have been true of many Christians, it would have been particularly true of Jewish Christians. Consequently many commentators believe Jude addressed this epistle primarily to Jewish Christians. Others believe he wrote to a mainly Gentile congregation.   The time of writing is very difficult to ascertain. Since Jude was a younger brother of Jesus, he may have lived into the second century.  After the Jewish revolts against Rome in A.D. 66-70, Jude probably lived outside Jerusalem-and perhaps outside Palestine, if he was still alive.

References in the text to the false teachers and the apostles (vv. 3-5, 17) suggest a condition in the church some years after the day of Pentecost.  Similarities with Peter's writings have led some to date Jude about the time that Peter wrote.  Scholars reason that Jude wrote after Peter, because what Peter predicted about false teachers Jude describes as already having taken place.   A date between A.D. 67 and 80 is mlost likely correct.  Also, at that time, Jude may have been living somewhere outside Palestine.

CENTRAL MESSAGE OF JUDE:  Jude teaches us that we must be careful to remain faithfully true to the faith. While that is a positive statement, Jude's emphasis, was primarily negative. He warned of the danger of departing from the true faith delivered once-for-all delivered to the saints (v. 3). The subject of Jude, then, is the peril of apostasy: departure from the truth. Apostasy is a matter of obedience, not salvation. Christians can depart from the faith almost as easily as non-Christians. Many Christian teenagers abandon their faith in college and university, and many never return to it.  "Apostasy," as the word is commonly used in Christian circles, involves a major departure from the faith, not a momentary lapse (e.g., Peter's denial of Christ during His trial). It involves repudiating a major doctrine of the faith. "Backsliding" usually refers to a regression in morals and or spiritual enthusiasm. It may or may not involve a departure from the major doctrines of the Bible. "Carnality" refers to giving in to the flesh and indulging one's sensual appetites. This also may or may not involve a major departure from the faith.  In v. 16 Jude characterizes these false teachers as "grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an


EXHORTATIONS TO THE FAITHFUL (Jude 17-23):  Having warned his readers about the failures of false teachers, Jude proceeded to exhort them, positively, to move them to persevere faithfully-in spite of the danger that faced them.  In the following verses Jude turns from scorching denunciation of the apostates to provide loving guidance and encouragement to the faithful amid apostasy.

A. The Reminder to Remember the Apostles' Warning vv. 17-19

vv. 17-18: But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts. - Forgetting the teaching and warnings of God in Scripture is a major cause of spiritual decline. It warns us to "Remember!  It's the first imperative that Jude has used, and it heads a whole group of them in this concluding section.

  ▪ The term "apostles" here evidently refers to the Twelve plus Paul, rather than to the larger group of Christian leaders whom Jesus sent out with the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). But the New Testament writers also called this larger group "apostles" (cf. Rom. 16:7; 2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25). However, it was the smaller group of apostles, for the most part, that established the church on the "faith ... once for all delivered to the saints" (v. 3). It is for that faith that Jude urged his readers to contend. The official apostles, therefore, seem to be in view here, rather than all those who functioned as apostles (lit. "sent ones").

  ▪ Jude's quotation of the apostles' teaching (v. 18) seems to be a general summary rather than a specific reference. We find a similar statement in 2 Peter 3:3, and that too is probably a summary. Jude may or may not have been quoting 2 Peter 3:3 here. Many conservative scholars believe Peter wrote his second epistle after Jude.

  ▪ The "last time" refers to the end of the historical period that encompasses the Church Age and the Tribulation. After this "last time" God will rule directly over humankind, first during the Millennium and then in the new heavens and new earth (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; et al.). It is the last time in relation to Jesus Christ's return to reign on earth.

  ▪ The object of the "mockers'" mocking seems to be the revealed will of God (Ps. 35:16; Prov. 14:6; 19:25).

  ▪ These workers were ever intent on experiencing the thrills of new forms of ungodliness."[110]


v. 19: These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. - The false teachers' teaching divided the believers into two basic groups: those who remained in the apostles' teaching and those who departed from it. While they may have claimed to be the truly spiritual group, the false teachers were really "worldly-minded," sharing the viewpoint of unbelievers. In the case of the unbelievers, they were completely "devoid of the [Holy] Spirit." In the case of the saved apostates, they were "devoid" of the effective influence "of the [Holy] Spirit. By turning away from the work of the Holy Spirit they had sunk to the level of an animal life, immoral in itself, and productive of confusion to the Church.

