2 Peter 2:17-22
One of the Most Obvious Signs of a False Teacher
One thing a person must grasp when approaching the Bible is that Scripture has a completely different understanding of freedom than contemporary Americans, or for that matter even Americans at the founding of our country. Jesus defined “freedom” for the Christian: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed” (John 8:34-36). The American of today believes that freedom means self-expression—the ability to do whatever he pleases—which is the very definition of sin—doing what I want to do when I want to do it. And now this even includes being whatever I want to be when I want to be it. It is to do away with any and all laws and to become a law unto oneself—to be one’s own god. And here is the irony: Such a way of life is not freedom at all, but the most dreadful slavery.
So Peter continues to describe the false teachers and his description is very instructive for us. False teachers will often preach some sort of freedom—not freedom from sin, mind you—but some illegitimate form of freedom that is nothing of the sort. Today, this comes in the form of sexual “freedom,” that a person may engage in illicit relationships with biblical warrant or divorce his wife for any reason (no fault divorce). “Freedom” may also come in the form of monetary concerns, as if God’s first concern is that His children be rich. All of this is woven in a fabric that God want us all to be happy, to be ourselves, to follow our dreams, to be a star.
These are lies from the pit. God wants us to know Him and enjoy Him forever, but the only way to do this is through becoming less like ourselves and more like Him: “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John the Baptist said (John 3:30). Indeed, obedience is the measure of our love for Him. And obedience is the only way to true freedom—which Jesus defined as freedom from sin. This is the greatest wish of the believer—to be free of this sinful nature, to one day walk in that Kingdom where we will be so free that we will be unable to sin. In the meantime, we slough off as much of our besetting sins as we can in preparation of that day.
False teachers will always be with us. They will preach a false notion of freedom—and worst of all—lead many to destruction. Don’t return to the filth of sin. Heed the warning: “Beware of Dog!”