2 Peter #8 2 Peter 2: 10-19 Making Yourself the Ultimate Authority Leads To Sin
2 Peter #8 2 Peter 2: 10-19 Making Yourself the Ultimate Authority Leads To Sin
Peter has refuted the false
teachers that say there is no judgment, teaching that it doesn’t matter how you
conduct your life, refuting those who think God is going to forgive and allow them
to live in His presence for all eternity.
Peter affirms that what we do does matter, we will be held accountable
for our actions. For those of us who are
not sure if we are secure in Christ, we also received a word of encouragement. As long as we are in the fight, our heart
intends to do the will of God, even when we sin there is forgiveness when we
confess, repent, and ask. Our faith still holds and passes the test of
scripture, the tradition of the Church, reason, and experience. God’s grace is
sufficient to deliver those who are continually aligning themselves with Him.
In the next verses, Peter is
going to tell us what happens to the person who propagates lies about living in
the Kingdom of God, especially those who lead others astray. For you Star Wars
fans, these are folks who gave into the dark side, transforming from Jedi to
Seth. Now you have no idea what I just
said, oh my.
2 Peter 2:10-11 (MSG)
God is especially incensed against these
"teachers" who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They
despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule.
Insolent egotists, they don't hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid
of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn't think of
throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
Before we start considering the character of these
brothers and sisters that have moved from the path of truth to one that leads
to a bad end, we need to get a handle on Peter’s meaning in the last portion of
these two verses, slander, splendid creature, and angels. Concerning these
splendid creatures, what they are, and what they do, there is nothing but
needless speculation. The Bible is
silent and we are left with another heavenly mystery. We know something of angles from the
scripture, they are God’s servants, and they exist in the presence of God,
which suggests that their knowledge of God exceeds humanity’s. Given the
context, whatever the splendid creatures are, they have authority that even
angels recognize and respect. What Peter wants us to understand is that there
is a huge problem when a person refuses to recognize any authority other than
When a person assumes the
role of ultimate authority for directing their lives there is a deterioration
of relationships. Make no mistake You are responsible for what you decide to
do. But when a person believes that they
are the authority, then they are the right one. Their opinions are facts. This strains relationships as every differing
opinion leads to arguments.
When a person assumes the
role of ultimate authority they are prone to overconfidence bias. They are so
certain that what they think is the only correct understanding prevents them
from hearing opinions, advice, or counsel from others. They go so far as to
undermine recognized experts because they know best.
Because of their bias, they
often make poor decisions. Such a person thinks they have what it takes but in
reality, they don’t. They don’t realize
that they are hurting themselves by pursuing ineffective strategies and
incorrect solutions. Everything is
determined by their experience.
tend to spread misinformation. If a person says something often with passion
and conviction, even if what they are saying is a complete fabrication, it
becomes believable. Their influence can create negative outcomes for the people
who follow their advice.
One of the Genesis revelations
is the disregard for divine authority leads to sin. When we commit ourselves to
be a slave to Jesus we hand him the trump card for our thoughts and
behavior. He becomes the authority to
lead, guide, and direct. Even if we do not know why, even if we don’t
understand, the admonishments to do certain things or the prohibitions to
refrain from certain things revealed in scripture, we seek to be obedient to His
authority. The choice is always yours to make. As a disciple of Jesus, you know
that the scripture is useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our
rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way” (2 Tim 3:16
(MSG). We make the written divine
revelation to be authoritative and this leads to living life to the full.
Peter has some very nasty
things to say about self-acknowledged Christ followers that reject the
authority of scripture and refuse correction even from the Apostles. The false
teachers live by lust, they are addicted to a filthy existence, they despise
any authority but themselves, and they are insolent egotists. Peter writes a
biblical cussing out.
2 Peter 2:12-19 (MSG)
These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the
wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with
their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the
end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They're so despicable and addicted to
pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They're
obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they
come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they're experts at it. Dead souls!
15 They've left the main road
and are directionless, having taken the way of Balaam, son of Beor, the prophet
who turned profiteer, a connoisseur of evil. But Balaam was stopped in his
wayward tracks: A dumb animal spoke in a human voice and prevented the
17 There's nothing to these
people—they're dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black
hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they're
dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most
susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they
themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they're addicted to corruption—and
they are—they're enslaved.
Peter highlights the allure
these false teachers use to attract followers, promising freedom while
themselves being slaves to corruption. He compares them to Balaam, [Numbers
22-24] a prophet who misled others for personal gain. These are the kind of people who will play
you and when you are no longer of use, disgard you.