B. The Positive Instruction of the Readers vv. 20-23

Note:  In many ways, verses 20-23 form the core of Jude's letter:  an appeal for the entire church to exercise the mutual aspects of a life of faith.

v. 20: But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, - The contrast Jude introduced with "But" distinguishes Jude's readers from the false teachers.  As God's temples under attack by hostile enemy forces, we need to "build ourselves up," to strengthen ourselves on our "most

holy faith"-i.e., spiritually (1 Cor. 3:9-17; Eph. 2:20-22; 2 Pet. 3:18).

  ▪ By "building ourselves up," believers can fend off this sickness by becoming spiritually immune to it.  What follows as the first of several commands, and it is a general order. Verses 20b-21 clarifies how to do this.

  ▪ First, "Building up" (epoikodomountes) pictures this growth using the familiar figure of the construction of a house or temple. The compound verb points to the upper structure being erected on an existing foundation, on the apostles' firm foundation (i.e., "sound doctrine"). The verb tense underlines the fact that the "building up" of stable Christian character is an ongoing process.

  ▪ Your "most holy faith" is the faith received "once and for all" (v. 3), the foundation of our Christian life.

  ▪ Second, true believers are not "devoid of the Spirit" (v. 19).   The work of the Holy Spirit should evident in their lives.  Through the Spirit our greatest resource is God Himself; and we obtain His help through prayer.  It goes without saying that true spiritual maturity is vitally related to the practice of prayer at all times.


v. 21: keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. - Third, we should "keep" ourselves in the sphere of "God's love" (vv. 1, 6, 13; cf. John 15:9; Rom. 5:5; 8:39). When we depart from His Word and His will, we erect barriers between ourselves and God-thus blocking the free flow of His love to us. We "keep" ourselves "in [His] love" by abiding in Him (John 15:9-10; 1 John 2:28). To keep oneself in God's love is to stay where God can love us as his children and can shower upon us all the gifts of love that he has for those who are his children.

  ▪ Fourth, we should keep in mind and optimistically look forward to the complete realization of our "eternal life" (cf. 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29). This will be the greatest expression of Jesus Christ's "mercy" to us as believers.

  ▪ The Rapture will be the consummating evidence of His mercy.  In other words, Jude exhorted his readers to keep their hope in view. We have only a short time to wait and to remain faithful.  The Christian life can be seen as having (1) an inward look relating to the development of character [v. 20], (2) an upward look relating to communion with God [vv. 20-21], and (3) a forward look being consummated in final glorification [v. 21]. 

▪ The picture of the Christian life in terms of 'faith, hope, and love' (1 Cor. 13:13) is enhanced by the addition of praying in the Holy Spirit.  Pray as Jesus modeled in Mt. 6:5-15.  


v. 22: And have mercy on some, who are doubting; - Fifth, Jude's readers were to tenderly help ("have mercy on") those of their fellow believers who were struggling, and perhaps stumbling, under the influence of the false teaching. Those in view "who are doubting" are earnest doubters who sincerely cannot decide between truth and error. They are wavering in their loyalty.   We should not abandon them but compassionately seek to restore them.


v. 23:  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. - Sixth, Jude gave instruction concerning those believers who had already fallen under God's discipline by capitulating to false teachers. We should attempt to extract ("save") them from their error before their consequent judgment falls (cf. Amos 4:11; Zech. 3:2). "Fire" is symbolic of God's judgment in Scripture. Here Jude saw God's judgment coming on believers for yielding to sin or false teaching. And he also saw it coming on unbelievers.

  ▪ In the case of those whom heresy has completely swept away, we should have pity on them, rather than condemning them without compassion. Moreover, we should regard them "with fear," not fear of being infected by physical contact with them, but fear of falling under God's displeasure and discipline if we embrace their error. We should avoid any contact with these people because of the corrupting influence they can have on us through their words and actions (1 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Thess. 3:14-15). The "garment" stands for those things affected by contact with fleshly behavior, such as: personal habits and practices, speech, companions, and the like. Scripture often uses garments as a symbol of what other people see inour conduct.

