I rarely go to the doctor unless I have to go. I usually only go to the doctor when there’s something already wrong with me. Most of the time, even if I think something might be wrong, I won’t go unless it becomes a detriment to me living my life. I do take care of my body, but I don’t go to the doctor for an examination when there’s nothing wrong. This probably isn’t the best course of action, but it’s the way things are right now. I’d say I put my trust in the Lord to keep me healed, free of disease, and all that while trying to live a healthy physical life. In stark contrast is how often I examine my spiritual state. I don’t typically pray to the Lord to reveal anything physically wrong with me. However, I often ask Him to reveal anything spiritually wrong in me and take it out.

I know that I am saved. However, my salvation doesn’t stop me from looking at the wretched sin in my life and not wanting it out. Given that I am sure of my salvation, I still have to take a moment and remember it when I read something like this:

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

2 Peter 2:20-21 (NIV)

I don’t think I’m a spiritual hypochondriac, but it’s better to be aware of my spiritual state than to think everything is hunky-dory and run into problems (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12). If I have a broken bone or I’m coughing up blood, I know I have to go to the doctor. If we’re having problems spiritually, we might be so deep in them that we don’t see the signs.

Therefore, I’d like to take a moment to clarify who Peter is talking about in these verses and in 2 Peter.

False Teachers

Peter is talking about false teachers here in 2 Peter.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as 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.

2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)

These false teachers remind me of something Paul said to Timothy.

Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

2 Timothy 3:5 (NIV)

Paul was talking to Timothy about the last days and how people would be in those times. I believe that false teachers are similar. They have a form of godliness, else people wouldn’t fall for their doctrine, but they deny the true power of the word of God and distort it for their own purposes.

Balaam

Peter makes a connection between the teaching of these false teachers and the way of Balaam.

They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.

2 Peter 2:15 (NIV)

What was the way of Balaam?

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.

Revelation 2:14 (NIV)

“They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.

Numbers 31:16 (NIV)

Balaam couldn’t curse the Israelites so he taught Balak how to defeat them. Furthermore, we know Balaam’s motivation was greed.

They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

Numbers 22:16-17 (NIV)

Balaam saw the power of the living God and knew that God wanted His people to be blessed. Yet, Balaam turned away and did his own thing when he told Balak how to defeat them.

Distorting Scripture

In the next chapter of 2 Peter, Peter talks about the difficulty in understanding Paul’s letters.

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:16 (NIV)

People are distorting the things Paul says. Here are two verses that come to mind when I think about the gross ways someone could distort his teaching.

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.

Romans 5:20 (NIV)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

Paul asks the question:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

Romans 6:1 (NIV)

However, a false teacher could twist the idea of grace abounding when sin is abounding and spread that lie. Today, we have our own Bibles with the truth of God in them, but the people didn’t have that luxury in those days. I can also see people distorting the idea of freedom in Christ to indulge in anything they felt like doing. After all, if they are free, and grace abounds where sin abounds, why not?

Peter describes the behavior of these false teachers as “depraved” (2 Peter 2:2 NIV). Peter declares that they have “adulterous eyes” and are greedy, “reveling” in pleasure (2 Peter 2:14 NIV). Hence, my thoughts regarding Romans 5:20 and Galatians 5:1.

No Warning

There is no warning from Peter to be careful that this, falling away from Christ, doesn’t happen to you. If Peter believed that this was possible, that is, for the same Believer to lose their salvation, then he would have said, be careful this doesn’t happen to you.

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

2 Peter 2:12 (NIV)

This is about the false teachers, not about Christians who are saved.

They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.

2 Peter 2:13 (NIV).

There’s a contrast here. They are the false teachers. “You” are those who are saved.

False Believers

Now, there is another group Peter talks about here in 2 Peter.

Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

2 Peter 2:2 (NIV)

Those who follow and believe the false teachers. Again, this isn’t the “You” that is the saved Christian. However, we should be careful to note how we behave. How do we treat the word of God? Do we willfully sin, knowing that God will forgive us when we repent? Do we find other ways of justifying our behavior? Do we think the word of God is advice on how to live our lives? That some people take it too seriously? Do we think going to church regularly and doing other “godly” things makes our bad choices okay?

Conlusion

These verses here, in 2 Peter (2 Peter 2:21-22) don’t tell us we can lose our salvation. I do believe we can treat them as a warning, not to the saved Christian, but to the person who thinks they are saved. There’s more I could say on this topic, but it’s not for today. I will leave you with these verses from 1 John.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:6-10 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.