It is pretty safe to assume
that Peter does not have a very high opinion of those who have strayed from the
authority of Christ. Remember that these
people are self-proclaimed Christians. They started their spiritual journey by
acknowledging their need for a savior, believing that Jesus is that savior,
making a commitment to be Jesus' disciple, and asking God to receive their
faith. But then somewhere along the line,
they left the path of righteousness. Peter criticizes their deceitful and
manipulative behavior, characterizing them as enticers of the immature
Today we have exploitive prosperity
preachers promising material wealth in exchange for donations. There are manipulative Christian cult leaders
who control their followers, isolating them from friends and family. We have doctrinal extremists that cherry-pick
their teachings to promote their ideologies. Pseudo Faith Healers prey upon the
desperate promising physical healing in exchange for ticket sales. False
prophets, prophets in the sense of foretelling, predicting the future,
especially nowadays concerning the end times to gather a crowd, to sell a book. Along with the false prophets, there are the
Christian Fearmongers who use fear and conspiracy theories to create a sense of
urgency to gain people’s allegiance. We
have the media’s favorite, hypocritical pastors who preach one set of moral
standards while living in contradiction to those standards themselves.
These false teachers are
addicted to corruption. Ever buy fresh
fruit, put it in the frig, and forget about it. When you remember you find a
squishy moldy something only fit for the trash.
That’s corruption. The descent from good to bad, from integrity to
dishonesty, from right motives to absorbed in selfishness is to follow the path
of corruption. Peter paints such a
horrible picture of the false teachers that you get the impression that the
false teachers corrupt corruption.
This falling away from the
true knowledge of Christ doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow burn. If you believe that once you acknowledged,
believed, committed, and asked that they were forgiven to such an extent that you
can do anything you wanted and still be in God’s good graces, Peter says think
again. This is a deadly error.
Let’s examine this slow burn.
People gradually fall into sin through their own choices and actions. There is
a gradual progression that begins with
small transgressions and can eventually lead to more serious offenses. For
instance when it comes to physical pleasures, doesn’t matter which one, but for
the sake of example lets go with sexual immorality and use it as an example of
the law of diminishing returns to illustrate how corruption becomes addictive. Let's say it starts with an attraction to a magazine
model, then to moves to a nude model, then to video, then pornography, then
more explicit and deviant porn, to strip clubs, then paying for your fantasies.
It’s a slippery slope of desensitization into more egregious immorality. What happens is the thrill disappears as you
get used to indulging, so it takes more to satisfy the next time. It becomes a search for more, more intensity,
more pleasure, the further you slip the less and less able you become to enjoy
your pleasure of choice, so you need a stronger dose. The road of corruption starts when a person
disregards God’s authority and replaces God’s rule with doing what they
Like the false teachers, we
start well, to stay well we must keep bending our knee to God’s authority. God’s
grace is sufficient to keep us on the path of righteousness. You know the tools that help empower you to
walk worthy of the gospel of Christ. Bible study, prayer, fellowship, service,
worship, obedience, contemplation. The Fellowship of your faith community keeps
you accountable. Those who are your companions in the faith can speak truth
into your life. Your spiritual friends, your spiritual mentor, has earned your
trust to confront when you step out of line. They can help you when you are
tempted to sin. They can be your sounding board, listening to what you are
going through, supporting you in the fight, and lifting you in prayer. In this
spiritual journey, you need the company of like-minded believers to keep you
Another way to keep from
coming beastly is to remain teachable. Don’t catch the disease called the
hardening of the categories. Hardening of the categories occurs when you become
rigid and inflexible in your thinking.
You get stuck in your ways. Stuck
in your ways you are not able to consider the opinions of others. No new information
will change your mind. Your thinking
becomes biased. You allowed yourself to
become the ultimate authority.
Peter has given us a
description of the false teacher. They
look good on the outside but inside, oh my, it's corruption. They exploit other believers for their
purposes. “Peter condemns false teachers for their destructive actions, their
exploitation of others, and their deviation from the path of true faith”
(ChatGPT August 6, 2023).
From the teaching today we have learned that we are to
guard against desentization to immoral behavior. We have learned that fellowship guards us
from error. We have learned the need to
stay teachable avoiding a hardening of the categories. You now have tools to
help you discern if someone is off in their teaching of Christianity. You have
tools to help you stay on the path of truth.
Put them to use.