  ▪ It is notable that with all of the blunt descriptions of false teachers, Jude gives us neither a command to

confront these troublemakers (only to avoid them) nor a plan of disciplinary action. He simply indicates they are under the condemnation of God.

  ▪ It's biblical to hate the sin but love the sinner. You hate the stuff that has dragged them under, but you love the soul of the person who is being pulled into eternal destruction. As a result, you rescue whomever you can.


C. Conclusion vv. 24-24: Jude concluded his brief epistle with a formal doxology. It included a prayer for his readers.  Jude wanted to assure them of God's ability to help them remain faithful-in spite of the apostasy that threatened them.  The concluding doxology (vv. 24-25) is universally recognized as one of the fullest and most beautiful in Scripture. It stresses the security of the believer in the midst of apostasy and brings the epistle to a marvelous conclusion.  It lifts the thoughts from earthly conflicts with which the author has been compelled to deal with up to the heavenly realms, where God is enthroned amidst eternal might and honor.


v. 24: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, - So, our confidence rests in God's ability ("who is able") to "keep" us safe and faithful "from stumbling" and enable us "stand in His presence ... blameless".

  ▪ The Greek word translated "stumbling" implies tripping, not only losing our balance, but also falling down.

  ▪ "Blameless" (Gr. amomos) does not mean without sin but having no justifiable ground for accusation.  When the blameless person sins, he confesses and forsakes his sin.  Standing before the judgment seat of Christ is in view in this verse.   This verse is not an unconditional promise that God will inevitably keep all believers from stumbling, either doctrinally or morally.


v. 25: to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. - Jude returned to his idea that the false teachers distorted-and their successors would continue to distort-the truth about God and Jesus Christ (v. 4). "Glory" is the bright radiance of God, "majesty" His transcendence, "dominion" His absolute power, and "authority" His freedom of action. These characteristics of God belong to Him eternally ("before all time and now and forever"). In view of God's changeless character, we should remain faithful as well.

  ▪ Words could hardly express more clearly Jude's belief in the pre-existence and eternity of Christ."

  ▪ Jude appears as a troubled pastor, who is anxious to shake the shoulders of his community to wake them up to the threats in their very midst. Some of Jude's scorching language can be tempered by realizing that in the ancient Mediterranean world such rhetoric in religious matters was common. But not all of Jude's passion can be explained away; for him, as for most of the early Church, faith in Jesus was a matter of life and death, and anyone or anything that threatened that life of faith was indeed a mortal enemy.

  ▪ Is it possible for a genuine Christian to deny that the Jesus whom he or she once professed to trust for eternal life is the Son of God? There seem to be many examples of such people in the church today, for example: Christians who convert to Islam, some other major world religion, or a cult that denies the deity of Christ. Many Christian teenagers who go off to college become convinced, sometimes by a respected professor, that what they had formerly believed is not true.

  ▪ Some would say that no genuine Christian would ever deny their faith in Jesus as the Son of God; such a person must never have been a believer in the first place. It is probable that many such people were never genuine Christians, only professing Christians. But Scripture does not seem to rule out the possibility of a genuine Christian becoming deceived by false teaching and changing his or her mind about Jesus Christ.

  ▪ Therefore, a genuine Christian who denies the faith will not lose his or her salvation, because when a person trusts in Christ for salvation, God declares that one righteous, seals him or her with His Spirit, and promises that nothing will ever separate him or her from His saving love (John 10:28; Rom. 8:31-39). That one is "kept for Jesus Christ" (Jude v. 1) and is born again (John 3:1-21). He or she can never become "unborn." As we are not saved by doing something good, neither can we be lost by doing something bad, though doing something bad is never God's will for His children.  Jude might have clarified that he was writing specifically about unsaved apostates, but he did not. He wrote to Christians, warning them of this possibility for anyone: Christians and non-Christians alike. That is why this epistle is so important.



FALSE PROPHETS ( 2 Peter 2:1 )


2:1:   But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.


That there should arise false prophets within the Church was something only to be expected, for in every generation false prophets had been responsible for leading God's people astray and for bringing disaster on the nation. It is worth while looking at the false prophets in the Old Testament story for their characteristics were recurring in the time of Peter and are still recurring today.

(i) The false prophets were more interested in gaining popularity than in telling the truth. Their policy was to tell people what they wanted to hear. The false prophets said, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace" ( Jeremiah 6:14). They saw visions of peace, when the Lord God was saying that there was no peace ( Ezekiel 13:16). In the days of Jehosaphat, Zedekiah, the false prophet, donned his horns of iron and said that Israel would push the Syrians out of the way as he pushed with these horns; Micaiah the true prophet foretold disaster if Jehosaphat went to war. Of course, Zedekiah was popular and his message was accepted; but Jehosaphat went forth to war with the Syrians and perished tragically ( 1 Kings 22:1-53). In the days of Jeremiah, Hananiah prophesied the swift end of the power of Babylon, while Jeremiah prophesied the servitude of the nation to her; and again the prophet who told people what they wished to hear was the popular one ( Jeremiah 28:1-17). Diogenes, the great cynic philosopher, spoke of the false teachers of his day whose method was to follow wherever the applause of the crowd led. One of the first characteristics of the false prophet is that he tells men what they want to hear and not the truth they need to hear.

(ii) The false prophets were interested in personal gain. As Micah said, "Its priests teach for hire, and its prophets divine for money" ( Micah 3:11). They teach for filthy lucre's sake ( Titus 1:11), and they identify godliness and gain, making their religion a money-making thing ( 1 Timothy 6:5). We can see these exploiters at work in the early church. In The Didache, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which is what might be called the first service-order book, it is laid down that a prophet who asks for money or for a table to be spread in front of him, is a false prophet. "Traffickers in Christ," the Didache (compare G1322) calls such men (The Didache 11). The false prophet is a covetous creature who regards men as dupes to be exploited for his own ends.

(iii) The false prophets were depraved in their personal life. Isaiah writes: "The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink; they are confused with wine" ( Isaiah 28:7). Jeremiah says, "In the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing; they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evil-doers.... They lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness" ( Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 23:32). The false prophet in himself is a seduction to evil rather than an attraction to good.

(iv) The false prophet was above all a man who led other men further away from God instead of closer to him. The prophet who invites the people: "Let us go after other gods," must be mercilessly destroyed ( Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 18:20). The false prophet takes men in the wrong direction.

These were the characteristics of the false prophets in the ancient days and in Peter's time; and they are their characteristics still.




In this verse Peter has certain things to say about these false prophets and their actions.

(i) They insidiously introduce destructive heresies. The Greek for heresy is hairesis ( G139) . It comes from the verb haireisthai (compare G140) , which means to choose; and originally it was a perfectly honourable word. It simply meant a line of belief and action which a man had chosen for himself. In the New Testament we read of the hairesis ( G139) of the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Nazarenes ( Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5). It was perfectly possible to speak of the hairesis ( G139) of Plato and to mean nothing more than those who were Platonist in their thought. It was perfectly possible to speak of a group of doctors who practised a certain method of treatment as a hairesis ( G139) . But very soon in the Christian Church hairesis ( G139) changed its complexion. In Paul's thought heresies and schisms go together as things to be condemned ( 1 Corinthians 11:18-19); haireseis ( G139) (the plural form of the word) are part of the works of the flesh; a man that is a heretic is to be warned and even given a second chance, and then rejected ( Titus 3:10).

Why the change? The point is that before the coming of Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, there was no such thing as definite, God-given truth. A man was presented with a number of alternatives any one of which he was perfectly free to choose to believe. But with the coming of Jesus, God's truth came to men and they had either to accept or to reject it. A heretic then became a man who believed what he wished to believe instead of accepting the truth of God which he ought to believe.

What was happening in the case of Peter's people was that certain self-styled prophets were insidiously persuading men to believe the things they wished to be true rather than the things which God had revealed to be true. They did not set themselves up as opponents of Christianity. Far from it. They set themselves up as the finest fruits of Christian thinking; and so it was gradually and subtly that people were being lured away from God's truth to other men's private opinions, which is what heresy is.

(ii) These men denied the Lord who had 'bought' them. This idea of Christ buying men for himself is one which runs through the whole New Testament. It comes from his own word that he had come to give his life a ransom for many ( Mark 10:45). The idea was that men were slaves to sin and Jesus purchased them at the cost of his life for himself, and, therefore, for freedom. "You were bought with a price," says Paul ( 1 Corinthians 7:23). "Christ redeemed us (bought us out) from the curse of the law" ( Galatians 3:13). In the new song in the Revelation the hosts of heaven tell how Jesus Christ bought them with his blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation ( Revelation 5:9). This clearly means two things. It means that the Christian by right of purchase belongs absolutely to Christ; and it means that a life which cost so much cannot be squandered on sin or on cheap things.

The heretics in Peter's letter were denying the Lord who bought them. That could mean that they were saying that they did not know Christ; and it could mean that they were denying his authority. But it is not as simple as that; one might say that it is not as honest as that. We have seen that these men claimed to be Christians; more, they claimed to be the wisest and the most advanced of Christians. Let us take a human analogy. Suppose a man says that he loves his wife and yet is consistently unfaithful to her. By his acts of infidelity he denies, gives the lie to his words of love. Suppose a man protests eternal friendship to someone, and yet is consistently disloyal to him. His actions deny, give the lie to, his protestations of friendship. What these evil men, who were troubling Peter's people, were doing, was to say that they loved and served Christ, while the things they taught and did were a complete denial of him.

(iii) The end of these evil men was destruction. They were insidiously introducing destructive heresies, but these heresies would in the end destroy themselves. There is no more certain way to ultimate condemnation than to teach another to sin.


THE WORK OF FALSEHOOD ( 2 Peter 2:2-3 )


2:2-3:  Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.


In this short passage we see four things about the false teachers and their teaching:

(i) We see the cause of false teaching. It is evil ambition. The word is pleonexia ( G4124) ; pleon (

G4119) means more and -exia comes from the verb echein ( G2192) , which means to have. Pleonexia ( G4124) is the desire to possess more but it acquires a certain flavour. It is by no means always a sin to desire to possess more; there are many cases in which that is a perfectly honourable desire, as in the case of virtue, or knowledge, or skill. But pleonexia ( G4124) comes to mean the desire to possess that which a man has no right to desire, still less to take. So it can mean covetous desire for money and for other people's goods; lustful desire for someone's person; unholy ambition for prestige and power. False teaching comes from the desire to put its own ideas in the place of the truth of Jesus Christ; the false teacher is guilty of nothing less than of usurping the place of Christ.

(ii) We see the method of false teaching. It is the use of cleverly reasoned arguments. Falsehood is easily resisted when it is presented as falsehood; it is when it is disguised as truth that it becomes menacing. There is only one touchstone. Any teacher's teaching must be tested by the words and presence of Jesus Christ himself.

(iii) We see the affect of the false teaching. It was twofold:  (1) It encouraged men to take the way of blatant immorality. The word is aselgeia ( G766) which describes the attitude of the man who is lost to shame and cares for the judgment of neither man nor God. We must remember what was at the back of this false teaching. It was perverting the grace of God into a justification for sin. The false teachers were telling men that grace was inexhaustible and that, therefore, they were free to sin as they liked for grace would forgive.

This false teaching had a second effect. (2) It brought Christianity into disrepute. In the early days, just as now, every Christian was a good or bad advertisement for Christianity and the Christian Church. It is Paul's accusation to the Jews that through them the name of God has been brought into disrepute ( Romans 2:24). In the Pastoral Epistles the younger women are urged to behave with such modesty and chastity that the Church will never be brought into disrepute ( Titus 2:5). Any teaching which produces a person who repels men from Christianity instead of attracting them to it is false teaching, and the work of those who are enemies of Christ.

(iv) We see the ultimate end of false teaching and that is destruction. Sentence was passed on the false prophets long ago; the Old Testament pronounced their doom ( Deuteronomy 13:1-5). It might look as if that sentence had become inoperative or was slumbering, but it was still valid, and the day would come when the false teachers would pay the terrible price of their falsehood. No man who leads another astray will ever escape his own judgment.



EW Commentary - 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude 17-23

2 Peter 2 - The Rise and Fall of False Teachers

A. Facts about false teachers.

1. (2:1) The presence and work of false teachers.

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

a. But there were also false prophets: Even as there were holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), so also there were false prophets and false teachers then and today. Peter stated this as a fact and not as a possibility; and he said they were among you, not only on the outside of the church.

        i. "There were not only holy men of God among the Jews, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and perverted many."

b. Who will secretly bring in destructive heresies: False teachers work secretly. It isn't that their teaching is secret, but the deceptive nature of their teaching is hidden. No false teacher ever announces himself as a false teacher.

c. Destructive heresies: False teachers bring in destructive heresies that destroy by telling lies about Jesus Christ and His work for us and in us. By these heresies people are hurt and destroyed. Heresy isn't harmless.

d. Even denying the Lord who bought them: False teachers deny the Lord who bought them. In this Peter says that at the very least, they appear to be saved. Otherwise Peter would never say that the Lord bought them. At the same time, they are false, destructive teachers.

       i. Even a person who has what appears to be a godly walk and relationship with Jesus Christ can still bring in destructive heresies. Often times good men who teach lies do the worst damage. Their lies are accepted far more easily because of the good character of these men.

e. Bring on themselves swift destruction: False teachers are promised swift destruction, even though they aren't judged fast enough in the opinion of many.

2. (2: 2) The popularity of false teachers.

Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

a.Many will follow their fleshly ways: This reminds us that false teachers may be popular. Just because

something succeeds in attracting a crowd of followers, it doesn't mean that it is of God. We know that God's work will always bear fruit, but the devil's work can also increase.

       i. The most distressing aspect of the work of false teachers is not that they are among you (2 Peter 2:1). False teachers always have been and always will be among Christians. The most distressing fact is that so many Christians will follow their fleshly ways.

b. Because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed: When false teachers are at work and when crowds are following them, the way of truth is blasphemed. God's holy name and honor are disgraced.

3. (3) The strategy and destiny of false teachers.

and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

a. By covetousness: False teachers use covetousness - both their own and in their followers. Many false teachers, both today and in previous times, present a gospel that has self-gratification at its core. All this is presented with deceptive words because false teaching never announces itself.

b. Their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber: Peter assured us that false teachers will be judged. Even though it seems they prosper, their judgment is not idle. God's wrath pours out on them even in allowing them to continue, thus heaping up more and more condemnation and hardness of heart in themselves.


Jude 17-23 Extra Commentary


Jude 1:17 "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;" - "Word ... of the apostles": The apostles had warned the coming generation about apostates, so that they would be prepared and not be taken by surprise (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1 - 3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 7-11). God's Word is designed to warn and protect (Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 4:14). As (verse 18), indicates, there had been continually repeated warnings.

  • Jude calls on his readers to recall apostolic teaching. Today this would mean especially the New Testament.

This is a total separation from the people mentioned (in verse 16). This is speaking to the followers of God (the beloved). We, Christians, are reminded to keep our thoughts on the pure gospel message sent by the apostles from the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jude 1:18 "How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts." -  "In the last time": While throughout this present dispensation, between the first advent and the second coming of Christ, there have been those who ridicule true believers, the scoffers doubtless multiply toward the close of the age. Immoral and amoral, they seek their own unholy sensual desires, following "after their own ungodly lusts."

  • Literally meaning "at the chronological end of the current epoch or season" (2 Tim. 3:1). This term refers to the time of Messiah from His first coming until His second. These characteristics will prevail until Christ returns.
  • "Mockers": These are the scoffers at God's future plans who pretend to know the truth but deny that judgment will ever come.
  • Examples of such apostolic warnings are found (in Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Peter 3:3).

These apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had warned that in the end times there would be scoffers who walk after the ways of the world and, also, try to lead others in this wicked way.


Jude 1:19 "These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." "They who separate themselves": Jude seems to have in mind their tendency to be schismatic or divisive, to set forth heretical notions and then separate themselves and their followers from those who hold to apostolic doctrine. But note that they get their start in the church itself, (verse 4). They fractured the church rather than united it (Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 2:2).

  • Sensual or worldly-minded people are people who are controlled by their flesh and not the Spirit of God. I have said this over and over, but we are either controlled by our flesh, or by our spirit. We must crucify our flesh, so that Jesus can quicken our spirit.
  • These worldly-minded, sensual apostate teachers advertise themselves as having the highest spiritual knowledge, but are actually attracted to the most debased levels of life. They are "soulish" not "spiritual" (James 3:15).

John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."


 Verses 20-21: In the light of the fact that Jesus is coming again and that He will judge all men, Jude challenges believers to build themselves up in the Scriptures (study the bible), to pray, to "keep ... in the love of God" (largely by loving others). And to compassionately seek to warn the lost of their future condition.


Jude 1:20 "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"

"Building": True believers have a sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11), and cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith (verse 3), have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32). - "Praying in the Holy Ghost": This is not a call to some ecstatic form of prayer, but simply a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-27).

  • The antidote for error is not simply to pull back from wrong but also to be built up in what is right, especially through clinging to God in prayer.
  • Notice, it is our obligation to build our faith. The best way to build our faith is through prayer and using our faith. The more we use it, the more it grows. When we do not know what to pray for, God the Holy Ghost prays for us, if we will allow Him. Letting God pray through you, for you, builds you up more than you could ever imagine.


Jude 1:21 "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." - "Keep" (Acts 13:43). This imperative establishes the believer's responsibility to be obedient and faithful by living out his salvation (Phil. 2:12), while God works out His will (Phil. 2:13). It means to remain in the place of obedience where God's love is poured out on His children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring His chastening (1 Cor. 11: 27-31; Heb. 12:5-11).

  • This refers to the perseverance of the saints, the counterbalance to God's sovereign preservation of believers in Christ (verse 1). This is accomplished by:

(1)  Building one's self up in the Word of God (verse 20);

(2)  Praying in the Holy Spirit (verse 20); and

(3)  Looking for the finalization of eternal life (verse 21).

  • "Looking": or waiting. An eager anticipation of Christ's second coming to provide eternal life in its ultimate, resurrection form (Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:1-3), which is the supreme expression of God's mercy; on one to whom Christ's righteousness has undeservedly been imputed (verse 2). Paul called this "loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8), and John wrote that such a steady anticipation was purifying (1 John 3:3).
  • Here Jude stresses our role in being kept. In (verse 1), he has already used a form of the same word, preserved, most likely to denote God's own role and ability in "keeping" His children in His grasp. Jude expects a literal return of Jesus.
  • Jesus said "If you love me, keep my commandments". The very best way to stay in the love of God is to stay in the will of God. God inhabits the praises of His people. Praise Him always. It is the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves us. His merciful act of paying the debt for all our sins saved us.

 Verses 22-23: An important factor in keeping one's own faith active and vibrant is exercising it serving others. Even where there is danger or extreme immorality involved, God calls on believers to mediate His love for the fallen and share the gospel with the lost.

"Some" - there are several textual variants here which could result in either two or three groups being indicated. They are:

(1)  Sincere doubters who deserve compassion (verse 22);

(2)  Those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire (verse 23);

        (3)  Those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear (verse 23), lest the would-be-rescuer also be spiritual sullied.

Given the manuscripts evidence and Jude's patterns of writing in trails, all 3 groups is the more likely scenario.


Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" - "Compassion": These victims of the apostate teachers need mercy and patience because they have not yet reached a firm conclusion about Christ and eternal life, and so remain doubters who could possibly be swayed to the truth.

To be forgiven, we must freely forgive.


Jude 1:23 "And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." - "Others save": Others, who are committed to the error taught by the apostates, need immediate and forthright attention before they are further entrenched on the road to the fire of hell (verse 7), as a result of embracing deceptive lies.

  • "With fear": This third group also needs mercy, even though they are thoroughly polluted by apostate teaching. These people are to be given the true gospel, but with great fear, lest the deliverer be contaminated also. The defiled garment pictures the apostate's debauched life, which can spread its contagion to the well-meaning evangelist.
  • Do we truly love the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ? Is salvation the greatest gift we could ever attain? If it is, then we should want it, not only for ourselves, but for everyone. How can we save someone else? Tell them about Jesus and what He has done for us. If they won't listen, grab hold of them and make them listen. Don't let go, until they will listen.
  • Give a few hours of your time now to save someone from an eternity in the lake of fire. I hate the thought of anyone winding up in the lake of fire. I hate to think of it even being near anyone. The question is, do I hate it enough to spend my time keeping others from going there? Is there any greater task on this earth? What are you going to do about it?